On November 26, 2022 the President of India gave a valedictory address at the Constitution Day celebrations organised by the Supreme Court of India at New Delhi. In the midst of a prepared draft in English, she broke into Hindi and opened her heart about the suffering she has witnessed during her visits to the prisons.
One of my postings as a police officer that did the most to wake up the human being in me was my tenure as the Additional Director General of Police in charge of prisons in Tamil Nadu. My visits to the Central Prison at Puzhal on the outskirts of Chennai brought me face-to-face with persons many of whom were highly talented but were condemned to spend their time in the drudgery of weaving cloth or doing some other work as a part of “reformation”. Then there were others who were not aware of the higher values of life.
Within a month or so of my taking charge of the prisons, I realised that I must look upon the prison as a house of individuals who had suffered faulty socialisation. Therefore, I began to talk to the prisoners and understand the workings of their mind. I conducted meditation sessions in which I took them into the depths of their mind and gave them the experience of that inner peace which makes a human being different from the animals. The entire atmosphere of the prison changed. With that I underwent a change I had not anticipated.
Her Excellency, the President, mentioned that the work-load of the criminal justice system is increasing, and there is demand for more jails. But is more jails the solution? The implication is: should we aim at reducing criminality in our country, or should we plan for more accommodation for an ever-increasing number?
When her Excellency mentioned three persons who are treated as gods, she mentioned lawyers, and not judges. This intrigued me first, but then I realised that the three categories mentioned by her, namely — teachers, doctors, and lawyers — fit together. All three protect us from destruction. A teacher protects us from the destruction that ignorance causes; a doctor protects us from the destruction that diseases bring about, and a lawyer protects us from the destruction that a false case could cause. A judge cannot argue, he can only judge based on the arguments produced before him. That is why the lawyer and not the judge is the parallel in the teacher-doctor-lawyer trio.
The President of the country is the equivalent of the British royalty. She represents the continuation of the tradition where the praja are children of the king or the queen. In her Excellency’s voice of concern I could hear the agony of a mother about her suffering children.
Her Excellency mentioned how at one time 5000 cases were disposed in one day. The implication was clear: if it could be done once, why can’t such disposal be the norm?
We have a President who is the true symbol of India’s democracy. She is sitting at the top post and yet connected to the very bottom. Those Westerners — and their Indian cronies — who allege that democracy is under threat in Modi’s regime perhaps forget that it is BJP that made Shri APJ Abdul Kalam, one of the most distinguished geniuses of India, the President and have now brought an extra-ordinary lady of ordinary origins to adorn the same position. In our country, democracy is practised, not theorized about.
Mr. Satish Kumar Dogra is a retired IPS officer. He is a polyglot who knows a number of languages. He has multiple talents. He is a trainer, meditation expert and author. He is a staunch nationalist, and is closely associated with all activities of The Nationalist Post.