Justice & Homeland

I just started reading the book called Hyderabad – A Biography by Narendra Luther and I must say that so far it is a very well told story about the origin of this city. From the time I have known Hyderabad, I have never really found a reason to love it, but it was a place that was infinitely better than many other places and suited a number of my needs. Over the years, I have made this city my home.

What does one associate with the place that they term as a home? For one, there should be a sense of belongingness and most importantly a higher sense of ownership and responsibility to the place; irrespective of the fact that you are in a position of power or an ordinary denizen. Mohammad Quli, the founder of Bhagnagar or Hyderabad was a man who loved his home. The need to construct a city came from the congestion caused within the ramparts of Golconda or Gollakonda. He commissioned the best of architects and wanted heaven to be reconstructed here on Earth, or more precisely on his land. One of the primary wishes of the Sultan was to have greenery wherever he saw. No wonder then that the best minds were put to efficient use and the best planned city of India was constructed at a remarkable pace. The chief person in command had ensured saplings to be planted even before the construction had begun. The sultan who was a poet and a man of extreme taste was a perpetual romantic at heart. He named the city Bhagnagar after his most favoured queen – Bhagmati. (I wonder now what happened to all that and in its place is an old city which is highly congested, dirty, treeless and forgotten in many ways.)

The Palace of Justice was also commissioned as a part of this project and after  its completion, the sultan used it to dispense justice to its citizens – most results were almost immediate. The builders of that era must have been great visionaries, for we still use the same building as our Andhra Pradesh High Court. The recent episode of the AP High Court catching fire was not something particularly out of the blue. If we, the current users of that lovely building, do not bother to upgrade and take care of the ancient premises and use it for our own selfish purpose, then a short circuit and incidents like fire are but natural. What I hear from sources who work at the high court is that the judges are too busy in trying to compete with themselves and ensure that their respective chambers look better than the rest. Whether such a selfish act damages the ancient building is obviously none of their concern. Moreover, the various associations that are formed in the court, all of them have their own agenda and none seem to be remotely concerned about the state of the premises and any safety norms. It is the typical “chalta hai” attitude about everything around us, except ourselves that so irks me.

If one asks about what can be done for the upkeep of the ancient high court premises, then the responsibility is comfortably thrown on the Government. Why do we fail to follow that Government in this democratic nation is nothing but the people ourselves? Moreover this statement being made by the institution that was created to ensure that the Government performs its duties correctly – the Judiciary, is nothing but a matter of great shame. The constant dilapidation of the high court building and the famous delays made by our lazy Judges or rather the snail’s pace with which the Judiciary system in India works is a clear testament to the utter selfishness, sloth and corruption that has sadly been entrenched in the system. I really find it appalling that a case should take 20 odd years to reach a verdict. Justice delayed is Justice denied and I am not sure if ever our Indian Judiciary will come out of this vicious circle. Fortunately, the financial crisis of the 90s forced India into liberalization, but what can possible force the Judiciary into such liberalization is a million dollar question that I would like someone to answer.

But, in the hope that there are many people like me, who love their homeland and would want to see a change in the future, I hope and would fervently want to believe that some drastic steps are taken to ensure that the justice system in India is much more efficient and get back the guts to decide and give out a verdict, immediately. Otherwise we will still be facing many other Shopian cases.