THE LAST PILLAR OF JUSTICE WILL NEVER CRUMBLE








The judges, who dispense justice to us, are humans just like us. They think, feel and act just like us. They may be the judges of the Supreme Court of India… But, they rise and fall just as we do. They have families – parents, siblings, wives, children, grandchildren, in-laws and other relations… They attend social functions, worship in temples, mosques and churches just as we do… They watch movies and matches, listen to songs and read books just as we all do… Above all, they argue and fight in private and seek justice and forgiveness just as we all do…

So, the other day, when four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court revolted in public against the Chief Justice of India, we all were shocked and called it ‘unprecedented’.

It was…

But, to me, a justice dispensed by a human being – whether he is local sarpanch or the CJI - yes, to me, it is a justice dispensed by a fallible, vulnerable mortal just like any of us.

Thus, when I hear some saying, “The Supreme Court is the last available place for all of us to seek justice in our country… ‘the last pillar’ of democracy… and, if this pillar crumbles, where else can we go?”, I do not lose hope. I see it philosophically, rather spiritually. In this harsh world of reality, we do think, that if we don’t get justice in the Supreme Court, we can never get it anywhere else in this land. But, when I see it from the prism of spirituality, there is a Judge above all the mighty judges of our land… and, He does dispense justice… the divine justice… even though He makes us wait for it…

When I was in my junior college, I had Leo Tolstoy’s famous play for our English subject: ‘GOD SEES THE TRUTH, BUT WAITS’. I also watched the stage-play in our church grounds, one evening, when I was a young boy. The images are still fresh, even after more than four decades…

Every time, I tend to become a bit pessimistic about the justice of this land, I find myself taking shelter in the sublime promise concealed in this great story by Tolstoy. So, as I hear a lot of heated arguments over this supposed crumbling of ‘the last pillar’ of our democracy, I go back to the timeless Russian fable, which sagely Tolstoy had published more than 150 years ago. Let me share with you the synopsis of this fable as presented by Wikipedia…


GOD SEES THE TRUTH, BUT WAITS

Ivan Dmitrich Aksionov is a merchant living in  Vladimir town in Russia. Although Aksionov is prone to drinking he is not violent, and he is responsible and well liked by people that know him. One day he decides to go to a fair as a business venture, but his wife pleads for him not to go because of a nightmare she had the previous night. Aksionov disregards his wife's dream and leaves for the fair.

Aksionov meets another merchant on his way, and the two decide to travel together. They check into an inn and have a good time drinking. Then they retire separately. Aksionov wakes early in the next morning to get to the fair and leaves without the other merchant. Not far down the road, Aksionov is stopped by policemen. They explain a merchant was just murdered and robbed, and then they search Aksionov's bag. They find a bloody knife, and despite Aksionov's claims that he is not the murderer, he is sentenced and sent to Siberia. After his trial flogging, his wife can finally visit him, and she sees that Aksionov's hair has begun to go gray from the stress.

Aksionov spends 26 years in Siberia. Resigned to his plight, he dedicates his life to God. He becomes a mediator of sorts in the prison, and he is well respected by the other prisoners as well as the guards. One day, some new prisoners, one of them being Makar Semyonich, are transferred to the prison. After overhearing several conversations, Aksionov is convinced that Makar Semyonich is the man who committed the murder for which he was blamed.

One day, the guards notice that someone had been strewing dirt around the grounds, and they search the prison and find a tunnel. Aksionov had found out earlier that it was Makar Semyonich that was digging the hole, but after being questioned by the police, Aksionov declares that it is not his place to speak about the matter. Makar Semyonich approaches Aksionov later that day in a terrible state, and he eventually admits to Aksionov that it was he who killed the merchant. Aksionov forgives Semyonich, and he feels as if a terrible weight had been lifted. Makar Semyonich confesses to the authorities, and the process for Aksionov to be cleared is begun. Unfortunately, Aksionov dies before he can reach home, but he dies in peace.

All that matters, yes, in the end, is peace when we go from here… to our ‘home’… where the ‘Master of the Roster’ presides!


GERALD D’CUNHA

Pic.: Kamal Kishore Rikhari

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