A large crowd of people claiming to be farmers, intermingled with politically motivated people are threatening to block the entire City of New Delhi. They have picketed already on a few roads blocking the traffic. They have refused to move to a designated place to hold protest. The situation reminds me of a class in Law College.
My First lesson at law college:
First day at our Law College we were chatting when Professor Sharma entered the classroom. All went quite. He was holding a few books in his arms. After placing the books on his table, the first thing he did was to ask the name of a student who was seated on the first bench: “What is your name?”
“My name is Ravi, Sir.”
“Leave the classroom and I don’t want to ever see you in my class ever! Get out. Now!!!”
Professor was almost screaming. It was a new experience. We never thought College would be worse than primary school, which we had left long ago.
Ravi was bewildered and looking left and right to understand what happened. After hearing ‘Get out’ he knew that it was serious command. So he got up quickly, collected his belongings and left the classroom.
All were scared and angry; however nobody spoke anything not that they could.
“Well, let’s start the class,” said the Professor “What is the purpose of law?”
All students were afraid, but slowly gained confidence and began to answer his questions.
“So that there is order in our society.”
“No!” the Professor swung his head to emphasis.
“So that people face consequences for their wrong actions?” (Karma inspired??)
“No! That may happen but that is not the object. Doesn’t anybody here have enough brains to know the answer to this question?!” asked the Professor, sarcastically.
“So that there is justice,” said a girl timidly.
“At last! One person who is not a complete moron! That’s correct…. so that there is justice. And now, what is the use of justice?”
All of us were extremely uneasy with his rude attitude. However, we continued trying to answer….
“To protect rights of people.”
“Well, what more?” asked the Professor.
“To differentiate right from wrong and to reward the good.”
“Ok, that’s not bad. Now, answer this question: Did I act correctly when expelling Ravi from the classroom?”
All were quiet, nobody answered.
“I want a decisive and unanimous answer!” he shouted.
“No!” we all replied in unison.
“Then could you say I committed an injustice?”
Then his voice softened and he asked, “And why did nobody do anything in that respect? So why do we need rules and laws if we don’t have the necessary will to practice them? Each one of you has an obligation to do something when you witness an injustice. ALL of you! As a lawyer, this obligation is even greater. Do not stay quiet, never again! Go and call Ravi,” Professor almost commanded me.
On that day, WE received the most practical lesson about practice of Law. Injustice is not absence of rule of law, it is tyranny. When we don’t defend our rights, we lose our dignity, and dignity is not negotiable.
The question is that tyranny of one man is obvious to all. What do we do when a crowd become tyrannical? When a group of people decide to blockade an entire city because something is not of their liking? For example, Can I protest if Government decides to build one more airport at other end of town?
This question has everything to do with these protests which take place by blocking the roads. It happened last year and it is happening again. It is a new form of tyranny. We are as helpless as we were in that class room, decades ago.
But today I am raising my voice by writing about it. You please do the same.
There are some demands which may be termed as reasonable but the demand to withdraw the legislation passed for entire India, merely because some people from a certain province.