- When light loses its lustre and the mood gets gloomier
“Grant me thy peace.
I am tired with my own life and the lives of those after me,
I am dying in my own death and the deaths of those after me.
Let thy servant depart,
Having seen thy salvation.”
– T S Eliot: “A Song of Simeon”
There comes a time in life when death may become a preferred option, either as a culmination of having lived it all, or as a consequence of irremediable disappointments welling beyond the manageable. Such is also the case with states and nations.
Looking at it from a different perspective, there are things that spur life and there are things that sap it. There are developments that may bring a sparkle to the eyes or smother even a burgeoning hope. In the intermingling of myriad possibilities lives the undying zest for life, the unquenchable thirst for living.
Yet, certain needs are integral to living with any sustainable interest and a quotient of hope. A society that is rendered bereft of these constituents is reduced to an amalgam of people where they, consciously or unconsciously, not only become a victim of a deep sense of loss and despondency, but even contribute to spreading it.
That appears to be the dominant factor driving Pakistan today where a disparate hoard of people are guilty of displaying heartless insensitivity to the conditions around and how much they have contributed to piling up the enormous mess. As a matter of fact, when confronted with the compulsion of having to answer, their fingers are always pointed in the direction of others– be it the people, the institutions, the leaders, or such other elements that are accused of having created the conditions for the moral mess that the country is swamped in.
As it chugs along without either a prescription or a cure, each day paves the way for catapulting to further depths of depravity and degeneration. But, as we sink, we try to hold on to fleeting fragments we imagine can save us. In this desperate bid, all we manage to do is pull the last remnants of hope down to leave nothing behind. It’s a void, an impenetrable void!
Of all the drivers that can propel the society in the right direction, provision of justice is the most critical. If this is found missing or misused in favour of certain privileged classes, the society is bound to regress. While there are those languishing for years in the hope of justice coming their way, there are others for whom it literally travels to their doorsteps to offer them what they may seek. And the commodity which is most in demand in the existing environment is the provision of multiple forms of bail to criminals and potential convicts to escape arrest, even flee the country under one pretext or the other.
We may not be in a position to block the execution of the court judgements, as we should not, but justice, it appears, has been reduced to a purchasable commodity for those who are loaded with illicit bounties which they are willing to throw around
While those deserving of justice continue waiting, it acts at the command of those guilty of committing heinous crimes to offer them the means to indulge their penchant to escape the clutches of law. The more grievous the crime one has committed, the more lucrative the bail-out service offered. Whether they would like to roam around free within the country or travel abroad to enjoy life as celebrated fugitives and absconders, varied brands of the bail package are available for the asking.
Those who have been awarded sentences by the courts of the country for serious crimes committed can make use of these services to complete their terms in the luxury of their palatial homes. Be they guilty of having stolen billions of the state exchequer, committing fraud or forgery, lying blatantly to hide crimes, selling drugs to the impressionable, or such other reprehensible crimes– the services of these dispensing outfits remain available, the only proviso being that the convicts and the criminals should be loaded with ill-gotten billions and a willingness to share the goodies.
The moment a sentence is pronounced, out come the papers to be moved for bail at a court of their liking. And the outcome is assured: more often than not, they are granted the liberty to walk away as free people. It is like one set of courts is working to undo the pronouncements of another set of courts, or one section of the judiciary is pitted against the other. In the process, it is justice that is being made mincemeat of.
Aren’t the honourable judges who adorn the benches of the apex court, and the legislators who sit in the air conditioned premises of the Parliament that this country can ill afford, aware of what is happening and why it is happening? Is it a matter pertaining only to the conduct of a few judges, or is the malaise wide and deep needing a surgical procedure?
Whatever it is that is required to be done to remedy the aberrations, why is it that they are quiet? Why aren’t they initiating the task of removing the lacunae from the system so that the courts can actually begin dispensing unqualified justice to those who require it the most, but don’t have the resources to buy it for a price? Are they helpless under the command of the unknown, even illusionary forces, or are they complicit in making the system dysfunctional for their crass act to continue? This and so much else fills the mind in an endless struggle to cope with the reality of our justice system, and the inability or unwillingness of those who are vested with the power of changing it all, but do nothing by way of fulfilling their responsibilities.
Then there is this abhorrent effort to politicise crime and hide behind the protestations of victimisation. There is no authority, individual or institution ready to apprehend these criminals and consign them to the place where they deservedly belong– within the four walls of a prison house serving their terms for crimes they have committed. Instead, they live in the untold luxury of their homes, or roam the streets of London basking in the ignominy of their crimes, selling them to the world as injustice perpetrated by political opponents. In the process, they have shamed that beautiful city by reducing it to become the favourite haunt of absconders and fugitives from Pakistan.
We may not be in a position to block the execution of the court judgements, as we should not, but justice, it appears, has been reduced to a purchasable commodity for those who are loaded with illicit bounties which they are willing to throw around, or reap the dividends of having dispensed unjustified favours to some people in the past, predominantly in defiance of rules and regulations.
The judiciary shall take to the rails to extend bails of potential convicts, but would remain frozen in responding to the poor supplicants who keep knocking at their doors through generations. It is as if the lesser mortals are doomed to remaining incarcerated even for crimes they may not have committed while the diehard offenders enjoy the luxury of bails to perpetuity.
Such are the times when light loses its lustre and the mood gets gloomier.