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This would perhaps be the one and only book relating to law that I would read from cover-to-cover. I picked it up as additional reading for my Human Rights project last semester and it was pretty much all I read during the one week I spent at home! Written by Dr. Krishna Iyer (I know he has a PhD, because I was there when Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam bestowed it upon him!), it talks about the various instances when the judiciary has failed in its idea of guaranteeing the rights of all the citizens in the country.

It takes time before you attune yourself to the author’s diction, and the only reason you make an attempt is because you realise that he probably picked up the language in the early days of the 20th century (And also, some part of you is rather fond of the 1920s with its jazz age and the amazing collection of literature it spawned!). However, it occurs to you on more than one occasion that perhaps this book ought to be read out as a royal proclamation would be; with great pomp and show!

Nonetheless, Krishna Iyer manages to endear himself to you with his constant reference to various timeless pieces of literature. He would be quoting Niemoller one moment, next he would be referring to a text by Shakespeare. He shifts quite seamlessly from talking about an Article in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to phrases from literature; he marries these two seemingly unrelated topics along with the facts that he puts forth to argue about the human rights of dalits, scheduled tribes or even women that, you as a reader would feel obligated to feel wronged by the neglect of the Human Rights of these groups.

But what really struck me was the fact that even as a member of the judiciary, he does not shy away from criticising the judiciary. He points out that, although the Constitution provides for an independent and impartial judiciary, the judiciary the world over is often deterred ‘by political pleasure or pressure, Executive bonus, blackmails and other forms of reprisal or reward.’ It definitely takes a great soul to look within oneself and see the inequities that one houses within oneself and find the courage to display it for the rest of the world to see!

Image Courtesy - www.bagchee.com

Image Courtesy – http://www.bagchee.com

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