Some leading members of India’s fascist forces publically admire Adolf Hitler. Martin Niemöller was a German national conservative and also, initially, an admirer of Hitler. But unlike Indian fascists, Martin became one of the founders of the Confessional Church, which opposed the nazification of German Protestant churches.
For his opposition to the Nazis’ state control of the churches, Martin was imprisoned from 1937 to 1945. He narrowly escaped execution and survived imprisonment. After imprisonment, Martin expressed deep regret for not having done enough to help the victims of the Nazi atrocities. He turned away from his earlier nationalistic beliefs and in a kind of repentance wrote this famous, hearttouching poem:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
Every profession is identified by a certain dress code. The dress then becomes a symbol of what that profession is meant to deliver. For instance, doctors wear white coats and they work to save lives. So folks in white coats are considered life savers. Similarly lawyers wear black coats – which symbolizes justice and fairness. Lawyers’ primary job is to first investigate and determine (not fabricate) the truth and only then seek to deliver justice through an established legal process! Lawyers take oath on their respective Holy books to follow this process. A society’s life depends on justice and justice alone (social justice, political justice, economic justice, criminal justice…). For this reason, in my humble view, lawyers’ add more relative value to our society as a whole than doctors – though both are extremely important for our wellbeing. Any society with a weak judicial system is not a society, but a jungle.
The stronger the judicial system, the more peaceful and prosperous are the societies. There is a plenty of evidence for this within the globalized village that we all are now a part of. In this context we need to carefully look at an extremely alarming trend recently emerging in India. A number of fabricated terrorism charges have been slapped on innocent youths which were later found as completely bogus and were thrown out by various competent Courts across the country. My earlier article “Judiciary: India’s only hope” has more details on how many innocent lives have been ruined by such atrocities. Rather than looking at such objectively delivered Court verdicts as a strength of our judicial system (and therefore our nation), some antinational organizations and their backers adopted a weird approach to establish their own justice (or injustice) system in a country that takes pride in being the world’s largest democracy.
One of the defining features of true democracies is their trust in the rule of law. But in their unconstitutional and illegal approach, these lawyers first started intimidating their professional colleagues who (i) were prepared to honor the oaths they took when they first dawned black coats and (ii) vouched to defend any client who approached them and (iii) consider him/her innocent until proven guilty in a Court of law (not TV screens)! A large number of ethically upright lawyers did not shy away from offering legal assistance to those who approached them seeking justice. When the personal intimidations failed (because India is not a country of cowards), then a number of Bar Councils associated with fascist organizations instructed their members not to defend certain types of clients and cases – another unconstitutional and illegal action. Even this did not stop courageous Indian lawyers from taking up the cases of underdogs.
Ideally, honorable High Courts (or even Supreme Court of India) should have taken a suo moto action against what some people consider as “black coat terrorism”. But they did not. This may have encouraged some antinational lawyers to push the envelope further; and now resort to physically attack their political and ideological opponents within the Court premises. And they have been so emboldened that they did not resort to this terrorism in some remote corner of a vast country like India. Instead, they did this on-camera, in the national capital New Delhi, right under the nose of the honorable Supreme Court of India! Within minutes, pictures of this crime were splashed all over the world. I happened to be in the US that shameful day. Some American friends asked me how is it possible for defendants to get terrorized by lawyers; and that too inside the court premises? I was speechless. And ashamed. If this was a scene from the so called failed states, then no one would question. But this was coming from one of the emerging super powers of 21st century which also happens to be a thriving democracy! And this small bunch of thugs insulted one of the most dignified and respectable professions in the world.
In reality, such physical attacks are not meant for the targeted individuals. These attacks are, essentially, on the power and sanctity of our honorable Courts themselves. Because the real message of such brazen attacks is this: (a) we, the black coat terrorists, do not believe that the Courts are capable of delivering justice (the kind of justice we desire) to our political and ideological adversaries (b) so we have already judged them as criminals, even before the Court proceedings start (c) we are more competent than Indian Courts to deliver verdicts against these accused (d) and not just delivering verdict BUT we are also capable of instantly executing our own verdicts – in the presence of police force! And (E) Courts or police cannot even touch us – no question of throwing us into the prison for our extra-judicial actions!!
In the late 1930s and early 1940s, Nazis were at the peak of their power – and therefore arrogance. Within a decade, they were completely wiped out from the face of this planet due to their manufactured lies and fascist propaganda. In the eventual humiliation of Nazis lies a great lesson for all admirers of Hitler! Our political or religious ideologies aside, these are extremely dangerous precedents. And they have the potential to unleash completely uncontrollable chain of events, if not checked immediately. This is why, I want to speak out before they come for me! What about you?
By Mansoor Durrani