Alice in Daakustan

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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Alice in Daakustan

By Justice Markandey Katju

One summer evening a little girl called Alice was dozing on a green meadow when she saw a white rabbit wearing a blue coat running on two legs, and seeing a watch said, ''My God, I am late''. Saying this it jumped into a hole on the ground.

Alice got up, and following him jumped into the same hole. She fell and fell, and finally landed with a big thud on a heap of garbage.

She looked around, and saw on a wall a big signboard on which it was written, ''Welcome to Daakustan''.

She wondered what that meant, and getting up enquired from a man walking nearby what the signboard meant.

He whispered into her ears '' Can't you understand ? In this country most prominent persons are daakus ( dacoits )''.

Alice asked how was that ?

He replied '' It is very simple to understand. Our political leaders are mostly daakus because they have looted the country, and taken its wealth abroad, where they have bought huge assets like mansions and luxurious flats, as the Panama Papers revealed.

Our army generals, whose job is to defend the country, instead of doing that have amassed huge wealth during their tenure, and ended up as billionaires, like Gen Bajwa, and they have also imposed a reign of terror on our country, imprisoning thousands of our people, and violated all human rights ''.

Alice asked '' But don't you have a judiciary to protect the people's rights under your Constitution ? '''.

He replied '' Our judges are only concerned about their salaries, perks and pensions. They too are daakus because instead of protecting the people's rights they help the above two kinds of daakus by giving dishonest verdicts, like Justice Munir who invented the 'doctrine of necessity' justifying army coups, like Chief Justice Maulvi Mushtaq Husain who sentenced former Prime Minister Bhutto to death, or like Chief Justice of Islamabad High Court Aamer Farooq who coerced Additional Sessions Judge Humayun Dilawar into giving a dishonest judgment against former Prime Minister imran Khan and sending him to jail for 3 years, to deprive him of the right to contest elections, and promptly rewarded him by sending him and his family to London ''.

Alice was shocked to hear all this.

She walked ahead and saw thousands of people with their lips sealed and eyes closed, with their hands on their ears, carrying placards which read '' Speak nothing, see nothing, hear nothing ''.

She asked some people there what this meant, but none was willing to answer. Ultimately one man gathered courage, and whispered into her ears '' Keep quiet, or else you too will be carted off to a dungeon, like those who protested ''

She walked further ahead, and saw a huge crowd of people who were evidently hungry and looking like beggars. She asked one of them the cause of their plight, and he replied in a whisper '' All our wealth has been taken away by our daakus, and we are left with nothing. Our leaders are now going around to the IMF, Saudi Arabia, etc begging for money ''.

Alice saw an army officer, and asked him why they were behaving like tyrants ?

He was surprised how anyone could ask such an impertinent question, and then replied '' The people are like dumb driven sheep and cattle, and the only way to control them is by using a whip and a danda. Power grows out of the barrel of a gun, and we will use the gun we have against this riffraff, rabble, scum, hoi polloi and ragtag and bobtail ''.

Alice shouted ''You are nothing but a bunch of daakus'', at which he pointed his gun at her, and was about to shoot, when Alice woke up, and realised she had been dreaming.

(Markandey Katju is an Indian jurist and former Supreme Court judge of India who served as chairman of the Press Council of India. He is the founder and patron of the Indian Reunification Association (IRA), an organisation that advocates for the peaceful reunification of what is now Pakistan and Bangladesh with India under a secular government.)

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