FRESH NURSERY RHYMES PLEASE !

“Jack and Jill

went up the hill

to fetch a pail of water,

Jack fell down

and broke his crown

and Jill came tumbling after”

Now this is one of the most popular nursery rhymes. We learnt it, recited and sang it times innumerable when we were children. Distasteful happenings comprise this rhyme!

Recently when playing with my baby daughter and watching or listening to the popular nursery rhymes along with; I started finding quite a few of the popular nursery rhymes rather objectionable.

It struck me that most of the popular English nursery rhymes have noticeable elements of  physical hurt or violence comprised in them.

Take this Jack and Jill rhyme. This falling down, breaking his crown and the tumbling down the hill is what this nursery rhyme is mainly about. All about physical hurt!

 

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Then this Humpty Dumpty one. Another very popular nursery rhyme.

“Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall

All the king’s horses

And all the king’s men

Couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty together again”

And the visuals now that invariably go along with this rhyme exacerbate things further.  Humpty Dumpty – egg in human clothes – is shown badly broken with the further miserable sight of being unable to be put together despite best efforts.

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The Goose rhyme takes the cake but in malice & violence.

“GOOSEY, goosey, gander,

Where do you wander?

Upstairs and downstairs,

And in my lady’s chamber;

There I met an old man

That would not say his prayers;

I took him by the left leg,

And threw him downstairs”

What a vindictive & violent goose ! What must the child be learning from all this !

No sorry ! It’s the three blind mice which takes the cake.

“Three blind mice, three blind mice,

They all ran after the farmer’s wife,

She cut off their tails with a carving knife;

Did you ever see such a thing in your life

As three blind mice?”

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Then that pussy cat rhyme that talks about the pussycat going to London and FRIGHTENING a little mouse under the chair. And Little Tommy Thin, who in the well, threw the cat IN !

These are just examples.

When you hear nursery rhymes next; notice the elements of physical hurt, violence or even malice or callousness comprised or reflected by quite a few of them.

The earliest education plays a critical role in laying the foundation for the child’s mind and character. The popular nursery rhymes don’t seem to appreciate this. Often reflecting or comprising negative elements or influences of physical hurt, violence or even malice or callousness; they tend to influence behaviour of the baby-fresh minds on negative lines.

Whereas influences on such incipient minds should be all healthy and positive; – where the earliest education through nursery rhymes is concerned. The earliest education should impress upon the better things in life, such as matters of beauty, goodness etc. An instance of such nursery rhyme – while maintaining simplicity as required for young children – can be as follows.

“Bird on the tree,

You look so free !

And fly so high,

To clouds in the sky!

Bird on the tree,

Looking at me !

What songs it sings!

As it flies on its wings !”

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Fresh nursery rhymes are required ! Rhymes which influence with better things in life, rather than otherwise as is the case with quite a few of the ongoing popular nursery rhymes !

“SECULARISM” AS A MATTER OF CONSTITUTIONAL LAW & UNIFORM CIVIL CODE

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The word “secularism” is nearly always in vogue in our country. It has become particularly so in recent times.

In a bid to see the meaning or meanings that may have been ascribed to “secularism” in law; judgements of the US Supreme Court regarding the same need to be seen given their thought provoking quality; and given further that the Indian Supreme Court – having regard to good number of common constitutional causes and the common role of both the Supreme Courts as custodian of their respective constitutions; in the backdrop of the much greater experience and history of the US Supreme Court in respect therewith – relies heavily on thought process of US Supreme Court as regards interpretation and enunciation of Indian constitutional  law.

[An illustrative judgement of the US Supreme Court, citing a number of other decisions of the same Court, is SCHOOL MANAGEMENT OF ABINGTON TOWNSHIP, PENNSYLVANIA  VS. EDWARD LEWIS SCHEMPP  374 U.S. 203 (1963 )]

What would secularism mean as a matter of working of law?

The first and simple view, so far as such meaning is concerned, is that secularism as a matter of working of constitutional law would mean that the State in all its activities shall be free from being subject to principles & practices of any religion and shall not discriminate in favor of any particular religion.

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The United States Supreme Court, probing the history of thought behind the idea of secularism and in working out the legal implications of the same, has laid down in a number of its decisions that the root idea behind secularism as a matter of State practice is that there needs to be a separation between the organ of the State and the organs attempting to base themselves on religion and the said separation is required on account of the bloodshed, killings, massacres and wars that have been witnessed in human history when governing powers and purported religious authorities and affairs have either merged or joined with each other.

The US Supreme Court would insist that the working of secularism as a matter of constitutional law would not only require a separation between the organ of the State and the organs/entities attempting to base themselves on religion; but that such separation has to be clear and strict.

Based on the mandate of such clear and the strict separation between the State and the organs/entities attempting to base themselves on religion; the US Supreme Court proposes, as may be seen in a number of its decisions interpreting the First Amendment together with the Fourteenth Amendment of US Federal Constitution, that the idea of secularism would accordingly then imply that the State shall not aid or assist any religion. In keeping with the same – that the separation between the State and the organs/entities attempting to base themselves on religion shall be on clear and strict terms; – the State shall not interfere with the practice of any religion or the holding of any thought, belief as a matter of conscience or religious practice unless and until the same is compelled on grounds of justice or propriety as in a secular sense defined or held.

As a fallout of the above enunciation; the State is enjoined from giving any manner of aid or assistance to any institution, organisation or like which carries out any act, program or curriculum that can be said to be associated with the propagation or promotion of any particular religion. Public schools, accordingly, are to be restricted from carrying out religiously devoted prayer sessions and no state aid is available to any private school, college or institution which includes even prayer sessions devoted to any particular religion.

“Secularism”, ipso facto, is not to become “Corrosive Secularism”; that is, the practice of “secularism” itself is not to become the “religion of secularism”; in the sense that – in the name of secularism – it unnecessarily erodes into matters of religious affairs and practices.

Behind such warning against corrosive secularism lie basic mandates of justice; – that is the degree of neutrality towards matters of religious practice and affairs has to be couched and shaped – where interference is called forth by the State in matters of religious affairs and practices as a matter of constitutional implication of secularism – by the degree of objection that a particular religious practice or affair invites having regard to the concepts of justice or propriety as in a secular sense defined or held. If this is so with weight and justification; it may be seen that the idea of a uniform civil code for all would be counter to the very idea of secularism; given that secularism itself mandates, as noted, an aloofness from matters of religion; which aloofness, amongst others, translates into non-interference with matters of religious practices unless and until interference is called forth on clear grounds of justice or propriety as defined or held in a secular sense.

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Or in other words, interference with matters of religious practice forming arguably the subject matter of a civil code by the State has to be SELECTIVE AND NOT UNIFORM; to be couched and shaped by the degree of objection that any such particular religious practice may invite having regard to secular concepts of justice or propriety.

If this is so and if “secularism” has been held to be a basic feature of the Constitution of India by the Supreme Court of India; it would appear that the idea of uniform civil code stated in article 44 of the Constitution of India cannot be literally interpreted and would translate into state interference, through statutory law, in matters of religious affairs that potentially can be said to be subject matter of a civil code;

(A).    on the basis of degree of objection that any such particular religious practice may invite having regard to the secular grounds of justice and propriety, and

(B).      by identification, on the basis of degree of need & necessity, of SELECTIVE components of the entire area theoretically capable of a civil code; where statutory law grounded in justice and propriety – as in secular sense defined or held – may be imposed on all across the board.

In cases both of (A) & (B) above; it shall be seen that the idea of a comprehensive civil code universally & uniformly applicable to all – as stated under article 44 of the Constitution of India – is refuted and negated by dominant arguments against such idea based on secularism as interpreted in the framework of constitutional law and held to be a basic feature of the Constitution of India.

To reiterate and submit therefore; – the idea of uniform civil code, in reference to article 44 of the Constitution of India, cannot be literally interpreted and – in application – shall have to be necessarily pruned and modified on the touchstone of constitutional implications of secularism that is held as a basic feature of the Constitution of India.

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Body on the pavement

Indian Parliament

(The spirit of the Indian Parliament has long been killed by the goons occupying it. A few good men & women but sit sentinels; to whom the majority of masses still listen.)

 

“On the pavement, the body lay;

Quiet and unmoving;

As people passed on their way;

 

They avoided its open eyes,

But the ants didn’t mind;

They took it as another enterprise;

 

Strangely, the dogs kept away;

Or was it because;

Stones sat sentinels where the body lay”

THE WHITE FALCON

[A young boy brings down a White Falcon with his air-rifle; but the Falcon wouldn’t die even when shot again & again…….

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“The spread wings with head high

Eclipsed even the endless sky;

Eyes in scorching majesty burnt,

Lit like thousand brilliant Lights;

 

Numbed was the young human mind,

At such splendor of so wounded a life,

That held death captive in its bind,

As if another prey in its glorious flight”

SHAKTIMAN MOVES A NATION’S CONSCIENCE

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 As expected, the BJP supporters have come out with crudely disguised statements and write-ups on the horribly shocking brutalisation of a horse recently by a BJP MLA. This devil in human shape – who otherwise stood to be an elected representative of the people – demonstrated what the increasing current trend of violence is.

In full public view, in the presence of policemen; this devil in human form attacked a hapless, innocent, defenceless animal with thick, heavy club and went on savagely hitting it till its leg was hopelessly, horribly and so agonisingly broken and bleeding. By doing so; the elected representative demonstrated yet once again what the elected representatives care for basic principles of humanism, law & order and public opinion.

Hard-core members and supporters of BJP today are hell-bent on showing that if criminalisation, inhumanity and violence could reach abject levels under the Congress during Emergency and during the anti-Sikh riots; then the hard-core BJP supporter is capable of matching and outdoing that as is proved by the Dadri lynching, the UP riots and the statements and other acts blatantly against the Constitution. Thank God, the massive protests against such criminal activities, including Dadri lynching, by large sections of the Indian population including the artists, writers and scientists who returned their awards had checked the onslaught of violence in the name of religion that hard-core BJP supporters seek to unleash.

This BJP MLA who so savagely brutalised the police horse “Shaktiman”, requiring part of its leg to be amputated, symbolises the utter viciousness and horror that such political supporters carry and are capable of unleashing. The look on that horse’s face, while being savaged and thereafter, is one of the saddest sights that one is likely to come across.

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As stated; there would be write-ups and statements which would crudely attempt to minimise the shocking impact generated by this horrible act by this BJP MLA. Such write-ups and statements would try to say that such instance is not the only one; and would say that there are other instances too which may not come to public light. And they would try to somehow drag in the secularists and the political rivals in the entire scenario.

Laughable; if such attempts would not have been horribly tragic otherwise.

If a murder or a rape is committed; is it justified or lessened in any way by instances of other murders or rapes? No, none at all.

No other instance of animal cruelty diminishes the horror of this brutalisation in full open public view in the presence of policemen of this magnificent horse by this savage in human form who stands to be an elected representative. Let there be no minimisation or lessening of this horror; if there is any shade of humanity present.

In fact, what makes this brutalisation of this police horse so revolting is that in doing so; this BJP MLA had no regard whatsoever for the policemen present, for the fact that this act may be captured and be put in the public domain; being perpetrated as it was in full open public view in the presence of considerable public; and this reflects the mindset of a number of supporters of the current central regime who think that by having their party in power at the Centre; the entire machinery and apparatus of law and order is captured and in their hands.

There is a war against cruelty to animals being fought by some; quite a few of whom are secularists. The Indian Army had a long drawn out practice of putting their service dogs, horses and mules to death if they could not provide active service for a duration of one month. This writer moved a writ petition in the Delhi High Court in the course of which it has transpired that this practice would be stopped and the army would arrange suitable facilities for retirement and rehabilitation of all its service animals. But the present writer is also a secularist. Why drag in secularists, and other political rivals in this horrible shocking act of brutalisation of this police horse by this creep in human form who otherwise stands to be an elected representative of the people.

In fact the present writer is against the slaughter of any animal for food. But then things are not easy to change overnight. A number of animals have been part of human diet for centuries unknown. The present writer would love to see the cow not being slaughtered for food. But the present writer would also love to see the goat not being slaughtered for food; the chicken not being slaughtered for food; the pig also not being slaughtered for food.

Why pick on the cow alone; why not try to defend the goat also? Just because the goat is the provider and “mother” to the poor and the poorest; whereas the cow generally tends to be owned by the not so poor and the rich.

As long as the slaughter of some animals is within the ambits of law; it cannot really be stopped as long as the law does not change in such regard. But this instance of the most revolting brutalisation of an innocent, hapless and defenceless animal by an elected representative of people in full public view in the presence of policemen in such shocking and savage manner is absolutely without any defence, mitigation or lessening and has to be treated so in damning and condemning it to the utmost extent possible.