As I sit in the comfort of my bedroom with the AC on, I realise how extremely privileged I am, not just because of what I have, but because I know and understand what Justice is. I know it exists; I know what it constitutes; and I know we are all entitled to a life without any injustice. But, while I am aware that Justice is essential and inherent to every human created on the face of the Earth, the statistics and personal accounts of many of the victims of Injustice, tell me that there is a dire and emergent need to help and reach out to these people. In a society where majority of the population has their ears shut about this (either consciously, or because of lack of awareness), the silence is deafening and these acts meting out injustice ought to be spoken about.
The present government of our country is boasting about a high GDP, but the real conditions in the country show a whole different picture. The ‘Chowkidaar’ campaign, and fugitives of the likes of Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallya put it across loud and clear, that the present government, through its policies and schemes, is a government to/of/for the rich. I mean, lest we forget that only a rich person can afford a ‘Chowkidaar’!
In the light of what’s happening in our country, the recent OXFAM report about inequality in India provides us with these alarming statistics: The top 10% of India possesses 77.4% of the total national wealth, while the top 1% holds 51.53% of the wealth. That’s not even all; is it too hard to gauge the increasing inequality curve when the bottom 60% possesses only 4.8% of the national wealth? To put it in another way, in a population of 1.37 billion, just 9 people have enough wealth that it supersedes the bottom 50% of the population! These are definitely alarming statistics and it calls for immediate concern and action.
While this poses and brings to light innumerable questions, the right one to ask is- who needs Justice? Is it the top 10% or the remaining 90%. Well, the top 10% have ways and means to buy their Justice, but the remaining, are in dire need of help. The justice system that we have in place is a system which presently works only to justify the manipulations of the rich. Nirav Modi and Mallya, both of who, managed to escape to another country after committing fraud of crores , only exemplify this. The fraud and escape of these gentlemen who belong to the top 10% of the country, led to the suffering of the remaining 90% of the country.
We don’t need cities, the Cities Need us
I grew up in Pune, which is the second largest city in Maharashtra. It is also one of the fastest growing cities in Asia- Pacific. But, despite that, as per the census, 40% of the city population still lives in slums, which in itself is a sorry story. The inequality gripping the nation is seen even in other cities. Mumbai, popularly known as the ‘City of Dreams’ ,is the home to Asia’s largest slum, Dharavi. On the one hand, we see development in the form of the big IT Hubs and, on the other, exist the slums (safely hidden behind the garb of ‘vertical development- the buildings’).
As the youth of our country, we focus and work towards getting a job and settling in one of the cosmopolitan cities. ‘Growth’ is what we are looking for. But, the cities need us for much more. The unorganised labour in our country comprises 82.7% of the total workforce and though a large percentage of this labour comprises farmers, the deplorable conditions the farmers have to face forces them to migrate to cities in search of a better income and a better standard of living. This has eventually led to the growing ‘urban unorganised labour force’. Our responsibilities in cities is to help the ones who need it and find solutions to bring them out of their struggles, not just to seek a lavish lifestyle.
The aim is to provide Justice to the ones who need it the most, to provide the option to them to be able to fight.
The loopholes in the laws of the country, help the rich get away with the punishment, because of the simple reason, there is someone out there to fight for them. The loopholes in the laws helped Salman Khan to get away scot-free. Not just the pavement dwellers, but also, the people who spoke up against Salman suffered. Ravindra Patel, the bodyguard of Salman Khan, during his hit and run case, was found dead after 5 years of the case. His story, though only speculations, can be hinted at one wherein he was heavily bribed and pressurised to change the statements he made against Salman. He suffered simply because there was no one to help and give him a voice. On the other hand, Salman’s lawyer was being paid by the hour for his service.
The real question here is who was the one who actually needed Justice. Was it Salman Khan, the Pavement Dweller or the Bodyguard? In this case, well, justice was given to Salman Khan, because as per the system ‘Bhai’ needed it the most.
A world of Four Zeroes
Every morning when we open social media, we wake up to the negativity in the form of corruption, violations in our country and across the world. But, at the same time, there is the entertainment section on social media too, where we are ‘informed’ about what the Ambanis wore at their family wedding, how one brother bailed the other out. Automatically, the limelight and importance shifts to the entertainment page, because we don’t want to stop for a moment and think of solutions. Why spend time thinking about things that are happy on the face of it; that highlight the concerns and issues society is grappling with, when you can just relish the entertainment section and move on to the business of the day.
Does it not pinch or irk us a bit when we see the stark reality laid down in front of us? It’s about time that we, as the youth of our country, engage in conversations about the socio-political scenario in our country. It is important we recognize the crevices in the societal structure and pay the society back by being aware and acting upon it, by finding the solutions.
In the light of the current trends in our country, I urge everyone to follow the example of an exemplary man, Muhammad Yunus, (2006, Nobel Peace Prize Winner) who established Grameen banks in Bangladesh. He worked with a vision of true development (development by ensuring equal opportunity to all) for his country, fueled by the belief that credit is a fundamental human right. In his book, ‘The World of Three Zeroes’– he talks about the ‘New Economics’ of Three Zeroes- Zero unemployment, Zero Poverty and Zero Net Carbon Emissions. He uses simple economic principles, to establish a new form of capitalism, by launching innovative social businesses, where the true needs of the society were catered to instead of mere accumulation of wealth. In a bid to reduce the Inequality and to foster Justice in the society, I think we need to incorporate a, ‘Fourth’ Zero– “Zero Injustice”. And, as responsible individuals in society, we must work collectively towards this Fourth Zero.
By Monica Koshy
Monica Koshy is a Fourth Year Law Student of Amity Law School, Mumbai. An avid supporter of Human Rights, Feminism and she believes that being in the society, it’s our duty to work for it and give it it’s due. She also loves good Dark Chocolate while Binge watching Netflix.