A. G. NORANI
The roots of what passes for fundamentalism today lie deep in Muslim consciousness. Islam is a religion of peace and respect for human rights; above all, it is compassionate. But by a cruel twist of misfortune Muslim practices, especially in the spheres of the State and intellectual freedom, disconnected with Islam. The rise of Western power, its depredations in the east and its stunning achievements in the realms of learning, culture and material advance made Muslims recall their own achievements in these very realms when the Muslim world was tutor to Europe. Muslims did not rise to the challenge; they escaped from it.
Thus were born revivalism, apologetics who sought western approval, and abdication of the material world. Fundamentalism was born in the womb of these diseases. Common to them all is a lack of genuine pride and self-esteem. Its companions are intolerance, particularly of Muslims who differ from them, and mindless violence.
In this, the Muslim world is not alone. The United States is home to Christian fundamentalism and India is to Hindu revivalism and fundamentalism with violence and intolerance as inseparable companions. Pakistan is unique in the Muslim world, bar Palestine. Both were directly ruled by the British, as was India, which is why the Palestinian intellectual is the most daring in the Muslim world. As has been said, you cannot talk a man into slavery in the English language.
Pakistan’s founder, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah had drunk at this fount. Why is the Pakistan of today scarred by the very evils he had so forcefully denounced? The famous speech to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on 11 August 1947 needs no recalling. But two others do; very much so because both are conveniently forgotten. His speech at the Muslim University Union in the Stratchy Hall at Aligarh on 5 February 1938 was a crie de Coeur. It marked a turning point in his career. “There was no pride in me and I used to beg from the Congress”. He now sought “a definite share in power”, not paper safeguards, for Muslims.
The Muslim League had begun to make a resounding impact. Jinnah added: “What the League has done is to set you free from the reactionary elements of Muslims and to create the opinion that those who play their selfish games are traitors. It has certainly freed you from that undesirable element of Maulvis and Maulanas. I am not speaking of Maulvis as a whole class. There are some of them who are as patriotic and sincere as any other; but there is a section of them which is undesirable” (Jamiluddin Ahmed (Ed.); Speeches and Writings of Mr. Jinnah; Shaikh Mauhammad Ashraf, Lahore; Vol. 1, p. 38). He knew that during British rule there was a market in which fatwas were sold to the rulers to assist them in consolidating their rule. Hence Iqbal’s famous couplet : Deen-e-kafir fikr tadbeer aur jihad/kar-e-mullah fi sabilillah fasaad. (The unbeliever is committed to innovation and exertion. The mullah’s job is to foment strife in the name of Allah).
Of a piece with his censure of the rabid unprincipled mullah was his comment on Qadianis. The issue was created by the flunkeys of the Maharaja of Kashmir to divide Muslims. During a long visit to Kashmir, Jinnah interacted with journalists in Srinagar on 24 May 1944. Read Jamilluddin Ahmad’s authoritative report. “A vexed question was put to me : ‘Among Muslims who can become a member of Muslim Conference?’ and this question was particularly in reference to Qadianis. My answer was that so far as the constitution of the All-India Muslim League was concerned, it is laid down there that any Muslim, irrespective of his creed or sect, if he wishes to join the All-India Muslim League, he can do so, provided he accepts the creed, policy and programme of the All-India Muslim League and signs the form of membership and pay his subscription of two annas. I would appeal to Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir not to raise any sectarian issues, but to organize the Musalmans and bring them on one platform and under one flag”. Clearly, Qadianis and Ahmadis had a place under the flag of the Muslim League (Vol. 2; p. 148) which is why he inducted Sir Muhammad Zafrullah Khan in responsible positions: as the League’s leading counsel before the Radcliffe Commission and next as the first and longest serving Foreign Minister of Pakistan, a post in which he won international acclaim.
It is not only Pakistanis but equally Indians also who should study the entire 387 pages of the Report of the Court of Inquiry constituted under Punjab Act 11 of 1954 to enquire into the Punjab Disturbances of 1953 (Lahore; Superintendent Government Printing, Punjab; 1954; Rs. 5, 4 annas). It is a thorough exposure of the causes of the rise of fundamentalism and its ally, violence. Both the Ahrars and the Jamaat-e-Islami had bitterly opposed the establishment of Pakistan. In a few years after its establishment, they combined to hijack the political agenda in Pakistan, reducing the Muslim League to a servile follower. All in the name of Islam. Their plank was: the Ahmadiayas should be declared a non-Muslim minority; Zafrullah Khan should be sacked from office and Ahmadiyas should be dismissed from posts in the Government.
Zafrullah Khan served as Foreign Minister till 1954, and as Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 1961-64, as well as Judge of the International Court of Justice (1954-61 and 1964-1970). But he was not particularly welcomed in his own country and died in exile. The Nobel Laureate Dr. Abdus Salam was treated with disdain.
None should be surprised that the deeply devout Muslim that he was, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto got enacted the Second Amendment to the 1973 Constitution on 17 September 1974. In the definition provision, Article 260, clause (3) was added to provide that one who did “not believe in the absolute and unqualified finality of the Prophethood of Muhammed (Peace be upon him) the last of the Prophets or claims to be a Prophet, … or recognizes such a claimant as a prophet or religious reformer, is not a Muslim for the purposes of the Constitution or law”. The Constitution (Third Amendment) Order 1985 of the Zia-ul-Haq era explicitly grouped among non-Muslims “a person of the Quadiani Group or the Lahori Group who call themselves ‘Ahmadis’ or by any other name”.
The political context to these events must be borne in mind. Mian Mumtaz Daultana, a veteran of the Muslim League, won the 1951 elections to the Punjab Assembly elections with the support of the Ahrars, the Jamaat-e-Islami and bureaucrats. The Ahrars and the Jammat had launched an anti-Ahmadiya movement in 1949. In early March 1953 anti-Ahmediya riots erupted throughout Punjab. On 6 March 1953 the Area Commander, Major-General Azam, imposed martial law. General Mohammad Ayub Khan was C-in-C of the Army. On 17 April Prime Minister Khwaja Nazimuddin was dismissed from office by the Governor-General Ghulam Mohammed, with Ayub Khan’s support, if not at his instance.
The tiger of fundamentalist bigotry had tasted blood. Twenty-one years later, in 1974, another agitation began with the same demands by the Jamaat, the Ahrars and the Khaksars, one of whom had made an attempt on Jinnah’s life in 1944. Bhutto sensed danger. He temporised at first and relented at last with the Second Amendment. Charges of election rigging shook his regime. On 4-5 July 1977 the armed forces led by the Army Chief General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq staged a coup. (Hamid Khan; Constitutional and Political History of Pakistan; Oxford University Press, Karachi. The writer is indebted to this work).
Meanwhile, in 1953 the Punjab Disturbances (Public Inquiry) Act 1953 was enacted for setting up a Court of Inquiry to investigate the circumstances leading to the declaration of Martial Law in Lahore on 6 May 1953, the responsibility for the disturbances and the adequacy of the measures taken by the state to quell them. Justice Muhammad Munir, then Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court was nominated as President of the Court and Justice M. R. Kayani as a member. The inquiry convened on 1 May 1953; the Report was signed on 10 April 1954. It was based on official records and testimonies by all involved – Nazimuddin, Daultana, Zafrullah Khan, the Governors (A.R. Nishtar till 26 November 1954 and the incompetent I.I. Chandigar thereafter) and all the leading ulema in the country along with the head of the Quadiani section of Ahmadis, Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad.
The Report came to be known as “the Munir Report” for its scathing comments on the ulema and their notions of blasphemy, apostacy and jihad. Ignored in the discourse was its meticulous blow by blow account of the rise of the ulema and the causes for the rise; both based on official records. The Court perused 3,600 pages of written statements and 2,700 pages of evidence. All the parties were represented: the State Government, the Muslim League, the Jamaat, the Ahrars and the Ahmadiya Anjuman-E-Ishaat-e-Islam. Two officials deserve particular mention. One was Quarban Ali, I.G.P. till 11 February 1953 who was something of a legend.
The other who replaced him was Anwar Ali, DIG Police, CID. The demand for the declaration of Ahmadiya as a non-Muslim minority was first made at a conference in Ralwalpindi and reiterated at a public meeting held at Pind Dadan Khan on 1st May 1949. Criticism of the founder of the Ahmadiya community and Chaudhri Zafrullah Khan became a regular feature of all Ahrar addresses and they began to feel that it was necessary for them to seek the help of the Muslim League and that they could in future function as a separate party. The Muslim League also adopted a friendly attitude towards them because the Working Committee of the Pakistan Muslim League in its meeting held in Karachi on 27 December 1949 excluded the Ahrar from the list of nineteen parties which were tabooed for Muslim Leaguers. The pass was sold.
In 1948 a young Major Mahmud was murdered in a singularly brutal manner. “Nobody was willing to take credit for this act of Islamic heroism and out of a large number of persons who were eyewitnesses, none was able or willing to identify the ghazis who were authors of this brave deed. The culprits, therefore, remained unidentified and the case was filed untraced. The police record shows that the infuriated mob was frantically looking for men with short beards – Ahmadis it may be mentioned wear short beards – to kill them.” This has a contemporary ring.
The demand for declaring the Ahmadis as a non-Muslim minority was first publicly made on 1 May 1949 at an Ahrar meeting. It picked up speed and volume. The language became vituperative, violence became the norm. Anwar Ali wrote a comprehensive note in 1950 recommending a ban on Ahrars and warning of inaction.
To read the Report in 2012 is to realize that 1949-1953 was a trailer for the horrible crimes committed in this decade. That was when the seeds were sown – murders, razing of mosques, Shia-Sunni discord and attacks on Christians. On 14 November 1951, Qurban Ali warned in terms which have contemporary relevance. “It is really now for the politicians to weigh and see which is the lesser evil – to deal firmly with the Ahrar and to face their agitation, or to let them go on with this nefarious and dangerous and uncalled for propaganda against the Ahmadis. Personally I would take the former action. It will not only curb the Ahrar but would also help build a more tolerant character in the nation”.
Anwar Ali’s Note of 4 April 1952 was of the same tenor. “In my opinion if this country is to progress on healthy lines, political charlatans and jingoes, who endeavour to gain popularity by hurling abuse at each other and who make no contribution for the political advancement of the country, should be dealt with unsparingly. The Ahrar have a feeling that the Muslim League is at their back: otherwise their past is black and they would not have dared to step into the political field. They were stooges of the Congress and some of them are still loyal to that body. Habib-ur-Rahman, who is a well-known Ahrar, left this Province after the partition and went over to India. In their heart of hearts some of them are still disloyal to Pakistan. They are working outwardly on a religious platform not in order to serve their country but in order to retrieve their lost prestige. There are signs already that a section of the Ahrar led by Sheikh Husam-ud-Din wants to come into active politics and its members are contemplating the formation of a new party.”
By 1952 the Ahrars had come out of Coventry. Mahammad Khuda Baksh, SP (B), CID explained how. They were courted by the Muslim League and by the maulvis and pesh imams. One of its rich patrons was Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan. The alliance had turned the tide of public disfavor. “General Muslim public has so far gone against the Ahmadis” so much so that the workers of the Muslim league are sometimes forced “to share their platforms. Ahmadis who were given Muslim League tickets lost in the polls”. The District Magistrate attended Ahrar meetings.
Qurban Ali Khan had had enough. He wrote a brilliant note. “I do not know how long will we remain at the stage of writing notes informing Government what the Ahrar are doing and what should be expected of them if they are not checked in time. The Ahrar have already done enough to show without any doubt, which way the wind is blowing in their camp. I am for one convinced in my mind that if Government continued with its present policy of leaving the Ahrar alone, the Ahrar will sooner or later perpetrate some such horrible crime that Government would find itself in a difficult position to explain their failure to take action upon what the C.I.D. has been repeatedly and vehemently reporting to them.
“It is a difficult decision to take, I know, but some one has to take it. The Central Government is not likely to share the responsibility of getting involved in a matter which has the remotest chance of raising another opposition especially on an issue which may be exploited as a religious al-Muslims versus Ahmadis issue. There is a possibility of that. In fact the moment Ahrar are touched, they will make that an issue. But some Government somewhere must give the masses a correct lead. If every party is afraid that the Ahrar will join hands with the opposition no one will even be able to maintain the law and order. And in fact the Ahrar are to-day no power. Tomorrow they may become one. No sensible person can support their policy of violence. If Government is convinced that the conduct of the Ahrar calls for action, to-day is, I submit, the most opportune time to take it.”
The police took leading figures in the press into confidence. Mazhar Ali Khan said that the root cause of this trouble was that Government had themselves made religion their source of slogans and strength. He added that if one group could exploit religion how could the others be denied its use for furthering their own ends.
Belatedly the Centre began to interest itself in the affair. Punjab’s Home Secretary took advantage of it to bring matters to a head-squarely on 4 July 1951: “The Central Government should tell us unequivocally what line to pursue. This demand means nothing else but what the Ahrar and many other Muslims call ‘radd-i-mirzaeeat’ – eradication of mirzaeet. Should we allow, encourage or connive at activities which aim at physical or religious annihilation of a minor section of our people? The orthodoxy of the Ahmadis is heterodoxy of the non-Ahmadis and if the latter class are allowed to inveigh against the Ahmadis, will they also be given the right to declaim from pulpit and platform that what they believe is the truth and the rest all blasphemy? If we concede this right to one section of the public, are we prepared to allow the Christians to preach what they piously believe regarding our Prophet (peace be on him) and shall we be prepared to risk public demonstrations by the Shias of their sentiments towards some of the most illustrious of the sahaba? Is it the intention to make this country a battle field for warring groups and religions with the ultimate object that the vanquished will either perish or will be converted? The hydra which the Ahrar are trying to raise should be killed before it is hatched otherwise it will devour our freedom and all else that we cherish. This is a matter on which the Centre should give us a lead.
“The second plan of the Ahrar is that the Ahmadis should be declared a minority. This is a matter entirely for the Central Government to decide and they should not leave it undecided any longer. If they feel that the demand is just and in accordance with what they have in mind regarding the future destiny of this country, they should concede the demand forthwith. If on the other hand they consider the demand to be preposterous, they should issue an authoritative statement in unambiguous terms. It is for the Centre to decide whether they should give in to this pressure created by the Ahrar to undo Pakistan against the creation of which they had done their utmost until the proverbial last minute. Whatever the decision of the Centre, it should be made known to every one as early as possible.
“The third demand of the Ahrar is again a matter regarding which Centre should tell the public what their view is. If they still repose confidence in the Honourable Foreign Minister which I am sure they do, what is preventing them from saying so openly to quell the campaign of vilification being carried on against him? The man in the street is now feeling, though quite unjustifiably, that some of the Honourable Foreign Minister’s colleagues are behind this agitation, otherwise the complacency with which they are ignoring the insults heaped on him cannot be accounted for.”
At an All Muslim Parties Convention a Council of Action (Majlis-i-Amal) was formed in July 1952 to press for the acceptance of their demands. The Director of Public Relations Mir Nur Ahmad had a bright idea – buy the newspapers. It was the beginning of lifafa journalism of the last two decades and more. Daultana’s paper Afaq received the lion’s share. A Department of Islamiat was set up on 14 May 1951 with Mir Nur Ahmad as the controlling and disbursing officer. Daultana’s support was a given.
When Dr. Ishtiaq Hussain Qureshi, Information and Broadcasting Minister at the Centre and a former professor at the Delhi University, came to Lahore, Hamid Nizami editor of Nawa-i-Waqt charged the Government with subsidising the anti-Ahmadiya campaign. A Note by Anwar Ali on 22 October 1952 said. “My opinion is that the Ahrar agitation has dangerous potentialities. It has diverted the attention of the simple and ignorant masses from the essential issues which face Pakistan. It is essentially destructive and has emphasized sectarian differences at a time when all ranks should have drawn closer to each other”.
More ominous was his Diary noting of 15 December 1952. it bars quotation in extenso. “The Government is being ruthlessly abused, maligned and defamed. The confidence of the public is being sedulously destroyed and confusion and panic are spreading. In all circles, business, service, etc., fierce criticism is being leveled against Government. In railway trains, private gatherings and at social functions there is one topic which arouses the deepest interest and that is anti-Government talk. Members of the League and Government servants are no exception and indulge liberally in such talks. People who return from Karachi, bring a grim picture, and say that Secretariat officers and other high-ups seem to have lost faith in the future and talk as if a collapse is imminent. The position is desperate and if the nation is to be saved from chaos and anarchy, effective measures should be taken without delay. It is true that some of the problems which face the country are stupendous but nevertheless an effort must be made. The situation is not as hopeless as some people are apt to believe.
“If a patient knows that his disease is curable and that everything is being done to rid him of his disease effectively and quickly, he acquires courage and puts up a better resistance. If on the other hand the patient knows that his disease is not curable and that steps are not being taken for his proper treatment, he dies an earlier death. The anti-Government propaganda carried out by the opponents of the Government and other destructive elements, has destroyed faith in the future. Quite a large proportion of the people are becoming pessimistic and feel that the situation is too far gone and cannot be successfully retrieved. Publicity could easily be organised and faith in the future built up.
“Mullaism – There is no doubt that most of the mullahs rise from a class which is without education and has an extremely narrow outlook. The mullas have been built up by politicians themselves and instead of behaving as their supporters have turned on the very forces which created them. They are out to seek power for themselves and are the enemies of progress. An intelligent and educated class of mullas should be created and in the meantime the leaders should, when making speeches, not make promises in the religious fields which they know they cannot honour.” How very true, indeed.
Eventually an ultimatum was delivered to the PM Nazimuddin on 21 January 1953 with a threat of direct action. The Centre could not possibly comply. By a most immediate top priority secret O.T.P. cipher telegram dated 27 February 1953, the Central Government communicated their views on the demands to the Punjab Government. They said :-
“(i) The Ahmadis or indeed any section of people cannot be declared a minority community against their wishes. It is not part of functions of Government to coerce any group into becoming a minority community.
(ii) Ahmadis cannot be removed from key posts under Government only on the ground that they are Ahmadis. Nor can demand for the removal of Honourable Minister for Foreign Affairs be entertained on the ground that he is an Ahmadi. There is a constitutional machinery provided for the removal of any Minister from office. So long as he continues to enjoy confidence of his colleagues and elected representatives of people in the Central Legislature he cannot be removed from office. No Minister can be removed from office merely because a section of people demands under threat of direct action that this be done. No Government servant whether Muslim or non-Muslim can be removed from any post under Government because of the religion he professes.”
Members of the Action Committee were arrested on 27 February 1953. Disturbances followed and Martial Law was imposed sending Daultana packing home. The Report remarks, with its author’s tongue firmly in cheek. “It was quite an experience for us to be associated with the learned scholars, an experience novel and exceedingly pleasant which will live long in our memory”. They politely but closely grilled the ulema on the concepts of jihad, the Islamic State, Legislature and Legislation, the status of non-Muslims, apostasy and the essentials of Islam itself. Overtime these passages acquired note to the complete neglect of the events that led to the Martial Law in 1953 – and eventually to military rule in 1958.
The ulemas’ comments are quoted fully. Pages 187 to 232 of the Report should be reprinted in a pamphlet and circulated widely, especially in an Urdu translation. They are an eye-opener. Read this: “The legislature legislates while the ulama of Majlis-i-Shura who were called upon to determine what should be the decision on a particular point, which was not covered by the Qur’an and the sunna, merely sought to discover and apply the law and not to promulgate the law, though the decision when taken had to be taken not only for the purposes of the particular Case but for subsequent occasions as a binding precedent. An intriguing situation might arise if the Constitution Act provided that any provision of it, if it was inconsistent with the Qur’an or the sunna, would be void, and the iniva vires of a law made by the legislature were questioned before the Supreme court on the ground that the institution of legislature itself was contrary to the Qur’an and the sunna.”
The Report remarks. “Keeping in view of the several definitions given by the ulama, need we make any comment except that no two learned divines are agreed on this fundamental. If we attempt our own definition as each learned divine has done and that definition differs from that given by all others, we unanimously go out of the fold of Islam. And if we adopt the definition given by any one of the ulama, we remain Muslims according to the view of that alim but kafirs according to the definition of every one else.”
“The ideology advocated before us, if adopted by Indian Muslims, will completely disqualify them for public offices in the State, not only in India but in other countries also which are under a non-Muslim Government. Muslims will become perpetual suspects everywhere and will not be enrolled in the army because according to this ideology, in case of war between a Muslim country and a non-Muslim country, Muslim soldiers of the non-Muslim country must either side with the Muslim country or surrender their posts.”
The Report finds “If there is one thing which has been conclusively demonstrated in this inquiry, it is that provided you can persuade the masses to believe that something they are asked to do is religiously right or enjoined by religion, you can set them to any course of action, regardless of all considerations of discipline, loyalty, decency, morality or civic sense. Pakistan is being taken by the common man, though it is not, as an Islamic State. This belief has been encouraged by the ceaseless clamour for Islam and Islamic State that is being heard from all quarters since the establishment of Pakistan.”
The Report touches on a fundamental of democratic governance in a backward society – the duty of the leaders to educate and lead. “It was said that our political leaders, who are elected by popular suffrage, are in their present positions merely because people have put them there and that therefore they are bound to act as their voters require them to do. The same principle has been reiterated before us on behalf of the Ministry and the Muslim League and it has been urged that in a representative form of Government a political leader can be described to be a representative of the people only if he respects and carries into effect the feelings, prejudices and aspirations of the people. We think that it is a poor ideal for sour leaders to adopt. In a country where the bulk of the people are uneducated and only a small percentage of them is literate, a recognition of this position would lead to the disconcerting results that our leaders must remain an embodiment of popular ignorance and prejudice and completely devoid of higher ideals. Where the elector knows the value of his vote and has the requisite sense and intelligence to understand problems peculiar to his country and broad world vents and currents and has a sufficiently developed mind to form a right judgment on all matters of national concern, the leader has got to abide by the popular judgment or quit his office. But in a country like ours, we have little doubt that the true function of the leaders is to lead the people and not throughout be driven by them, as Mr. Qurban Ali Khan rightly put it, at the head of the herd all the time. It was this fear of becoming unpopular if anything bold or courageous was done that was mainly responsible for a complete absence of the ideology that was necessary to resist or prevent the movement which by its apparently religious appeal so rapidly permeated the masses. We are, therefore, of the opinion that our leaders failed in their duty and that they found themselves completely unable to rise to the occasion which demanded foresight, wisdom and all the qualities of true statesmanship. Throughout the period not one popular leader dared appeal; to the common sense of the citizen. Even when the conflagration was in its fury, not one of them condescended to talk to the people and to explain to them that they were being misled to course, the only immediate result of which could be the sheltering of the country to pieces.”
This is the central issue. “There was a complete absence of ideological resistance by the Muslim League to the subversive movement…” This happened in India as well. Nehru is hated by the BJP and the RSS because he consistently took on the Hindutva forces. But in recent decades his successors like P.V. Narsimha Rao collaborated with them. Khwaja Nazimuddin’s opposition to the ulema was half-hearted. He told the court that Jinnah “himself had an Islamic Constitution for his ideal. Pakistan, in fact, had been achieved on this assurance”.
That is historically false. What is true, however, is that during the election campaigns in 1945-46, the Muslim League sought and obtained the backing of the ulema and in 1949 they demanded their reward after the establishment of Pakistan.
Justice Kayani was no cipher. He concurred with Justice Munir who obviously wrote the Report. Two passages reveal his despair with democracy itself. “We long for the Lion of God and the Rustom of ancient lore”. The concluding para reads ; “And it is our deep conviction that if the Ahrar had been treated as a pure question of law and order, without any political considerations, one District Magistrate and one Superintendent of Police could have dealt with them. Consequently, we are prompted by something that they call a human conscience to enquire whether, in our present state of political development, the administrative problem of law and order cannot be divorced from a democratic bed fellow called a Ministerial Government, which is so remorselessly haunted by political nightmares. But if democracy means the subordination of law and order to political ends – then Allah knoweth best and we end the report.”
Munir is justly criticized for his disgraceful judgments upholding Ghulam Mohammed’s malafide dissolution of the Constituent Assembly, on 24 January 1954, in Maulvi Tamzuddin Khan’s case, and Ayub Khan’s military coup, on 8 October 1958, in the State vs. Dosso. The Report explains his disgust. It cannot justify those judgments but neither can attacks on the Report because of the judgments. But the Report’s exposure of the growth of religious bigotry and the spread of an ideology of intolerance, while they could have been miffed in the bud, explains why Pakistan and India are where they are today.
There were no Anwar Alis and Qurban Alis to deliver the warnings with integrity. It is a pity the Report does not give them their due in high praise.
 The author is an eminent Indian scholar, legal expert and columnist.