Sat Sri Akaal Greetings Shalom Namaste Salaam Alikum
English Section in 14th Issue
EXPOSE OF THE LEGAL UNDERBELLY
Sen Meet is an attorney based in Ludhiana. However, he has been thrust into the
limelight as a Punjabi novelist, delineating intricate court practices and the
decadence in the legal system of the country. Two of his earlier Novels Tafteesh
(Investigation) and Katehira (Dock/Witness
Box), dealing with the cumbersome court procedure and the dispensation of
justice, were widely acclaimed.
The agencies dealing with law and other and the state of judiciary are
brought into sharp focus by Meet in meticulous detail. Now, his third novel, Kaurav
Sabha (Chetna Parkashan, Ludhiana) on the same theme has appeared and it has
caused a flutter. In fact, this particular novel is an exposition of the
collusion of judiciary, prosecution (police), medical authorities and the
politician to the deteriment of ordinary citizens of the country. The epigraph
of the novel reads : “ Jo jitt giya so har gia/Jo har gia so marr gia.” (The
one who has won has actually lost and the one who has lost is as good as dead).
These are the words meant for the present –day all-conquering potentates. The
victors and the vanquished have to pay a heavy price.
Maya Nagar (a pseudonym for Ludhiana) is the locale of this novel. The
narrative pertains to a well-known family of money-makers- trading, industry and
real estate being their areas of operation. The elder brother Mohan Lal is the
first to settle in the city as a contractor after giving up job of a government
engineer. He makes it big by resorting to all kinds of tricks of trade. Then he
invites his younger brother Ved ( a municipal employee in a mofussil town) to
join him in the business. Lady luck smiles on them.
they touch turns into gold. But then wealth has its own complications. After the
death of Mohan Lal, his sons Pankaj and Neeraj, who are well-educated
professionals, take over the business. But, as is usual, fissures appear in the
family over the division of property and business interests. As a result the
main characters take extreme positions. Mohan Lal’s sons engage a gang of
Bihari criminals to eliminate their uncle Ved’s family. In an attack on their
residence, Ved’s son kamal is done to death, his daughter Neha is badly mauled
and raped, Ved and his wife Neelam are cruelly hit on the heads with iron
rods---in a typically “Kale Kachhe Wale” style. On the basis of certain
leads,the leader of the gang is nabbed by the police and eventually the
prosecuting agencies learn about the nature of the conspiracy. Pankaj and Neeraj
utilise all their links to wriggle out of this heinous plot. They have no dearth
of money so they engage best criminal lawyers of the town who are very
manipulative and utterly unscrupulous. They bribe the police up to the highest
level and even try to influence the courts.
At every step, the system reeking with corruption is dissected and
exposed; at places torn to shreds. The police, the judiciary, lawyers, doctors,
politicans, including the area MLA, and even the CM are not spared. A so-called
cultural organisation with a covert fascist agenda is put to scrutiny and their
functional opportunism is laid bare, holding them in derision before everybody.
The frailties of the legal profession with all its recent vulgarisation are
pointedly commented upon by the author.
In fact, when Ram Nath a lawyer, one of the main characters in this tale
cross-examination a rape victim he behaves like Daryodhana in the Mahabharata
derobing Daropati. But when his own niece Neha has to appear for deposition in
the court as a rape victim and is cross-examined by the opposing lawyer in the
same manner, he is stunned and tightly holding his head in his hands, he curses
himself for becoming a lawyer.
Mitter Sen does not blindly haul one and all over the coals, he has a
word of praise for the honest as well. For instance, the session judge, Sadhu
Singh, is lauded for his sincerity to profession, but such persons became
helpless when surrounded by a pack of foxes in the legal environment.
The trickery and deceit of the wily lawyers using immoral subterfuges to
secure a point are brought out into the open. But certain organisations engaged
in social service are admired for standing by the victims. Being an insider,
Meet’s understanding of the court life is exhaustive and meticulous. He brings
out all the muck and squalor that has crept into the system in the last few
decades. Kaurav Sabha has earned its
own space in Punjabi literature as a biting satire of the contemporary life in
the largest city of Punjab.