OffStumped For All Things Right of Center, Bringing a Right of Centre Reality Check to Indian Politics, News Media Reporting and Opinion now in Hindi अब आप के लिये हिंदी मे.

There isnt, and should not be so. As absurd as that question sounds, equally absurd questions are being raised by the Social Justice Taliban on the Indian Constitution.  At a time when the nation’s first Dalit Chief Justice assumes office with Justice K G Balakrishnan was sworn in as the 37th Chief Justice of India on Sunday no thanks to the kind of Social Justice being advocated by this Taliban, the ninth schedule verdict has exposed an interesting fault line in our polity.

It is that there is a significant percentage of the population that firmly believes that percieved historial persecution was justification enough for taking liberties with the constitution. In fact so deeply ingrained is this sense of entitlement that this segment believes that the Constitution in its current form was written for the upper castes and it needs its own set of rules to right percieved historical wrongs. Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar might be turning in his grave when word reaches him of how wide a gulf exists between the constitution he architected and those who profess to claim his legacy. This segment has found an intellectually respectable catchphrase to justify this debunking of the constitution. It is called Social Justice and has of late replaced secularism as the primary lexicon of political correctness in the mainstream media and left of center intelligenstia. To those of us who subscribe to the mythical and mystical Right to the Center of our National Interest, the dubious politics and political correctness associated with Social Justice is the single most intellectual and political challenge.

Offstumped traces the history of Social Justice and how it came to become the single most defining issue challenging the integrity of our Constitution and sub-ordinating National Interest.

Social Justice internationally is defined as justice applied to an entire society. In its most popular interpretation it is assumed to give individuals and groups fair treatment and a just share of the benefits of society. It was enlightening to learn that the origins of Social Justice are in Catholicism. According to wiki the term “social justice” was coined by the Jesuit Luigi Taparelli in the 1840s, based on the teachings of Thomas Aquinas.  However Social Justice theory of John Rawls expounded in his “A Theory of Justice” makes for the most interesting reading in how it challenges what has commonly come to be passed of as Social Justice in India. According to Rawls

Each person possesses an inviolability founded on justice that even the welfare of society as a whole cannot override. For this reason justice denies that the loss of freedom for some is made right by a greater good shared by others

Even without getting into the nuances of Rawls’ theory, one can see how diametrically opposite the politics of Social Justice is to Rawls basic proposition. Rawls makes another interesting observation which strikes at the heart of most recent debate on land acquisition.

To determine whether any particular system of collectively enforced social arrangements is legitimate, he argued that one must look for agreement by the people who are subject to it.

The Indian version of Social Justice however has been peddled with a very narrow focus on historical inequities and redistribution of wealth, power and status. The core of the argument has been that Historical Inequities are the cause of Current Injustices and hence Justice requires elimination or negation of these Inequities through Re-Distribution during the last century and more fashionably off late with what is vaguely referred to as Affirmative Action. What started during the Constituent Assembly debates as an attempt to negate the inequities resulting from centuries of oppression by the Zamindari System and Untouchability has over the decades morphed into a perverse interpretation of Social Justice.

In this perverse interpretation of Social Justice everything from serial killings by psychopaths to securing the nation’s energy sources is parsed and analyzed from the prism of social justice. One can no longer negotiate International Diplomacy unmindful of social justice nor can one prosecute terrorism ignoring social justice. While the first 50 years of dalliance with Social Justice remained thankfully secular, it is no longer so. Now we have a new brand of Communal Socialism that swears by Social Justice to religious minorities. Nothing exemplifies this better than the Mandal messiah VP Singh’s passion for muslim dalit politics in Uttar Pradesh of late. 

This mutant version of Social Justice has now seen to it that no news report on the 24×7 news channels like NDTV and CNN-IBN is complete without a social justice take on it. It is easy to understand why the english news channels are so beholden by social justice of late. First the very fact that they are who they are “english news channels” makes them elitist to a large segment of the population. To overcome that inherent elitism one can see Social Justice on steroids in their reportage. The second reason is this nexus between these news channels and a new class of social scientists like Yogendra Yadav that makes for some very convenient mutual co-existence. This was very much in evidence in the way Yogendra Yadav the pollster teams with these news channels to uncover “startling” opinions from surveys of questionable morality and then Yogendra Yadav the social scientist turns around and advises the government on a range of subjects Affirmative Action to NCERT Text Books to alleviate percieved Social Injustice that those surveys uncovered in the first place. All of this keeps the media in business by manufacturing social injustice and then claiming credit for political action to alleviate it.

It is this mutant version of Social Justice , the Times of India is now reporting that has the Union Government drawing up a district wise plan ahead of the 2009 general elections to target muslims with development funds to revive the fortunes of the Congress. With two dedicated ministries in the Ministry of Social Justice and Ministry of Minority Affairs, the mutation of Social Justice into Communal Injustice is now firmly assured of full state sponsorship.

There is no effective political challenge to Social Justice anymore. The BJP may make some noise on the mutant Communal Injustice from time to time but with the growing OBC and SC/ST members of parliament in its ranks, the BJP has barely taken steps to attack the roots of what is passed of as Social Justice. With a formidable array of casteist and communal leaders from Mulayam Singh Yadav, Ram Vilas Paswan, Lalu Yadav and the dravidian parties down south, the dubious politics of Social Justice rolls on unhindered. With active support from the communist Hindu , social scientists like Yogendra Yadav and the 24×7 news channels the dubious political correctness around the politics of Social Justice is shutting out any intellectual or moral challenges.

Hence Offstumped is declaring War on Social Justice. This war is not on Social Justice the way Rawls defines it, which has some merit to it. But this war is on the dubious politics of Social Justice now morphed into Communal Injustice. This war is on Manmohan Singh’s brand of Communal Socialism and the dubious political correctness that passes for progressive liberalism. This war will be fought with ideas and by challenging conventional wisdom on all that is politically correct.

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