Posted by: Bal Patil | September 10, 2010


To Hang Or Not To Hang?*

By Bal Patil*

Opinion is divided in the world over the abolition of the death penalty. In some countries this extreme punishment has been done away with, in others it exists only in the statute book, while in many it is still imposed. The author highlights the pros and cons of this controversial subject.

Four young students, all under 25, were sentenced to death recently by the additional sessions judge in the Pune murder case on a charge of entering into a criminal conspiracy and committing ten murders in cold blood.

This case once again brings into focus the question of the abolition of the death penalty. The additional sessions judge, Mr. W.N. Bapat, has in view of the cold-blooded and heinous character of the murders categorically ruled out morbid pity or any redeeming factor on account of the adolescence of the accused.

There is certainly a hint of judicial ambivalence here because the judge cannot help referring to the “clamour” in the modern world for the abolition of the death penalty. But the judgement leaves one in no doubt that the judge is clear in his mind that the extreme penalty has a definite place in the statute book and that it should continue to be so.

“Criminological Quackery”

But sometimes-judicial ambivalence and helplessness pleaded in the face of the provisions of the Indian Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code assume a curious contrariness. One can take, for example, a judgement delivered by Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer of the Supreme Court of India.

Justice Iyer recently attended the plenary session of the World Conference on Abolition of Death Penalty held at Stockholm under the auspices of Amnesty International where he called strongly “to liquidate life taking lex talionis” as it was utterly incongruous with all that is precious in human culture.

He said: “Terror to meet terror. Non sequitur is the scientific answer… Can two murders be equal to no murder? Homicide is heinous, so is hanging. Can two wrongs make one right save by a perverted moral?” Justice Iyer went on to condemn the death penalty as “a criminological quackery and jurisprudential philistinism”.

With all this great disgust and condemnation of capital punishment, Justice Iyer declined to diminish death penalty on a convicted murderer when he was called upon to exercise his judgement in Joseph vs Goa Damman Diu. He observed as follows to clear the confusion in the public mind about the power of the judiciary to overrule the Penal Code.

“A death sentence with all its dreadful scenario of swinging desperately out of the last breath of mortal life is an excruciating hour for the judges called upon to lend signature to this macabre stroke of the executioner’s rope. Even so, judges must enforce laws, whatever they be and decide according to the best of their lights, but the laws are not always just and the lights not always luminous. Nor, again, are judicial methods always adequate to secure justice, we are bound by the Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code, by the very oath of our office.”

One can understand and even appreciate the delicate judicial dilemma Justice Iyer finds himself in, but one in constrained to say that it is nevertheless an instance of abject surrender to the prevailing judicial dogma with respect to the death penalty. One simply fails to understand why a judge who categorically denunciates the death penalty should “draw his inspiration from consecrated principles, by not yielding to spasmodic sentiments and vague unregulated benevolence” because he has to exercise “a discretion informed by tradition, methodized by analogy, disciplined by system and subordinated to the primordial necessity of order in the social life” in the words of Justice Cardozo.

Binding Precedents

As a justification Justice Iyer states in his judgement: “The guidelines laid down by this court in its precedents which bind us, tell us that if the offence has been perpetrated with attendant aggravating circumstances, if the perpetrator discloses an extremely depraved state of mind and diabolical trickery in committing the homicide, accompanied by brutal dealing with the cadaver, a court can hardly help in the present state of the death penalty when discretion has been exercised by the trial court and it is difficult to fault that court on any ground, statutory or precedential, an appellate review and even referral action become too narrow to demolish the discretionary exercise of power by the inferior court.”

The question of judicial discretion and its exercise in capital cases was given detailed consideration in Jagmohan Singh vs State of UP. In his judgement Justice Palekar of the five judge Supreme Court Bench (1973) said that the appellate counsel’s arguments against the death penalty were practically similar to those which were advanced in the US Supreme Court in the case of Furman vs State of Georgia decided on June 29,1972.

By a vote of 5 to 4, the American Supreme Court held in this case that the carrying out of the death penalty in one case of a Georgia murder conviction, one of a Georgia rape conviction, none of a Texas rape conviction would constitute cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

The English Bill of Rights, enacted on December 16, 1689, stated that “excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted”. These are the very words chosen for the Eighth Amendment of the American Constitution.

But Justice Palekar did not feel that the American decision has any relevance to India. He said: “We have grave doubts about the expediency of transplanting Western experience in our country, Social conditions are different and so also the general intellectual level.”

Thus Justice Palekar went on to confirm the Law Commission of India’s Thirty-fifth Report on Capital Punishment (1967) in its conclusion that “Having regard, how ever, to the conditions in India, to the variety of social upbringing of its inhabitants, to the disparity in the level of morality and education in the country, to the vastness of its area, to the diversity of its area, to the diversity of its population, and to the paramount need for maintaining law and order in the country at the present juncture, India cannot risk the experiment of abolition of capital punishment.”

Justice Palekar also distinguished between the position of the capital sentence with respect to capital cases before and after the amendment of Section 367 (5) of the Criminal  Procedure Code.  Prior  to Amending Act 26 of  Amending Act 26 of 1955, this section  read as follows: “If  the accused is convicted of an offence punishable with death and the court  sentences him to any punishment other than death, the court shall,  in its  judgement, state the reason why the sentence of death was not passed.”

Judge Has Discretion

By the amendment this provision is deleted and, as the Code at present stands, punishment for murder is one of the two namely, death or imprisonment for life. Neither Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code nor any other Provision in the Criminal Procedure Code says in what cases the Capital punishment is to be imposed and in what others the lesser punishment.

However, the Judge noted that the policy of our criminal law as regards crimes including the crime of murder is to fix the maximum penalty- the same being intended for the worst cases, leaving a very wide discretion in the matter of punishment to the judge. Hence he thought that the exercise of judicial discretion on well-recognized principles is, in the final analysis, the safest possible safeguard for the accused, and that it will be impossible to say there would be at all any discrimination, since facts and circumstances of the case can hardly be the same as those of another.

Significantly, this judgement did not at all refer to the abolition of the death penalty in England, first experimentally in 1965 and than finally in 1970 and only selectively quoted from the Durman vs Georgia decision. In this case, in his judgement, Justice Douglas declared:

“It would seem incontestable that the death penalty inflicted on one defendant is unusual” if it discriminates against him by reason of his race, religion, wealth, social position or class, or if it is imposed under a procedure that gives room for the play of such prejudices… In ancient Hindu Law a Brahman was exempt from capital punishment and under that law punishment increased in severity as social status diminished.”

Making clear the unequal operation of the law on death penalty with regard to the Negroes, Justice Douglas observed: “A law that stated that anyone making more than  50,000 dollars would be exempt from the death penalty would plainly fall, as would a law that in terms said that blacks, those who never went beyond the fifth grade in school, those who made less than 3,000 dollars a year or those who were unpopular or unstable should be the only people executed. A law which in the overall view reaches that result in practice has no more sanctity than a law which in terms provides the same.”

While the enlightened juristic opinion in Western countries is fearlessly thinking in these terms, we in India, priding ourselves on our ancient values, civilization and culture (!), continue with scandalously iniquitous punitive practices.

What is remarkable is that the Law Commission of India was blind to the evidence in Western countries that the rate of murder and other serious crimes is rising by leaps and bounds despite rising prosperity, and that there is no correlation between poverty, illiteracy and crime on the one hand, and affluence on the other. Crime follows its on laws, it has no class creed or colour.

As noted by Sir Leon Radzionowicz, an international expert on criminology, and Joan King in their recent book, The Growth of Crime: The International Experience  (1977) “when it comes to the kind of chronic peasant poverty that is almost he rule for vast numbers of mankind” we find a different picture because they are found to be usually the most honest. “It was the poor in the cities, living cheek by jowl with great wealth, who were under the greatest provocation and temptation to crime.”

The USA, which has reached the most spectacular heights of affluence, offers a glaring contradiction of the Indian Law Commission’s correlation between illiteracy, low intellectual level and morality. There is more crime and it is more violent. There are as many murders in Manhattan each year as in the whole of England and Wales.

Crime Rate Growing

From this evidence Sir Leon Redzinowicz concludes that incidence of crime has been going up in all parts of the world whatever the stage of development and among all segments of society. “No national characteristic, no political regime, no system of law, police, Justice, punishment, treatment or even terror, has rendered a country exempt from crime.”

In this context it would be useful to consider the propriety of the death penalty for dangerous and cold-blooded murderers. In the Pune murder case judgement the additional sessions judge rightly says that the accused “never saw meadows but only graves, never saw any stars but only mud”. Nor can there be any doubt that the murders were cold-blooded, deliberate and gruesome in the extreme and should be condemned as such.

But, if the accused failed to see the stars and meadows, I wonder if there can be any excuse for the criminal justice system also not seeing stars and meadows.

If we are really prepared to go to the depth of the matter, be patient enough about the judicial process as it is actually operating in capital cases, we will not fail to see that it is nothing but a ritualized and sophisticated form of the ancient Cain and Abel blood- feud. Alex Comfort has shown in his Authority and Delinquency in the Modern State how this primitive residue operates in the execution of criminals.

He notes, for example, how there was a practice in England persisting until the last century of disguising the condemned man as an animal by wrapping him up in cow-hide and making it an occasion for public festivity. Even the Medicine Hat, which the modern judge places upon his head to pronounce the sentence of death, has a long and distinguished anthropological history.

Public Execution Repulsive

But criminal laws and modes of execution have gone through a process of evolution. Public execution is no longer palatable to the modern civilized mind and so it is carried out in the seclusion of the prison cell. The Indian Law Commission on Capital Punishment came to the solemn conclusion that “an execution in public would be repulsive, and that is a sufficient argument against its introduction in the country. It a public execution is repulsive to the refined juristic sensibilities of our judicial administrators, one has a remote hope that our criminal justice system is evolving in the right direction.

Death punishment is on the retreat in the modern world. More than seventy countries have abolished it. The countries that have found it unnecessary are vary varied: large and small, industrial and agricultural of all races and continents. As one witness said to the British Royal Commission on Capital Punishment in 1953, he was puzzled why it should e supposed that Englishmen are so peculiarly brutal by nature that they need some special deterrent from murder. Now England has abolished it, but we in India seem to be labouring under the same misconception.

There is no evidence to show that presence or absence of the death penalty has any special effect on the incidence of violent crimes.

To come hearer home, in pre Independence days there was no execution for four decades in the old State of Hyderabad because the Nizam commuted every sentence. In the states of Cochin and Travancore capital punishment was not in existence of crime in those years was no higher there than in the rest of India.

The judicial reasoning in the Pune murder case is simple: cold-blooded murders have been committed: there is no room for pity and no redeeming factor either. Hence no leniency and only the death penalty will meet the ends of justice. This conforms to Lord Denning’s theory of punitive retribution. As he said before the Royal Commission:

“The Punishment inflicted for grave crimes should adequately reflect the revulsion felt by the great majority of citizens for them. There are some murders which in the percent sate of public opinion demand the most emphatic denunciation of all namely, the death penalty.”

The feelings of vengeance have primitive unconscious roots. As Arthur Koestler noted: “The desire for vengeance has deep, unconscious roots and is roused when we feel strong indignation or revulsion- whether the reasoning mind approves or not. Even abolitionists may sometimes not be proof against vindictive impulses. This does not mean that such impulses should be legally sanctioned by society, just as we do not sanction promiscuous impulses.”

Judges and the police tend to have a ritual faith in the efficacy of the death penalty. This is evident from the operation of the bloody code during the 19th century in England. It was unique in the world inasmuch as it listed between 230 and 32 offences punishable by death from stealing of turnips, writing threatening letters, to cutting down trees, picking pockets, shoplifting, etc. the exact number of offences was not known even to legal authorities!

The philosophy of such punishment was summed up in the formula of an 18th century judge who told the defendant that “you are to be hanged not because you have stolen a sheep but in order that others may not steal sheep”.

Is It Really A Deterrent?

“A punishment to be just,” said a pioneer Italian abolitionist of the 18th century, “should have only that degree of severity that I necessary to deter others.” Blackstone said that it was not lawful to deter at any rate and by any means.

How far is the death penalty a deterrent? Is it really a deterrent to dangerous criminals? Evidence suggests that it is not a deterrent to murderers who commit suicide one third of all murders do. It is not a deterrent to the insane and mentally deranged, nor to those who kill in a quarrel, drunkenness or sudden passion ad provocation. This type accounts for 80 to 90 per cent of all murders. It is not a deterrent to the one who believes he will never be found out.

Thus only the professional class of criminal is left who can be said to be kept in control or deterred by the threat of death and nothing short of death. But those who favour abolition of the death penalty and those who oppose it agree that murder is not a crime of the criminal classes; it is a crime of amateurs, of first offenders, not of professionals.

As regards the rural urban ratio of violent crimes it was found that criminality was concentrated in the extremes of rural and urban areas and that the crimes committed in rural areas were generally emotional whereas those committed in urban areas were preplanned. The study also found that crime is mainly an urban affair and the highest number of offences occur among the young and in the middle-income groups. This confirms Sir Leon Redzinowicz’s findings and sets at nought the Law Commission’s opinion.

More pertinent still are the findings of the American National Commission’s Report on violent crime. It says that violent crime, its perpetrator and its victims are found most often I urban areas characterized by low income, physical deterioration, dependency, racial and ethnic concentrations, broken homes, working mothers, low levels of education and vocational skills, high unemployment, high proportion of single males, over crowded and substandard housing, high rates of tuberculosis and infant mortality, low rates of home ownership and single family dwellings, mixed land use and high population density. All these combined together create an interrelated complex of powerful criminogenic forces.

As regards violent and dangerous criminals, in a study of the case histories of more than 400 violent prisoners in a large penitentiary in Boston done by Vernon H. Mark, Director Neurourgical Services, Boston City Hospital, and Frank R. Ervin, Director, Stanley Cobb Laboratories for Psychiatric Research, it was found that these violent people usually had four characteristic symptoms which were, however, not always present at the same time:

Characteristics of Criminals

1. A history of physical assault, especially wife and child beating; (2) the symptoms of pathological intoxication that is drinking even a small amount o alcohol triggers acts of senseless brutality. (There is some evidence that in the pathological intoxication the act of drinking, rather than alcohol itself, is the stimulus for brutality.) Individuals who become violent after taking even a small amount of liquor by mouth may be injected intravenously with enough alcohol to produce clinical drunkenness without any signs of violent behaviour. (3) A history of impulsive sexual behaviour, at times including sexual assaults; (4) a history (in those who drove cars) of many traffic violations and serious automobile accidents. The authors term this set of symptoms together as the  “dyscontrol syndrome”. (Violence and the Brain).

There is a theory of social hygiene which says that people who commit bestial murders should be destroyed not as a punishment but because we are better off without them. Why should they be maintained at state expense with the risk moreover that they might escape and commit another crime? Even members of the medical profession sometimes say that if a criminal has no moral sense and is a psychopath he should be regarded as human refuse, dangerous to society, deserving to be hanged.

Sir Earnest Gowers, Chairman, Royal Commission on Capital Punishment, fears that the above argument has disturbing implications. “If it is right to eliminate useless and dangerous members of the community, why should the accident of having committed a capital offence determine who should be selected. These are only a tiny proportion and not necessarily the most dangerous….  It can lead to Nazism.”

Those favouring the death penalty say that it should be retained for exceptional offenders such as Landru or Eichmann on the ground that it should be used for social monsters or for crimes against humanity. The Pune multiple murders obviously fall in this category: society would be acting in self-defence when it removes such persons as dangerous beasts.

Social Monsters

But, according to Albert Camus, in resorting to this philosophy of elimination of social monsters we would be approaching some of the worst ideas of totalitarianism or the selective racism, which the Hitler regime propounded.

But, even apart from these dangerous criminals or social monsters who, after all form a microscopic minority of the murderers, the strongest argument against capital punishment is that, like the rest of the legal system, it is manifestly unequal in its operation against the rich and the poor. It would be instructive to refer here to the opinion of the warden of the Sing Sing Prison of New York:

“Not only does capital punishment fail in its justification but no punishment could be invented with so many inherent defects. It is an unequal punishment in the way it is applied to the rich and poor. The defendant of wealth and position never goes to the electric chair or to the gallows. Juries do not intentionally favour the rich, the law is theoretically impartial but the defendant with ample means is able to have his case presented with every favourable aspect while the poor defendant often has a lawyer assigned by the court.”

That, in a nutshell, is the argument for the abolition of capital punishment in India. Finally, to quote from a recent reply to me from Prof Sir Leon Radzinowicz, Director, Institute of Criminology, Cambridge University.

“…I do not know the situation in India sufficiently well to express a definite opinion on the issue which you raise, but from what I know about the subject and the varying conditions in many parts of the world, I do not see that conclusive evidence has been produced to justify capital punishment in India.”


* Published in “The Illustrated Weekly of India, dated. 18.02.1979

Secretary-General, All India Jain Minority Forum, New Delhi,
Ex-Member, Media Expert Committee, Govt. of India,Ex-President, National Society for Prevention of Heart Disease & Rehabilitation
Ex- Member, Maharashtra State Minority Commission, Govt.of Maharashtra, Mumbai.
Co-Author: JAINISM (Macmillan Co 1974). with Colette Caillat, (Member Institut de France, Paris,) & A.N.Upadhye, My translation of Dr.L. Alsdorf’s German Beitraege zur Geschichte von Vegetarismus und Rinderverehrung in Indien (History of Vegetarianism and Cow Veneration In India) published (Routledge, London) History of Vegetarianism and Cow-Veneration | Indologica, in Feb.2010 edited by Dr. Bollee.Participant and speaker in the 7th Jaina Studies Workshop on Jaina Law and Jaina Community, Centre for Jaina Studies, SOAS, University of London, Bal Patil’s English translation of Dr.Ludwig Alsdorf’s French Les Etudes Jaina, Etat Present et Taches Futures (Jaina  Studies Present State and Future Tasks edited by Dr.Willem B. Bolle, (2006) Jaya Gommatesa! Foreword by Dr Colette Caillat, (2006, Mumbai). Jainism: An Eternal Pilgrimage by Bal Patil, Ed. By Tony Whittington, all the three published by Hindi Granth Karyalay,  Mumbai

Flat C-608, Essbel Bldg, Lokhandwala Complex, Kandivali (East), Mumbai-400 101,
Tel:91 22 2965 5533, Fax: 91 22 2965 5533, Cell: 98692 55533



Amnesty International keeps an updated tally of countries with and without death penalty laws. The organization also notes which countries have a moratorium on capital punishment or haven’t had executions in many years. Currently, 87 countries have completely abolished the death penalty, and another 27 countries do not use capital punishment in practice. One of the earliest death penalty bans was in Venezuela in 1863. The most recent was the Philippines in June of 2006.

All European Union countries have abolished the death penalty. Any country wishing to join the Union must follow suit. As this map shows, capital punishment is most often found in Asia and Africa, plus the United States.

Countries and territories still using capital punishment include Afghanistan, the Bahamas, China, Cuba, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, North and South Korea, Libya, Malaysia, Pakistan, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sudan, Syria, Thailand, Uganda, and Vietnam.

The U.S. government and its military allow the death penalty. Capital punishment is legal in 38 American states. Meanwhile, these states have abolished it: Alaska, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. The District of Columbia also doesn’t have the death penalty.

The honorable chief minister of Tamilnadu Dr. M. Karunanidhi is known for his mastery over the Tamil language and his deep knowledge of Tamil literature. In his foreward to the book “தமிழகத்தில் ஜைனம்” (Jainism in Tamilnadu) he talks about the contribution of Jainism to the Tamil language:

Dr. M Karunanidhi on Jainism and Tamil(1)

Dr. M Karunanidhi on Jainism and Tamil(2)

Dr. M Karunanidhi on Jainism and Tamil(3)

Dr. M Karunanidhi on Jainism and Tamil (4)

English Translation of the Foreward:

Chief Minister


The Samanam religion is synonymous with love and compassion. Samanam is also known as Jainism.

Jainism an ancient religion came into existence in India hundreds of years even before the birth of Christ. It was flourishing in Tamilnadu well before Tholkappiyar’s period.

The virtuous Jains have adorned our ‘Tamil mother’ with innumerable jewels of literary works. If you remove these works of Samanars, the world of Tamil literature would wear a deserted look; such is the contribution of Jain poets to the Tamil language*. The ancient kings have also encouraged and supported these noble efforts.

A number of poets who embraced Jainism have lived in Tamilnadu. Jainism was very prevalent in Tamilnadu at some point in time in the past. A number of people voluntarily embraced the Jain religion which had the great principle that “the world was not created by anyone”.

After well researching the history of Jainism’s origin in Tamilnadu, the story of its growth and the state of its existence in the Tamil literature, Jeevabanthu T.S. Sripal has given us the book “Jainism in Tamilnadu”. His research was done in the very best way. One should not think that the author has praised Jainism because he is a Jain himself. That, Jainism is worthy of extol has been clearly communicated by a number of scholars both in India and abroad.

It is commendable that the author throughout the book quotes the views on Jainism of well-known scholars like Nobel prize winner and Indian scientist Dr. Jagadeesh Chandra Bose , German Professor Georg Bühler, Czech scholar Kamil Zvelebil , our own Tamilnadu’s Sir. R. K. Shanmugam, Tamil Thendral Thiru. V.Ka and Thiru. H.A. Krishna pillai. Yet there is one unfulfilled desire in my heart – the book is missing the great ‘Arignyar Anna’s’ favorable comments on Jainism. I hope the author Jeevabanthu Sripal  will fulfill this desire in the next edition of this book.

Finally, this book “Jainism in Tamilnadu” is not only an excellent research material, but a rare book worthy of being part of the syllabi of any of Tamilnadu’s fine universities. The authors abilities are worthy of praise and applause.

M. Karunanidhi

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One Response to “Tamilnadu Chief Minister Dr. M.Karunanidhi on Jainism and Tamil”

  1. Prof.Dr. Kanaka.Ajithadoss says:

    Sri jinaya Namah
    samyak darsan
    really wonderful
    yeoman service indeed
    I will go through and and get you the feed back

  2. Bal Patil says:

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    I welcome Tamilnadu Chief Minister Dr. M.Karunanidhi on Jainism and Tamil.
    Tamilnadu has a rich ancient heritage of Jainism. Iwould like to submit following comments:
    As the Secretary-General of All India Jain Minority Forum, New Delhi, an ex-Member of the Mahararashtra State Minority commission and an activist for Jain minority right on par with the other national minorities such as Muslim, Christian, Sikh , Buddhist and Zoroastrians (Parsis) I welcome Mr.T.S. Subramaniam’s article in The Hindu, July 4, 2007 Metamorphosis of a Mahavira image: How a seventh century Jain sculpture became an Amman idol in rural Tamil Nadu published in the Hindu today. The Jains with a rich cultural, religious and historical heritage owe a debt of gratitude to him and Mr.K.T. Gandhirajan for discovering this precious heritage. Permit me to provide some important historical evidence on this topic as follows.

    There are umpteen instances of Hindu conversion of Jain heritage.The famous Jagannatha temple is another instance. As Edward Thomas,Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society, London has noted in his JAINISM OR THE EARLY FAITH OF ASOKA Lecture delivered at the Royal Asiatic Society on Feb.26, 1877, notes: “Incidentally it may be mentioned that the title of “Jagannatha is an appellation given by the modern Jainas to their Tirthankara Parswanatha in particular.”Edward Thomas has quoted Dr.Stevenson how the famous Vithoba at Pandharpur in Maharashtra is a converted Jain image .As noted by Thomas:

    “Dr.Stevenson, in a subsequent article (J.R.A.S. Vol.VII 7 p.5) followed up his comparison of the later images of Vithoba with the normal ideals of of the Jaina nude statues. One of his grounds for these identifications is stated in the following terms: “The want of suitable costume in the images in the images (of Vithoba and Rakhmi), as originally carved, in this agreeing exactly witgh the images the Jainas at present worship, and disagreeing with all others adored by the Hindus” – who, “with all their faults, had always sense of propriety enough to carve their images so as to represent the gods to the eye arrayed in a way not to give offence to modesty.”

    “The author (Dr.Stevenson) then goes on to relate how the Brahmanists of later days appropriated the sacred sites and adapted the very images of the local gods to their own purposes. His description is most graphic of the way in which the nude statues of Vithoba and Rakhami at Pandarpur, were clothed in apopropriate Hindu garments and made to do duty for the Brahmanical Krishna and Rukmini” (Pp.14-15).

    In Studies in South Indian Jainism M.S. Ramaswami Ayyangar and B.Sheshagiri Rao (Madras, 1922) the authors have noted :

    “The vast Jain remains in south India of mutilated statues, deserted caves and ruined temples at once recall to our mind the greatness of the religion in the days gone by and the theological rancour of the Brahmins who wiped it out of all active existence. The Jains have been forgotten: their traditions have been ignored: but the memory of theat bitter struggle between Jainism and Hinduism, characterised by bloody episodes in the South, is constantly kept alive in the series of frescoes on the wall of the Mantapam of the Golden Lily Tank of the famous Minakshi Temple of Madura. These paintings illustrate the persecution and impaling of the Jains at the instance of the arch-enemy of Jainism, Tirujnanasambandara. As though this was not sufficient to humiliate that unfortunate race , the whole tragedy is gone through at five of the twelve annual festivals at the Madura temple. It is indeed sad to reflect that, beyond the lingering legends in secluded spots and the way side statues of her saints and martyrs, Jainism in south has left little to testify to the high purposes, the comprehensive proselytizing zeal and the political influence which she inspired in her fiery votaries of old.” (Pp.79-80)

    The authors Studies in South Indian Jainism attribute the Jain influence in idol worship and temple buidling on a grand scale. “The essence of Brahminism was not idol worship. How came it then that the Dravidians built large temples in honour of their gods? The answer is simple. The Jains erected statues to their Tirthankaras and other spiritual leaders and worshipped them in large temples. As this method of worship was highly impressive and attractive, it was at once imitated. Especially after the advent of Appar and Sambandar, a period of miracles and piety was inaugurated and it was at this time that the whole country was studded with temples. (n.Tamilian Antiquery, No.2, p.23) It is further curious to note that, in the temples so constructed, a niche was given to each of the saints who in any way contributed to the revival of Saivism. In the great temple of Madura, as many as sixty-three Nayanars or Saiva devotees have been given a niche, each of them. One wonders if the saivaites had not borrowed this custom from the Jains who worshipped their saints in the way described , long before these Nayanars flourished. By far the most important of the Jain influnces that led either to the intellectual or moral uplift of the Dravidians was the establishment throughout South India of Matams and Patasalas to counteract the effect of Jain centres of learning and propagandism.” (Ibid. Pp.77-78)

    The authors also note that the period immediately following the age of Kural is characterised by the growth of classical literature, mainly under the Jain auspices. “This age is generally called the Augustan age of Tamil literature, the period of the predomancne of the Jain in intellect and learning though not in political power. It was during this period second century A.D. that the famous Tamil epic Silappadikarm is supposed to have been written.” (p.46)

    The great Tamil classic Kural by Saint Tiruvalluvar, as noted by the authors: ”Almost every religionist has claimed the author as belonging to his faith. Tamil literary tradition attributes the authorship of Kural to to Valluvar; but there are strong reasons for believing that the author was a Jain…One other evidence in favour of the Jain origin of Kural might be adduced. The commentator of Nilkesi, a Jain work, calls Kural , Emmottu our own Bible. That shows that the Jains generally believed that Valluvar was a member of their community.”
    Prof. A. Chakravarti , an eminent Jain scholar and commentator on Kural has identified the author of Kural as no other than the great Jain Muni Elacharya Sri Kund Kunda, well-versed in Sanskrit and Prakrit who propagated Jainism in the in about first century A.D. Tamil land . From the Pattavalis edited by Hoernle and Klatt (Indian Antiquery,Vols. XX and XXI) the date of Kunda Kunda can be ascertained as Ist century A. D.
    As regards the far-reaching influence exercised by the Jain scholars on ancient Tamil literature the authors note : “The Jains had been great students and copyists of books.
    They loved literature and art for their own sake. The Jain contribution to Tamil literature forms the most precious possesion of the Tamils. The largest portion of the Sanskrit derivatives found in the Tamil language was introduced by the Jains. They altered the Sanskrit words which they borrowed in order to bring it in accordance with Tamil euphonic rules. One great pecularity of of Jain Tamil literature is that in some of the works which have become classical , Kural and Naladiyar, for example there is no mention of any God or religion. Not only Tamil literature but Canarese literature also owes a great deal to Jains. In fact they were its originators. ‘Until the middle of the the twelfth century it is exclusively Jain and Jain literature continues to be prominent for long after. It includes all the more ancient and many of the most eminent of Canarese writings’ Thus Rev.f. Kittel.” (p.76 Ibid) Not only in literature but also in vegetarian way life, idol worship and temple buidling the Jains influence in South India is evident. As noted by the authors “How far this Jain respect for the life of living beings, a respect shown in daily practice, has influenced the Vedic rites and ceremonies can be seen from the fact that animal sacrifice in certain religious functions were completely stopped, and images of beasts made of flour were substituted for the real and veritable ones required in conducting Yajnams. Tamil poets have received inspiration in this matter from the Jains and passages might be cited from Tamil literature to indicate the extreme abhorrence with which Dravidians, a large section of them at any rate, regard eating of flesh.” (Ibid.p.77)
    Even more significant is the assimilation of the Jaina motives by the Shankaracharya mathas as shown by the eminent historian K.A. Nilkanta Shastry and V. Ramasubramaniyam ‘Aundy’ in their article The Ascendancy and Eclipse of Bhagwan Mahavira’s Cult in the Tamil Land published in the Mahavira and His Teachings (under the Chief Editorship of Dr.A.N. Upadhye, former General Editor of Moortidevi Granthamala of Bharatiya Jnanpith (assisted by Bal Patil) on the occasion of 2500th Mahavira Nirvana Anniversary, 1974). The authors state: “It is necessary at this stage to state briefly what a Sankara mutt was and how it copied the Jaina church in its technique of organization. It was a legally constituted body, Pitha, headed by a bachelor hermit (Brahmachari sanyasin) exercising absolute control over all the Hindu hermits of the entire quarter. This pontif and his local representatives, practising asceticism themselves,were to tour their respective regions supervising the religious rites (Samskaras) and daily practices (Dinacharyas) of the four varnas…But the most important and epoch-making innovation was their advice to all performers of Vedic sacrifices to substitute vegetable offerings for live animal victims. The ‘Manimekhalai’ one of the five great Tamil epics, tells us that some orthodox Brahmins of that age were performing sacrifices, involving the killing of many animals, including the cow. One Brahmin boy, it is said, successfuly set free a cow,an intended victim, and he was , therefore, hounded out of the locality as well as the community by other Brahmins. Where actual blood had been spilt in certain atharvanic rituals, the Sankara-mutt recommended coloured mineral water (aarati) and breaking of cocoanuts and ash-gourds. Where intoxicants such as soma juice, had been used, they substituted ‘panchagavya’ and ‘madhuparka’ . In food habits too, vegetarianism and prohibition were strictly enforced , with penalties of ex-communication for other transgressions. Ahimsa, satya, triple baths every day and free teaching of Sanskrit were rewarded with ecclesiastical honours and grants. Except for the doctrinaire difference, the pattern of the mundane aspects of the mutt was but a replica of the Jaina church.” (pp.329-30)
    It is pertinent to quote Edward Thomas to show the arch-influence of the Jain Mathas since pre-historic times. The deeper impact of Jainism right from the term “matha” which has a peculiar Jaina connotation is explained in his unique scholarly paper entitled JAINISM or THE EARLY FAITH OF ASOKA (Ibid. op.cit.)in which describing the etymology of the term Mathura as an ancient seat of Jainism. Edward Thomas explains” The modern version of the name of the city on the Jumna is Mathura. Babu Rajendralal has pointed out that the old Sanskrit form was Madhura (J.A.S. Bengal, 1874, p.259) ,but both transcriptions seem to have missed the true derivative meaning of Matha (“a monastery, a convent or college, a temple, etc. from the root matha ‘to dwell,’ as a hermit might abide in his cave. The southern revenue terms have preserved many of the subordinate forms, in the shape of taxes for ‘Maths’. Rajputana and the N.W. Provinces exhibit extant examples in abundance of the still conventional term, while the distant Himalayan retain the word in Joshi-Math, Bhairav-Math etc” Further Thomas states: “This said Mathura on the Jumna constituted, from the earliest period a ‘high place’ of the Jainas and its memory is preserved in the southern capital of the same name -Madura- of Ptolemy, whence the sect, in aftertimes, disseminated their treasured knowledge, under the peaceful shelter of their Matams (colleges), in aid of local learning and the reviving literature of the Peninsula.” (pp.3-4) In a Note on the above E.Thomas mentions quoting Caldwell from his Grammar of the Dravidian Languages: “The period of predominance of the Jainas (a predominance of intellect and learning -rarely a predominance in political power) was the Augustan age of Tamil literature, the period when the Madura college, a celebrated literary association, appears to have flourished and when the Kural the Chintamani and the classical vocabularies and grammar were written.” With such glorious heritage all that remains of Jainism in South India at present in the words of the authors: “The vast Jain remains in south India of mutilated statues, deserted caves and ruined temples at once recall to our mind the greatness of the religion in days gone by and the theological rancour of the Brahmins who wiped it out of all active existence. The Jains had been forgotten; their traditions have been ignored; but, the memory of that bitter struggle between Jainism and Hinduism, characterised by bloddy episodes in the south is constantly kept alive in the series of frescoes on the wall of the Mantapam of the Golden Lily Tank of the famous Minakshi Temple at Madura. These paintings illustrate the persecution and impaling of the Jains at the instance of the arch-enemy of Jainism, Tirujnanasambandar. As though this were not sufficient to humiliate the unfortunate race, the whole tragedy is gone through at five of the twelve festivals at the Madura temple.”(Studies in South Indian Jainism by Ramaswami Ayyangar & B.Sheshgiri Rao.p.79)
    KALABHRAS (3rd Century AD) PALLAVAS (575 AD to 882 AD)

    During the rule of Kalabhra kings, Jainism attained supermacy in Tamil Nadu. As followers of Jainism they prohibited animal sacrifices in rituals. Pallavas (575 AD to 882 AD)
    During the Pallava period also Jainism flourished in Tamil Nadu. Kanchipuram, the capital of Pallavas was the centre of learning for all Indian religions. A part of Kancheepuram was called Jina Kanchi. Great Jaina Acharyas such as Sri Vamana~charya and Sri Pushpa~dantha Acharya were the leading lights of Jaina teachings at Kanchipuram. During this period Jains made a great impact on the northern parts of Tamil Nadu by constructing temples and educational centres. Such educational centres were called “samana pallis”. Reminescent of the glorious past even today the school in Tamil is called “palli”.

    The earliest inscription about Chera kings are found in Pugalur, wherein it is learnt that the Chera kings of Sangam period ordered making of stone beds for the use of Jain monks, who as an ascetic vow sleep only on barren floor. The Tamil epic”Silap~padhi~garam” was written in this period by Illango adigal, the prince and brother of Chera king Senguttuvan. During chola rule also Jainism continued to flourish. Early Chola rulers contributed generously to the upkeep of Jain temples by gifting land and money. A university exclusively for women was established (730 AD) by Jain nuns at Vedal in Thiru~vanna~malai district. Great Tamil works on literature and grammar were authored during this period.
    In Pandia kingdom also innumerable Jain cave temples, stone beds and dwellings for monks, inscriptions and stone images of worship were created, the remains of which are still seen in and around Madurai and south Tamil Nadu. During 6th and 7th century AD, religious conflicts resulted in systematic extermination of Jains and decline of Jainism in southern parts. However, in northern parts, Jainism didnot face such harsh conditions and continued to subsist.


    This is originally a Jain temple converted by Ramanujam/Sankaracharya around 8th century A.D onwards along with 1000s other dravid temples.
    Complete idol is covered to hide its original identity. Balaji has been photographed on many occassions without Jewellary and it is found to be a Jain Standing Tirthankara Neminath which many brahmins believe and admit. Archaelogical scientists, honest historians have proved this to be a Jain temple.
    Millions of people visit Balaji temple but no one know reality about this temple. It is truly a Dravid temple, which is confirmed by Archaelogical department as Jain temple. Many brahmins silently believe and agree that it is originally Jain temple converted by Ramanujam and Sankaracharya as 1000s of other dravid Jain temples converted, rechristened by Avatar philiosophy. No Historian can ever claim that there was any god by name Lord Venkateshwara.
    Many historians world wide believe – any given old temple in southern part of India is originally a Jain temple. However it may have changed its name. Archaeological Senior officers (who chose not to comment much due to political dominance ) firmly believe that originally complete dravid population was Jain who were not fighters like aryans, and believers of Ahimsa, whose heritage was stolen by cunning aryans who came to India around 3500 years ago. For example Thirukural was product of dravid civilization ( written by Jain Saints) but later it was labelled as Hindu literature at the time Hinduism was not known with its present name around 1st century B.C.when sacrifice of animals and vaidic religion was in vogue.
    To conclude Tirupati balaji temple is wonderful temple belonging to all devotees, it can be run the way it is going. But at least its true history and identity has to be made known.
    Most of gods elsewhere in Hinduism whose abhisekham is performed in public view, same way Tirupati’s rituals need to be done in open with public view. As we all believe god are not property of brahmins alone, but they belong to devotees.
    Why Tirupati Lord venkateshwara’s face has to be hidden. When no face of Lord Rama, Lord Krishna, Lord siva, Lord brahma, Lord Ganesha are hidden. This looks quite weird hiding face of god to mislead its real identity.
    We would all love to have our god let it be Brahmin or Jain , it has to be in open for everyone.
    Let us ask those brahmins to perform all pooja, abhisekham openly, not to hide with curtains or by closing doors. There is absolutely no need to keep God in private if this is real .
    This is one of reason only 2 % of complete structure is visible to devotees, which doesn’t happen with Lord Krishna, Lord Rama, Lord Hanuman, Lord Ganesha in other parts of India. God’s identy is hidden only in such temples when temple would have been converted from Jain temple and their naming is done on fabricated, non-historical avatars.
    Can we request temple authorities to reveal its true identity and to see full face and posture of god Can we have real photograph without artificial projected hands, face and other parts.
    From ages Dravid history has been mutilated, wrongly potrayed by so called responsbile vested interests of society, politics and even government. It is Aryans whose history, mythology and wrong facts are superimposed over dravid history, who were immigrants to India.
    Dr Santhalingam, senior director of Archaelogical survey and his assistant, and ASI has unpublished researched facts which clearly state that , Every old temple in south was once jain temple, presently known with different identity created by brahmins, few such examples out of 1000s of Dravid Jain temples converted to Brahmin temples are:
    1) Madurai Meenakshi temple
    2) Kanchipuram kamakshi temple (Kanchipuram has more than 100 temples)
    3) Varadaperumal temple ( kanchipuram)
    4) Thiruvanmalai Arunachalam temple
    5) Mylapore kapaliswara temple
    6) Nagaraja temple nagercoil
    7) Thirumala Balaji temple, ( total resemblance to Thirumalai jain temple in Arni district)
    Dr. Santhalingam expressed that due to political circumstances these facts cannot be disclosed or published, but facts remain same. He also said Thiruvalluvar was a Jain saint who wrote the famous Tamil classic Thirukural He has done enough research but unable to publish same.Even Tamil was evolved from Dravid Jain civilization born out of Brahmi language. Enough evidences are avaialable from epigraphyAccording to him Aryan Brahims invaded jain temples and converted them as their source of livelihood.
    • BalPatil’s blog
    Hinduism, Jainism
    Mahaveera — that is the name given to the accomplished ones, by the Samanars. Mahaveera means “Great Warrior”.
    Like the Siddhars of Southern India, the Aghoris of Northern India and Kerala, the Nagas of the Himalayas, the Native American tribes of North and South America, the Aboriginal tribes of Australia, and so on — the Samanars were those people for whom the pursuit of the Spirit was a single-minded goal, and thus the spiritual path was not for the weak, timid, or wavering, but the path of a warrior. The spiritual warrior.
    While common society endowes the title of “great warrior” on war heroes, these spiritual traditions recognized only those who had mastered themselves as the True Warriors. That is, not a conquest of lands and peoples, but the conquest and the mastery of oneself — of all the six senses, of the mind and body. Such a person was worshipped by spiritual aspirants, as a source of inspiration and guidance, as the accomplished one, or the perfected one, so that they may achieve the same. They were critical thinkers and meditators beyond anything humanly imaginable in the todays modern world.
    While many religions considered the body as profane or sacrilegious, these indigenous spiritual traditions consider the body as sacred as the mind, the spirit, and the cosmos. By incisive critical thinking they arrived at the assertion, that the body is made of the same spirit-matter (the superconscious element) that permeates everything visible and invisible around you. It is with this conviction they pursued, and ulitimately saw the True nature of Man (and hence the name seers).
    Just like some sadhus decorates and adorns their begging bowl with sacred marks, and treat it with the respect they would give to their gurus, others decorate and honor the body as a sacred vessel (which to the bystander may seem unholy). For example the Siddha aims at the perfection of the body – not as in building muscles, but as in activating all the energy centers in the body (such as the seven chakras of the Kundalini and bringing to perfect harmony the various energy currents in the body). By doing so, the Siddha merges the body-spiritual with the Cosmic Consciousness (God or whatever you may call it), thereby awakening the individual to one’s true nature, not as the body, but as something pure, infinite, the eternal, immanent and transcendent, and experiencing a beauty like never seen before.
    This is probably why the enlightened sagess look upon us like children, and take pity on us — of how we quarrel and fight over petty things, when there is something beyond, and so much more to be realized. And with that benevolence, they leave us so much material before they leave the wordly plane. Irony is instead of following that spiritual material we create religions out of them, discarding the spiritual core. Like throwing away the banana and fighting over the peel (the superfical coating housing the spiritual core).
    I will refrain from referring to Samanars as Jains (or for that matter, say Siddhars and Aghoris as Hindus), as they were beyond any religious affiliation. In fact, it’s the other way around: Jainism arose out of the collective experiences of Samanars and other similar enlightened sages. Similarly, Hindu culture arose out of the collective experiences of Rishis, Siddhars, Aghoris, Samanars, Buddhas, and many other sages. We even owe to them some of most popular expressions of God like Shiva, Sakthi, Vishnu. It is they who saw, expressed, decorated, and adorned their visions (darshan) of God in a number of ways that would be inspiritional to humankind.
    Hindu culture has adopted a number of elements from Samanars (among a long list of other spiritual traditions). The concept of ahmisa (non-violence) for example, was exemplified first by the Samanars, probably to levels beyond any other spiritual tradition.
    I just happened to find one samanar cave (Site 3) back in 2002. Little did I know that there were so many more like this gem, all around the locality where I live. Thanks, to a friend who called upon me for walkabout tour of the area.
    • Site 1 (Vadapallanji)
    • Site 2 (Keellakuyilakudi)
    • Site 3 (Keellakuyilakudi)
    Preserving the past
    Jain caves at Muthupatti are yet another reminder of the city’s and Tamil language’s antiquity
    The Jain beds strewn around our ancient city comprise a valued cultural treasure. The inscriptions on them and the bas-relief sculptures are the remaining evidence of Tamil language’s antiquity besides indicating the flourishing period of Jainism during various centuries.
    Mostly, the Jain caves have the bas-reliefs of tirthankaras and the inscriptions that tell the tale of people of all walks of life from chieftains to common man and how they patronized Jainism. The inscriptions also throw light on the number of Jain schools that existed during the period.
    Another hill that stands tall withstanding vandalism and vagaries of nature is the hillock at Muthupatti. More popularly known as Karadipatti alias Perumalmalai, the hillock has two bas-relief structures of tirthankaras, a separate beautiful but ruined tirthankara sculpture, three Brahmi inscriptions, Jain beds and two vattezhuthu inscriptions.
    The two bas-relief sculptures of tirthankaras are sitting on Arthapariyankaasana posture on a pedestal borne by three lions. Attendants are found on both sides of the structures. The head is adorned with triple umbrella. Below the sculptures, there are two ‘vattezhuthu’ inscriptions that date back to 9th or 10th century A.D.
    The first inscription refers to a Jain school located at Kurandi near the present Aviyur village that is located between Madurai – Aruppukottai road, according to Archaeological sources. The source say: A small hill at Kurandi village is known as ‘Paranthaga Parvatham’ and the school located at this place is called Sri Vallabha Perumpalli.
    The word Paranthaga might be identified with the Pandya King Paranthaga Nedunchadaiyan, who ruled Pandya country during 768 to 815 A.D. His son Srimara Sri Vallabha, who ruled during 815 to 862 A.D. might have patronized this Jain school. So the school is named after him. A student of the school, Mahanandhi Periyar, who is the student of Ashtopavasi Padarar, carved this sculpture.
    Another inscription mentions the village Kurandi is in the limit of Venbunadu- a sub-division of Pandya country. Here the village Kuyilkudi is mentioned as ‘Amirthaparakrama Nallur’ alias Kuyilkudi. Here, Kanagaveera Periyadigal, a disciple of Gunasena Thevar, installed the image on behalf of Kuyilkudi village. The inscriptions also refers that the palanquin bearers of the palace have undertook the duty of protecting the sculptures. Kurandi School has wide contact with Kazhugumalai Jain School and Palani Ivar Malai Jain School. There were also teachers-student exchange programmes, the source noted.
    The separate sculpture of a tirthankara, who is on ‘arthapariyankaasana,’ is seen on a pedestal borne by three lions. He is fanned by attendants (yakshas) from the sides while a streak of light and branches of pindi (Asoka) tree are seen at the back of his head. The sculpture represents the early Pandya sculptural art during 9th century A.D.
    Tamil Brahmi inscriptions
    Belonging to first century B.C., one of the three Tamil Brahmi inscriptions has a reference to a resident of Musiri, the port city of Kerala on the Western Coast. Archaeological sources say that the resident might have carved out these Jain beds. Another inscription carved at the side of a stone bed is damaged and it is hard to decipher while the third inscription has a reference to ‘Vindaiyur.’ The Vindaiyur may be identified with present Vandiyur, he says.
    It is said that Jain monks chose Madurai, capital of Pandya Kingdom, to propagate their religion as the city enjoyed the status of being an important trading centre. The city structures and sculptures, indeed, narrate stories of the past as we browse through history.
    Secretary-General, All India Jain Minority Forum, New Delhi,
    Ex-Member, Media Expert Committee, Govt. of India,Ex-President, National Society for Prevention of Heart Disease & Rehabilitation
    Ex- Member, Maharashtra State Minority Commission, Govt.of Maharashtra, Mumbai.
    Co-Author: JAINISM (Macmillan Co 1974). with Colette Caillat, (Member Institut de France, Paris,) & A.N.Upadhye, My translation of Dr.L. Alsdorf’s German Beitraege zur Geschichte von Vegetarismus und Rinderverehrung in Indien (History of Vegetarianism and Cow Veneration In India) published (Routledge, London) History of Vegetarianism and Cow-Veneration | Indologica, in Feb.2010 edited by Dr. Bollee.Participant and speaker in the 7th Jaina Studies Workshop on Jaina Law and Jaina Community, Centre for Jaina Studies, SOAS, University of London, Bal Patil’s English translation of Dr.Ludwig Alsdorf’s French Les Etudes Jaina, Etat Present et Taches Futures (Jaina Studies Present State and Future Tasks edited by Dr.Willem B. Bolle, (2006) Jaya Gommatesa! Foreword by Dr Colette Caillat, (2006, Mumbai). Jainism: An Eternal Pilgrimage by Bal Patil, Ed. By Tony Whittington, all the three published by Hindi Granth Karyalay, Mumbai

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Posted by: Bal Patil | September 4, 2010


Paper read in the Government of Maharashtra Seminar on Prohibition held at Bombay on 5,6, 7, November, 1976


President of India,


the then Prohibition Minister

Published in National Herald (New Delhi)  dt. 12th & 13th November, 1976

Published in Lok Rajya dt.16th April, 1977

By Bal Patil




Paper read in the Government of Maharashtra Seminar on Prohibition held at Bombay on 5,6, 7, November, 1976

Published in Nation Herald (New Delhi)  dt. 12th & 13th Nove.1976

Published in Lok Rajya dt.16th april, 1977

By Bal Patil

Much of the problem of drink has intensely shrouded in ignorance: it has been a case of suppressio veri suggestion falsi suppression of truth and suggestion of falsehood. Take for instance the nature of liquor trade. How many know it unique character different from the common run of trades? As Viscount Astor noted in his testimony before the Amulree Commission, the British Royal Commission on licensing:

“The drink trade differs from practically every other business which provides articles of consumption. It is to the interest of the community to increase and stimulate the consumption of milk and bread etc. It is not to the interest of a community to stimulate and increase the maximum consumption of alcoholic particularly the stronger drinks.’

I think this is a wholesome and salutary angle from which to consider the trading a alcoholic beverages though it might give further creeps to a trade which is already in jitters. India has followed a prohibition policy as a matter of Gandhian faith since pre- independence period. It was one of the main planks of Gandhiji’s constructive programme which was sought to be implemented by the Congrees Governments that came to power in the various States in 1973. but with the resignation of Congress governments at the outbreak of the second world war the programme came to a premature end in 1939.


After independence several States started introducing prohibition. By 1954 one third of the total area in the country and one fourth of the population was under prohibition. Total prohibition was in operation in Madras (Tamil Nadu), Maharashtra, Gujarat and 11 districts of Andhra Pradesh and other sizable areas in Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa,Karnataka and Kerala.

But there was showing down in the implementation of the prohibition policy after 1954. The Prohibition Inquiry Committee went into this problem and the question of the excise  revenue collection from liquor.

Later in 1964 the Study Team on Prohibition was appointed by the Planning Commission under the Chairmanship of Justice Tekchand, to study the working of the prohibition programme for the country as a whole and covering problems connected with enforcement of prohibition and excise laws and measures to reduce illicit traffic in trade and improving administration. The Tekchand Report suggested far reaching steps for progressively introducing total prohibition in the country.

At the same time in 1964 the Central Government made an offer to the State Government to reimburse 50 per cent of the loss in excise revenue caused by the introduction of prohibition. But the response from State government was not encouraging. The offer was reiterated in June, 1968 for a further period of five years. But no State has availed of this offer.


On the contrary, the period since 1969 witnessed a reversal of the policy of prohibition. State after State scrapped dry law to increase its revenues. Maharashra State announced a package of measures to liberalise and rationalize its prohibition policy in January 1964 which was criticized as regressive by the Tekchand Committee. The last State to scrap prohibition was Tamil Nadu in 1971. But is reintroduced it in a phased manner in September,1973.

Today there is an intense reconsideration of prohibition policy. The Centre considers that in the new mood it will be possible to persuade the States to reintroduce prohibition with the help of sufficient financial assistance and incentives. In pursuance of this the former Government announced the 12 point plan aimed at reducing the  consumption of alcoholic beverages and preparing the ground for the introduction of total prohibition in the country.


The prohibitory guidelines include ban on drinking in public places, stoppage of advertisements related to drink, location of liquor shops away from educational instiutions and their restriction, pay days as dry days,  strict prohibition on Government servants’ drinking, no issue of fresh licences for increase of capacity or installation of new distillation and brewing units save for export, tightening of legislation and enforcement, intensive propaganda against evils of drinking and setting of personal example by leaders of public opinion.

Thus the nation is poised for total prohibition. The Maharashtra State Government has just announced its decision to implement scrupulously the 12 Point Programme. The highlights of its new policy are that no new licences will be issued for liquor units, the fees for individual permits would be raised from R.2 to Rs.10 a further demarcation of the location of liquor shops and that country liquor will not be permitted to be drunk on the shop premises. Instead factory workers will be provided with sealed country liquor bottles. The new policy is to come in force from  1st January, 1977.

The course of prohibition policy has not run smoothly so far. The excise revenue earning of the Maharashtra State is estimated at Rs. 42 crores for 1975-76. As the Government had made it clear last year, the State was not so much interested in the revenue from liquor but was more concerned with the health of consumers of illicity liquor.

Bombay City

Prohibition was introduced in Bombay City in 1949 and was extended to the entire State in 1950. After 13 years the State liberalised it from 1st January,1964. Three years later the State Government almost completely lifted prohibition and drinking permits wre issued liberally. The Government also granted licences to manufacture liquor to some suger mills. The State Government’s distillery at Chitali in Ahmednagar district helped produce cheap country liquor by supplying five per cent of its output of industrial alcohol.

Of the 24 liquor factories in the State, fourteen produce country liquor, six India made foreign liquor, and four brew beer. Three more breweries, licenced already, are yet to come up. At the same time liquor  shops were given permits liberally. Threre are over 1800 liquor shops, under licence, selling hard liquor while hundreds of restaurants and shops serve beer and toddy, together accounting for an annual business of wel over Rs.200 crores.

Directive Principle

Prohibition policy is being pursued according to an important Directive principle of State Policy namely, Articles 47 stating: “ The State shall regard the raising of the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people and the improvement of public health as among its primary duties and , in particular, the State shall endeavour to bring about prohibition of the consumption except for  medicinal purposes of intoxicating drinks

And of drugs which are injurious to health.”

It is in this consttutional and economic context of the Gandhian emphasis that it is instructive to recall Gandhaji’s decisive argument for prohibition that he did not want people to be deceived by the specious argument that India must not be made sober by compulsion. “The State does not cater for the voice of the people.” He said,” We do not regulate and license houses of ill fame. We do not provide facilities for thieves to indulge their propensity for theieving. I hold drink to be more damnable than thieving and perhaps even prostitution. It is not often the parent of both?

The argument for introduction of compulsion to restrain this dangerous propensity to drink is the same as the one in population control and its achievement by compulsion. It cannot be appealed in defence and people have continued to drink from times immemorial are drinking now and will continue to drink. Just as man has procreated from the point of his creation and his procreative behavious has now been subjected to well conceived legislative compulsion, there is no reason why the habit of drinking and human propensity to it cannot be similarly made subject to checks and prohibition in socio economic interest.

Tekchand Report

More than a decade has passed since the appearance of the Tekchand Report and te public and socio-economic temper of the country has undergone a radical change. There is renewed emphasis on an all India total prohibition policy. It is unfortunately true that liquor lobbies are persistent in their hidden strategies against prohibition. What is disquietening is that the press comments, though conciliatory are still subdued enough to voice caution and highlight obstacles, financial, administrative and criminal in the implementation of prohibition policy.

Restriction on consumption of alcoholic beverages and punitive sanctions are almost as old in the history of humanity as the use of intoxicating drinks. The Chinese assert that as early as the eleventh century B.C. one of their emperors ordered all the wines in the kingdom to be uprooted. The Laws of Hammurabi whose reign in Babylonia is estimated to have been around 2000 B.C. contained drastic regulation as to wine drinkers. In India drinking prevailed from earliest periods  in Vedic and post-Vedic and its evil effects have been uniformly condemned in scriptures. The ancient condemnation of drink was more on moral than economic grounds.

The socio economic aspects of the evils of drink and the imperative to curb them and the emergency of temperance movements leading to prohibition are a comparatively  modern phenomenon. As Professor Alexander Elster, a German authority says in Alkoholismus: “It is the sociological aspect of the problem i.e. of social hygiene which puts the study as well as the attempts at counteraction into modern perspective. This modern scientific attitude is due to a better distinction between the analysis of the individual and the social aspects of the problems, and national economy, Satate policy and social reform.”

Temperance movement

The temperance movement had, initially, concentrated its attention on spiritual guidance through moral suasion, which has certainly an inestimable value in educating the world be drinkers and dissuading confirmed addicts but intemperance is not merely a question of vicious inclination but also of certain misconceptions about the healthful, medical, nutritive so called qualities of alcohol. To combat this a scientific temperance attitude is necessary. And this was first provided in Britian by J. Livesey in his well known “Malt Lecture” of 1928 which is considered as a starting point of the total abstinence movement. He said that one of the causes of intemperance was ‘ignorance’ and emphasized that by the efforts of the temperance advocates “the ignorance long existing respecting the properties of ardent spirits is in a great measure removed.”

Though scientists have dispassionately investigated the deleterious effects of alcohol they have refrained sometimes from drawing specific conclusions of socio economic and legislative nature. This is true as shown in  a study, The Action of Alcohol On Man. And this is why as Professor Hermann Levy observes in his authoritative study, Drink, an Economic and Social ,Study, “ the problem of Drink had been hitherto dealt with by two directly opposing sides, the one linked up with the temperance movement and largely packed by the Churches, the other connected with purely private interest, and designed to fight the former – the two hostile camps. ‘Trade and Temperance’ as they have been called.”

Therapeutic misconceptions

Now what are the therapeutic misconceptions about alcohol? Alcohol is generally considered to be a stimulant. But evidence before the Amulree Commission emphasized that in point of fact it has no such property: its action is almost entirely narcotic. By acting on the  delicate nerve centres the alcohol paralyese the inhibitions consequently there is a feeling of comfort, self confience. Hence the Commission noted that alcohol is “thus definitely a drug, in that its effect is to modify for the time being, the action of parts of the mechanism of the body.”

An official publication of the Swedish Royal Social Board summed up by saying that “medical progress has proved beyond doubt that alcohole even in small quantities has a paralyzing effect on the systems and secondly, in our modern technically progressive era, with its life of intense strain greater demands are made on personal self control and presence of mind than formerly. Since alcohol in particular benumbs the faculties, its abuse may have been even more disastrous effects now a days than even before.” (Social Work and Legislation in Sweden, 1938)

This is confirmed by modern neurological researches. Chronic dependence on psychosomatic drugs is likely to lower the normal functioning of other cerebral faculties notably the error detecting ones as demonstrated by the Soviet neurologist, Dr (Mrs.) Natalya Bekhtereva, Director of Leningrad Institute of Experimental Medicine. As the article on Alcoholic Consumption in the latest ediction of Encylopaedia Britannica States:  “Alcohol as a drug affecting the central nervous system belongs in a class with the barbiturates, minor tranquillisers and general anaesthetics and is commonly classified as a depressant.” The alcoholic effects are biphasic, it acts as an excitant of some functions, but as the alcoholic concentration in the blood increases “the effect is constantly more depressant going to sedation, stupor and coma.”

Besides its narcotic action, alcohol also has a food value in the strictly limited sense that it contributes to the supply of ‘fuel ‘ necessary for the  generation of energy for the use of body. But the food or fuel value of drink “is strictly circumscribed by the disadvanatages of its drug action.” And as Dr. Charles Hill, General Secretary of BMA noted : “ It is farcical to speak of alcohol’s food value. It has about as much caloric value in a glass of beer as a knob of bread or a limp of sugar.”

Alcohol taken with meal in moderate quantity may be appetizing. Medically a concentration of 15 per cent of less of alcohol in the stomach which is as high that ordinarily resulting from the moderate imbibing of wine or beer or dilute spirit is not damaging to the mucosa. But one cannot rule out the danger of chronic dependence and the possible cultivation of  habit. The same is true of its medicinal qualities which may have efficacy in therapecutically determined dosages and in controlled conditions and hence its medicinal use being exception to the rule cannot be taken as an extenuating factor to exonerate alcohol from its deleterious narcotic effect.

Alcohol is said to cause a ‘ feeling of warmth’, but this is deceptive. Arctic explorers, as noted by John A. Hunter in Alcohol and Life, are forbidden the use of alcohol which especially dangerous in cold climates and because it lessens strength and endurance. Similarly it is erroneous to believe that alcohol has a beneficial effect on efficiency. Eminent medical authorities, after fully reporting on the experiments made, came to the conclusion that alcohol does not exert any great influence on muscular power except in large doses. “ Probably the output  of work is unaffected but on the other hand, even small doses definitely diminish the power of the body to carry out manoeuvres demanding precision.” This explains the causal link between drink and traffic accidents.

The Tekchand Committee has laid great stress on the evils of misconceptions about alcohol but has not considered the question why people drink. This is really a crucial factor for consideration of the sociologist and economist. As suggested by Hermann Levy alcohol is consumed neither for its “narcotic function, not for being a liquid food: to a large extent it is taken as a refreshment” because in his opinion the “refreshment element in drink has had the most far reaching effects. For it is the element out of which drinking customs, as distinct from the drinking habit of individuals, have largely grown.”

I think this is an important point to be taken into account when considering the demonstration effect of easy availability of low percentage liquor like beer etc. Drinking the these circumstances becomes just a matter of keeping company, a vogue or fashion, individual can hardly decide for himself to drink or not to drink , it becomes matter of sheer social association and convivial imitation.

This is confirmed by the analysis of alcoholic habit in the Encyclopaedia Brittanica: “ People ordinarily drink alcohol to obtain effects they have been taught to  expect. Small amounts are drunk in expectation of reducing feelings of tension, relieving feelings of anxiety and conversely, obtaining feelings of  gaiety and exhilaration. A sufficient amount of alcohol wll usually serve the desired purpose. It is, however, likely that the state of expectation combines with the pharmacological action of the drug to produce the desired effect. All these reactions may be the result of the stimulating effect of small amounts of alcohol. But they are in part also made possible by the social and cultural permissiveness typical of drinking situations. Alcohol is not only psychoactive but a socio active drug.

Complex Syndrome

Drinking habit is quite a complex syndrome susceptible to a variety of socio-economic, psycho- physical and even climatic conditions differing from country to country and so it is difficult to say which particular factor will trigger the deleterious alcoholic habit and its effects. Certain nationalities can be singled out as prone to excessive and heavy drinking owing to their peculiar drinking habits and relative cheapness or dearness of liquors.

For example, the U.K. has always been characterized by heavy drinking. Daniel Defoe said of the ‘true born Englishman’ (1701) :

In English ale their enjoyment lies,

for which they’ll starve themselves and families.

And Englishman will fairly drink as much:

As will maintain a family of Dutch.”

Daniel Defoe was a satirist of his times but he was also a social reformer keen of improving the lot of the labouring poor. For Adam Smith writing Wealth of Nations some eight yeas later, price of the drink was not the criterion. To him the cheapness of wine seems to be the cause, not of drunkenness, but of sobriety. As noted by him:

“The inhabitants of the wine countries are in general the soberest people in Europe. Witness the Spaniards, the Italians, and the inhabitants of the southern provineces of France. People are seldom guilty of excess in what is their daily fare…. On the contrary, in the countries which , either from excessive heat or cold, produce no grapes, and where wine consequently is dear and rarity, drunkenness is a common vice, as among the northern nations, and all those who like between the tropic.”

The national differentials in drinking habits were also noted by Lord D’Abernoh, an English diplomat, who spoke about the abuse of alcoholic liquor” which marred the English efficiency and gave this country a bad preeminence”. The strength of national movements is co-related to the difference in alcoholic consumption existing between them. But such differences in drinking habits cannot be attributed solely to climate but are also due to the kind of alcoholic drink and most of all to the socio economic factors.

Excessive  drinking

Heavy and excessive drinking is immediately reflected among the poor, labouring classes by being a major portion of their domestic budgets to drink. As it is the portion of the income spent on drinking amoung the working classes it is extravagantly disproportionate as compared to food item expenditure. According to the Amulree Report the drink was found to be nearly six times as great as the bread bill. Hence t is right to assume that if only  a part of the expenditure directed in the consumption of liquor were devoted to increasing the expenditure on staple foods a great nutritional change among the labouring classes would have occurred. This cannot be emphasized too strongly. As estimated by Lord Boyd, Orr, an  additional expenditure of just eight pence would have been sufficient to average expenditure of all  group on fresh milk to the level of expenditure of the highest.

This imbalance in budgeting (domestic) has also a vital relationship with the rational items which are subsidised by the State. Had there been no ration the portion of wage bill spent on food  items would have been greater and that on drink narrower. What it amounts to is that assuming that the drinking propensity remains constant even with increasing taxes, the expenditure on drink which already eats into a significant portion of income, the State subsidy on rationing has indirectly abetted it and that the subsidy was financed by the consumers of drink in the form of higher cost of drink. It also means that the drinkers contributed to the budget and real income of the non drinkers derived from artificially low price of the most necessary foods.

Drink has an impairing effect on efficiency, particularly industrial efficiency ad safetly. These have been recognized as causing an adverse impact on output, resulting in absenteeism and accidents and have prompted restrictive legislation. W.H. Rivers noted in his The Influence of Alcohol and other Drugs on Fatigues (1908) that in one of his subjects, “ a subjective feeling of lassitude and disinclination for activity of body and mind” came on within half an hour of the taking of 40cc. Of alcohol, and a fellow workers could recognize the days when alcohol was taken “partly from his lassitude and partly from his very obvious inability.”

The effects of drink were found to be far more disastrous on the military. Llyod George said in 1916 “Drink is doing us more damge in the war than all the German submarines put together. We are fighting Germany, Austria  and Drink, and, as far as I can see, the greatest of these three deadly foes is drink.” It has been recently suggested, it is interesting to note, that had Churchill drunk only one bottle less the war would have ended one year earlier.

Drink and Crime

As regards the relation of drink to crime and traffic offences also the evidence is quite considerable. Though one need not go to the extreme assertion that all crime is due to drink it is reasonable to assume that as drink is disinhibatory it will naturally bring the emotional side of the subject to the surface and in a criminally inclined individual this may well does often trigger the commission of offence. As Hermann Levy observes” “Scientists have definitely reached the conclusion that a considerable percentage of offences generally is due to what Germans have called ‘ Deliktsantrieb’, an urge to commit an offence, which is largely fostered by alcoholic drink.”

The British Buckmaster Commission Report came to the conclusion that as a “moderate estimate” about 40 per cent common offences covered by Committee’s investigations were attributable directly or indirectly to drink. The alcoholic effects were most evident in offences associated with passion, such as, assault, willful damage, and crimes of violence apart from murder.

As is clear from the psycho-neurogenic effect noted above of alcohol drink has a definite effect on driving which results in a rising incidence of traffic accidents. Alcohol is involved in about one third of the more than 50,000 annual road traffic fatalities in the U.S. in possibly 5,00,000 injuries, and in more than 1000,000,000 dollars worth of property damage.

Thus social and economic costs of alcoholism and heavy drinking are essentially incalculable. An estimate of 2000,000,000 dollars as the cost of health and welfare serves provided to alcoholies and their families in the U.S. alone suggests measure of world wide effects. Crude projections of the annual costs of alcoholism to the national economy of the U.S. range from 7,000,000,000 dollars to 10,000,000,000 dollars.

The alcoholic problem is not unique to Western countries. The Soviet Russia too is very much concerned at present with the mounting social and economic costs of alcoholism. According to a Soviet demographer it may outweigh revenue from the sale of alcohol, making the Soviet economy the net looser. Drink is blamed for poor labour productivity, divorce and violence. The Russians have adopted stiff measures against growing drunkenness and a novel measure as reported in the periodical ‘Journalist’ (reported in The Economic Times, 31st May 1975) is that workers who are taken in hand on pay day and cannot resist alcoholic temptations, delivered straight to their wives. The procedure, the periodical remarked, demanded the maximum tact, but necessary because absenteeism due to alcoholism was rising.

The patently deleterious effect of alcoholic beverages on productivity and efficiency and the net social and economic loss to any country inevitably point to the compelling need for drastic curbs. Would such interference by the State with the right of a citizen to dispose of his earning and arrange his budget in the manner he thinks fit.? This argument can be easily dealt with by saying that in a planned  economy like ours in India, which is moreover an underdeveloped economy, we cannot afford to take risks as to the alarming lowering of the productivity and the general socio-economic deprivation wrought by alcoholism among its population.

It is also argued that prohibition, or even well conceived regulation of drink cannot succeed until and unless there is an improvement of socio-economic standards and educational level. But this is arguing in a circle. It is precisely to give a boost to socio-economic improvement that prohibition is being enforced. However, there is the question of providing alternative channels for expenditure and recreation once drinking is reduced and eventually banned. And there is no doubt that expenditure saved on drink will find outlet in better living conditions.

Refreshment function

As regards the ‘refreshment’ function of drink I have above noted that “social and cultural permissiveness typical of drinking situations” is the real cause of rapid proliferation of the consumption of  even mild liquors. This point was also noted in a peripheral manner by the Tekchand Committee. The Report said that drinking of alcoholic beverages is common among sophisticated young men from families where parents drink, also number of drinking young men is common in public schools and it is because drinking is common among their teachers accustomed to western  life. That is why Tekchand Report categorically says ;

“So long as drinking is a symbol of fashion, the upper strata as also the gilded youth will be drawn to it. They will stop drinking the moment drink is dethroned from the high pedestal of prestige. It has to be made unfashionable. The bottle must lose caste.  “Hence the Tekchand Committee depreciated the prohibition introduced in 1964 permitting light alcoholic beverages to person between the age groups 21 to 30 years and said that it was fraught with evil consequences.

The young and drink evils.

This brings to the fore the importance of educating the young on the evils of drink. If is especially important in a matter like drink to provide information to the impressionable youth on the medical, psychological and sociological knowledge of the effects of drink and acquaint them to the dangers of drink. The Handbook of Suggestions on Health Education (The UK 1928) urged:

“Boys and girls should receive appropriate instruction as part of their general training in health , in the dangers and misuse of alcoholic drinks, in the current fallacies about the alleged benefits of alcohol and in the intestimable advantage of sobriety to the individual and the nation. The teaching should be based on the ground of  health and fitness, efficiency in work and play, manly self control, consideration of others and good workmanship.”

The Amulree Commission Report made it definitely clear that every child ought to receive “specific and systematic instructions as to the properties of alcohol as it affected health and that this should be regarded as quite routine to the teaching of health in school.”

There is a welcome ban on alcohol advertising but it is not enough so long as liquor continues to flow and no social stigma attached to it. Lord Winterton said to the Royal Commission: “ When I hear for example, that school children are repeating the slogan ‘Guinness’ is good for you’ I understand that the trade is deliberately antagonizing the efforts of the State when it spends public money to inform these children and young people should not drink bear, wines or spirits of any kind.’


Education is certainly a potent instrument in combating potential drink susceptibility but equally important can be the living conditions and alternative forms of recreation and refreshment.  Most important among living conditions is improvement in housing.  A welcoming meal after work in tenement in clean surroundings could be a potent factors and counterattraction to the temptation of the bottle for the workers.

But there can be counter-attractions which are undesirable like betting, gambling and smoking.  These cannot be encouraged especially in the presence of drink because drink and gambling have a way to go together.  As rightly observed by Sir Arthur Yapp in his Memorandum to the Royal Commission even from a temperance point of view the harm done through encouraging gambling, betting or dog-racing would far outweigh the benefit as a possible counter-attraction to drink.

The point of counter-attractions, wholesome in character is that they should enable the potential consumers of drink to spend his time away from the liquorshop and in a culturally healthy recreative activity.  It is question of proper utilization of leisure and offers considerable scope for devising constructive social means.

Obnoxious effects

In the context of the obnoxious socio-economic effects of drink the value of temperance movements and restrictive legislation leading to prohibition can be appreciated.  Temperance movement aims at discouraging the consumption of drink and increase the number of abstainers through moral, educational and scientific voluntary persuasion, while legislation aims at limiting the conditions with conduce to heavy drinking and inordinate expenditure by the public.  Both are complementary to each other.

But restrictive legislation does not more than control and suppress abnormal consumption of drink.   It is obviously limited in scope, but its value cannot be denied in preventing most obvious dangers and evils of what is termed appropriately as a ‘dangerous trade’.  It required control on the same grounds as other dangerous trades and restrictive and anti-drink legislation has to be viewed from the same angle as relating to drugs and motor cars.

But while legislative need for curtailing the consumption of alcohol is clearly undisputed the question is whether it can be enough.   When there is control only and consumption continues in a regulated manner the manufacture and trade of liquors still continues and comes to have a powerful vested interest in the continuation of the consumption of alcoholic beverages.  The trade naturally wants drinking to be continued, in however limited a manner, in its natural commercial course and thus anxious to increase the turnover.  Contrary to this State legislation is keen to restrict it and even eventually enforce total prohibition which is the ultimate aim of 12-point guidelines. How to accommodate these opposite poles of interest in the interim period? And would this contradiction not seriously vitiate the entire programme?

There is a constant lurking suggestion from interested liquor lobbies that drink is not such a serious problem.  Hermann Levy characterizes it as a “most dangerous suggestion” because as long as drink continues to be what it is its effects will be severe and obnoxious in socio-economic terms.  In the bargain the very complexity of the problem of alcoholic restriction becomes a deterring prospect. “It is unity and diversity which tempts us to frame rules and prescribe specific remedies but it is infinite diversity amid general unity which tempts us at times to give up the task of reform in despair” observed George B. Wilson in his study Alcohol and Nation.

Prohibition .was in force in the U.S.A. for a number of years in the twenties and its repeal has been frequently cited as an example of uselessness of radical form in the alcoholic matters.  But is this failure really borne out by facts ? Ideas of right and wrong about alcohol were common in the US since the latter part of 18th century.  The temperance movement gained momentum by the middle of the 19th century to become an anti-alcohol movement which culminated in National Prohibition enacted by constitutional Eighteenth Amendment, popularly known as Volstead Act in 1919.

There are pros and cons of the operation of the National Prohibition Act.  The main evils attributed to it were corruption, increased drinking, smuggling etc. As regards benefits, there was less consumption of alcoholic liquors after the Volstead Act than before.  According to the estimate of the Allorney-General, there was a decrease of 70 per cent in consumption.  Prohibition helped people to secure better living conditions, and more domestic happiness and there was regular attendance at work.  “A great part of public opinion came inevitably to the conclusion that by and large, prohibition had done untold good to Americans.”

Wickersham Commission

In 1929 the Wickersham Commission was appointed by President Hoover to inquire into the problem of enforcement of prohibition.  The Report exposed the weakness as due to “imperfect enforcement”.  It referred to “an attitude of hostility or contempt for the law on the part of those who are not unlikely to be leaders in the next generation”.  The main weakness was the Report stated “the great mass of testimony is to the effect that the prohibition laws, as they are enforce, are not regarded in the same light as other laws. The prevailing attitude is one of the defiance, resentment or mere indifference.”

The Commission opposed the repeal of 18th Amendment and recommended adequate enforcement with the co-operation of the States.  The repeal was hastened, however, by the depression of 1929 which proved to be the last straw.  As the ex-Senator

Wheeler put it “the reason prohibition has not been successful is that they have appointed as head of prohibition enforcement a man who has been in the whisky business for last 40 years.”

Major W.B. Wright said “At any time the Federal Government, almost in the twinkling of an eye could have stopped the crooked alcohol business if the US Secretary of the Treasury and the Attorney-General had used the great powers given by the Federal Statutes to prevent and stop such law-breaking.  The Federal Government could have enforce the Eight Amendment if there had been a will to do so.”

There was another important factor in the repeal of prohibition.  It was the opposition of trade and other wealthy interests.  In the US enormous funds were collected to fight prohibition partly from those engaged in alcohol trade on a large scale and also from groups of wealthy businessmen “who regarded the sacrifice of revenue from drink and the consequential increase in taxes on large personal incomes to make up for it as obviously adverse to their own interests.  Since drink together with tobacco, represents the most fertile source of indirect taxation it is natural that whenever this taxation is reduced, vested interests must be afraid that the loss will have to be offset by more incisive direct taxation” (Drink by Hermann Levy.)

While the American prohibition experiment and its sabotage by vested interests through lackadaisical enforcement is instructive in the Indian context the above point of taxation and liquor revenue leads to the most adamant obstacle to the enforcement of prohibition.  The Union Government’s 12-Point programme and its implementation has already caused concern whether the task will put an unbearable strain on the administrative machinery of the States.

Heavy burden

It is also argued that the Union Government cannot lose sight of the fact that total prohibition will cast a heavy financial burden on the States in terms of both reduced excise revenues and additional administrative cost.  At the moment the States earn as much as Rs. 300 cores a year from liquor sales and therefore, it is pointed out that even if the Center agrees to reimburse half the bill they will have to cut their plan outlays on productive projects drastically.

The most important point to be considered here is whether excise revenue form liquor can be a proper source of public finance.  A fundamental principle of sound public finance demands that the State should not just rely on sources of taxation from which it can most easily get money but link up the policy of public finance vith that of economic and social welfare.   Money spent on alcoholic intoxication, though it affords subjective recreation, refreshment, is a wastc of money, and it cannot be thus regarded as the proper source for public finance even if it may be returned to some extent to the productive organism of the nation.

One can recall here pertinently Lord Chesterfield’s famous speech dated February 21, 1943 in the House of Lords on the repeal of the Gin Act. He said : “Luxury, my Lords, is to be taxed, but vice prohibited, let the difficulties in executing the law be what they will.  Would you lay a tax on the breach of Ten Commandments? Would not such a tax be wicked and scandalous because it would imply an indulgence to all those who could pay the tax? It appears to me, my Lords, that if so formidable a body are confederated against the virtue or the lives of their fellow-citizens, it is time to put an end to the havoc, and to interpose while it is yet in our power to stop this destruction.  I find it (the bill) the most fatal engine that ever was pointed at a people; an engine by which those who are not killed will be disabled, and those who preserve their limbs will be deprived of their senses.”

The Tekchand Committee commenting on this said that the revenue-oriented attitude of Wet States is not “dissimilar” to this and hence agreed with the recommendation of the Prohibition Inquiry Committee (1954-55) for the abolition of this tax. Instead it recommended Sales Tax as more equitable.  Here in this context of the complaint of loss of revenue through prohibition and its mitigation on account of the net socio-economic gains to be derived from it it is worth recalling that Sales Tax was first introduced by the ingenious C. Rajagopalachari long ago in order to offset the loss of revenue due to the introduction of prohibition in the old Madras State.  Now, the ironical fiscal situation is that Sales Tax has gone on increasing and expanding while at the same time excise revenue on alcoholic beverages too has not abetted.

There  is a certain cynicism about revenue derived from liquor through it may be evidently a form of taxation on a wasteful vice. This is clear from the following observation of the British Chairman of the Board of Inland Revenues explaning to brewers that it was not the brewer, distiller or wine merchant who paid the tax on drink but the consumer. “Thorugh your agency I am enabled to extract from the pockets of the people a sum of money and to do this without their knowing anything about it at all. If the unfortunate tax paper knows nothing about it so much the better for me. Where ignorance produces such bliss, do you think it wise enlighten ?”

Amulree Commission

The Amulree Commission emphasized :  “The probable loss of revenue need not to be a matter of great alaram. A sudden withdrawl from the revenue of the total amount of the taxation on intoxication liquor would certainly provide a formidable problem. Reduction of  expenditure, it is be to come about, must  necessarily be gradual; and it is our belief that the benefits to be derived from the present excessive expenditure would progressively compensate for any loss of taxation yield from that source. It is a difficult matter to question the discretion of the individual to spend his money in the way which seems to him  best, but we are bound to record that the evidence which we have received has left upon us the definite impression that a substantial reduction of the present expenditure in intoxicants by all classes is desirable.”

It is also argued that prohibition is an “expensive hazard” because besides loss of excise revenue it also entails considerable expenditure on enforcement. On this point of loss on enforcement  Mr. Bharathan Kumarappa who had an occasion to study prohibition in the US both during the its operation and after repeal said:

“Looking at purely from the monetary angle, there is money otherwise spent by the nation on drink and the money which will have to be spent by government on crime and disease caused by drink when we do not have prohibition. To state in simple terms where a drunkard pays Rs.1 as tax on his drink, he pays at least Rs.3 more for his drink,   Through prohibition the State has lost  Rs.1 it would have got from his drink but the consumer has saved Rs.4 which remains with him for other expenses. The State’s loss is nothing compared with the gain to the consumer. For what does this Rs.4 gain to the consumer mean? It means better food, better housing, better health and education and therefore greater efficiency. Thus what the State lost in the way of drink revenue can be more than fade up by more revenue derived from the efficiency and prosperity of its people. Therefore far from prohibition being too costly, it is drink and the revenue derived from it that are too costly for a poverty stricken nation.” (Why Prohibition?)

Besides loss of revenue it is feared that prohibition brings in its wake a spurt of crimes related to illicit distillation. But this is a fallacious argument in the nature of post hoc ergo propter hoc– After this therefore because of this. The real villain of the piece in all this mess of illicit distillation and criminal activity is half hearted and inadequate enforcement. And this is turn proves to be a double curse even when there is prohibition. For instance, in Punjab illicit liquor is drunk by more than two thirds of the people. The revenue from licensed sale is Rs.44 crores, the loss to the exchequer in terms of illicit liquor consumption is estimated to be Rs.88 crores.

The problem of alcoholic consumption and its prevention through prohibition is really colossal and admits of no half hearted measures. The package of the new rules for the enforcement of its prohibition policy announced by the Maharashtra Government though conforming to the guidelines by the Centre is nevertheless lukewarm in approach. With the best of intentions one cannot see how these rules are going to make an effective impact on alcoholic consumption. The former Chief Minister of Maharashtra complained that he felt bad when partymen approached him for licenses for liquor shops. In consonance with the prohibition policy the State  Government would do well to be courageous enough to impound all the licenses for 100 per cent export-oriented cases.

If Gandhiji’s name is to be invoked for prohibition the Government cannot obviously pursue such double standards of abstinence in and manufacture of alcoholic beverages for experts. If the Government means business of prohibition and there is no doubting its earnestness, it must be prepared to go the whole hog of prohibition, and sooner it does the better for the country and the people.

Prohibition is still a State subject and though the Centre has given a 12- Point Plan- very limited in scope- the Central Policy will be connected with the State.








Telephone: 30 99 52

Cable address Interrelations

Vasterlanggatan 31111

111 29 Stockholm

August 14, 1974

Mr. BAL Patil

54, Patil Estate

278, Javji Dadaji Marg,



Dear Mr. Patil,

Thank you very much for your good letter which warmed my heart, I read it carefully and also all the other documents and clippings which were attached. I am returning them as you might have need for them. If I can find a set of Asian Drama I will send it to you but I am not sure I have one here.

Concerning information about the Stockholm University Institute for International Economic Studies, I will send you a pamphlet, together with the clippings, under separate cover.

With warm regards,


Gunnar Myrdal




BOMAY 400007

18th Sept.1968

The Editor,

AICC Economic Review,

7, Jantar Mantar Road,



In his article “ Industrial Planning in Developed and Developing Nations” in the issue of August 15, 1968 of the AICC Economic Review Shri Manubhai Shah has made a brief reference to Professor Gunnar Myrdal’s recent book ASIAN DRAMA. The reference is couched in such an amusing imbroglio of cavalier comment that it completely distorts Prof. Myrdal’s thesis about “soft states” besides giving an unfortunate impression that Prof. Myrdal advocates discontinuing further western aid to the South Asian societies.

I wish Shri Manubhai Shah had quoted the source of at least one newspaper review of Prof. Myrdal’s book because judging from the adverse tenor of Shri Shah’s comments these reviews appear to have been uniformly critical of ASIAN DRAMA. I have read several reviews in the Western press, notably, Life of 13.5.1968, Harper’s Magazine of June 1968 and the New Statesman of 19-7-1968 none of which is unfavorable to the book. So far, to my knowledge, only one review of the book, or rather a review based on a P.T.I. report on the publication of the book, has appeared in India, and that is, Shri Shamlal’s in the “Times of India” of 12.3.1968 which again is not unfavorable. Therefore it is rather puzzling as to which “ newspaper review” Shri Shah is referring to.

Now I am reading the book proper three volumes running into 2284 pages and the more I read the more exciting and illuminating becomes the extraordinary insight and learning brought to bear upon the problem of the South Asian underdevelopment, and particularly that of India, by Prof. Myrdal. The book is most appropriately subtitled An Inquiry into the Poverty of Nations somewhat on the lines of Adam Smith’s WEALTH OF THE NATIONS, and is bound to become as epoch making. It is impossible to speak of the book but in superlatives so original its approach and so scholarly are its findings. The feelings it evokes can be aptly likened to those of Keats’s in his celebrated poem: On First looking into Chapman’s homer, particularly the lines: “Then felt I like some watcher of the skies when a new planet swims into his ken,” Asian Drama is indeed a phenomenon.

Now to come to Shri Shah’s criticism that Dr. Myrdal has come to the fantastic conclusion that Asia is a labyrinth of old customs, fossilized social strata and a stagnant society full of trouble and fissiparous, divisive and mutually hostile elements. Dr. Myrdal believes that the Asian societies are totally incapable of absorbing and transforming themselves into a modernized, scientific and technologically advanced industrial society. Because of their feudal past, and prevailing deep social prejudices and inhibitions, these societies have become soft and are incapable of absorbing and sustaining technological change. He has therefore, come to the painful conclusion that none of the western or American countries which are advanced in industrialization and economic development need waster their money, time and energy in assisting these Asian societies into modernizing and industrializations.”  Shri Shah brands this conclusion as “historically incorrect, factually absurd and a distorted view of the whole history.” But the question to be decided first is whether Dr. Myrdal has come to such fantastically sweeping conclusions. It is here where one must presume that the “newspaper reviews” have completely mislead Shri Shah. But surely Shri Shah could have exercised his judgement more patiently particularly since he know Dr. Myrdal to be a “great friend of India”, whether such a friend would be so callously iniquitous in his opinions.

On the contrary Prof. Myrdal’s observations in the Postscript to the book dealing with the period, January 1, 1966-June 30, 1967 are quite explicit on this count of Western aid. Prof. Myrdal says” “Despite India’s mounting difficulties, there are no signs that the rich countries are getting ready to come forward with increased financial aid.  In fact, there are no definite signs the they intend to maintain their present level of assistance except that attempts are being made to keep up temporarily the level of food aid, even though the ability of United States to deliver grains from surpluses under P.L.480 is vanishing.” (p.1833). What is more ominous according to Myrdal is that “her greater distress will put her under stronger pressure from the Western Countries, and particularly the United States, to abandon her efforts to realize a “Socialist Pattern of Society” (p.1834)  But Prof. Myrdal is optimistic that if India is fortunate to get a “number of really good crops, it is not impossible that the articulate strata of the population will become fired by a new determination to tackle with firmness and efficiency the Social and Economic reforms needed for national consolidation and economic development.” (Emphasis added)

At the same time Prof. Myrdal believes that the Asian countries will experience increasing difficulties in obtaining long-term capital. He says: “the old competitive international private market, particularly for long-term capital at fixed rates, has almost disappeared…. The unstable international political situation has discouraged private loans to foreign counties. And the political and economic uncertainties in newly independent countries such as those Asia have weakened confidence that obligations to foreign capitalists will always be honoured.” (P.661 ff.)

Now to come to the concept of “soft states” as formulated by Prof.Myrdal. It is in considering this problem that Prof. Myrdal make his most penetrating observations. He says: “From the standpoint and economic development the contrast   between the countries that retained a democratic form of government and those that moved toward authoritarianism is more apparent than real. In any case, it is not possible to say that one form of government has proved more conducive to the application of policies of economic and social reform than the other. On the contrary, the various political systems in the region are strikingly similar in their inability or unwilling ness to institute fundamental reforms and enforce social development. Whether democratic or authoritarian, they are all in this sense “ soft states.” (P.779)

Prof.. Myrdal explains: “When we characterize these countries as “soft states” we mean that, throughout the region, national governments require extraordinarily little of their citizens. (Emphasis added) There are few obligations either to do things   in the interest. Even those obligations that do exist are enforced inadequately if at all.   This low level of social discipline is one of the most fundamental differences between the South Asian countries today and Western countries at the beginning of their industrialization…. (p.896). Further he adds significantly; “Moreover, no South Asian country has an administration prepared to enforece new rules, even when these rules are not very revolutionary… Nonetheless it is beyond doubt that rapid development will be exceedingly difficult to engender without an increase in social discipline in all strata and even in the villages…. It is, therefore disturbing that all the plans are silent on this point…On the whole the need for greater discipline is avoided in public discussion – much more in fact than in Gandhi’s time, for he often upbraided his people for laziness, uncleanliness, and general lack of orderliness.” (P.898 ff.) (Emphasis added)

One of the great merits of Prof.Myrdal’s  analysis of the  South Asian situation is that his observation  have been advanced  in an inquiring spirit of scientific investigation. If at all  any of his  observations seem to be harsh or unpalatable  the  harshness is due rather to the rigourousness of a tested hypothesis  than  a personal opinion. Prof.Myrdal’s attitude towards Western aid and the value he attaches thereto is made quite clear in his discussion of the possibility of a communist revolution in the South Asian countries in the event of increasing misery. After upbraiding the Western intellectuals for having been influenced by Marx “ in some ways more deeply than the communists, who disclose a more sophisticated appreciation of how revolutions occur and how can be spurred and directed.” Prof. Myrdal goes on to express his  “Profound scepticism” in regard to the validity of any forecasts about future political developments in the South Asian region especial.Those based on such glib nations about the behavious of the  masses.” But he adds; “It is quite possible that in the long run several countries, or perhaps, all of South Asia, will waver more in the Communist direction and even come under communist dictatorships. It is also possible that the Western countries by generous aid policies may succeed in strengthening   anti-Communist regimes, Sometimes without any favourable efforts on the economic situation of the masses, but whatever happens, the casual mechanism will be complex, and different from country to country. Poverty, inequality and a lack of development have no foreordained and definite roles in the process.” And Prof. Myrdal pointedly concludes that “ it is regrettable that Western writers, who should know better and who have a sympathetic regard for the down trodden masses in the South Asian countries, feel that they have to appeal to anti -Communist sentiment among their nations in order to get a hearing for their plea for more moral solidarity among the people of the world.” (P.796 ff.)

The key-phrase in the above quotation is ‘ sometimes without any favourable effects on the economic situation of the masses’ because it reflects very acutely the ardent concern shown by the author in the primacy of the economic well being of the masses throughout the book. It is extremely important to note that even massive Western aid may not be of any avail if at the same time indigenous discipline is not forthcoming and also there is not a certain economic equalization, which Prof. Myrdal puts as a precondition to development.

On the equality issue Prof. Myrdal is quite explicit.  As to the question whether there is any conflict between economic equalization and economic progress Prof. Myrdal answers in the negative. He says: “First, economic equality is typically the outcome of social inequality, and the reverse is also true. This being the cause, a decrease in economic, inequality would tend to bring about a decrease in social inequality, and since the latter phenomenon in all its forms is detrimental to productivity, the effect on economic development would be beneficial. Secondly, since a large part of the population – on the Indian peninsula particularly – suffers from malnutrition and the lack of elementary health and educational facilities, it is clear that a decline in living levels in the lower brackets would have a detrimental effect on labour output and efficiency, and thus on production. Conversely, measure that encouraged essential consumption in the lower strata would raise productivity, even if they involved reducing income available to the higher strata. Thirdly… it is generally agreed that in South Asia much more than in the West during the early stages of its industrialization people in the higher income brackets indulge in conspicuous consumption and investments that do not contribute to raising the national product…. Fourthly, the independent value of greater economic- and social equality has to be weighed on the scales. In view of the miserably low levels of living that prevail at the base of the income pyramid, this value should be much higher than in the Western countries, where incomes generally are higher and extensive social security systems ensure that most of the population will be adequately provided for. “ (pp.747-48)

Prof. Myrdal also stresses the pertinence of the equality issue to education. He says: “ The greater the poverty of a country, the more difficult it in to achieve equality in education: but it is precisely in such a country that greater social and economic equality is essential for the creation of conditions favourable to development; (p.1805) And so importantly does this impinge on any proposed reform in education that in Prof. Myrdal’s view the “outcome of the widely publicized “race” with communist China will largely depend on whether the South Asian Countries, with their varying political system, have the same  determination as China to reform their educational institutions.”  (P.1828)

In coming to grips with the issue of equality Prof. Myrdal has crossed a diplomatic barrier.  Saying that the Western observers have shown much ambivalence toward this problem Prof. Myrdal points out that “there has been little determined criticism, and the equality issue is studiously avoided when community development, cooperation, and rural uplift generally are under discussion.” He concludes: It is evident that diplomacy has been a major concern in most of the writings on the various programmes of democratic planning.” (P.891)

At the same time Prof. Myrdal is acutely aware of the paramount important of the

control of population in economic growth. He concludes that a  “consideration of the economic effects of population trends should give the governments of the South Asian countries strong reasons for instituting as soon and as vigorously as possible policy measures to get birth control practiced among the masses of the people.” (p.1472). He draws attention to a “ tendency among political leaders to draw false conclusions from Western experience, and assume vaguely that birth control will spread spontaneously with industrialization, urbanization, and raising levels of living” (p.1509) As regards fertility decline he makes a searching conservation which we would do well to bear constantly in mind when considering the demographic trends in our country. He says: “ although urbanization and popular education have advanced, these changes… seem to have little or no casual relationship to the decline in mortality. We shall also find that the high rate of fertility is largely “ autonomous” in the same sense that mortality is. A significant decline in fertility wills thus not occure spontaneously because of changes in levels of income and living. Any such reduction would have to result from policy measures designed to spread birth control. In the absence of such measures on a comprehensive scale, South Asia will continue to experience a high and rising rate of natural population increase.” (pp.1391-92). Prof. Myrdal emphasizes that the “ population explosion is the most important social change that has taken place in South Asia in the; post-war era… The possibility now exists that the spread of birth control will be the greatest change in the next few decades, gradually making reforms and development easier to accomplish. But whether the birth rate will decrease, and decrease rapidly, within the next decade must seen uncertain.” (p.1530)

A most valuable point made by Prof. Myrdal in the context of industrialization is concerning the strategic importance of crafts and cottage industries. He says: “But because of the low level of industrialization from which these countries been and the rapid population increase, modern industry, even if it grows at an extremely rapid rate, cannot absorb more than a small fraction of the natural increment in the labour force for decades ahead. This situation arises both because the direct expansionary impact of modern industrial growth on employment is likely to be slight in the early phases and because the risk of backwash on traditional manufacturing is substantial. (p.1202) (emphasis added) Small- scale industry too will become less capable of absorbing additional labour the more it is modernized. Therefore, agricultures mainly, and traditional practices will have to bear the burden of the rapidly increasing labour force. Prof. Myrdal observes, “ It is frequently overlooked that protection and advancement of craft enterprises do not always conflict with the aim of modernization. With some important qualifications… the Gandhian position could be given an interlligible rationale even in a modern context.”  (p.1214) Further he says: “There was an essential element of rationality in Gandhi’s social and economic gospel, and the programme of promoting cottage, industry as they have evolved in the post-war ers have come more and more to represent purposeful and realistic planning for development.

As will be clear from the above a distinctive aspect of ASIAN DRAHA is the insight shown by the author in the social and economic philosophy of Gandhiji. Prof. Myrdal sums up the Gandhian ethose in these words: “Gandhi, although he strove to and actually did maintain and over the years even intensified- his ties with tradition and religion, was in this context (of equality) more than in any other a true Westernized liberal, indeed, a radical and a revolutionary, whose demand for drastic changes in the social and economic order was heard throughout the subcontinent. Until Gandhi’s crusade, social and economic reforms were discussed very little, either in India or anywhere else South Asia. Gandhi’s egalitarianism became one of the links between him and rationalistic intellectuals of Nehru’s type who were relatively unconcerned with tradition and religion.” (p.754). (emphasis added).

But Prof. Myrdal thinks that the Gandhian legacy is complex particularly in regard to economic equality. He observes that Gandhiji by ‘his stress on the principle of trusteeship, and his friendliness toward many in exalted economic positions, (he) established a pattern of radicalism in talk but conservation in action that is still very much a part of the Indian scene’. (p.750) (emphasis added).

Yet Prof. Myrdal has no doubts as regards the essential Gandhian faith in economic equality. He points out that Gandhiji firmly believed that freedom would be followed swiftly by social and economic revolution. “ To him such a revolution was inevitable.” And if drastic reforms were not introduced with the drawn of independence Gandhiji feared violent uprising of the suffering multitudes. Prof. Myrdal quotes Gandhiji;  ‘ A non-violent system of government is clearly an impossibility so long as the wide gulf between the rich and the hungry millions persists. The contrast between the palaces of New Delhi and the miserable hovels of the poor, labouring class cannot last one day in a free India in which the poor will enjoy the same power as the richest in the land. A violent and bloody revolution is a certainty one day unless there is a voluntary abdication of riches and the power that riches give and sharing them for the common good.” (P.786-87)

And in stressing the need for engending popular enthusiasm for schools as community centers and teachers as intellectual and moral leaders Prof. Myrdal pays the handsomest compliment to the pervasive influence Gandhiji had. He says: “ This is not the first time in the course of this study that the writer has found himself thinking that not only India, but the other South Asian countries as well have need of another Gandhi- or rather a great number of them – who would away the upper classes and would walk the country roads and inspire the people in their villages.” (p.1824) (Emphasis added).

And this brings one to the seminal thesis of ASIAN DRAMA that any significant development can materialize only through an attitudinal and institutional approach towards modernization ideals, which have been used as value premises in the book. These ideals include rationality, planning, rise in productivity per head, rise in levels of living, social and economic equalization, national independence and democracy at the grass roots. Prof. Myrdal thinks that developmental planning in these countries is too much concerned with physical inputs and physical investment. But our attitudes and institutionals are just as important.

But this institutional approach has to be contra-distinguished from the “modern approach” to development as typified in emphasis on ‘ investment in man” in the educational sphere.  Overemphasis on higher education rather than on vocational schools, in his opinion, reduces labour force’s participation in productive fields.

Prof. Myrdal thus explains his fundamental assumption: “ The deficiencies in attitudes and institutions are viewed as being caused by each other and by the deficiencies in (1) productivity and incomes, (2) conditions of production, and (3) levels of living:  these in turn have resulted, in part, from the inherited framework of (4) attitudes and (5) institutions. Our analysis assumes that the people in these countries are not by nature different from those who have had a more fortunate economic fate; their circumstances are simply the result of different conditions of living and working both now and in the past.’ (p.1866)

And again it is Prof. Myrdal’s conviction that “social study must be comprehensive enough to be adequate to reality, and that this reality is very different in South Asia from what it is in the West.’ (p.1835) Yet Prof. Myrdal is deeply aware of the different weightage  given to different and interdependent valuations of conditions conducive to

development, which makes it difficult to arrive at an accurate casual interrelationship. He considers, there, that “subject to this inescapable indeterminacy, the movement of the whole social system upwards is what all of us in fact mean by development.  There is no escape from this, if we want to be “realistic” (P.1868) (emphasis author’s).

It is this indeterminancy, which renders vague the concept of ‘development’ according to the author. It is one of the great merits of the book that it makes clear the conceptual difference between the terms ‘ developments and ‘underdevelopments’. Prof. Myrdal thinks that the characterization of the underdeveloped regions as developing countries” is one of the “diplomatic euphemisms” because the rich countries do not consider the description “ underdeveloped” as sufficiently tactful. In his opinion the use of the term “ developing countries” is logically inexact because it presupposes “ that these very poor countries are now developing and implies that they will continue to developing and thus begs an important question. As he puts it succinctly  “ To ascertain whether development is under way, and to throw light on whether a country has real possibilities for further development and on how this can be brought about, must be among the purposes of study. Definite answers to these questions should not, to say the least, be assumed a prior by means of a loaded definition of a country’s present situation.” Similarly the terms such as “newly developing countries” and “lessor developed countries” are also called by him as logical misnomers and misleading because they tend to “de-emphasize the actual differences between the rich and the poor countries. “As put bluntly by him: “All these terms express an escapist attitude…(which) introduces a temptation to deviate from clear thinking, which must be bluntly honest and face the real issues.” (P.1839ff.)

Such is the conceptual and scientific spirit in which the whole of ASIAN DRAMA is stage. I have quoted extensively because to compress would have meant doing damage to the original, and also to bring home what sort of an impassioned and humanitarian and with all a scientific concern that prompted Prof. Myrdal is knowing why the South Asian countries have remained stagnant despite an illusion of ‘development’, and in the course of doing so offering certain most valuable pointers towards urgent and fundamental reform.

In the light of these observations it is regrettable that Shri Shah’s article gives an unfortunate impression that in Prof.Myrdal’s opinion India is incurable. All that Prof. Myrdal has done is a careful diagnosis; it is a signal merit of his diagnostic skill that it, at the same time, prescribes certain remedial measures. If the prognosis is uncertain it cannot be clearly his fault. But to have put one’s finger so precisely on the ills afflicting the underdeveloped nations is no mean achievement.

Yours faithfully,

Bal  Patil




Prime Minister’s House

New Delhi

Date: 26.6.1983

Dear Shri. Patil,

Just a line to acknowledge your letter of the 22nd June.

Your must have seen Shri. Desai’s comments and also Mr. Hersh’s reply.

Yours  sincerely,


Indira Gandhi

Shri Bal Patil,

54, Patil Estate,

278, Tardeo road,



Shri. Bal Patil


22nd June,1983

Dear  Prime Minister,

Yours reaction regarding an American Journalist’s charge that Mr. Morarji Desai was a C.I.A. agent: “ I hope it’s not true” and further that although the allegation relates to a period when Mr. Desai served in your administration “I would be the last person to know about it” has caused some ill-considered comment in a section of the press.

A striking example is the editorial ‘A petty tactic’in the Indian Express dt.21.6.83. The editorial says:

“This is a most damaging and unfair innuendo. It lends credibility to the charge and casts doubt on Mr. Desai without quite saying so. For one so concerned with that “foreign hand” and with India’s image, Mrs. Gandhi seems to be treating the matter very lightly which suggests that she herself does not believe the charge for a moment. If so, she is open to the accusation of using the Hersh plant as a handle with which to beat Mr. Desai, a  patriot and respected Opposition leader. Indeed, it would have been in the fitness of things for the Government of India to have issued a statement dismissing the Hersh charge as a malicious fiction and a slander on the Indian Government. On the other hand, Mrs, Gandhi has joined the smear campaign, By so doing she has further undermined political etiquette and public standards in India and hardly served the cause of the country.”

I would contrast this with the Blitz Newsamagazine’s  response  to a readers question: How Mr. Morarji Desai would have reacted had he been the Prime minister  had Mr, Hersh accused Indira Gandhi of being a foreign agent. by saying; “He would have got her hauled up before a special Commission under Justice J.C. Shah to investigate the charge.”

I cannot resist commenting that had Mr. Desai failed to haul you up before a Special Commission Mr. Charan Singh would have hastened to dismiss the Government as a pack of impotents!

I cannot help recalling in this context that the very same section of the press which is so anxious to vindicate the values of patriotic honour of the nation, political etiquette, governmental probity had no compunction in publishing day in and day out pieces of rank defamation and wild accusations about you. I refer to one particular article entitled ‘Indira scoring over Bhutto’ by a socalled veteran Gandhian worker, Shripad Joshi, published in the Marathi daily Loksatta, a sister publication of the Indian Express groupdt.26.2.1978:

Starting with some wild observations of how as a ruthless dictator competing with Pakistan’s Mr. Bhutto you killed democracy, the article went on to say: “At least in onc instance Indiraji can be said to have outdone Bhutto in so far as she took sufficient care not to get involved in any of the crimes which were perpetrated by her. For example, it is an inalienable tactic of dictatorial regimes to get rid of the opponents and of one’s own colleagues likely to prove a liability. Therefore, even though many voiced their suspicions often that Indiraji might have been involved in the murder of L.N. Mishra and Nagarwalla or even the attempted murder of Jay Prakash Narayan, Indiraji took ample precaution that there was no evidence of any kind to implicate her.”

But that is what they call freedom of the Press, and Madam, you have been far too long magnanimously tolerant of the same.

Yours respectfully,


Bal Patil

Smt. Indira Gandhi

Prime Minister, Prime Minister’s House, New Delhi-110011.




US CourtTurns Down Appeal

The US Supreme Court has refused to review an unsuccessful libel lawsuit by former Indian Prime Minister Morarji Desai against investigative reporter Seymour Hersh over charges that he spied for the CIA.

Hersh, in his 1983 book “The Price of Power: Kissinger in the White Houseaccused Desai  of selling secrets to the  Central Intelligence Agency during the Johnson and Nixon administrations, especially in 1971 when India and Pakistan went to war.

Desai, prime minister from 1977 until 1979 filed the lawsuit against Hersh immediately after the book ws published . The case went to trial in 1989 before a federal judge in Chicago.

At the trial, Desai testified by a videotaped deposition  and strongly denied he had been a paid informant for the CIA.

The trial judge said Hersh, a well known investigative reporter who once worked with The New York Times, could testify about the reliability and background of his sources but did not have to disclose their identity.

Hersh told the jury he relied on six confidential sources to support his charges that Desai was a CIA informer.

A US Court of Appeals in Chicago then ruled in January that the trial judge  properly allowed Hersh to testify about his sources and upheld the judgment against Desai.

Attorney for Desai then appealed to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme court denied the appeal without  comment.

Our Staff Reporter adds from Bombay :

Kanti Desai, Moraji’s son said this morning.

“We do not know anything about it. We are not fighting the case. We are not concerned.”

The appeal was filed by Bhailalbhai Patel, a Chicago based businessman, on behalf of the Gujarati  community there.,

He added that Patel did not take Desai permission before going in appeal and that they had not been informed of any developments.



By Seymour Hersh

The Kissnger Antimemoirs.. invites us to think about fundamental question.” STANLEY HOFFMANN, Harvard  University.

“An astonishing book.” Walter La Feber, Cornell University

“A  bombshell… The evidence he amasses is overwhelming.” Peter Prescott. Newsweek

“A formidable piece of work.” Anthony Lewis. The New York Times.


“And Nixon learned “from sources heretofore reliable.” That “Mrs. Gandhi had ordered plans for a lighting ‘Israeli-type’ attack to take over East Pakistan.” The evidence, taken at face value in the White house, confirmed his and Nixon’s  view that as “Pakistan grew more and more isolated internationally, she(Gandhi) appeared to seek above all Pakistan’s humiliation.” There was no doubt,Kissnger added, that the millions of refugees fleeing from East Pakistan and certain death were a factor in her concern, but “as the weeks passed, we began increasingly to suspect that Mrs. Gandhi perceived a larger opportunity.”

For the next six months , until the final defeat of Yahya Khan at the hands of  India, Nixon and Kissinger constantly invoked their “reliable sources” to justify the White House’s hard line towards India. The source was never named, for an obvious reason: The informant  was reporting from India through the Central Intelligence Agency. Nixon and Kissinger may have been honorable in protecting the man, but the few in the American government who knew his identity must also have known that his information was highly biased. The Informant was undoubtedly Moraji Desai, a prominent Indian politician  who was fired from the post of Deputy Prime Minister by Indira Gandhi in  1969 but stayed in her cabinet after a bitter political dispute.  Desai was a paid informer for the CIA and was considered one of the Agency’s most important “assets”. He had been in  public life since the late 1940s, serving as chief minister of the state of Bombay, as Finance Minister , and , briefly , as Deputy Prime minister.He was a political reactionary and a bitter opponent of Prime minster Gandhi; his hostility showed repeatedly in his three volume The Story  of My Life, published in India in the mind 1970s. Former American intelligence official recall that Desai was a star performer  who was paid $20000 a year by the CIA during the Johnson Administration through the 303 Committee, the covert intelligence group that was replaced by the 40 Committee under Nixon and Kissinger. One official remembers that Desai continued to report after Nixon’s election, much of his information having to do with contacts between the Indian government and the Soviet Union. According to this official, Kissinger was”very impressed with the asset. He couldn’t believe it was really in the bag. “During meeting with CIA and other official dealing with international crises, he would occasionally smile knowingly and say to Helms or one of his disputies, “Why can’t you have a source in the cabinet ?”

Kissinger’s visit to New Delhi in early July 1971 was part  of his carefully worked out scheme to get into Peking secretly. His meetings with Prime Minister Gandhi and other officials were part of a ruse whose ultimate purpose would become known within days. The price of such duplicity, renewed Indian distrust of the American role in the East Pakistan crisis, was, in the view of the White House, a small one to pay for the entry to China. While in India Kissinger went out of his way to mislead the gandhi government.” (pp.450-51)

In a Note on Page 450 Hersh states:

*I have been able to establish firmly that Desai was reporting through 1970. After that year, the officials who were willing to discuss Desai’s information with me were no longer in a position to see his reports, which presumably continued to flow to Washington . American official inadvertently provided another hint that the reports were continuing by stressing The high position and proven reliability of the source they used in late 1971 to try to justify the administration’s policy in the war. Desai became Prime Minister in March 1977; Mrs. Gandhi returned to office in  July 1979. (p.450


From :  <span>Desai v. Hersh, 954 F.2d 1408 (1992)KANNE, Circuit Judge. </span>

Courts and scholars alike have expressed their concern that the public’s interest in a free press and open news dissemination might be severely inhibited if journalists were required to reveal the identity of their confidential sources. The disclosure of these sources, however, is often critical to a defamed individual’s hopes for preserving his or her reputation, particularly in those instances where the individual is a public figure who must establish that the defendant published the statement at issue with actual malice or reckless disregard of the truth. New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, 84 S.Ct. 710, 11 L.Ed.2d 686 (1964). These competing interests come into conflict in this libel action, where we are asked on appeal by the former Prime Minister of India to find that the district court improperly allowed author Seymour Hersh to testify at trial concerning the background and reliability of his sources — without ever disclosing their identity.

The plaintiff, Morarji Desai, has played a prominent role in Indian politics and public life throughout his career. From 1930 to 1947, he participated in the nonviolent movement to gain India’s independence from Britain. In 1957, he was elected to the Indian national parliament where he served for more than two decades. During his parliament tenure, he held several positions in the Indian Cabinet, including Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister under the government of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. He ultimately became Prime Minister of India on March 24, 1977, and remained as such until July 15, 1979. Currently, he is the vice-chancellor of the Gujarat Vidyapith, a university founded by Mahatma Gandhi.

In his book, The Price of Power: Kissinger and Nixon in the White Housedefendant Seymour Hersh examines how former National Security Advisor, Henry Kissinger conducted U.S. foreign policy during President Richard Nixon’s first term. Included in Hersh’s commentary is a chapter reviewing the U.S. foreign policy decisions concerning the 1971 India-Pakistan War, a crisis in which the United States adopted a controversial, hard-line policy against India and in favor of West Pakistan. [1] According *1410 to Hersh, President Nixon and Dr. Kissinger justified this policy based largely on information received from a “reliable source” reporting from India through the Central Intelligence Agency. The identity of the source who furnished this information was never revealed by the National Security Council or the CIA.

Desai’s libel claim focuses on Hersh’s assertion that the Indian-CIA source was “undoubtedly Morarji Desai.” In the passage at issue, Hersh specifically cites several unidentified government “officials” to establish Desai’s link with the CIA:

“Desai was a paid informer for the CIA and was considered one of the Agency’s most important “assets.”

“Former American intelligence officials recall that Desai was a star performer who was paid $20,000 a year by the CIA during the Johnson Administration through the 303 Committee, the covert intelligence group that was replaced by the 40 Committee under Nixon and Kissinger. One official remembers that Desai continued to report after Nixon’s election, much of his information having to do with contacts between the Indian government and the Soviet Union. According to this official, Kissinger was “very impressed with the asset. He couldn’t believe it was really in the bag.” Price of Power at p.450.

Desai’s pleadings denied that he ever had any connections with the CIA, and alleged that Hersh published these statements knowing they were false or with reckless disregard as to their falsity.

The Court concludes that the proper exercise of the “newsman’s” privilege will not be penalized by precluding defendant’s reliance on confidential sources….

However, the court did permit Desai to inquire into the existence and reliability of Hersh’s confidential sources — but without requiring them to be identified.

During his testimony at trial, Hersh explained that he relied on six separate confidential sources to support his assertion that Desai was a CIA informant. Hersh testified that of the six sources, “two were out of government, one was in the CIA, one was in the world of the NSA, National Security Agency, which is the communications intelligence people, and two were working in the White House.” Two of these sources he characterized as “active sources” who “were telling me details, a lot of detail.” And, at one point during his direct testimony, Hersh stated that “I thought the most important thing was to know that the sources upon which I was relying were sources that I had the utmost confidence in, and that was the driving force of what I wrote.”

1.Soon after West Pakistan commenced a war against the secessionist forces of East Pakistan on March 25, 1971, reports of war atrocities — including systematic elimination of women and children — began reaching the international press. Hersh observes that while “most nations” immediately reacted by denouncing West Pakistan, “the United States — at the specific direction of the White House — remained mute.” Price of Powerat 445. According to Hersh, Nixon and Kissinger were reluctant to criticize East Pakistan because they viewed its president, Yahya Khan, as “their conduit to the Chinese” and a potential summit meeting in Peking. Id. Thus, when Khan carried the war to the Indian front by launching a surprise attack against eight Indian airfields on December 3, 1971, the White House was groping for some rationale for “tilting” towards West Pakistan. Hersh concludes:

[A] miraculous new element emerged to buttress the seemingly incomprehensible White House policy: highly classified evidence that Mrs. Gandhi was planning to attack East Pakistan. In mid-MayKissinger wrote, he and Nixon learned “from sources heretofore reliablethat Mrs. Gandhi had ordered plans for a lightning `Israeli-type’ attack to take over East Pakistan.” The evidence, taken at face value in the White House, confirmed his and Nixon’s view that as “Pakistan grew more and more isolated internationally, she [Gandhi] appeared to seek above all Pakistan’s humiliation.” at 450.


Posted by: Bal Patil | August 30, 2010





These two articles were published when the Bill was being debated in the Maharashtra State Assembly

First of a series of two articles

The Employment Guarantee, Scheme which the Government of Maharashtra is determined to implement at any cost has raised a hornet’s nest because of the manifestly iniquitous nature of the professional tax proposed to be levied in the 1975-76 State budget; there is a total outlay of Rs. 25 crores on district level.

During last year the Government spent Rs.15 crores on this scheme. I propose to discuss in this article the place of EGS in the overall agrarian situation in Maharashtra and examine if it can be really a worthwhile proposition to hope to create a viable employment potential through the operation of this scheme.

There can be no two opinions that the scheme is laudable in principle of providing gainful employment according to the constitutional directive on right to work. But the scheme threatens to run aground at the very outset because of the fundamentally misconceived mode of its financing, the major incidence of which falls heavily and inequitably on the fixed salary groups. This has evoked a sharp reaction because it is feared that this may be challenged on constitutional grounds. It is unjust and regressive because it will extract tax from the lowest group of salary earners who are exempt from income-tax and thus it is “practically an imposition of income-tax by the back door” as pointed out by The ET editorial “Iniquitous levy” (12-3-75).

Professional tax:

The finance Minister has declared in the State legislature that the incidence of the profession tax on the lowest salary group would be reduced from Rs.4 to Rs.2. But this does not mitigate in the least the regressive and patently harsh implications of the tax because fixed income earners have been grouped together with professional and self-employed people like doctors, architects, lawyers contractors, while the wealthy farmers are let off with a flea bite contribution of Rs.2.34 crores.

The Chief Minister, Mr. S. B. Chavan’s appeal to MLAs, MPs and office-bearers of Zilla Parishads to voluntarily come forward to contribute their mite in the professional levy is welcome. And now the Deputy Chairman and Chairman of the Legislative Council have done well to propose specifically that all the legislators should be brought within the purview of the profession tax. As a matter of fact this should have been done earlier because it is still not appreciated in our country that polities is a public profession par excellence oriented to public service and therefore, particularly the politicians holding a people’s mandate should be rigorously accountable for their charge on the public Exchequer. Besides their honorarium of Rs. 500 per month the legislators are entitled to Rs.22 allowance per day during the session, free telephone and free travel throughout the State.

However, I am concerned in commenting on a contention of the Chief Minister in his recent speech at Srirampur because it has a serious bearing on the iniquitous nature of the professional levy and its admittedly socially conscious orientation. Mr. Chavan contended what was wrong if an urban lowly salary earner who spent Rs.10 on film entertainment also contributed Rs.4 to provide livelihood to the rural poor. The sentiment is unexceptionable but I am afraid the reasoning does not bear any relationship either with the reality of urban living and film entertainment or the ultimate concatenation sought to he established with the livelihood of the miserable rural masses.


I shall briefly digress here on Indian films as a medium of mass entertainment. I wonder if the Chief Minister is aware of the blatantly exploitative nature of our film, entertainment. The masses both urban and rural are provided aplenty with ‘fillums’ cast into well-know formulae, produced at an enormous outlay of black money and shown in posh, air-conditioned theatres to extract box-office collections from this vast and seething mass of more than 400 millions with the presumption that that it is predominantly in need of the type of escape our ‘fillums’ alone can provide. If that is the raison d’etre of cinema entertainment I would b e constrained to say that nothing could be more fraudulent than this economic hardships of our millions.

Public is given what it wants cannot be obviously an argument in extenuation. As the eminent film director Ingmar Bergman summed it up: public demands “but one thing of the film: I’ve paid, I want to be distracted, swept off my troubles, my family, my work, I want to get away from myself. Here I am, seated in the darkness, and, like a woman seek deliverance.” But are the film producers, directors and writers giving a wholesome obstetric deliverance to the gullible public caught in this desperate escapist travail? Or are they just exploiting it and further sinking the public in the quagmire without attempting to give it a truly creative experience? And how can a truly creative experience be depicted and shown in a patently inegalitarian economic situation? Everything thus is caught in a vicious circle. As the Spanish film-maker J.A. Barden put it: “I believe that the present economic structure that supports the film industry in our countries transforms the true values of an author-film-audience relationship, dehumanizes reciprocal influence, and converts this relationship into one of mere merchandize-consumer.” (Film Makers on Film Making).

Thus the apparently innocuous nature of film entertainment for which the lowest urban fixed-income earner supposedly does not mind spending Rs.10 and for which reason the Chief Minister would like him to make a further outlay of a few rupees for sustaining the jobless rural fraternity, is a mode of compulsive, almost heinous exploitation. I am aware that is would be rather unpleasant, even uncharitable to apply this analogy- to the chief spokesman of the Government-to EGS and its financing but I hope to show in the course of my article that the EGS in its inevitable implications and impact on the rural sector could not be anything better.

It is indeed a fiscal mystery why a substantial portion of the professional tax should not have been tapped from affluent farmers and why the Finance Minister thought it expedient to wield his fiscal axe on the poor urban employee so harshly. It is a common maxim that you can’t eat a cake and have it too. But there appears to be an extraordinary exception to this universal rule in the case of the Maharashtrian farmers under this fiscal fiat because of the cushy position he is placed into. Indeed, the affluent farmers are having the best of both the worlds. The tax on their agricultural income is already subject to a comfortable limit of an income of Rs.36000 per annum. But even this minuscule tax the Government has not exerted itself to collect diligently because there are arrears amounting to Rs.5crores which means that almost the whole of the tax dues since it s inception are in arrears.

That this is extraordinarily ridiculous and incongruous is borne out by the facts of the expenditures incurred during the last decade on agricultural schemes as also by the data on agricultural holdings. The Estimates Committee of the Maharashtra Legislature, 1973-74, eleventh report gives some figures: Rs.700 crores have been expended on various agricultural schemes between 1960-61 and 1970-71. In addition, the expenditure by farmers in land development programmes financed through loans from land development banks and other institutions, is placed at Rs. 500 crores during this period. Despite this rather large outlay of sums it is rather strange that the affluent farmers who have grown prosperous-the benefits of the schemes have accrued mainly to 10 per cent of the large holdings according for 40 per cent of the total land area and 5 per cent of medium holdings comprising of 47 per cent of land area- should be impervious to repay what they got from the State in the form of various subsidies and the State should be so hesitant to extract the same. To cap it all the Government, to all practical purpose has gone to the length of treating Government and cooperative loans as written off.

It is in this context inexplicable why the Finance Minister, should have let off the Farmers with a flea-bite of professional tax. The fiscal situation gets curiouser and curiouser in view of the fact that a resolution was passed earlier by the Government in the State legislature to impose a special employment guarantee tax on “irrigated farmers, organized industry, gainful profession, wealth and property holding, unearned incomes, secure employment etc.” In criticizing the tax on profession I do not mean to detract from the basic end of the EGS which is to provide gainful work to the miserably placed agricultural and rural labour. But the end, however laudable cannot justify means if they are not only contrary to equity but also self-defeating in character in their ultimate impact on the problem they are contrived to solve. As a matter of fact, the Finance Minister and the Government could have been justified if they had squarely placed the burden of financing this scheme on the shoulders of the rich farmers who have proved intractable to any realistic implementation of land reforms and thus any meaningful restructuring of the rural agrarian setup I would even say that the Government has lost a golden opportunity of giving an handsome earnest of its socialistic promises reiterated in Narora type resolutions by not disciplining the kulak community. And this would have been a matter of real justice because it is these farmers who will be again reaping benefits from the various works generated by the EGS.

But instead the Government has been rash enough to impose the professional tax and exposed it to an allegation that it has resorted to this Scheme mainly as a vote catching device in the pre-election year and casting a spell on the ignorant rural masses by dangling the carrot of jobs. The Finance Minister. Mr. M.D. Chaudhari, has optimistically stated in his budget speech that this scheme will not only provide 14.30 crores of man days of labour during the financial year but also “thousands of productive works would be taken in hand and thus a tremendous momentum will be imparted to the task of increasing production in rural areas.”

Land Reforms

This optimistic assumption would well have been justified had the agricultural situation been obliging enough. But unfortunately it is not so on account of various factors the most important of which is surely the agrarian structure which has proved impervious to land reforms and thrived instead by default of their thorough implementation spawning forth a rich harvest of glaring income disparities and economic conflicts. A very faint recognition of the magnitude of the problem is evident in the report of the Study Committee on Employment Condition of Agricultural Labour in Maharashtra State (With reference to minimum wages) under the chairmanship of Mr. V.S. Page, Chairman Legislative Council, which was presented to the State legislature in 1973. The report quotes with approval the Planning Commission in its Second Plan that agricultural workers constitute “a vast and complex problem which has far reaching implications not only for the rural economy but also in relation to the entire process of economic and social development in coring decade.”

The report states that the problems of farm labour are manifold and inextricably mingled with the problems of rural economy characterized by “low income, low productivity and a lack of continuous gainful employment.” It goes on to acknowledge the fact that agricultural labour being the oldest form of labour “constitutes the largest single sector in working labour force” and as such “should find a pivotal place in the scheme of development.”

A praiseworthy ideal no doubt but I wonder if it would be amenable to implementation with the best of intentions in the present agrarian set up marked by extreme disparities of holdings and income and where a large proportion of uneconomically small holding are impoverishing the cultivators and pushing them mercilessly into the nether region of agricultural labourers. Worse still the Report in its own recommendations has not shown the courage to follow its findings to their logical policy imperatives.

Prof. Gunnar Myrdal has very pertinently noted this plight of the small holders when he says: “the increase in the labour force tends all the time to push a larger part of it down into the poorer strata and to make the social and economic structure more in egalitarian and rigid. Farmers who own land but very little of it are broadly in the same situation, and are particularly vulnerable to the factors that tend to rob them of the little land they have. These groups are foredoomed to be passive and not in a position to experience incentives to increase their labour input and labour intensity.” And he goes on further to single out share cropping as the main vitiating factor and advocates: “what is broadly referred to as the problem of land reform” or ‘agrarian reform’ tenancy reform included has to be attacked in order to crate a situation where the labour force has the opportunities and feels the incentives. To exert itself very much more. And so we face an immensely important. Practical and concrete aspect of the equality issue.” (The Challenge of World Poverty.)

A major assumption of the Study Committee report on minimum wages is to emphasise agricultural development planning so as to reduce “the pressure on land and divert surplus manpower in agriculture to other gainful economic activities. The extent of success achieved” is shown from the data which reveals that the percentage of farm labour to total workers in Maharashtra State increased from 23.80 per cent in 1961 to 29.3 per cent. in 1971. Besides observing that the increasing proportion of farm labour force on an all India level shown ineffective man power planning the committee has not cared to probe in depth the underlying causes of this all important phenomenon. Had it done so it would have come face to face with the grim reality of the equality issue as posed by Prof. Myrdal and probably some extremely valuable pointers to the solution of this chronic rural problem. Instead it chose to concentrate on the secondary factors such as size of farm holdings, their employment potential, seasonal variations of farm labour requirements and last but not least the capacity of the farm employers to pay minimum wages because it is on this last factor that the Page Committee has based not only the strategy of its recommendations on minimum wages but also made it the pivotal point of the operation of the Employment Guarantee Scheme.

( To be concluded)

Part II




It is not my intention to run down the EGS but I do feel compelled to show the pitfalls in the way of its implementation. Unfortunately the scheme cannot be expected to yield its potential impact because of formidable institutional obstacles and is sure to be blighted by the searing conflicts of economic interests.

The Planning Commission’s ‘task force on agrarian relations (1973)” has stated that “ the implementation of the enacted laws has been half-hearted, halting and unsatisfactory in large parts of the country… In accordance with the policy laid down in the Second Five Year Plan the laws enacted by several States provided for the resumption within certain limits of tenanted lands by landowners for personal cultivation. The term ‘ personal cultivation’ was wide enough to cover all cases of cultivation under the landowners’ own supervision or the supervision of a member of his family…. Crop-sharing arrangements are oral and informal. Where tenancy is insecure, legal provisions regarding fair rent are useless and no tenant dares to take initiative action for getting rent fixed. This is so because the tenant who has the audacity to pray for fixation of fair rent faces the risk of instant ejectment. This the objective of ensuring fair rent and security of tenure tenure remains unattained in large parts of the country.”

These rural structural difficulties are aggravated by the conflict of economic interests in a caste ridden village society. As P.S. Appu shows in his article ‘Agrarian Structure and Rural Development” (Economic and Political Weekly, Review of Agriculture, Sept. 1974) that “the inhabitants of an Indian village have no social cohesion or common economic interests. The extremely inegalitarian character of the agrarian structure is clearly one of the root causes for the failure of the Community Development Programmes. The poor performance of the co-operative societies and the village panchayats (organs of local self-government) should also be attributed to the same cause.”

CD Programme

The deleterious operations of the CD programmes in which the real benefits are creamed off by the rich rural interests were pertinently noted by Daniel and Alice Thorner way back in 1960 in their paper to the XXVth International Congress of Orientalists held in Moscow: “To the extent that they have been promoting anything in the economic field, they have so far been promoting not socialism but capitalism.” (Land and Labour in India). Hence the Thorners put their finger precisely on the failure of all land reforms in India by saying: “ a land reform law which does not require the cultivator to till is patently more difficult to enforce than the one which requires him to take part in all the major field operations. Once you absolve the so-called cultivator from tilling, you leave the door open for all manner of subterfuge and for easy violation of land reform acts.”

These structural difficulties are formidable enough to stall meaningful implementation of job guarantee schemes, but psychological obstacles such as the reluctance to undertake manual labour in actual field operations would threaten to prove insuperable assuming that the other difficulties have been conquered by a superhuman effort of political will. It might appear strange but it is true that manual labour is stigmatized with degradation in social status. As Daniel Thorner states: “the fact is that in India there is an age old feeling that manual labour, physical work, is degrading: wherever possible such work should be left to the lowly, to inferior persons. In the village there is one sure sign by which successful cultivators tend to show that their economic condition is improving and that they now wish to raise their social standing: they and the members of their family stop doing he field work: instead they engage others to do it for them, or they give the land out to tenants or cropsharers.”

The Page Committee report recognizes this “it is the psychology of man to avoid hard manual labour. As soon as circumstances permit he passes on such work to others over whom he aquires political, social or economic control” But it does not pause to ask how to counter it and what is its casual relationship with the deep-rooted agrarian wet-up, nor does it show any inkling of an awareness that any employment guarantee scheme operated in such a hostile social and economic milieu is not only foredoomed to failure but also liable to accentuate rural tensions. The great fallacy of the report on minimum wages is that it takes for granted that the Indian agrarian set-up is ready for the take off stage of ensuring minimum wages which it is simply not, nor does it seem likely that it will be so in the foreseeable future.

It is well to heed here the warning of Prof. Myrdal who stresses “that genuine rural uplift of the masses of poor people in the villages cannot be accomplished unless the traditional distaste for diligent manual work and, in particular, for work as wage employees is weeded from the social system and from the minds of men” and that the “attempts in India to legislate minimum wages are, at least for the near future and with anything like the present underutilization of the labour force, even more inoperative than the land reform and tenancy legislation.”

As regards the classification of farm labour into two categories of ‘attached’ and ‘casual’ the criteria of the Page report are superficial and vague. It simply lays down that ‘ agricultural labour household may be classified as (i) attached if the principal means of livelihood was attached agricultural labour and (ii) others who may be called casual labourers”. This vagueness is a common feature of all agricultural labour inquiries beginning with the one of Government of India, Ministry of Labour, “Agricultural Labour Inquiry: Agricultural Wages in India, 1952” Daniel and Alice Thorner emphasise that ‘this is the most fundamental distinction in the enquiry”. Acknowledging that in the Indian agricultural context the term ‘attached labourer’ has a connotation of unfreedom the Thorners point out that “no single test such as liberty to take up another job, steady employment or the existence of a contract will suffice to separate out the genuinely ‘attached’ workers. When a labourer is described as not ‘free to seek employment elsewhere’, it may simply be the case that he has freely agreed to remain in a particular job. On the other hand a labourer committed to a particular employer by reason of debt or land allotment may be employed only ‘from time to time according to exigencies of work” Thus an attached worker may be employed on a casual basis while a completely free worker may be employed continuously on a long term contract. ‘Therefore Thorner concludes: “ to construct proper rubrics under which to separate out these various short and long term workers with differing degrees of job mobility and a wide variation in bargaining strength would be admittedly a difficult task. It is a task the agricultural labour enquiry has declined.” (Land and Labour in India).

The Page Committee on minimum wages has not related the question of the customarily ‘attached’ casual labour and its likely impact on the mobility of farm labour in the context of employment guarantee scheme and the new outlets sought to be created for gainful work. From these loose strands of findings of agricultural labour one cannot make out therefore, what it is that the Minimum Wages Committee is driving at. If it is concerned in finding and devising ways of alternate gainful employment for agricultural labour force at a living wage so as to reduce pressure on land it would be rather a vague strategic aim because that would be contingent on industrialization and the whole paraphernalia of educating the labour force in technical skills and its assimilation not to say of its long-range consequences on the economy it’s a whole. But if it is meant to find a short term solution of providing a semblance of livelihood to farm labour by absorbing them in the employment potential of farms by ensuring minimum wages so as to set a pattern for rural wages as a whole (which is what the committee explicitly avows) its viability can be questioned on the basis of the guiding assumptions of the Page Committee itself.

Socialistic Deal

It is my contention that the job guarantee scheme is basically a socialistic deal which cannot take root and assured of healthy growth because the rest of the developmental line whether in rural or urban areas is predominantly capitalist and does not take into account the rural realities of India. The question is not one of providing work on a piecemeal ad hoc basis to those unemployed and paying them a living wage.

Would it induce in them a motivation to do their best in the existing milieu? The problem of creating and exploiting employment potential in the rural areas is essentially a problem of ensuring a fair deal to the millions of rural masses and not one of merely throwing ‘casual crumbs’ of gainful work out of a sense of charity and human compassion as appears to be contemplated under the EGS. The problem at bottom is a peasants’ problem par excellence and can be only tackled by tackling first thing first starting with a thorough implementation of land reforms and altering drastically the rural land-owning and cultivation pattern by seeing that land goes to the tiller. It is no use to blunt the edge of this withering rural realism and mask it with anodynes of doleful expedients. It may give an impression of alleviating the more painful symptoms but is bound to aggravate the disease.

The seeds of potential conflict and how the EGS will flounder on the obdurate rocks of powerful peasant interests, not to say anything of the unpredictable monsoon, are already clear in the insistence of the farmer-employers that the approach to minimum wages should take account of depressed agricultural conditions and fix remunerative prices for jowar, cotton, etc, to enable them to bear the increased wage burden. The argument is that the economic capacity of employers should be the guiding criterion for determining the quantum of minimum wage and that they could bear only an increase of 10 to 20 per cent in their present situation and further “if monopoly purchase price was increased by 50 to 100 per cent there would be economic capacity to give reasonable wage” (The Page Committee minimum wages report) already gives a foretaste of the confrontation to ensure. As against this the workers’ representatives insisted on part payment of wages in kind, e.g., Jowar having regard to the prices of consumption articles.

Instead of adjudicating on this thorny matter in the context of the realities of rural milieu the Page Committee has adopted an approach with the starting point that the question of minimum wages should be considered on a par with industrial labour. What is remarkable is its reasoning by which it goes on to contend: “if the labourers receive less than what they deserve farmers are also receiving less. Both come from the same socio -economic stratum and they suffer because the whole rural economy is itself depressed by reason of underutilization of all resources including human resources.” Therefore it concludes: “to break the vicious circle there is an imperative need to invest more in the rural areas in a productive manner.”

Thus coming to the right conclusion for wrong reasons and incorrect logic the minimum wages report goes on to link the question of minimum wages to Employment Guarantee Scheme through an extraordinary effort at rationalization because “in the opinion of the committee the Employment Guarantee Scheme is also the guarantee of genuine employment at minimum wages to the willing to the willing workers.”

From this it was but a small step to link questions of “monopoly purchase and the consequent compulsion of allround public distribution system” and thus recommend: “white fixing the prices of procurement, the Government will have to take into considerations the cost of production and the wages of the labourers will have to be considered as a factor in cost of production” by the process of reductio ad absurdum, quod erat demonstrendum Eucledean air, But this embodies a big fallacy because it begs a big question and from the beginning it is dictated by an anxiety in provide a cover for the employer farmers under a wrong assumption that the farmers affected by remunerative prices form the major chunk which is not a fact by the committee’s own finding that 80 per cent of the land is owned by 33 per cent of big holders of 4 hectares and above and that the potential of small holders with 2 hectares was of no consequence as they themselves were hovering on the brink of agricultural labourership. Thus the committee has by an elaborate process of skewed rural ratiocination succumbed to the plea of big landholders and given an indirect, almost statutory protection to their vested agricultural interests.

Thus the sheer confusion and contradiction in the aims envisaged and methods adopted is clear. The Employment Guarantee Scheme aims at providing employment but resorts to such means as lead to the opposite results making the rich richer and poor poorer. It the employment opportunities are created in the agricultural sphere the EGS will turn out to be most ill conceived and if it is meant to channelise the farm labour in urban industries the prospect cannot be promising. As Mrs. Judith Hart, Overseas Development Minister. United Kingdom warned FAO General Conference in 1969:P “Development must not result in prosperous farmers growing richer while peasants grow poorer: those displaced by agricultural development must not become the new urban unemployed…” Therefore, assuming that the parameters of the agricultural system- the size of the farm and the basis of tenure or owner ship- are altered, a sensible alternative strategic thrust for employing rural labour meaningfully could be provided by engaging them in schemes of comprehensive rural development. The proper remedy for rural ills is neither to make stop gap arrangement of casual employment nor provoking the farm labour migration to towns. The countryside alone can be true basis for new job opportunities and revitalization of rural life. And this can be done by shifting the industrial locus into the countryside by orienting production in a variety of labour intensive techniques.

But I am aware that this is a starryeyed vision in the existing set-up in which the EGS is sought to be worked. The structural barriers in the way of its implementation are intractable given the socio-economic rural syndrome. But one doubts if the EGS could be provided at least with a functional and operational credibility if past performance of Maharashtra State in agricultural schemes of increasing production, or fighting is taken as an index, As in an astute analysis of recurring droughts in Maharashtra pointed out in his article ‘Recurring Drought in Maharashtra: Total Lack of Rational Planning (The Economic Times. 20.3.73): “A common observation in informed quarters is Delhi is that Maharashtra is always in the forefront in coining progressive and impressive slogans and is mostly in the last row in translating the slogans into concrete programmes,” The salient points of Observer’s criticism which are relevant to present discussion are (i) the yardstick for judging plan performance is the ‘level of expenditure attained’ rather than the level of ‘physical results achieved’ in a given period. (ii) of the 12 major irrigation projects completed during the last two decades actual utilization does not exceed 40 to 50 per cent in most cases. (iii) absence of a State level ‘thinking cell’ to carry out economic studies in depth and investigate huge investments in irrigations, (iv) a propensity to tax urban areas for major proportion of revenue and (v) an illusory appearance that Maharashtra has the highest per capita income. A most telling and cumulative effect of all these factors is the rate of growth in agricultural production the disastrous performance of which evoked sharp reaction from Prime Minister Indira Gandhi last year at Poona.

One is reluctantly led to conclude, therefore, that since the Employment Guarantee Scheme has already threatened to become a prestigious issue it might run the predictable course unless the Government by a most unpredictable show of political will turns the tables on agricultural cassandras.


Posted by: Bal Patil | August 26, 2010


Published in “The Bharat Jyoti” dt. 10.01.1966


By Bal Patil

Recently Dr. Radhakrishnan, the President of India, unveiled a statue of Tiruvalluvar,  the  great  Tamil poet of the first  century  A.D. and the author of the celebrated book  of moral aphorisms “Tirukkural,” in a temple dedicated to his memory in  Mylapore, Madras.

It is almost two thousand years since Tiruvalluvar preached his message of universal love and tolerance. The moral dynamics of the philosophy of the good and virtuous life as propounded by him in “Tirukkural” transcends all barriers, religious and creedal, and therefore, possess an inspiring and elevating message for humanity for all the time to come.

Dr. Albert Schweitzer who expounded the ethic of Reverence for Life regarded the ethic of action as expressed in  “Tirukkural” as the “living ethic of love.” He said: “ There hardly exists in the literature of the world a collection of maxims in which we find so much wisdom.”

Be pure in mind “ exhorted Tiruvalluvar, “ That is just the nature of virtue. All else is empty  sound and quite worthless”. His exhortations go straight to the heart because they go to the heart of the matter simply and vigorously.

Tiruvalluvar could transcend  religion or any particular creed  because  he belonged to no  religion: he was an untouchable. His very name is an indication  of this fact. Tiruvalluvar means a devotee of the Vallava caste. Vallava is one of the untouchable castes of South India.

But the very catholicity of Tiruvalluvar’s teachings was also a reason for various sects and religions to make on attempt to claim the poet  as their  own. Shaivites.  Vaisnavites, Jains and Buddhists have all contended that Tiruvalluvar belonged to their religion.

And some Christians  have  pointed out that Tiruvalluvar’s teachings bear a strong resemblance to Christ’s message. Dr. Pope a translator of  “Tirukkural” into English, asserted  that there was no doubt  that  of all the religious, influences  on Tiruvalluvar that of  Christianity was the strongest.

But  the Jains claim is something  much more  radical. The  Jainas point  out that the  central doctrine of  “Tirukkural” is non violence or  universal love and also that the work was actually composed by Elacharya or Sri Kundakunda, the  great Jaina Saint who lived about  the first century B.C.

According to the Jaina tradition Tiruvalluvar was a lay disciple of Sri Kundakunda. Tirukkural was introduced to the  Madural Academy for its approval by Tiruvalluvar.

That Tiruvalluvar was not a follower either of the Vedic faith or of Buddhism is proved by the fact that  “ Tirukkural” expressly disapproves of the  practice of meat eating and killing for sacrifice.

The principle of Ahimsa as propounded by Buddhism is  limited to the extent that the  Buddhist  Bhiksus and laymen are forbidden to kill animals by  their own hands. But apparently there is no objection to eat  meat if procured from butchers.

But the case of Jainism is quite different. Jainism is quite different. Jainism enjoins upon its followers absolute  Ahimsa because, according to it Ahimsa or non-vioience is the highest religion: Ahimsa paramo dharma. Consequently, strict vegetarianism is a sacred article  of faith in Jainism.

As regards meat-eating and killing the  sayings in “Tirukkural” are quite decisive and trenchant. Verse 252 in  “Tirukkural” says; “How can a person cultivate the habit of universal benevolence, if he, for the  purpose of fattening  his own flesh ( body) eats flesh of other animals.” And Verse 250 says: “Not eating the flesh of a slaughtered animal is far  better than performing thousand Yajnas with rich libations”.

“Tirukkural” exalts non-killing in these words; “What is the virtuous deed? It is not to kill. Killing brings all the other evil deeds” (Verse 321).

Truth-speaking is placed next to non-violence by “Tirukkural”; “ Not to kill is the one good deed par excellence Next to this comes the virtue of speaking the truth.” (Verse 323)

The philosophy of the good  and virtuous life and the way  to attain it as embodied in “Tirukkural” is valuable not  because it driginates from this or that  particular religion, but because it  expresses certain  timeless truths  about  human  life  and its ethos in a homely  and  admonitory manner.

The frantic quest  of several creeds to claim Tiruvalluvar as their  own illustrate the simple  truth that the prophets are not  recognized in their own time:  If they are not stoned actually  they are crucified like Jesus Christ or poisoned like Socrates. The poetic couplet which  says:

“Seven wealthy towns contend for Homer dead,

Through which the living Homer begged for bread”, is to the point.

But fortunately Tiruvalluvar  did not suffer from any such curse of the prophets. Very little is known about  his  life except for the fact that he made his livelihood as a  weaver at Mylapore  and  that  his domestic life was ideally happy.

There is a very  charming  legend about the happy domestic  life led by Tiruvalluvar. Once a saint went to see Tiruvailuvar  and asked him as to which state was  better; celibacy  or matrimony  In answer Tiruvalluvar invited him to be  their guest for a few days  and observe for himself.

One day both Tiruvalluvar  and his guest were  having  a meal of cold rice. His wife Vasuki was busy drawing  water from the well. Tiruvalluvar cried all of a sudden: “Oh,  how hot  is this rice, one can’t  eat it.” At  once Vasuki ran  to him and began fanning the rice  regardless  of the pot of water left  in a hurry. Immediately  the lumps of over night  cold  rice became steaming hot and the pot remained suspended in  mid air.

Another day while Tiruvalluvar  was weaving in broad day light  he dropped his weaving  instrument and asked his wife  to bring a candle for searching  it. Poor Vasuki  lighted up  a candle and began searching  for  the thing which was lying just there on the ground. She was too obedient to pay any attention to the absurdity of the situation.

Tiruvalluvar’s  guest found the answer to his question. Tiruvatluvar  held that with a  good and obedient wife married life could not be a hindrance in the quest of truth and salvation.  He said; “If a householder lives his life without  swerving from the path of righteousness ordained for him, he will occupy the  foremost place among all those that  strive for spiritual realization.” ( Verse 47)

Expounding the householder’s dharma, Tiruvalluvar  declared; “ The glory of the household is in the hands of the wife. If she  falls in this, all other glory in life  is as if it did not exist.”

At the same time Tiruvalluvar was well aware of the dangers of a slavish submission to women. He  waned; “One who  loses his manly nature by becoming submissive to his  wife  will always have to hang his head in shame in the midst of  good  men.”  (Verse 903)

Perhaps no other saint than  Tiruvalluvar has spoken in  glowing terms of the joys of a  serene domestic life. His comments on children are singularly apt.

He observes: “ While the parents  eat their food, if their children put their little hands in the food and play, the parents will feel their food  sweeter  than divine Ambrosia.”  (Verse 64) And he avers charmingly: “ Only  those who have never heard their  children’s  sweet  lispings will say, sweet is the pipe, sweet is the  pipe, sweet is the lute.” (Verse 66)

Tiruvalluvar set great store by conjugal happiness and family love. The third and final bode of Tirukkural is devoted to the topic as to how a home  comes to be formed as a result  of love between a young man  and a beautiful maiden.

Here Tiruvalluvar describes with  great poetic charm the  course of true love and lays bard all the subtle nuances of a  romantic but  clandestine love  finally culminating in a conjugal set-up . Then follows a  highly  sensitive picture of the  normal joys and sorrows of conjugal life- separation re-union, and occasional tiffs – described in  the  words of the woman.

Tiruvalluvar  shows no less insight into the failing of human  nature  a  Regarding back biting  he  observes; “ Even in the case  of a person who does not speak approvingly of virtue and  whose deeds are always evil, if  considered by the world as free from the defect of back  biting then  that itself is an  evidence  of some good in him.”  (Verse 181) .

And further in Verse 189 Tiruvalluvar declares with undisguised contempt; “A person who waits for his neighbour’s absence in order to spread slanderous tales about him, is one who has the weight of  his body  patiently  borne by the earth, perhaps, out of charity.”

Even though Tiruvalluvar is eloquent when speaking about  the  ephemeral nature of human  life  as when he says, “ Death is similar to sinking into deep  sleep, and birth again is like waking up from sleep,’ (Verse  339 ) which is reminiscent of Wordsworth”s “Our birth is but  a sleep and a forgetting.”  He possesses  a healthy regard for “ renown” in human life.

“If one is to be born at all”  emphasizes Tiruvalluvar,  “One should be born with that disposition as should enable him to  achieve fame. Otherwise it is better not  to be born at all,’ (Verse 236)

It is  significant to note that  Tiruvalluvar did not believe in caste distinctions. “All men are born equal,” he said, “The differences among them are entirely due to their  “Occupation”  (Verse  972) Despising illiterate  persons because they are like “ a barren field with saltish soil’ he says, “ A person born without learning though born  in a higher caste, cannot be considered  equal to a low born person who  is highly learned.” (Verse 409) .

Containing such precious gems of wisdom and spiritual insights  Tiruvalluvar’s  Tirukkural is a great commentary on  human life touching it in all its  conceivable aspects.  “Tirukkural” views life steadily and  views it whole by plumbing to  its very depth. M.Ariel, the French scholar, said of it that it is “ One of the highest and purest  expressions of human thought.”

Hailed as the Tamil Veda  “Tirukkural” proclaims the message of universal love  which  is very relevant to our anxiety’ ridden age.


Posted by: Bal Patil | August 6, 2010



Posted by: Bal Patil | August 5, 2010



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I think six and a half decades is quite a lot of time to have a sincere and honest retrospective look-back on the worst human horror committed by dropping the only two atomic-plutonium bombs in the US military arsenal on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and wiping out those cities the radiation effects from which are still being suffered by the survivors. What makes it particularly reprehensible crime against all canons of human decency is the well-established fact that the Japan was at that point of time according to the best military evidence available on the point of surrender.

As Lyndon H. LaRouche has noted in his article Hiroshima: Hamlet bombs Out published in Executive Intelligence Review of August 18, 1995: ” By April 12, 1945, the day of President Franklin Roosevelt’s untimely death, he, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, and Adm. Chester Nimitz had led the United States and Australia to assured victory in the Pacific Theater. Already, Japan’s Emperor Hirohito was negotiating surrender with President Roosevelt, and other U.S.A. allies, working through Pope Pius XII’s acting secretary for diplomatic affairs, Giovanni Montini (later Pope Paul VI). At the time Roosevelt died, the islands of Japan were already effectively blockaded; Japan’s military situation was hopeless. Surrender on the Emperor’s proposed terms was virtually assured within a few more months, as the logistical noose tightened sufficiently to end all Japan military leaders’ resistance to the Emperor’s will. At the time, the best U.S. guess was Autumn 1945, by no later than November. “

And further: ” As Niccoló Machiavelli’s commentaries on the ten books of Livy emphasized to many generations of professional military officers, there is no military justification for a deadly assault on an adversary who is already hopelessly defeated, and cornered; to invade Japan head-on, in such circumstances, would have been a folly fit for the court-martialling of any commander incompetent enough to order it.”

Already various historians have condemned the Enola bombing as the worst war crime against humanity.



From what we read in the general media, it seems like almost everyone felt the atomic bombings of Japan were not necessary. Positions listed refer to WWII positions.


“…in [July] 1945… Secretary of War Stimson, visiting my headquarters in Germany, informed me that our government was preparing to drop an atomic bomb on Japan. I was one of those who felt that there were a number of cogent reasons to question the wisdom of such an act. …the Secretary, upon giving me the news of the successful bomb test in New Mexico, and of the plan for using it, asked for my reaction, apparently expecting a vigorous assent.

“During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives. It was my belief that Japan was, at that very moment, seeking some way to surrender with a minimum loss of ‘face’. The Secretary was deeply perturbed by my attitude…”

– Dwight Eisenhower, Mandate For Change, pg. 380

In a Newsweek interview, Eisenhower again recalled the meeting with Stimson:

“…the Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing.”

Ike on Ike, Newsweek, 11/11/63


(Chief of Staff to Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman)

“It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons.

“The lethal possibilities of atomic warfare in the future are frightening. My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children.”

– William Leahy, I Was There, pg. 441.


On May 28, 1945, Hoover visited President Truman and suggested a way to end the Pacific war quickly: “I am convinced that if you, as President, will make a shortwave broadcast to the people of Japan – tell them they can have their Emperor if they surrender, that it will not mean unconditional surrender except for the militarists – you’ll get a peace in Japan – you’ll have both wars over.”

Richard Norton Smith, An Uncommon Man: The Triumph of Herbert Hoover, pg. 347.

On August 8, 1945, after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Hoover wrote to Army and Navy Journal publisher Colonel John Callan O’Laughlin, “The use of the atomic bomb, with its indiscriminate killing of women and children, revolts my soul.”

quoted from Gar Alperovitz, The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb, pg. 635.

“…the Japanese were prepared to negotiate all the way from February 1945…up to and before the time the atomic bombs were dropped; …if such leads had been followed up, there would have been no occasion to drop the [atomic] bombs.”

– quoted by Barton Bernstein in Philip Nobile, ed., Judgment at the Smithsonian, pg. 142

Hoover biographer Richard Norton Smith has written: “Use of the bomb had besmirched America’s reputation, he [Hoover] told friends. It ought to have been described in graphic terms before being flung out into the sky over Japan.”

Richard Norton Smith, An Uncommon Man: The Triumph of Herbert Hoover, pg. 349-350.

In early May of 1946 Hoover met with General Douglas MacArthur. Hoover recorded in his diary, “I told MacArthur of my memorandum of mid-May 1945 to Truman, that peace could be had with Japan by which our major objectives would be accomplished. MacArthur said that was correct and that we would have avoided all of the losses, the Atomic bomb, and the entry of Russia into Manchuria.”

Gar Alperovitz, The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb, pg. 350-351.


MacArthur biographer William Manchester has described MacArthur’s reaction to the issuance by the Allies of the Potsdam Proclamation to Japan: “…the Potsdam declaration in July, demand[ed] that Japan surrender unconditionally or face ‘prompt and utter destruction.’ MacArthur was appalled. He knew that the Japanese would never renounce their emperor, and that without him an orderly transition to peace would be impossible anyhow, because his people would never submit to Allied occupation unless he ordered it. Ironically, when the surrender did come, it was conditional, and the condition was a continuation of the imperial reign. Had the General’s advice been followed, the resort to atomic weapons at Hiroshima and Nagasaki might have been unnecessary.”

William Manchester, American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880-1964, pg. 512.

Norman Cousins was a consultant to General MacArthur during the American occupation of Japan. Cousins writes of his conversations with MacArthur, “MacArthur’s views about the decision to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were starkly different from what the general public supposed.” He continues, “When I asked General MacArthur about the decision to drop the bomb, I was surprised to learn he had not even been consulted. What, I asked, would his advice have been? He replied that he saw no military justification for the dropping of the bomb. The war might have ended weeks earlier, he said, if the United States had agreed, as it later did anyway, to the retention of the institution of the emperor.”

Norman Cousins, The Pathology of Power, pg. 65, 70-71.


(Under Sec. of State)

In a February 12, 1947 letter to Henry Stimson (Sec. of War during WWII), Grew responded to the defense of the atomic bombings Stimson had made in a February 1947 Harpers magazine article:

“…in the light of available evidence I myself and others felt that if such a categorical statement about the [retention of the] dynasty had been issued in May, 1945, the surrender-minded elements in the [Japanese] Government might well have been afforded by such a statement a valid reason and the necessary strength to come to an early clearcut decision.

“If surrender could have been brought about in May, 1945, or even in June or July, before the entrance of Soviet Russia into the [Pacific] war and the use of the atomic bomb, the world would have been the gainer.”

Grew quoted in Barton Bernstein, ed.,The Atomic Bomb, pg. 29-32.


(Assistant Sec. of War)

“I have always felt that if, in our ultimatum to the Japanese government issued from Potsdam [in July 1945], we had referred to the retention of the emperor as a constitutional monarch and had made some reference to the reasonable accessibility of raw materials to the future Japanese government, it would have been accepted. Indeed, I believe that even in the form it was delivered, there was some disposition on the part of the Japanese to give it favorable consideration. When the war was over I arrived at this conclusion after talking with a number of Japanese officials who had been closely associated with the decision of the then Japanese government, to reject the ultimatum, as it was presented. I believe we missed the opportunity of effecting a Japanese surrender, completely satisfactory to us, without the necessity of dropping the bombs.”

McCloy quoted in James Reston, Deadline, pg. 500.


(Under Sec. of the Navy)

On June 28, 1945, a memorandum written by Bard the previous day was given to Sec. of War Henry Stimson. It stated, in part:

“Following the three-power [July 1945 Potsdam] conference emissaries from this country could contact representatives from Japan somewhere on the China Coast and make representations with regard to Russia’s position [they were about to declare war on Japan] and at the same time give them some information regarding the proposed use of atomic power, together with whatever assurances the President might care to make with regard to the [retention of the] Emperor of Japan and the treatment of the Japanese nation following unconditional surrender. It seems quite possible to me that this presents the opportunity which the Japanese are looking for.

“I don’t see that we have anything in particular to lose in following such a program.” He concluded the memorandum by noting, “The only way to find out is to try it out.”

Memorandum on the Use of S-1 Bomb, Manhattan Engineer District Records, Harrison-Bundy files, folder # 77, National Archives (also contained in: Martin Sherwin, A World Destroyed, 1987 edition, pg. 307-308).

Later Bard related, “…it definitely seemed to me that the Japanese were becoming weaker and weaker. They were surrounded by the Navy. They couldn’t get any imports and they couldn’t export anything. Naturally, as time went on and the war developed in our favor it was quite logical to hope and expect that with the proper kind of a warning the Japanese would then be in a position to make peace, which would have made it unnecessary for us to drop the bomb and have had to bring Russia in…”.

quoted in Len Giovannitti and Fred Freed, The Decision To Drop the Bomb, pg. 144-145, 324.

Bard also asserted, “I think that the Japanese were ready for peace, and they already had approached the Russians and, I think, the Swiss. And that suggestion of [giving] a warning [of the atomic bomb] was a face-saving proposition for them, and one that they could have readily accepted.” He continued, “In my opinion, the Japanese war was really won before we ever used the atom bomb. Thus, it wouldn’t have been necessary for us to disclose our nuclear position and stimulate the Russians to develop the same thing much more rapidly than they would have if we had not dropped the bomb.”

War Was Really Won Before We Used A-Bomb, U.S. News and World Report, 8/15/60, pg. 73-75.


(Special Assistant to the Sec. of the Navy)

Strauss recalled a recommendation he gave to Sec. of the Navy James Forrestal before the atomic bombing of Hiroshima:

“I proposed to Secretary Forrestal that the weapon should be demonstrated before it was used. Primarily it was because it was clear to a number of people, myself among them, that the war was very nearly over. The Japanese were nearly ready to capitulate… My proposal to the Secretary was that the weapon should be demonstrated over some area accessible to Japanese observers and where its effects would be dramatic. I remember suggesting that a satisfactory place for such a demonstration would be a large forest of cryptomeria trees not far from Tokyo. The cryptomeria tree is the Japanese version of our redwood… I anticipated that a bomb detonated at a suitable height above such a forest… would lay the trees out in windrows from the center of the explosion in all directions as though they were matchsticks, and, of course, set them afire in the center. It seemed to me that a demonstration of this sort would prove to the Japanese that we could destroy any of their cities at will… Secretary Forrestal agreed wholeheartedly with the recommendation…”

Strauss added, “It seemed to me that such a weapon was not necessary to bring the war to a successful conclusion, that once used it would find its way into the armaments of the world…”.

quoted in Len Giovannitti and Fred Freed, The Decision To Drop the Bomb, pg. 145, 325.


(Vice Chairman, U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey)

In 1950 Nitze would recommend a massive military buildup, and in the 1980s he was an arms control negotiator in the Reagan administration. In July of 1945 he was assigned the task of writing a strategy for the air attack on Japan. Nitze later wrote:

“The plan I devised was essentially this: Japan was already isolated from the standpoint of ocean shipping. The only remaining means of transportation were the rail network and intercoastal shipping, though our submarines and mines were rapidly eliminating the latter as well. A concentrated air attack on the essential lines of transportation, including railroads and (through the use of the earliest accurately targetable glide bombs, then emerging from development) the Kammon tunnels which connected Honshu with Kyushu, would isolate the Japanese home islands from one another and fragment the enemy’s base of operations. I believed that interdiction of the lines of transportation would be sufficiently effective so that additional bombing of urban industrial areas would not be necessary.

“While I was working on the new plan of air attack… [I] concluded that even without the atomic bomb, Japan was likely to surrender in a matter of months. My own view was that Japan would capitulate by November 1945.”

Paul Nitze, From Hiroshima to Glasnost, pg. 36-37 (my emphasis)

The U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey group, assigned by President Truman to study the air attacks on Japan, produced a report in July of 1946 that was primarily written by Nitze and reflected his reasoning:

“Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey’s opinion that certainly prior to 31 December 1945 and in all probability prior to 1 November 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated.”

quoted in Barton Bernstein, The Atomic Bomb, pg. 52-56.

In his memoir, written in 1989, Nitze repeated,

“Even without the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it seemed highly unlikely, given what we found to have been the mood of the Japanese government, that a U.S. invasion of the islands [scheduled for November 1, 1945] would have been necessary.”

Paul Nitze, From Hiroshima to Glasnost, pg. 44-45.


Einstein was not directly involved in the Manhattan Project (which developed the atomic bomb). In 1905, as part of his Special Theory of Relativity, he made the intriguing point that a relatively large amount of energy was contained in and could be released from a relatively small amount of matter. This became best known by the equation E=mc2. The atomic bomb was not based upon this theory but clearly illustrated it.

In 1939 Einstein signed a letter to President Roosevelt that was drafted by the scientist Leo Szilard. Received by FDR in October of that year, the letter from Einstein called for and sparked the beginning of U.S. government support for a program to build an atomic bomb, lest the Nazis build one first.

Einstein did not speak publicly on the atomic bombing of Japan until a year afterward. A short article on the front page of the New York Times contained his view:

“Prof. Albert Einstein… said that he was sure that President Roosevelt would have forbidden the atomic bombing of Hiroshima had he been alive and that it was probably carried out to end the Pacific war before Russia could participate.”

Einstein Deplores Use of Atom Bomb, New York Times, 8/19/46, pg. 1.

Regarding the 1939 letter to Roosevelt, his biographer, Ronald Clark, has noted:

“As far as his own life was concerned, one thing seemed quite clear. ‘I made one great mistake in my life,’ he said to Linus Pauling, who spent an hour with him on the morning of November 11, 1954, ‘…when I signed the letter to President Roosevelt recommending that atom bombs be made; but there was some justification – the danger that the Germans would make them.'”.

Ronald Clark, Einstein: The Life and Times, pg. 620.


(The first scientist to conceive of how an atomic bomb might be made – 1933)

For many scientists, one motivation for developing the atomic bomb was to make sure Germany, well known for its scientific capabilities, did not get it first. This was true for Szilard, a Manhattan Project scientist.

“In the spring of ’45 it was clear that the war against Germany would soon end, and so I began to ask myself, ‘What is the purpose of continuing the development of the bomb, and how would the bomb be used if the war with Japan has not ended by the time we have the first bombs?”.

Szilard quoted in Spencer Weart and Gertrud Weiss Szilard, ed., Leo Szilard: His Version of the Facts, pg. 181.

After Germany surrendered, Szilard attempted to meet with President Truman. Instead, he was given an appointment with Truman’s Sec. of State to be, James Byrnes. In that meeting of May 28, 1945, Szilard told Byrnes that the atomic bomb should not be used on Japan. Szilard recommended, instead, coming to an international agreement on the control of atomic weapons before shocking other nations by their use:

“I thought that it would be a mistake to disclose the existence of the bomb to the world before the government had made up its mind about how to handle the situation after the war. Using the bomb certainly would disclose that the bomb existed.” According to Szilard, Byrnes was not interested in international control: “Byrnes… was concerned about Russia’s postwar behavior. Russian troops had moved into Hungary and Rumania, and Byrnes thought it would be very difficult to persuade Russia to withdraw her troops from these countries, that Russia might be more manageable if impressed by American military might, and that a demonstration of the bomb might impress Russia.” Szilard could see that he wasn’t getting though to Byrnes; “I was concerned at this point that by demonstrating the bomb and using it in the war against Japan, we might start an atomic arms race between America and Russia which might end with the destruction of both countries.”.

Szilard quoted in Spencer Weart and Gertrud Weiss Szilard, ed., Leo Szilard: His Version of the Facts, pg. 184.

Two days later, Szilard met with J. Robert Oppenheimer, the head scientist in the Manhattan Project. “I told Oppenheimer that I thought it would be a very serious mistake to use the bomb against the cities of Japan. Oppenheimer didn’t share my view.” “‘Well, said Oppenheimer, ‘don’t you think that if we tell the Russians what we intend to do and then use the bomb in Japan, the Russians will understand it?’. ‘They’ll understand it only too well,’ Szilard replied, no doubt with Byrnes’s intentions in mind.”

Szilard quoted in Spencer Weart and Gertrud Weiss Szilard, ed., Leo Szilard: His Version of the Facts, pg. 185; also William Lanouette, Genius In the Shadows: A Biography of Leo Szilard, pg. 266-267.


The race for the atomic bomb ended with the May 1945 surrender of Germany, the only other power capable of creating an atomic bomb in the near future. This led some Manhattan Project scientists in Chicago to become among the first to consider the long-term consequences of using the atomic bomb against Japan in World War II. Their report came to be known as the Franck Report, and included major contributions from Leo Szilard (referred to above). Although an attempt was made to give the report to Sec. of War Henry Stimson, it is unclear as to whether he ever received it.

International control of nuclear weapons for the prevention of a larger nuclear war was the report’s primary concern:

“If we consider international agreement on total prevention of nuclear warfare as the paramount objective, and believe that it can be achieved, this kind of introduction of atomic weapons [on Japan] to the world may easily destroy all our chances of success. Russia… will be deeply shocked. It will be very difficult to persuade the world that a nation which was capable of secretly preparing and suddenly releasing a weapon, as indiscriminate as the rocket bomb and a thousand times more destructive, is to be trusted in its proclaimed desire of having such weapons abolished by international agreement.”.

The Franck Committee, which could not know that the Japanese government would approach Russia in July to try to end the war, compared the short-term possible saving of lives by using the bomb on Japan with the long-term possible massive loss of lives in a nuclear war:

“…looking forward to an international agreement on prevention of nuclear warfare – the military advantages and the saving of American lives, achieved by the sudden use of atomic bombs against Japan, may be outweighed by the ensuing loss of confidence and wave of horror and repulsion, sweeping over the rest of the world…”.

The report questioned the ability of destroying Japanese cities with atomic bombs to bring surrender when destroying Japanese cities with conventional bombs had not done so. It recommended a demonstration of the atomic bomb for Japan in an unpopulated area. Facing the long-term consequences with Russia, the report stated prophetically:

“If no international agreement is concluded immediately after the first demonstration, this will mean a flying start of an unlimited armaments race.”.

The report pointed out that the United States, with its highly concentrated urban areas, would become a prime target for nuclear weapons and concluded:

“We believe that these considerations make the use of nuclear bombs for an early, unannounced attack against Japan inadvisable. If the United States would be the first to release this new means of indiscriminate destruction upon mankind, she would sacrifice public support throughout the world, precipitate the race of armaments, and prejudice the possibility of reaching an international agreement on the future control of such weapons.”.

Political and Social Problems, Manhattan Engineer District Records, Harrison-Bundy files, folder # 76, National Archives (also contained in: Martin Sherwin, A World Destroyed, 1987 edition, pg. 323-333).


(Deputy Director of the Office of Naval Intelligence)

Based on a series of intelligence reports received in late 1944, Zacharias, long a student of Japan’s people and culture, believed the Japan would soon be ripe for surrender if the proper approach were taken. For him, that approach was not as simple as bludgeoning Japanese cities:

“…while Allied leaders were immediately inclined to support all innovations however bold and novel in the strictly military sphere, they frowned upon similar innovations in the sphere of diplomatic and psychological warfare.”

Ellis Zacharias, The A-Bomb Was Not Needed, United Nations World, Aug. 1949, pg. 29.

Zacharias saw that there were diplomatic and religious (the status of the Emperor) elements that blocked the doves in Japan’s government from making their move:

“What prevented them from suing for peace or from bringing their plot into the open was their uncertainty on two scores. First, they wanted to know the meaning of unconditional surrender and the fate we planned for Japan after defeat. Second, they tried to obtain from us assurances that the Emperor could remain on the throne after surrender.”

Ellis Zacharias, Eighteen Words That Bagged Japan, Saturday Evening Post, 11/17/45, pg. 17.

To resolve these issues, Zacharias developed several plans for secret negotiations with Japanese representatives; all were rejected by the U.S. government. Instead, a series of psychological warfare radio broadcasts by Zacharias was later approved. In the July 21, 1945 broadcast, Zacharias made an offer to Japan that stirred controversy in the U.S.: a surrender based on the Atlantic Charter. On July 25th, the U.S. intercepted a secret transmission from Japan’s Foreign Minister (Togo) to their Ambassador to Moscow (Sato), who was trying to set up a meeting with the Soviets to negotiate an end to the war. The message referred to the Zacharias broadcast and stated:

“…special attention should be paid to the fact that at this time the United States referred to the Atlantic Charter. As for Japan, it is impossible to accept unconditional surrender under any circumstances, but we should like to communicate to the other party through appropriate channels that we have no objection to a peace based on the Atlantic Charter.”

U.S. Dept. of State, Foreign Relations of the United States: Conference of Berlin (Potsdam) 1945, vol. 2, pg. 1260-1261.

But on July 26th, the U.S., Great Britain, and China publicly issued the Potsdam Proclamation demanding “unconditional surrender” from Japan. Zacharias later commented on the favorable Japanese response to his broadcast:

“But though we gained a victory, it was soon to be canceled out by the Potsdam Declaration and the way it was handled.

“Instead of being a diplomatic instrument, transmitted through regular diplomatic channels and giving the Japanese a chance to answer, it was put on the radio as a propaganda instrument pure and simple. The whole maneuver, in fact, completely disregarded all essential psychological factors dealing with Japan.”

Zacharias continued, “The Potsdam Declaration, in short, wrecked everything we had been working for to prevent further bloodshed…

“Just when the Japanese were ready to capitulate, we went ahead and introduced to the world the most devastating weapon it had ever seen and, in effect, gave the go-ahead to Russia to swarm over Eastern Asia.

“Washington decided that Japan had been given its chance and now it was time to use the A-bomb.

“I submit that it was the wrong decision. It was wrong on strategic grounds. And it was wrong on humanitarian grounds.”

Ellis Zacharias, How We Bungled the Japanese Surrender, Look, 6/6/50, pg. 19-21.


(In charge of Air Force operations in the Pacific)

General Spaatz was the person who received the order for the Air Force to “deliver its first special bomb as soon as weather will permit visual bombing after about 3 August 1945…”(Leslie Groves, Now It Can Be Told, pg. 308). In a 1964 interview, Spaatz explained:

“The dropping of the atomic bomb was done by a military man under military orders. We’re supposed to carry out orders and not question them.”

In the same interview, Spaatz referred to the Japanese military’s plan to get better peace terms, and he gave an alternative to the atomic bombings:

“If we were to go ahead with the plans for a conventional invasion with ground and naval forces, I believe the Japanese thought that they could inflict very heavy casualties on us and possibly as a result get better surrender terms. On the other hand if they knew or were told that no invasion would take place [and] that bombing would continue until the surrender, why I think the surrender would have taken place just about the same time.” (Herbert Feis Papers, Box 103, N.B.C. Interviews, Carl Spaatz interview by Len Giovannitti, Library of Congress).


(The military intelligence officer in charge of preparing intercepted Japanese cables – the MAGIC summaries – for Truman and his advisors)

“…when we didn’t need to do it, and we knew we didn’t need to do it, and they knew that we knew we didn’t need to do it, we used them as an experiment for two atomic bombs.”

Quoted in Gar Alperovitz, The Decision To Use the Atomic Bomb, pg. 359.

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But the historic genesis of the Pax Americana process shows that the mercenary and commercial elements are part and parcel of it. This is clear from the American department commerce’s daily bulletine (April 29, 1964) in which the government advertised various items for bidding . Interspersed among the requests for bids on tyres, spare aircraft parts and survival kits was the following item:

“Service and materials to perform a research study entitled Pax Americana consisting of a phased study  of the following: (a) elements of national power; (b) ability of selected nations to apply the elements of national power; (c) a variety of world power configurations to be used as a basis for the U.S. to maintain world hegemony in the future. Quotations and applicable specifications will be available upon request at the Army research Office, 3845, Columbia Pike, Arlington, Va; until May 1, 1965.”

Coupled with this study there were two more ads from the army. One on the “U.S. involvement in the emerging nations, a study to determine the quality and quantity of total U.S. presence and influence in Latin America, Africa and Asia, to identify  salient trends and to project the latter into the 1975-80 time frame.”.

And the third was the most disturbing and has a crucial bearing on the nuclear blackmail exercised by American Pax American modus operandi. It was concerning “the investigation of the feasibility and desirability in the 1970 time frame of providing selected U.S. allies a significant nuclear capability without necessity for maintaining U.S. control or custody over weapon s systems or their employment.” Musharraf’s threat to use the nuclear option  is a grim reminder in this context.

The ultimate aim of Pax Americana consists in viewing the lesser races as guinea pigs as exemplified  in their atomic experimentation on Hiroshima and Nagasaki even when Japan was on the verge of surrender . Thus whether it was the Johnson or Truman doctrine or the Nixon threat to send the 7th Fleet  to threaten India or Mr.Bush’s megalomaniac vision of military supremacy over the earth  they are all the extensions in one form or the other of the original Monroe Doctrine embodying the manifest destiny of America to expand its frontiers.

Just recently revealing stories by a US journalist George Weller who visited the Japanese city of Nagasaki a month after the atomic bomb have been serialised by Japan’s Mainichi daily, describes the “wasteland” created and the suffering of victims of radiation sickness. He was the first foreign reporter in the ravaged city, declared off-limits to journalists by the US occupiers. The writings, rejected by US censors, were lost, but re-discovered last year.

The Baltimore Sun in its report by Amy Goodman and David Goodman The Hiroshima Cover-Up published on august 5, 2005 have commented on this discovery “of reporter George Weller’s firsthand account of conditions in post-nuclear Nagasaki sheds light on one of the great journalistic betrayals of the last century: the cover-up of the effects of the atomic bombing on Japan.” The reports were suppressed by Gen.MacArthur.

But one month later as noted by this report: ” two reporters defied General MacArthur and struck out on their own. Mr. Weller, of the Chicago Daily News, took row boats and trains to reach devastated Nagasaki. Independent journalist Wilfred Burchett rode a train for 30 hours and walked into the charred remains of Hiroshima.

Both men encountered nightmare worlds. Mr. Burchett sat down on a chunk of rubble with his Baby Hermes typewriter. His dispatch began: “In Hiroshima, 30 days after the first atomic bomb destroyed the city and shook the world, people are still dying, mysteriously and horribly – people who were uninjured in the cataclysm from an unknown something which I can only describe as the atomic plague.”

He continued, tapping out the words that still haunt to this day: “Hiroshima does not look like a bombed city. It looks as if a monster steamroller has passed over it and squashed it out of existence. I write these facts as dispassionately as I can in the hope that they will act as a warning to the world.”

The BBC World News have carried a searing report of the recollection of Keiko Ogura who was eight years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. She still lives in the city. nuclear survivors, known as Hibakusha, who joined dignitaries at the annual commemoration in the Peace Park, built at the epicentre of the blast.

All this is extremely disquieting. Would it be too much to hope and expect the US to come forth with an unconditional apology for this horror committed against innocent Japanese civilians?

`Shock and Awe’: Terror Bombing,
From Wells and Russell to Cheney

by Edward Spannaus

There was absolutely no military necessity to use the atomic bomb against Japan in August 1945. Japan was, by the Summer of that year, a defeated nation. The only real question was to work out the terms of surrender. But there was a powerful faction which wanted to use the bomb, not to compel the surrender of Japan, but to “shock and awe” the world into submission to an Anglo-American-dominated, one-world government. The untimely death of Franklin Roosevelt on April 12, 1945 gave this grouping the opportunity to succeed with their evil schemes, which they never could have done had Roosevelt been alive.

The shallow, ill-informed Harry Truman became a dupe of this faction, which operated primarily through his Secretary of State Jimmy Byrnes, and Secretary of War Henry Stimson. It was these two men who briefed Truman on the bomb project immediately after FDR’s death.

One of the steps that Stimson and Byrnes subsequently took, was to induce Truman to postpone the Potsdam summit with Stalin until the bomb’s design had been completed and tested. And at Potsdam, the clause offering the Japanese the possibility of establishing “a constitutional monarchy under the present dynasty,” was removed from the final Declaration.

The myth which grew up later—that the use of the atomic bomb saved a million American lives—has no basis whatsoever in reality. The effects of the naval blockade were such that Japan’s raw-materials dependent island economy was virtually shut down, and its military situation was hopeless. Surrender was only a matter of time—within months, November or December at the latest—so long as reasonable terms were offered.
The following statement of Stimson, the then Secretary of State to the then President Truman published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Feb.3, 1947:

The future may see a time when such weapon may be constructed secret and used suddenly and effectively with devastating  power by a wilful nationor group against an unsuspecting nation or or group of much greater size and material power. With its aid  even a very powerful and unsuspecting nation might be conquered within a very few days by a very smaller one…”

Quoting this the most distinguished experimental physicist and Nobel prize winner in 1948  P.M.S. Blackett says in his book  The Military and Political  Consequences of Atomic Energy (1948):  “The  obvious result has been to stimulate a hysterical search for 100 per cent security from such attack. since there can be no such complete seccurityfrom such attack. Since there can be no such complete security for America except through world hegemony by America in one form of another…” p.128

Officials and analysts in the United States have been warning that Al-Quaida or associated groups are planning such nuclear attacks on  American soil.

Dubbed as American Hiroshima the plan apparently targets New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago, San Franscisco, Las Vegas, Boston and Washigton D.C..

Former US Defence Secretary William Perry says there is an even chance of a nuclear attack  on the US this decade. Renowned investor Warren Buffet  has predicted  A nuclear terrorist attack isinevitable.”


Terrorists could use internet to launch nuclear attack, says report | Technology |


The risk of cyber-terrorism escalating to a nuclear strike is growing daily, according to a study The claims come in a study commissioned by the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (ICNND), which suggests that under the right circumstances, terrorists could break into computer systems and launch an attack on a nuclear state – triggering a catastrophic chain of events that would have a global impact.

Without better protection of computer and information systems, the paper suggests, governments around the world are leaving open the possibility that a well-coordinated cyberwar could quickly elevate to nuclear levels.

In fact, says the study, “this may be an easier alternative for terrorist groups than building or acquiring a nuclear weapon or dirty bomb themselves”.


© Bal Patil., all rights reserved.
Posted by: Bal Patil | August 2, 2010


Published in “National Herald, 5th July, 1978



It is pertinent to remind ourselves that racial prejudice has no rational or scientific basis  whatever.  It is not the British behavioural scientist,  Prof. Hans Eysenck, alone who has had the  temerity to expound ideas about differences in mental capacity between the Negroes and the whites: the pioneer in the field is really Dr. Jensen who first propounded the theory in a systematic manner  in his contribution in the Harvard Educational Review in 1969.

I have read Dr. Jensen’s contribution carefully.  I felt it incredible  when I read it a decade ago  that a social scientist and educationist writing in a reputed educationist review  published from Harvard should have been rash enough to present a hypothesis denigrating  a social  minority in America that has suffered untold indignities at the hands of the ‘superior’ white race.  To say that the inferiority of  Negroes in IQ tests owes more to genetical  composition in their population than to environmental ones was an amazing proposition indeed.  Moreover, I thought that he had put forward a hypothesis which main body of his research contradicts.

Dr. Jensen was concerned with demonstrating that what we know by the concept of intelligence comprises only part of a totality of mental ability.  He argued: “Intelligence should not be regarded  as completely  synonymous  with what I shall call mental ability, a term which refers to the totality of a person’s mental capabilities,  the particular constellation of abilities we now call ‘intelligence’ and which we can measure by means  of ‘intelligence’ tests, has been singled out from the total galaxy  of mental  abilities  as being especially important in our society mainly because of the nature  of  our traditional  system of formal education and the occupational structure  with which it is coordinated.  Thus  the predominant  importance of intelligence is derived not from absolute criteria or God-given desiderate, but from social demands.”

‘Social demands’

If “social demands” are so important can they be anything except weighted in favour of  the majority of the population which has consciously discriminated against Negroes for centuries?  intelligence  theory confirm the suspicion that intelligence tests in the USA today are so framed that they favour  white students.

This hypothesis also does not take into account the dysgenic effects of a long period of social deprivation such as that the Negroes have been subjected to.  The real question with regard to Dr. Jensen’s finding is whether the Negro genes or genotypes, which he regards as exhibiting average Negro-White intelligence differences, have had an equal chance to develop through several generations and in more or less similar environment.  And  as they have not had such a chance, this hypothesis must fail.

‘Gene Pools’

Dr. Jensen went on further to contend that “No one has yet produced any evidence based on a properly controlled study to show that representative samples of Negro and White children can be equalized in intellectual ability through statistical control of environment and education.” Did Dr. Jensen himself arrive at his mischievous hypothesis by means of statistical control of environment & education? Is it ever possible to carry out such preposterous social experiments in laboratory conditions?  A more realistic answer to Dr. Jensen’s question would be that a model as envisaged by him, would be simply irrelevant given the Negro-White situation.

We must not forget that the Negro is on alien and hostile ground to start with.  In 1926, Helmer devised tests which contained subject-matter relating closely to the life of Red Indians.  When White and Red Indian children did the tests the White children were found to be inferior!  Professor I.I. Gottesman a leading behavioural geneticist  questioning the validity of the Jensenist theory noted:

“Even when gene pools  are known to be matched, appreciable differences in the mean IQ can be observed that could  only have been associated with environmental differences”.  In a study of 38 pairs of identical twins reared  in different environments, the average difference in the IQ for these identical twins was 14 points and at least one quarter  of the identical pairs of twins reared in different environments had differences in the IQ score that were larger than 16 points.  The difference is larger than the average difference between Black and White  populations.  Therefore, Gottesman concluded that “the differences observed so far between Whites and Negroes can hardly be accepted as sufficient evidence that with  respect to intelligence the Negro American is genetically less endowed.

Scientifically there is no evidence whatever to claim that a particular race is innately superior  to any other race.  In Race and Modern Science edited by Robert E.  Kuttner, Social Science Press, (1967), a collection of essays by biologists, anthropologists, sociologists and psychologists one of the contributors, Bertil Lundman,  says: Race is a term that can be applied only to a reasonably  homogenous group that has preserved  its hereditary characteristics almost unchanged through a long succession of generations.”

Race traits are to be seen in head shape, facial form, nasal form, skin colour, hair colour  and eye colour.  Therefore, Mr. Lundman says that we  may  divide  mankind  into “white”  (better Europoid”) “black” “yellow” and  “red” primary types.  He says: “We cannot fail to be impressed by the large differences in environments, peoples  and races –“behavioural traits, just as in morphological and physiological  traits, are  the result of selective  and hereditary adaptations to diverse environments over thousands  of years….No one method of anthropological investigation can claim to possess exclusive authority. Climatic and geographical factors have also an effect: black skin is particularly suited to the torrid zones and fair skin (white or yellow) to the more temperate regions.

IQ  not fixed at birth.

When Prof. Jensen had come to the Royal Geographical Society in London in September, 1974, to explain his race theory anti-racist scientists picketed the meeting and in the meeting itself all the scientists  denounced his theories  categorically.  Dr. Barbara Tizard  of London University  said as reported  in  The Guardian of September 20, 1974, that studies carried out in Britain of carefully matched  groups  of children  of different ethnic origins reveals  no innate defect in any ethnic  group, and that IQ  is not fixed  at  birth, as people used to believe, but can be continually changed by circumstances.  She went on to condemn Prof. Jensen’s  thesis  thus: “The issue raised by Jensen of the contribution of heredity to radical differences if IQ is both politically offensive and educationally irrelevant.   It is  politically offensive  because whatever the motivation of the author, it  serves as a respectable  academic rationale for  racist  policies.

Prof. J.S. Weiner of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine demonstrated how physiological responses were primarily a matter of conditioning not race and argued  that  the genetic potential  was  basically the same in all ethnic groups.  Every speaker at the meeting (except Jensen himself) was implicitly or directly hostile to Jensen’s Theories.

It is strange and scandalous, therefore, that South Africa (and its incorrigible Dr. Vorster) should continue to hurl defiance at the Freedom Charter adopted at the Congress  of the  People at Kliptown  in South Africa in 1955, and continue to bury its head obdurately in racial  sands.  Much more regret table is the fact that there  are academic  and intellectual  justifications of racial  superiority  coming from the so-called  advanced Western nations.  But we Indians sit in judgement  when we

continue to perpetrate enormous iniquities on the  called lower  castes and untouchables?


READERS’ VIEWS  Published  The Times of India June 4, 1981

By Bal Patil

To The Editor, “The Times Of India”


You have done well to nail the canard of Dr. Jensen’s pseudo-scientific hypothesis that Negroes are genetically inferior to whites (May 28/29).

It is incredible that a social scientist writing in a reputed educational review published from Harvard should have the temerity to present a hypothesis denigrating a social minority in America that has suffered untold indignities at the hand of the “superior” white race. To argue that the inferiority of Negroes in IQ tests owes more to genetical components in their population than to environmental ones is truly amazing.

I have read Dr, Jensen’s contribution in the current issue of the Harvard Educational Review, and think that he has put forward a hypothesis which is not warranted by the main body of his research.

He is concerned with demonstrating that what we know by the concept of intelligence comprises only part of a totality of mental ability. He argues: “Intelligence should not be regarded as completely synonymous with what I shall call mental ability, a term which refers to the totality of a person’s mental capabilities …. the particular constellation of abilities we now call “intelligence” , and which we can measure by means of ‘intelligence’ tests, has been singled out from the total galaxy of mental abilities has being especially important in our society mainly because of the nature of our traditional system of formal education and the occupational structure with which it is co-ordinated . Thus, the predominant importance of intelligence is derived not from any absolute criteria or God-given desiderata, but from social demands.”

If “social demands” are so important, can they be anything except weighted in favour of the majority of the population which has consciously discriminated against Negroes for centuries? Does not this “social demands” intelligence theory confirm the suspicion voiced by you that “intelligence tests in the are so framed that they favour white students”?

This hypothesis also does not take into account the dysgenic effects of a long period of social deprivation such as that the Negroes have been subjected to. The real question with regard to Dr, Jensen’s finding is whether the Negro genes or genotypes, which he regards as exhibiting average Negro-white intelligence differences, have had an equal chance to develop through several generations and in more or less similar environments. And as they have not had such a change, this hypothesis must fall.

Dr. Jensen further contends that “No one has yet produced any evidence based on a properly controlled study to show that representative samples of Negro and white children can be equalized in intellectual ability through statistical control of environment and education.” The answer is that such a model would be simply irrelevant given the Negro-white situation.

We must not forget that the Negro is on alien and hostile ground to start with. In 1926, Helmer devised tests which contained subject-matter relating closely to the life of Red Indians. When white and Red Indian children did tests the white children were found to be inferior. There are more things in intelligence than are tapped by the IQ tests devised on the U.S.A.


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