India and International law

An eye for eye only makes the whole world blind

LAW & LIFE

RASHAD HUSSAIN

India, as a nation, has maintained a good approach towards international law from times immemorial as it was established in the theory and practice in ancient India that it was the moral responsibility of a king to safeguard the envoy sent to his court by other kings. Kautilya’s Arthshatra endorses the view that, one who kills or disrespects an envoy is supposed to overstep the limits of Dharma and is condemned to hell. One more episode as mentioned in Ramayana that even Ravana, the ruler of Lanka has respected the ideal of diplomatic immunity by agreeing to his brothers’ advice not to kill Hanuman, who had gone there as an ambassador.
India’s approach towards international law has been quite praiseworthy from ancient to medieval period but there was some twist in the recent past. More remarkable is India’s approach with the dealing of refugees. India granted political asylum whether it was Nepali congress or Dalai Lama of Tibet, although it knew that by offering political asylum, it has to pay heavy price both military as well as political. India accepted the heavy burden of refugees who came there in 1971 from erstwhile East Pakistan. While a huge chunk of refugees has not yet returned to their homeland, India treated respectfully the prisoners of war of 1971 who were later returned to their homeland without any condition. India received the Tamil refugees with good hospitality.
This approach of India towards international law can be so because in Mahabharata it is mentioned that an enemy seeking protection from fear and destitution should be treated just like your own son. And there is also an old saying that even if enemy comes to your home you should receive him with hospitality. One should be like a tree which does not hold its shade away from a person who has come to cut it down.
However, there has been a change in India’s approach toward international law in the recent past. Being a democratic country, India’s approach towards international law should have become better. Progress in education should have made better the approach of India towards international law. But there has been a U turn in India’s approach towards international law in the recent past. The case of Ajmal Kasab has put some grey marks on the credibility of a highly reputed nation. The question here is not whether Ajmal Kasab was guilty or not but the question is that an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. As a highly democratic country India should have acted on the dictum of Mahabharata that an enemy seeking protection from fear and destitution should be treated just like your own son, this would have maintained their good reputation and approach towards international law.
The game is not over yet; there is one more chance to follow the old traditions of this nation by reconsidering the case of Afzal Guru.
Feedback at: rashad.iust@gmail.com

Lastupdate on : Sat, 5 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 5 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 6 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST




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