About Shiva Kant Jha

Shri Shiva Kant Jha was born in the family of distinguished freedom fighters. He too had contributed to our country's Struggle for Freedom. He did his M.A. from Bihar University and LL.M from Patna University standing first at both the examinations. He specialized in Public International Law. His dissertation was on the law of fisheries in the high seas. He became a lecturer in Bihar University at the age of 20, and soon was appointed a permanent post-graduate lecturer in the Magadh University where he worked till 1964 when he joined the Indian Revenue Service which he served in various capacities retiring in 1998 from the post of the Chief Commissioner of Income-tax.

The Sphota: KRISHNA DASHANA (By Shiva Kant Jha)

The Sphota: KRISHNA DASHANA
(By Shiva Kant Jha)
I felt the cosmos exploded with an incessant shower of sparks, some big enough to subsume countless suns, some so small as not be enough even for a neutron to get parked. The sparks seemed to form waves in which the particles seem to move through variations with the fastest imaginable speed all shrouded in mystery. I saw a little of what was being unfolded without understanding what all that meant.
It is amazing to notice that the blue sky was itself advancing (or receding) towards a realm that seemed to begin where the blue seemed to softly merge in the realm of ‘darkness’ the intensity and tone of which seem to increase. What was happening in that realm of darkness couldn’t be seen. All the sparks were fading out by slipping into that realm.
It was amazing to see through spectra the countless universes emerging and melting inside a spark whose number no supercomputer could count. Whatever aperture through the spectrum could be got, I saw the dance of Lord Shiva going on even in the tiniest parts. It was an alluringly frightening experience, perhaps to my astral body. Then I heard, or I felt I heard the sound of Krishna’s flute. The sound was no ordinary sound. At times it seemed emanating from the conch, at times from damru, at times from the flute we are familiar with. Besides, it had countless other sound patterns and effects which I could neither explore, nor imagine. It seemed that whole that I saw getting revealed in that sound. It was strange to see in light and sound the same symmetry, same idiom, the same symbiosis.
When my goes back to those moments, whose memory has almost faded now, I feel I had the luck to witness the sphota (‘the explosion’) coming from the imageries, the ultimate building-blocks for our experience, and/or thought. This word in Sanskrit poetics is difficult to be translated into English as there is no synonym. But I do not now whether the sphota was in exterior world that I had seen, or inside myself. In fact, the duality cease when there is sphota. In yoga, the sphota gives rise to naad that advances up towards the point of perfection. The yogis believe that naad is inherent in everything that universe contains. When it acquires attributes it expresses itself in the phenomenal world, but expressively in the seven swaras in which creation sang its music of creativity; and which we imagine best expressed in Shiva’s damru, and Krishna’s bansuri (flute?). But when its attributes cease, it becomes just O’m that symbolises and expresses the entire creative process. It is interesting to note that when Kabirdas thought of what best mission in life he should devote himself, he asked himself to advance towards that great delight the perfection of which are thus captured by his words bulding rich imagery.
Phaguna ke din chaar re holi khel mana re.
My yoganidra lasted for a few minutes, but for me it seemed hat eons had passed. That ‘blue sky’, that ‘light’, and that ‘sound’ I could remember for long, through mysteriously haze no doubt. I have reflected on them in my later years with a measure of fidelity that I could muster.
( at Indirapuram: New Delhi Oct., 2013)

ERTAIN IDEAS WHICH I ALWAYS TREASURE IN MY MIND by Shivakant Jha

CERTAIN IDEAS WHICH I ALWAYS TREASURE IN MY MIND.

1. Venerable Bede (672-735) wrote in his Ecclesiastical History:

“ Such O king, seems to me the present life on earth, as if ………. On a winter’s night a sparrow should fly swiftly into the hall and, coming in one door, instantly fly out through another …. Somewhat like this appears the life of man. But of what follows or what went before we are utterly ignorant.”
I get reminded of the following shloka of the GITA:
अव्यक्तादीनि भूतानि व्यक्तमध्यानि भारत।
अव्यक्तनिधनान्येव तत्र का परिदेवना।।2.28।।

2. The greatest achievement is to be born a man who alone is free to bring about his salvation or damnation. This is the Right to Liberty that all humans enjoy. Shri Ram had asked the people of Ayodhya to inhibit/prohibit even the King if his actions do not accord well with their sense of justice. In course of his instruction to his people he said something which we are accustomed to quote often:

बड़े भाग मानुष तन पावा | सुर दुर्लभ सद् ग्रन्थन्हि गावा ||
साधन् धाम मोक्ष कर द्वारा | पाई न जेहिं परलोक सँवारा ||
3. In my view the grammar of human existence is well expressed in the last shloka of the Chapter 11 of the Gita that describes the cosmic form of creation where the duty of MAN is to work in accordance with the norms thus pointed out in the Gita.

मत्कर्मकृन्मत्परमो मद्भक्तः सङ्गवर्जितः।
निर्वैरः सर्वभूतेषु यः स मामेति पाण्डव।।11.55।।
4. It is interesting to note that in providing us this most important instruction, the Bhagavad-Gita and the Quran strike the same note, say the same thing.
uddharedatmana’tmanamNa’tmanamavasadayet
atmai ’vahyatmanobandhuratmai’varipuratmanah.
The Bhagavad-Gita (VI. 5)
[Let a man lift himself by himself; let him not degrade himself; for the Self alone is the friend of the self and the Self alone is the enemy of the self. ]

***
I underscore this idea by quoting the holy and inspiring words from the Holy Quran: .
‘इ_नलाहोलायूगययरोमा _बकौ _मनह_तायुगययरोवा _बन _तसेहुम

5. I brought my memoir to an end quoting lines from Shiv Mangal Singh Suman which I consider the best portrait of our life on any of the cycles of existence at any of the points in the cosmos, or anywhere we call anant (space in which the universes are born and get lost.) [Please see at pages 538-39 in the chapter 31 of On the Loom of Time, uploaded on my website at http://www.shivakantjha.org/pdfdocs/on_the_loom_of_time_2nd_edition/45_loom_31.pdf.

6. I would like to re-iterate what I wrote in my above mentioned memoir at its page 535:

“Now I, in my seventies [now in eighties], wholly share what Lord Hailsham of St. Marylebone, who had been the Lord Chancellor of England, said in his autobiography: A Sparrow’s Flight. If I were my own judge, I would hang myself by the next lamppost. Lord Hailsham of Marylebone, who had been England’s Lord Chancellor, called his autobiography A Sparrow’s Flight. One’s life in the world is like a sparrow’s stay for a short while. He concludes his autobiography with a prayer for mercy, not with a prayer to be weighed and judged:”

7. My last prayer, when that occasion comes, would begin with Arjuna’s prayer to the Vishwaroop of Krishna comprehended in the 11th Chapter of the Gita:
त्वमादिदेवः पुरुषः पुराण
स्त्वमस्य विश्वस्य परं निधानम्।
वेत्तासि वेद्यं च परं च धाम
त्वया ततं विश्वमनन्तरूप।।11.38।।
I implore my tongue that I have served over eight decades, for its last act of kindness: (to quote Sri Billvamangalachraya):
त्वमेव याचे मम देहि जिह्वे समागते दंडधरे कृतान्ते
वक्तव्यमेंवं मधुरं सुभक्त्या गोविन्द दामोदर माधवेति
8. A lot of thinking has been done in the West on the interrelationship between the forces of Good and Evil. But I believe in what Tulsidas said in his Ramacharitmanasa:
9. भलेउ पोच सब बिधि उपजाए, गनि गुन दोष बेद बिलगाए
10. कहहि बेद इतिहास पुराना, बिधि प्रपंच गुन अवगुन साना
[Good and Evil are God’s husbandry, the Shastras have discriminated them as good or evil. All the Vedas and the Puranas are one in saying: It is God’s craft (maya) to knead all the traits together.]
9. For various good reasons I have enjoyed listening to the following songs which I wish all my friends should listen to understand our life and death, and the Gita..
(i) शिवोहम् शिवोहम् शिवोहम् शिवोहम्… [ You can hear this kirtan in the voice of Swami Satyananda Saraswati at youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-QKQrg0lSw ; and also in the voice of my wife, Smt. Veenapani Jha by visiting http://shivakantjha.org/openfile.php?filename=trusts/bhagavadgita_study_centre.htm ] and
(ii) khabar-e tahaiyyur-e ishq sun Na JunooN Raha Na Pari Rahi on youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPBIOIGpt3Y.

Hari O’M
Shivakant Jha
Oct 12, 2017

Arjuna’s Perception of Krishna’s Visvarupa in Chapter 11 of the Geeta

अर्जुन उवाच
पश्यामि देवांस्तव देव देहे
सर्वांस्तथा भूतविशेषसङ्घान्।
ब्रह्माणमीशं कमलासनस्थ
मृषींश्च सर्वानुरगांश्च दिव्यान्।।11.15।।
अनेकबाहूदरवक्त्रनेत्रं
पश्यामि त्वां सर्वतोऽनन्तरूपम्।
नान्तं न मध्यं न पुनस्तवादिं
पश्यामि विश्वेश्वर विश्वरूप।।11.16।।
किरीटिनं गदिनं चक्रिणं च
तेजोराशिं सर्वतोदीप्तिमन्तम्।
पश्यामि त्वां दुर्निरीक्ष्यं समन्ता
द्दीप्तानलार्कद्युतिमप्रमेयम्।।11.17।।
त्वमक्षरं परमं वेदितव्यं
त्वमस्य विश्वस्य परं निधानम्।
त्वमव्ययः शाश्वतधर्मगोप्ता
सनातनस्त्वं पुरुषो मतो मे।।11.18।।
अनादिमध्यान्तमनन्तवीर्य
मनन्तबाहुं शशिसूर्यनेत्रम्।
पश्यामि त्वां दीप्तहुताशवक्त्रम्
स्वतेजसा विश्वमिदं तपन्तम्।।11.19।।
द्यावापृथिव्योरिदमन्तरं हि
व्याप्तं त्वयैकेन दिशश्च सर्वाः।
दृष्ट्वाऽद्भुतं रूपमुग्रं तवेदं
लोकत्रयं प्रव्यथितं महात्मन्।।11.20।।
अमी हि त्वां सुरसङ्घाः विशन्ति
केचिद्भीताः प्राञ्जलयो गृणन्ति।
स्वस्तीत्युक्त्वा महर्षिसिद्धसङ्घाः
स्तुवन्ति त्वां स्तुतिभिः पुष्कलाभिः।।11.21।।
रुद्रादित्या वसवो ये च साध्या
विश्वेऽश्िवनौ मरुतश्चोष्मपाश्च।
गन्धर्वयक्षासुरसिद्धसङ्घा
वीक्षन्ते त्वां विस्मिताश्चैव सर्वे।।11.22।।
रूपं महत्ते बहुवक्त्रनेत्रं
महाबाहो बहुबाहूरुपादम्।
बहूदरं बहुदंष्ट्राकरालं
दृष्ट्वा लोकाः प्रव्यथितास्तथाऽहम्।।11.23।।
नभःस्पृशं दीप्तमनेकवर्णं
व्यात्ताननं दीप्तविशालनेत्रम्।
दृष्ट्वा हि त्वां प्रव्यथितान्तरात्मा
धृतिं न विन्दामि शमं च विष्णो।।11.24।।
दंष्ट्राकरालानि च ते मुखानि
दृष्ट्वैव कालानलसन्निभानि।
दिशो न जाने न लभे च शर्म
प्रसीद देवेश जगन्निवास।।11.25।।
अमी च त्वां धृतराष्ट्रस्य पुत्राः
सर्वे सहैवावनिपालसङ्घैः।
भीष्मो द्रोणः सूतपुत्रस्तथाऽसौ
सहास्मदीयैरपि योधमुख्यैः।।11.26।।
वक्त्राणि ते त्वरमाणा विशन्ति
दंष्ट्राकरालानि भयानकानि।
केचिद्विलग्ना दशनान्तरेषु
संदृश्यन्ते चूर्णितैरुत्तमाङ्गैः।।11.27।।
यथा नदीनां बहवोऽम्बुवेगाः
समुद्रमेवाभिमुखाः द्रवन्ति।
तथा तवामी नरलोकवीरा
विशन्ति वक्त्राण्यभिविज्वलन्ति।।11.28।।
यथा प्रदीप्तं ज्वलनं पतङ्गा
विशन्ति नाशाय समृद्धवेगाः।
तथैव नाशाय विशन्ति लोका
स्तवापि वक्त्राणि समृद्धवेगाः।।11.29।।
लेलिह्यसे ग्रसमानः समन्ता
ल्लोकान्समग्रान्वदनैर्ज्वलद्भिः।
तेजोभिरापूर्य जगत्समग्रं
भासस्तवोग्राः प्रतपन्ति विष्णो।।11.30।।
आख्याहि मे को भवानुग्ररूपो
नमोऽस्तु ते देववर प्रसीद।
विज्ञातुमिच्छामि भवन्तमाद्यं
न हि प्रजानामि तव प्रवृत्तिम्।।11.31।।

Reflections on Krishna on the Janmastmi Day of 2017 (by Shiva Kant Jha)

(1)
My wish
My reflections which I would compile in this miscellany have roots in my desire to spend my time with Krishna in my consciousness. I cannot express my wish in words better than what Shankaracharya said in his well-known ‘Krishnastkan’:
यदा तदा यथा तथा तथैव कृष्णसत्कथा
मया सदैव गीयतान् तथा कृपा विधीयताम्
[ O Lord, Keep me blessed so that wherever I be, and in whatever conditions, I should sing your sacred lores.]
It is said that the great poet Bhikharidas (in the 18th century) had an active phase both as a man of the world and as a poet. Moments came in his life when he felt that reflection on Krishna was most satisfying. Tagore wished that his death comes as Krishna! ( मरण रे तुहु मम श्याम मान’). The most touching wish was expressed by Śrī Bilvamaṅgalācārya in his Śrī Govinda Dāmodara Stotraṁ while imploring his tongue to grant him the favor of uttering “Govinda, Dāmodara, Mādhava!” when the Lord Death comes to him liberate him from the cycle of lives:
त्वामेव याचे मम देहि जिह्वे
समागते दण्ड-धरे कृतान्ते
वक्तव्यमेवं मधुरं सुभक्त्या
गोविन्द दामोदर माधवेति ।।
[ I seek, O Tongue, your this sole benefaction.
When the Lord of Death catches me in His jaws
You sing with great devotion and deep delight
Reciting ‘Hey Govind, hey Damodar, hey Madhava.]
[Translation mine.]
I have all along my life have had moments with Krishna’s living presence. I have experienced His succour whenever I needed it most. I have got great light and immense delight reflecting on Him. Whilst the whole song of film 1857, sung by Surendra & Suraiya, delighted me with its pregnant expressions, I was touched most by the ideas and emotions reaching apotheosis in the song that can be heard at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3lQpiVGJwg.

(2)
I have written on my https://krishnachintan.wordpress.com/posts/ 24 blogs which I would develop in my book conceptualised on this Janmastmi day. I have drawn up tentative list of the chapters of this contemplated book which I intend sharing with all. A short account of my ideas touching most of the topics can be got in Chapter 20 of my memoir On the Loom of Time see at http://www.shivakantjha.org/pdfdocs/on_the_loom_of_time_2nd_edition/34_loom_20.pdf. In the contemplated chapter on status of the Bhagavad-Gita in the Mahabharata, I intend examining the conflicting perceptions of Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay in his immortal Krishana Charitra, and of Bal Gangadhar Tilak in his celebrated Gita Rahashya.
(3)
The contemplated chapters in my book on KRISHNA are these:
Krishnarpan
Part I
Prologue
1. On Understanding Krishna and his Bhagavad-Gita : an overview.
2.It is great fortune to be born MAN.
3. Krishna Katha is the richest ‘objective correlative’ that our culture conceived in its most creative moments.
4.The Structure of Krishna Katha.

Part II
THE ACTIONS
The Story of Krishna retold
5.The Coming of the Lord
6. The Vrindavan Phase: the Rasraj Krishna
7.The Mathura Phase: Karmayogi Krishna
8.The Mahabhat Phase: Gyana-Karma-Bhaktiyoga
9. Krishna’ holistic worldview

Part III
THE THOUGHT
The Bhagavad-Gita: As I understand it
10. Reflections on the Bhagavad-Gita
11. The Poetry of the Bhagavad-Gita
12. The status of the Bhagavad-Gita in the Mahabharata

Part IV
Understanding Krishna from my present-observation-post
13. Dharma & corollaries
14. On the Art of Life
15. Krishna on Wealth
16. Krishna on Power
17. Krishna on political thought.
18. Krishna’s cosmic philosophy
19. Man’s duties and destiny: the grammar of existence
20. The Right to Revolt for Dharma
21 The Art of Management
22. Krishna answers the Wallace Syndrome

Part V

THE JAGADGURU (The World Teacher)
23. Chapter 20 from On the Loom of Time
24. Krishna and modern times
25. Krishna the Jagadguru
26. Prayer
(4)

Whenever I think of Krishna and his Gita, I have felt the following songs sung inside my soul. I wish you should also listen to them for light and delight. They are:
(a) shivoham by Swami Satyanand Saraswati [ see post 18 at https://krishnachintan.wordpress.com/posts/,
(b) the mystery of ishq in the famous song by Siraj at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7pjtSIozaM,
and
(c) the Parapuja strotra by the great Samkaracharya https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRRjS1hqwbY,

When public weal is subject to private greed facilitated by the imbecility of government, people have no option but to suffer.

We have witnessed how people suffer the annual tragedy inflicted by flood. After seeing the comprehensive coverage of flood in Bihar, I  felt teased when Bihar’s Chief Minister was lulling his conscience by passing blame on to Nepal wherefrom heavy flood swirls devastatingly into Bihar  as  a cruel act of nature beyond control. I would quote the last paragraph of  the Chapter 1 of my book On the Loom of Time, the first edition of which   came out in 2011, and the second in 2014.  You can read this Chapter on my website shivakantjha.org { at http://www.shivakantjha.org/pdfdocs/on_the_loom_of_time_2nd_edition/15_loom_01.pdf]. I  deem it worthwhile to quote from this chapter for our readers to jolt them into action as deemed fit and proper in a democracy.

“The plate on which the Mithila region exists is hyperactive and is constantly drifting north causing frequent earthquakes. A whimsical friend once told me with reference to Mithila : while the subjacent earth of the region is hyperactive the superjacent biomass (he meant human beings) is almost inert! He made a veiled reference to seismic activity under the Earth crust, and the indolence which had overtaken the people of Mithila. But the most devastating calamity that visits this land annually is Flood. We are told that the over-flooding is a punishment for playing imprudently with the ways of nature through rapacious deforestation, and our ‘foolish’ meddling with the courses of the rivers descending from the Himalayas in Nepal. Massive destruction of forest in Nepal has led to massive over-flooding in Bihar causing criminal soil degeneration, inundation, erosion and heavy siltation of the rivers raising every year the levels of the river-beds. It is high time to enter into an understanding with the Government of Nepal that the growing deforestation of the Himalayas and their foothills must end. The problem of annual devastating floods cannot be tackled unless there is a close co- operation between the two Governments as most of the rivers flow from the Nepal Himalayas. It is hoped that Nepal would behave as a good neighbour obedient to the ‘Standard of Economic Good Neighbourlines’, now considered a norm of public policy under international law9 [.G. Schwarzenberger, Manual of International Law p. 111].

 

 

When chaos becomes cosmos

“These are peoples that have lost the power of astonishment at their
own actions. When they give birth to a fantastic fashion or a
foolish law, they do not start or stare at the monster they have
brought forth. They have grown used to their own unreason;
chaos is their cosmos; and the whirlwind is the breath of their
nostrils. These nations are really in danger of going off their heads
en masse; of becoming one vast vision of imbecility…..”
G. K. Chesterton, ‘The Mad Official’  quoted in the Chapter 12 of my autobiography in which I dealt with Bihar’s Fodder Scam. (in my On the Loom of Time see at

April 27, 2017: TAXING AGRICULTURAL INCOME IN OUR COUNTRY: old story retold By Shiva Kant Jha, Advocate

NOTE: I  have read in the Times of India this morning that someone in the Niti Aayoga  is pleading for the levy of income tax on agricultural income.  The idea has kept on popping up from time to time for certain obvious reasons. Some  Sir Launcelot keep emerging  to plead for it. Some time back the Central Board of Direct Taxes had solicited public comments on the issue. I had written a short article that I had sent to the CBDT for whatever worth it had. It seems that the CBDT saw some sense in it. As this idea has again cropped up in public domain, I deem it appropriate to put my said article in public for all to reflect and decide.  But I think it apt to enter a caveat at the threshold. Agriculturists should not be harassed, but we must devise vigilant methods to detect the cases where gains are cornered by the corporate zamindars, and the tycoons of the market.

 “INTRIGUES IN THE COCKPIT

DANIEL Bell, in his ‘The Coming of the Post-Industrial Society : A Venture in Social Forecasting’ aptly said that politics has become the ‘cockpit’ of the post-industrial society. Politics has become the visible instrument of the invisible hand controlled and guided by the corporate imperium ruling now the world under the U.S leadership. This trend manifests itself in many segments of socio-economic management of country. One such segment is agriculture involving the plight of the agriculturists, tillers, and farm labourers. Whilst the lobbyists for the de luxe India, and the protagonists of the India incorporated plead for reducing taxation to a vanishing point, they are most vociferous for subjecting the income from agriculture to tax by eliminating exemption granted to it under Section 10 of the Income-tax Act, 1961.  The present article is in response to the Board’s request. The issue of the taxation of agriculture by the Central Government is extremely complex.

Let us first examine the issue under constitutional perspective. Entry 82 of the Union List enables Parliament to impose taxes on income ‘other than agricultural income’. As it is a specific exclusion, no legislative power can be drawn from the residuary entry 97 to impose tax on agricultural income. Entry 46 of the State List empowers the States to impose taxes on agricultural income. The approaches of the States in taxing or not taxing agricultural income are shaped by the variables of socio-economic conditions of which they are the best judges. Our Parliament cannot tax it even under Art 249, which empowers it to legislate with respect to the matter in the State List in national interest. It cannot be done so for two obvious reasons: first, such legislation cannot be considered in ‘national interest’ unless the interest of the deluxe India and the India Incorporated is considered equivalent to ‘national interest’. Art 265 provides that “No tax shall be levied or collected except by authority of law.”   It is well established that ‘authority of law’ means ‘authority of constitutionally valid law”.

Hence, the Centre cannot tax agricultural income without a constitutional amendment. Assuming that things can be engineered to effect a constitutional amendment, that amendment may itself be held unconstitutional, as it would violate one of the   basic features of Constitution. In Kesavanand our Supreme Court held that our polity created by the Constitution is federal in character. In Bommai’s Case the Court observed that democracy and federalism are the essential features of our Constitution.

It is the time to think why the constitutional mandate to reduce the concentration of wealth, and the various statutory commands under the land ceilings and reforms Acts have virtually been given up, or diluted to the point of being completely ineffective. In this present day market economy we are moving in the reverse gear. We have allowed our State to become a Sponsored State. Granting huge plots of land to the Special Economic Zones, and corporations, including MNCs, are creating a breed of neo-zamindars. Their interests are being promoted by the executive government through international agreements done under the oblique system, which has been constructed through the studied art of deception and craft of corruption. It is true that for a section of our society this neo-capitalism has brought some affluence but it has done so at a very heavy cost. Peter Watson has perceptively observed: ‘Affluence plays a part, says Galbraith, because further a man is from the breadline – the more affluent he is – the more his desires can be manipulated, and the bigger the role of advertising, and here it was fortunate that the rise of radio and then television coincided with the maturation of corporation and rise of affluence.’ We are witnessing a strange syndrome of fast technology but stagnant morality producing a sinister ‘intersection of power, money, and writing’.

The strategy the waxing neo-colonialists is to destroy our way of life by turning the agriculturists and tillers to a band of serfs and slaves for the corporate masters which are a crazy herd of greedy reapers of super profits. Corporatization of agriculture is clearly a new zamindari settlement. It would be of the worst type as we would by ruled by heartless corporations having an evident symbiotic relationship with the government, which would exist as their protectors and facilitators. This assertion is borne out by examining the attitudes of our government to the taxation of agricultural income, and of capital gains.

In 1970 the definition of ‘agricultural income’ was altered retrospectively to cast a net wider. In 1973 the statute was amended to provide for the inclusion of agricultural income in one’s total income for the purposes of determining the rates applicable to one’s total income. Now the sinister idea to tax agricultural income is on the anvil. These facts are meaningful when we see how untaxing and mitigation of tax have been liberally provided in recent years in the segment of capital gains. With effect from 1.4.88 in the case of a share held in a company the holding period for being treated as a short-term gain became 12 months instead of 36 months in other cases. After 1991 our government played surrogate mother for the FIIs, MNCs, and others of similar feathers. In the recent years capital market liberalization allowed investment capital to flow in and out. The predatory international financiers made best of this crazy international capital churn. Now the position is that   those who reap rich harvests do not pay any tax, except that insignificant domestic segment which now bears only a much-attenuated burden.

Liberalization of the financial and capital markets let loose a flood of short-term capital which Stiglitz explains as   “… the kind of capital that looks for the highest return in the next day, week, or month, as opposed to long-term investment in things like factories.” The view of the IMF and its protégées is that their transactions in capital and capital gains be not taxed; if at all taxed, they be taxed less. They are not troubled by qualms of conscience. Writing about the US tax policy Stiglitz has observed in his Roaring Nineties: “Another example was what we did with tax policy. As the bubble was going up and getting worse, what did we do? We cut capital gains taxes, saying to the market: if you make more money out of this speculative bubble, you can keep more of it. If you look at what happened to tax policy during the nineties, it is quite astounding. What we did in 1993 was raise taxes on upper-middle-income Americans who worked for living, and then in 1997 we lowered taxes for upper income Americans who speculated for a living. You ask the question: what sorts of values did this change represent?” Things are worse in our country.

If at all some statutory tinkering is a must, then think of dispensing with the distinction between a long-term capital gain and a short-term capital gain so that the entire net gain is charged at the normal rate of taxation. The persuaders world over paint some remote El dorado, and plead that when judging capital gains tax reductions, the weight put on the benefits to economic growth and on international competitiveness should exceed the weight put on fairness and equity considerations ¾ because of the resulting job creation and stimulus to the economy, even those who do not benefit directly from a cut in the tax rate will receive indirect benefits. We cannot afford to evade  reality.

Those who talk about taxing agricultural income should do their home work better. Our Supreme Court in CIT v. Benoykumar Sahas Roy had held that agricultural income contemplates the basic operation, prior to germination, involving expenditure of human skill and labour on land itself . By this criterion, the income of the adhatias and intermediaries cannot be agricultural income. Why not tax them effectively? Why not increase the tax rates on their exploitative and extractive income?

Land reforms are still not complete, but the policy underlying them is clear to all. Why not complete them? Why lands meant for tillers shouldn’t be allotted to them alone? Why should our government be so servile to the international manoeuvrings of the corporate lobby through the WTO? Already much prejudice has been caused to the common people of our country.

It would be a disaster if the agriculturists and the farm labourers were marginalized by the corporate power, which believes for obvious reasons in commercialism, corporatism, consumerism, hedonism, and acute crazy greediness. India’s culture would be destroyed if our agriculture were ruined.   With the ruin of agriculture the verve that sustains our independence and culture would also go. Before the USA dropped an atom bomb on Japan, it had appointed a commission to study the Japanese psyche in order to understand people’s possible response. Let there be, in our country, a study by those who have not yet sold themselves to the capitalist lobby to find out the view of all the stakeholders.

If you tax agricultural income you would let loose the minor minions of bureaucracy to suck the blood of the already anaemic village folk. The abysmal decline in the morality of public life has been noted of by our Supreme Court in a number of cases. In those days when Estate Duty was being levied, we had seen and heard, in the corridors of the government offices, how poor widows of the villages rent the air with their cries because of the exploitations by petty wretches of the government, and the lawyers believing neither in law nor in ethics. Besides, is not what Edward Gibbon said in the 18th century wholly true for us: ‘All taxes must, at last, fall upon agriculture?’

Then why this cries to tax agricultural income? It seems that the sole reason for this is the conspiracy designed to reduce taxation on the non-agriculturists and to force our government to be caught in a cleft stick in the matter of collecting resources.

My suggestions to our government are, in brief, (i) that no agricultural land be distributed for any reasons to the new zamindars proliferating these years, and land must be with tillers for whom our government should act as facilitators; (ii) our water resources must remain people’s property which none should use for commercial purpose as this would lead the sad situation when our rivers would be without water and their beds would go under corporate franchise; (iii) our environment, both of our mind and of nature, be not allowed to be plundered and polluted by those who believe in gross acquisitiveness, and brutal power, often exercised by creatures with human face but with the monster’s heart; (iv) those who have non-agricultural income above certain sums should not be allowed to possess any holding of agricultural land; and the benami transactions be made a cognizable offence; (v) the intermediaries and the adhatias be heavily and effectively taxed; (vi) our government should not sell itself to the abounding capitalist lobby, and it must consider the views of all stake holders, who obviously are the agriculturists, farm-labourers, and tillers, before it goes ahead in the matter.

It is prudent to look before you leap. Has any comprehensive and realistic study been made to find out how much widening of tax base is possible if agricultural income is taxed? In my assessment our government would lose more, and gain less in this pursuit. The Department’s   General Index Register already is already cluttered with   ineffective cases (the bhusha cases) where the expenditure in terms of men and material is more than gains: why should we add a few bags more?”

Drawn up by

Shiva Kant Jha, Advocate

Mob. 9811194697

shivakantjha@gmail

http://www.shivakantjha.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE UNWHOLESOME AADHAAR: The conundrum of Sec. 139AA of the I. T. Act ( by Shiva Kant Jha, Advocate) 5 POINTS WHICH SHOULD NOT BE MISSED

1.The Income-tax Act had been legislated as a Money Bill, and enacted as law in terms of Art. 265 of the Constitutution.  [The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 (18 of 2016) has its specified purpose, and is neither a Money Bill, nor an enactment under the discipline of Art. 265 of our Const.\

2.The tax under a statute framed under Art 265 must conform to the tax law discipline, and it must not transgress Constitutional restraints as judicially interpreted and evolved. Section 139AA of the Income-tax Act yokes arbitrarily two distinct legal provisions made for different purposes together. PAN and Aadhaar number were conceived for distinct purposes. Not to see what is obvious may not be fair. We all hear that to woo the foreign investors our tax-law deserves to be stable. But when it is ordinary Indian citizens Section 139AA contemplates almost an anarchy!

  1. The extraction of all sorts of biological, social, and personal data from the free citizens under the requirements of the Aadhaar cards, even when a citizen is under no bondage to earn anything which can ever be considered a chargeable event under the Income-tax Act, would be grossly unreasonable and arbitrary. Validity of such provisions require examination first in the context of the Income-tax Act, then in the context of the constitutional restraints, but all viewed under the footlight of the values of a democratic society for building which “We the People “ have established our democracy under the discipline of our laws and values which give content to our Constitution.
  2. The requirements under Section 139AA of the Income-tax Act, 1961, are irrelevant. Once there is taxable event, the right to get tax thereon in accordance with law gets vested in the Government (can be called the person of inherence). Corresponding duty to pay tax at the prescribed rate is cast on the tax payers (can be considered the persons of incidence. In a situation of this sort, the core provisions Act, 2016 (18 of 2016), esp. the Objectives as enacted, are wholly irrelevant and extraneous[1].

5  It is submitted that we stand at a cross-road requiring an insightful decision that may have effect subversive to our democracy and cultural values which, when all is said, remain to save us from turning into a society of slaves. All the criss-cross,  even in the  blood drops wherein all genetic information remain housed, or finger print, Iris scan, or such other biological attributes can be  mapped to be stored somewhere exposing the citizens to the risk of morbid  manipulation  for purposes which right now no human being can foresee. Our judiciary would  consider the reach of “biometric information”, “core biometric information”, “demographic information” not only to see their relevance to the filing of the Income-tax Returns, but also to measure the risk that our society is exposed to. We should mark that  the definition of “demographic information” is inclusive that provides deliberately battered  frontiers on extension of its import. Besides, before taking such decision, our Government should have got the issues  examined by experts, with no axe to grind, the appropriateness of such study when a drop of blood can present baffling problems. In order to teach humility even to our experts this layman would quote two short extracts from Cambridge Minds, edited by Richard Mason:

“All the information which specifies us, the information which specifies a human being, is laid down in 46 chromosomes, which together contain a length of DNA of about I metre. This one meter contains about 3 billion bases, the equivalent of a library of about 5,000 volumes, all packed together into a single cell. Because the DNA is of atomic dimensions, that information is packed so tightly that it can fit into a single sperm or a single egg.”( page 200)

“I have not yet told you why I worked on haemoglobin, and what it does. It is the protein of the red blood cell. It carries oxygen from the lungs to the tissues and helps the return transport of carbon dioxide to the lungs. It is a protein that evolved at the same time as large animals, because without this oxygen-transport molecule, the life of the higher animals would not be possible. So it’s a crucial protein. If you are anaemic you are short of haemoglobin, you don’t get enough oxygen and feel weak. There are 250,000,000 red cells in one small drop of blood, and inside every red cell there’s the same number – about 250,000,000 – of haemoglobin molecules. Haemoglobin contains four atoms of iron embedded in a dye – a pigment – called haem; this is what makes blood red. The four haems in the haemoglobin molecule are arranged in separate pockets on its surface.” (page 202)

We know that “biometric information”, “core biometric information”, “demographic information” are mapped in many countries but not with right results. To cast this duty on the ordinary Indians is alarming. They are to be saved from all possible traps. They should not be left to be exploited by the so-called experts. The experts have many concealed agenda. Art of concealment delights  the experts most, it also  delights government quite often. Harold Pinter, the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, 2005, very perceptively said:

“Political language, as used by politicians, does not venture into any of this territory since the majority of politicians, on the evidence available to us, are interested not in truth but in power and in the maintenance of that power. To maintain that power it is essential that people remain in ignorance, that they live in ignorance of the truth, even the truth of their own lives. What surrounds us therefore is a vast tapestry of

lies, upon which we feed.”

***

In fine:

We are optimists, we are even incorrigible optimists.  We believe Justice would surely be done some day.

In this context two comments are worth consideration, one by Thomas Balogh said in The Irrelevance of Conventional Economics: ”The modern history of economic theory is a tale of evasions of reality.”; and the other byProf. John Kenneth Galbraith in his A Short History of Economics:The Past as the Present (at p. 236):

                          “Here another great constant in economic life: as between grave ultimate disaster and conserving reforms that might avoid it, the former is frequently preferred.”

Drawn up by

Shiva Kant Jha, Advocate

Mob. 9811194697

shivakantjha@gmail

http://www.shivakantjha.org

[1] “An Act to provide for, as a good governance, efficient, transparent, and targeted delivery of subsidies, benefits and services, the expenditure for which is incurred from the Consolidated Fund of India, to individuals residing in India through assigning of unique identity numbers to such individuals and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.”

The Peter Pan syndrome: The problem of flood and the plight of Mithila

“The present-day Mithila is changing fast. Now we see a rampant craze to imitate the West. The impact of the present phase of the Economic Globalization is evident everywhere. Never in the past had our society faced a challenge of the sort that bedevils its cultural existence in our days. The young boys and girls are getting enticed to the neoliberal market culture of consumerism. The social segments, which are now emerging on economic affluence bred by marketization, are fast becoming monochromatic: all after money; and their gaudy life-style pampers and promotes limitless needs and boundless desires, and is flat to the point of obnoxious tedium. The society, which the present circumstances are evolving, is narcissistic. What is happening in Mithila is no different from what is seen elsewhere in our country. To this aspect of the matter I would come again in the Book III of this Memoir.The plate on which the Mithila region exists is hyperactive and is constantly drifting north causing frequent earthquakes. A whimsical friend once told me

with reference to Mithila : while the subjacent earth of the region is hyperactive the superjacent biomass (he meant human beings) is almost inert! He made a veiled reference to seismic activity under the Earth crust, and the indolence which had overtaken the people of Mithila. But the most devastating calamity that visits this land annually is Flood. We are told that the over-flooding is a punishment for playing imprudently with the ways of nature through rapacious deforestation, and our ‘foolish’ meddling with the courses of the rivers descending from the Himalayas in Nepal. Massive destruction of forest in Nepal has led to massive over-flooding in Bihar causing criminal soil degeneration, inundation, erosion and heavy siltation of the rivers raising every year the levels of the river-beds. It is high time to enter into an understanding with the Government of Nepal that the growing deforestation of the Himalayas and their foothills must end. The problem of annual devastating floods cannot be tackled unless there is a close cooperation between the two Governments as most of the rivers flow from the   Nepal Himalayas. It is hoped that Nepal would behave as a good neighbour obedient to the ‘Standard of Economic Good Neighbourlines’, now considered a norm of public policy under international law.”

  

        [Quoted from Shiva Kant Jha’s  autobiographical memoir, ON THE LOOM OF TIME, Portrait of My Life and Times pp. 29-30  at http://www.shivakantjha.org/pdfdocs/on_the_loom_of_time_2nd_edition/15_loom_01.pdf ]