One of the most fundamental requirements of a civil society is the rule of law which means that the people must follow the law of the land irrespective of his or her status or position in the society. In the modern world, the developed countries feel proud that their society is governed by the rule of law while most developing countries like India feel ashamed that their society does not have the rule of law. The developed countries are the role model for the underdeveloped countries, where the rule of law is still a distant dream.
Societies that follow rule of law are often considered more civilized as there is much more order in the society. Everything in such societies appears to be in order. The roads are clean, lawns and parks are well-maintained, government officials work in the office, trains and public transports run on time. Further, there is virtually no corruption in public offices. People are well paid, deliver better efficiencies and keep everything neat and clean. These societies appear perfect to the people of other parts of the world, who often wonder why they can’t be like them.
All societies need laws for their existence. Even though the laws may be different in each society, yet there are some basic principles that are common to all laws of the world. These fundamental principles are equality, fraternity, justice, and liberty. The Indian constitution, for example, incorporates these goals in the preamble to the constitution which seek to secure for all its citizen’s justice, liberty, equality and to promote among them the spirit of fraternity.
These principles are so universal in nature that they find the place in every civilized society of the world. It is the matter of great surprise that in reality, the outcome of the rule of law is just the opposite. The more civilized a society is, the more is the inequality among its population – more injustice to the have-nots, less liberty due to strict enforcement of law and more hatred among the citizens based on race, caste, and religion. What goes wrong in the implementation in the so-called rule of law?
Law of Nature
Indian thinkers in the Vedic period, i.e. around 3000 years before the birth of Christ, discovered that the universe does not perform its functions at random but follows certain laws. These were called “Rita” or the universal laws or principles that guided the universe. The progress of man can be largely attributed in understanding these basic principles of nature and exploiting them for the benefit of the human race at the cost of the rest of the creations. The laws of man, therefore, run contrary to the laws of nature as they are human-centric and not designed for all the creations of God or Nature.
One of the basic differences between man-made laws and the laws of Nature is that the laws of nature are spontaneous as they require no effort in implementation. For example, in a natural piece of earth like a forest, the earth produces trees, plants, fruits and vegetables spontaneously without any need for watering or breeding. Nature itself provides timely rain and fertilizer to the new plants. The forests and the mountains are covered with greenery and beauty, which is purely natural since it comes without any effort.
On the contrary, the man-made creations like parks, trees, plants are artificially made. They too may look as beautiful as the natural ones, yet they cannot survive without regular effort on the part of man. Imagine a park, which is not maintained for a few months, or a house not cleaned for months. It will lose all its beauty and soon be filled with dust and weeds. No building or modern gadget can survive without external effort from man. However, all natural creations are able to survive on their own and maintain their existence; and enjoy their life without any external support.
The laws of nature are just as they treat every species (and not only man) with equality. In a jungle, every species gets its due share of food, air, and water which enable them to live a dignified life without being dependent on any other creation. Nature makes no distinction between one special and the other as all species are the children of the same God.
However, in the man’s world, every other creature is killed if it is not useful for man. They can survive only if they can be useful for man. Thus man’s world does not treat any other creature of nature with respect and does not provide them any right to equality, liberty, justice or fraternity. He cleverly usurps this universal law and makes it applicable only to human beings. For all other lesser species, he has created a man-made law, calling it ‘the law of jungle’ or ‘the survival of the fittest’ which justifies his domination over the weak creations. The fact, on the contrary, is that the laws of the jungle are far more just and equal for all species than the man-made law.
Most men are not concerned about the way they treat the lesser animals as they feel that ‘the survival of the fittest’ theory is more logical than the laws of nature. However, they forget that every principle created in the universe has to be applied on them also and that they may not always be a beneficiary. Man-made-laws do not stop with animals but they soon spread their wings to encompass human beings, too. This is where conflicts between man and man start that gives rise to hatred and wars. Man feels the pinch when the law of jungle is applied against them and the law of nature is denied to him. He is hurt when he is treated like weeds by the society.
Weeds: The Undesirable Plants of Nature?
One of the most interesting creations of the natural world is the weed. Weeds are undesirable vegetation in the kingdom of plants. Weeds are defined as any plant that is not valued by the human society and usually tends to overgrow or compete with valued flora. Weeds are the plants which are considered by human beings as unattractive, undesirable, or troublesome.
In the natural world, man has to continuously fight against weeds to make their artificial plants survive. Weeds grow automatically and if the artificial gardens do not have the support of the man, it is soon overpowered by weeds and the whole field or garden becomes full of weeds. Weeds are created by Nature (God) as no human effort is required to grow them. They are, however, so powerful that man has to continuously guard his creation against these weeds, lest all creation of the civilized society is destroyed. Weeds are as undesirable to man in the world of plants as criminals in the human society.
Criminals: The Necessary Evil for the Civil Society
Similar to weeds in the natural world, there is a growth of criminals in civilized societies. Who are these criminals? Why do they grow? Whether the criminals are healthy people or are they mentally ill as often thought by the civilized world?
Criminals are defined as the people who commit the crime. Crime is defined as an act that is a violation of the criminal law that is punishable by law. Crime is usually considered an evil act and criminals are often seen as evil created by Devil, out there to destroy the civilized citizens, the children of God.
There are many similarities between criminals and weeds. Criminals grow automatically in every society and the society has to work hard to weed out these criminals. Criminals like weeds are so powerful and competitive that they have the power to defeat the civilized people. They are, therefore, fought jointly by the society. Yet in every society, there is the crime and there are criminals. We are used to looking criminals as the evil that is unnecessary just like weeds. Yet if God (Nature) is the creator of all, then everything in this world must have been created with a purpose. “What could be the purpose of creation of criminals?” We wonder.
Criminals are, as a matter of fact, creation of the civilized world. In an uncivilized world, there would be no law, so there can be no violation of a law and hence, no criminal. If we wish to understand the utility of criminals in the civilized world, we must imagine the world of nature without weeds. In such a world, all plants will have to be grown by the man with artificial watering – canals, tube-wells, and other irrigation systems used for agriculture. In all certainty, man will grow only such crops and plants that are useful to man and the rest of the species would surely not survive in the man’s world. Further, man’s energy is limited and with all his effort, he can hardly take care of a minuscule part of the world by artificial plantation, so the rest of the physical world would be without plants and so without oxygen and other animal life and eco-system. This will soon lead to the end of the world including the human being.
The role of criminals is similar to the role of the weeds. Imagine the world without crime i.e. everyone follows the law of the land without questioning. It will only provide status quo in the world. Kings will always be kings and only their children or loved ones can become kings. Poor will always be poor. Kings will frame more inhuman laws that would give them more powers. The less fortunate people would die out of hunger and poverty as they won’t break the law and the state will have no obligation to feed them. Thus the world without criminals would be a place where people will die due to inaction, boredom, and cruelty. Such an ideal world, indeed, would be the most inhuman and most undesirable to mankind.
Thankfully, people called criminals automatically grow in every civil society as soon as man creates laws to govern it. The laws of man are always challenged by them since they are mostly against the laws of nature i.e. equality, justice, liberty and fraternity. States always have to face opposition from such people who break the law and are known as criminals. They may have an ugly appearance as weeds but they only provide oxygen to the society for its life. Thus in posterity, people recognize them not as criminals but as heroes.
The Path of Heroism
While man hates criminals, he worships the heroes. He can lay his most valuable possession i.e. his life on a single call from his hero. Who are these heroes? Are they law-abiding civilized people or the law-defying criminals? Take the example of Mahatma Gandhi in the modern world. He was perhaps the biggest criminal in the time of the British rule in India and he was jailed many times on charges of being waging war against the state. He spent more than 15 years in jail for his various crimes. Yet the people of India call him ‘Father of the Nation’ and love him more than any civilized person on the earth. Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in jail, yet he is a national hero not only for South Africa but for the entire world.
In history, we can find numerous examples of great people who have broken the law and having been punished for their criminal acts. The list includes people like Christ, Prophet Mohammad, Socrates, and Galileo. Yet it is these people who changed the history of the world and they are rightly worshiped as heroes by the masses even after their death.
How many people have you ever known who have become heroes without breaking the law and committing crimes in their time? Perhaps none. Heroes are created not by following the law but by breaking the law.
Rule of Divine Law
It is not always good to follow the law blindly as it provides order and rule of law in the society but kills the humanity as the implementation of most of the man-made laws are against the natural laws. Man-made laws are often disguised under the cover of natural laws like equality, justice, liberty, and fraternity yet they serve just the opposite purpose. Most people see the letter of the law but fail to grasp its spirit. One must understand that breaking man-made laws is one of the fundamental requirements of all civil societies if it contradicts the natural or divine laws. Thus every person who breaks the law need not be a criminal. One must go deeper into the facts before declaring a law-breaker to be a criminal. The key distinction perhaps would be to see if he is breaking the law for the interest of the humanity or for his own selfish end. Is it need-based or greed-based? There lies the distinction between good and evil, between a true criminal and a hero. One who is breaking a law for others or to fight injustice is a hero and not a criminal. A poet said, “Jo lade die he that, Sura to” (One who fights for the weak is the real hero).