ON THE LOOM OF TIME
An Autobiographical Memoir of Shiva Kant Jha
Advocate, Supreme Court of India &
Former Chief Commissioner of Income-tax
About the book
On the Loom of Time portrays the life and times of Shiva Kant Jha who has acted and thought in many worlds. It resembles, in its structure, the holy vilvapatra that is offered to Lord Shiva: it is a triplet of 'The Fragrant Years', 'A Cog in the Machine' and 'Illusion & Reality'.
'The Fragrant Years' recaptures the fragrance of the years in which, as a bud on the twig of a family with a recorded family-tree of about 700 years, he grew up in a family of freedom-fighters, and was shaped and conditioned by the rich cultural ethos of Mithila.
'A Cog in the Machine' reflects on his more than three decades of life when he was a cog in the machine, we call 'government': the years when he played his role, as a member of the Indian Revenue Service, dealing with the raw realities of our public administration. This Book gives a critical account of the circumstances that led to the constitution of the Iyer Commission, the imposition of the infamous Emergency, the J.P. Movement, and the Fodder Scam, and many other events which should never be forgotten
'Illusion & Reality' explores the illusion and reality of the world we live in. This Book would tell you about the poetry expressed through the imageries at the Supreme Court, about what makes Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, Mohammad, Marx and Gandhi the most creative and enlightening figures in human history shaping our worldview; about the sacrilege of debasing and defiling our Constitution; about the state of our 'democracy', and our Republic, about the loot of our nation, and about the realm of darkness wherefrom vampires swoop down on us to suck our blood. It tells you about the dominant worldview, the crisis of civilizations, 'democratic deficit' and 'moral deficit' which Shri Jha noticed, with pangs. "Illusion & Reality" would show how our most cherished illusions have got dashed to pieces on colliding with reality. He has touched in his Memoir many shores, and has passed through many worlds inviting you to share his perspective, and to see things from his observation-post.
(518 pages+ photographs)
About the Author
Shri Shiva Kant Jha was born in 1937 in the family of distinguished freedom fighters who had played commendable role in India's Struggle for Freedom. He too had gone through the pleasures and pain of that great national Struggle for Freedom. After a stint as a permanent post-graduate lecturer in the Magadh University, he joined the Indian Revenue Service in 1964, and retired in 1998 from the post of the Chief Commissioner of Income-tax.
He had been enrolled as an advocate in 1977, and joined the Supreme Court Bar as a member in 1998. He conducted some great PILs at the Delhi High Court, and the Supreme Court of India. In the 'Indo-Mauritius tax treaty abuse Case', his work was appreciated by the Delhi High Court in the judgment itself [(2002) 256 ITR 563 (Del.)]. The Court observed:
"that the Central Govt. will be well advised to consider the question raised by Shri Shiva Kant Jha who has done a noble job in bring into focus as to how the Govt. of India had been losing crores and crores of rupees by allowing opaque system to operate."
He was for about 15 years a paper-setter and examiner for the LL.M. Examination of the Calcutta, Patna and Nagpur Universities. His books, The Judicial Role in Globalised Economy, andFinal Act of WTO: Abuse of Treaty-Making Power havereceived wide appreciation. His legal acumen got him a reference in Property Problems in the Law of Sales written by Dr T.B. Smith, a jurist of international eminence. He has written several articles on diverse topics (literature, law, jurisprudence, public interest, and the Indo-US Nuclear Deal etc.) that can be read on his website www.shivakantjha.org. He is the founder-secretary of the 'Gopi Kant Jha-Draupadi Devi Charitable Trust', and is the Director of the 'The Veenapani Bhagavad-Gita Swadhyaya Kendra'.
e-mails for contacting:
Shri Gopal Subramanium [Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court of India, & former Solicitor-General of India] writes on Shiva Kant Jha
"In the journey of time, there are very few individuals who strike one as being brave, courageous and deeply learned. I had the privilege of witnessing your arguments, reading your articles and above all a deeply profound learned approach to the legal profession and your daring views on vexed subjects of conscientious economic investment. There are many vital issues of national interest which you have touched upon during your addresses before the Court. In addition, in the modern world, there is bound to be a collusion between spiritual pursuits and the non-transparent and untruthful mechanisms typifying human greed and selfishness. But the voice of Reason which is often a subtle quotient of the Divine which resides in each human body, to be distinctly fearless, to speak with courage, to confront authority, and to stand up with simplicity symbolizes a rare component of human courage."
Extracts from the Introduction of On the Loom of Time
"My Memoir contains certain fragments of my life. It highlights certain events in which I participated in some measure, and the ideas which guided me to act and on which I often reflected for light and delight. I have lived, thought and acted. I have seen in my life, as Krishna had seen in His life; "the play of the contingent and the unforeseen."
I had my successes and failures for me to reflect on. I had moments to exult at the good things I experienced; I had moments of astonishment at my own actions. I have felt excoriating agony seeing how our country allowed herself to be turned into "one vast vision of imbecility".
I have seen in the world a dance on the still centre: I have seen our brave new world illustrating copiously the syndrome of the fast changing technology but stagnant, if not decadent, morality. In this Memoir I intend to look back over the seven decades of my life. But on an overview of my life; I have felt amazed to see how my stars yoked together the contraries and contradictories in my life. I have felt life just a sparrow's temporary sojourn in the space we call our world. The imagery of a sparrow's sojourn is a powerful 'objective correlative' to express what human life is. Lord Krishna considers it so (the Bhagavadgita II.28), and Lord Hailsham of St Marylebone has even called his autobiography A Sparrow's Flight. I would revisit this profound imagery several times in this Memoir. In a sense, this autobiographical Memoir is a potpourri of the petals gathered on the stream of Time. It deals with myriad events and many disjointed ideas……"