Remembered in Japan, forgotten in India……..

The day was 12 November, 1948. Tokyo Trials are going on in a huge garden house on the outskirts of Tokyo, the trial of fifty-five Japanese war criminals including Japan’s then Prime Minister Tojo, after losing WWII.

Of these, twenty-eight people have been identified as Class-A (crimes against peace) war criminals. If proved, the only punishment is the “death penalty”.

Eleven international judges from all over the world are announcing……”Guilty”…. “Guilty”…… “Guilty”……… Suddenly one thundered, “Not Guilty!”

A silence came down in the hallway. Who was this lone dissenter?

His name was Radha Binod Pal a Judge from India.

Born in 1886 in the Kumbh of East Bengal, his mother made a living by taking care of a household and their cow. For feeding the cow, Radha used to take the cow to the land near a local primary school.

When the teacher taught in school, Radha used to listen from outside. One day the school inspector came to visit the school from the city. He asked some questions of the students after entering the class. Everyone was silent. Radha said from outside the classroom window…. “I know the answer to all your questions.”  And he answered all the questions one by one. Inspector said… “Wonderful!.. Which class do you read?”

The answer came, “… I do not read…I graze a cow.”

Everyone was shocked to hear that. Calling the head teacher, the school inspector instructed the boy to take admission in school as well as provide some stipend.

This is how education of Radha Binod Pal started. Then after passing the school final with the highest number in the district, he was admitted to Presidency College. After taking M Sc. from the University of Calcutta, he studied law again and got the Doctorate title. In the context of choosing the opposite of two things he once said, “law and mathematics are not so different after all.‚ÄĚ

Coming back again to the International Court of Tokyo.

In his convincing argument to the rest of the jurists he signified that the Allies, (winners of WWII), also violated the principles of restraint and neutrality of international law. In addition to ignoring Japan’s surrender hints, they killed two hundred thousand innocent people using nuclear bombardment.

The judges were forced to drop many of the accused from Class-A to B, after seeing the logic written on twelve hundred thirty-two pages by Radha Binod Pal. These Class-B war criminals were saved by him from a sure death penalty. His verdict in the international court gave him and India a world-famous reputation.

Radha Binod Pal is described as the modern father of International Humanitarian Law. He was the Head of the Department of Law Calcutta University. He was persuaded not to write this judgement and was offered the first President of International Court of Justice. But he refused and wrote the Judgement. A great legal luminary.

Japan respects this great man. In 1966 Emperor Hirohito awarded him the highest civilian honor of the country, ‘Kokko Kunsao’. Two busy roads in Tokyo and Kyotto have been named after him. His verdict has been included in the syllabus of law studies there. In front of the Supreme Court of Tokyo, his statue has been placed. In 2007, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed his desire to meet his family members in Delhi and met his son.

Dr. Radha Binod Pal (27 January 1886 – 10 January 1967) name is remembered in the history of Japan. In Tokyo, Japan, he has a museum and a statue in Yasukuni shrine.

Japan University has a research center in his name. Because of his judgment on Japanese war criminals, Chinese people hate him.

He is the author of many books related to law. In India, almost nobody knows him and perhaps not even his neighbors know him! A hindi movie was made on him, Tokyo Trials, starring Irfan Khan but that movie never made headlines.

….just one of the many many underrated & unknown Indians.

I sincerely request you to read it atleast and if you felt it’s worth so, you can share it also.

Must read article for every self-respecting Indian.

Radhabinod Pal

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