India, Nov. 25 -- In 1944, at the height of the World War II, the best judge not appointed to the United States Supreme Court, Justice Learned Hand, was welcoming new citizens, who were taking the oath of citizenship. In a classic oration, which became famous as the Spirit of Liberty address, he told them: "Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it; no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it."

Earlier this year, Sadhana Ramachandran and I were appointed by the Supreme Court (SC) to be interlocutors for the protesters at Shaheen Bagh. The first day of the interlocution was very important. We would not have a second chance to make a good first impression....