Justice Markandey Katju
Most ‘intellectuals’ in India (to whose ranks most academicians, writers, media persons, etc claim to belong) profess to be Nehruites. In other words they claim to stand for liberalism, secularism, democratic principles (for example, freedom of speech and of the press) etc, in contrast to Modiites, who are allegedly illiberal, communal, undemocratic, dogmatic, etc.
The truth, however, is that on essential points both Nehruites and Modiites are the same. Let me explain.
Both groups are strong supporters of parliamentary democracy, and will never even think of going outside this system, as if it is a holy cow.
Now what is parliamentary democracy in India? In most parts of the country it is nothing but appealing to and appeasing caste and communal vote banks. When most Indians go to vote they do not see the merit of the candidate, but only his caste or religion, or the caste or religion his party represents. That is why we have so many criminals in our legislatures.
Casteism and communalism are feudal forces, and the national interest requires destruction of feudal forces if the country is to progress, but parliamentary democracy further entrenches such forces. How then can India progress with parliamentary democracy?
While China, which has no parliamentary democracy, is rapidly advancing, and has already become a second-world super power, we are still embroiled in Ram Mandir, ghar wapasi, cow protection (including lynching of Muslims) and caste conflicts because of parliamentary politics.
None of our so-called ‘intellectuals’ even notice this aspect, far from thinking of an alternative to parliamentary democracy. So despite all their tall claims I see really no difference between Nehruites and Modiites.
Today India has all the potential of becoming a first rate industrial power like Western countries or China, and thereby abolishing poverty, unemployment, malnourishment and the other socio-economic evils which beset it, and giving our people a high standard of living. We have a huge pool of thousands of bright engineers, technicians and scientists and immense natural resources, which is all that is required for becoming a first-rate industrial state. In fact, Indian IT specialists are manning Silicon Valley in California, and our scientists and mathematicians are professors in many Western universities.
What political system can take India rapidly on the path of industrialization and modernization? It is obvious that it is not parliamentary democracy. But what is the alternative, and how can it be achieved? This will require creativity on the part of our patriotic intelligentsia, but our ‘intellectuals’ whether Nehruites or Modiites never even think of this.
They both hold Gandhi as sacred and above investigation, and refuse to even consider my arguments in my four blogs on Gandhi on my blog Satyam Bruyat, in which I have given my reasons for calling Gandhi objectively a British agent.
Then again, our ‘intellectuals,’ whether Nehruites or Modiites, never question the Partition of 1947, but take it for granted and as something permanent. But the truth is that India and Pakistan are really one country, and were one since Mughal times. Indians and Pakistanis share the same culture, look like each other, and speak the same language, Hindustani (called Hindi in India and Urdu in Pakistan).
Partition was a monstrous British swindle and the greatest crime on India in its 5.000-year-old recorded history. The two-nation theory on which it was based was bogus, and Indians must reunite under a secular modern-minded government, which while upholding religious freedom does not tolerate religious bigotry or extremism, and rapidly industrializes the country.
Without such reunification under a strong, modern-minded, secular government Indians will remain condemned to poverty and other socio-economic evils like massive unemployment, malnourishment, lack of healthcare and good education for the masses etc.
But our ‘intellectuals,’ whether Nehruites or Modiites, never even think of this.
The Nehruites profess freedom of speech. But their freedom of speech ends when it comes to questioning taken-for-granted shibboleths, like parliamentary democracy, Partition of India, etc. Then they become the same as Modiites.
[Justice Markandey Katju, former Judge, Supreme Court of India. The views expressed are his own]