Justice Markandey Katju –
The forthcoming Indian Parliamentary elections and India’s future Indians.
The dates of the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections have been announced (in 7 phases from 11th April to 19th May), so I may comment on this.
There are various poll predictions, but in my opinion, whatever be the outcome it will make no difference to the massive poverty, unemployment, farmers distress, child malnutrition, lack of healthcare and good education etc. for the Indian masses. In fact, the situation is bound to, get worse whoever comes to power.
I have repeatedly said that the real test of every system and political activity is one, and only one: does it raise the standard of living of the people? In other words, does it give people better lives? In my opinion, whatever be the outcome of the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections, it will make no difference to the people’s lives (except that minorities may feel a bit safer).
Yes, I would like BJP to be defeated since the ideology of this party (Hindutva) strikes at the heart of a basic feature of our country, viz its plurality and diversity (since our country is broadly a country of immigrants), and it divides the Indian people on communal lines. We have seen its performance since 2014. The lynching of Muslims was a regular feature, obviously motivated by the Sangh Parivar’s communal ideology.
Muslims were often arrested on fake charges of terrorist attacks etc., and false evidence was fabricated by the police against them, because of which many innocents were convicted and had to spend long years in jail. Hate speeches against them were regularly given, and a communal atmosphere generated e.g. by talk of ‘ghar wapasi’, proposing erection of a ‘shamshaan ghat’ (cremation ground ) wherever there was a ‘kabristan’ ( graveyard ), etc. Christian churches were vandalized in Delhi, and Christians were attacked in Odisha etc.
So, this party is a Ravan, a monster whose ‘vadh’ is the order of the day for our people.
But even if the BJP is defeated, I have no illusions about the alternative which will emerge. The truth is that, with a few rare exceptions, Indian politicians today (of all parties) are a bunch of crooks, thugs, gundas, rogues, rascals, looters, deceivers, gangsters, and murderers, who should have been summarily shot or hanged long ago. They have no genuine love for the country, but only insatiable greed for power and pelf. They polarize society on caste and communal lines and spread caste and communal hatred to get votes. There is not a single wicked deed they will not do to attain their nefarious ends.
So even if BJP is defeated it will make no basic difference in the lives of our people (except that the number of the lynching of Muslims will go down a bit ).
If a non -BJP coalition will be formed, it will be a motley collection of ‘ saanp bichchu gojar ‘ (snakes, scorpions and centipedes ). These parties will first fight for lucrative portfolios, particularly the Finance Ministry, Commerce Ministry, Industries Ministry, Telecom Ministry etc. where they can make a huge amount of money by corrupt acts. Later, they will keep fighting over other issues, like members of the Janata Party which was formed in 1977 after the Emergency.
So, replacement of the present BJP government by a non-BJP coalition government will be like going from the frying pan into the fire.
The present situation in our country is that our Constitution has exhausted itself and become a scarecrow, all or state institutions have become hollow and empty shells, while the people’s distress is mounting. Unemployment has reached record heights ( as the recent report of the National Sample Survey Organization revealed ), almost every second Indian child is malnourished (as reported in Global Hunger Index ), over 300,000 farmers have committed suicide, proper healthcare and good education is almost nonexistent for the Indian masses, and feudal remnants in the form of casteism and communalism are rampant.
So a period of instability is shortly going to start in India, like that in the reign of the later Mughals (1707-1857).
The last strong Mughal Emperor was Aurangzeb who died in 1707. After his death, a period of instability began, which lasted till 1857 when the Mutiny was suppressed and British rule consolidated. During this 150-year period, there was great turbulence in India, with British and French fighting each other, Maratha armies ravaging vast areas, Sikhs in revolt, etc. It was only from 1857 that relative stability came to India, and which continued till now (there were no doubt Partition riots, Indo-Pak and Indo-China wars etc but these were of short durations in our nation’s long history).
Now after the coming Parliamentary elections, a period of instability will start in India, as the period of the later Mughals, and will probably last for 10 years or so. During this period there will be great turbulence and chaos. There may even be a spell or two of military rule, for even though our army claims to be non-political, historical experience has shown that when there are a political vacuum and chaos the army is forced to step in e.g. in England after the execution of King Charles 1 in 1649, Spain in 1936, in Chile in 1973 and in Pakistan in 1958.
However, a political and social vacuum cannot last forever. Sooner or later an alternative has to emerge.
It is obvious that great turbulence in India, which is shortly coming, will have strong repercussions in Pakistan and Bangladesh. And it is here that the ideas propagated by IRA will spread like wildfire, and that will eventually lead to Indian Reunification under a strong secular modern minded government.
No one can forecast details of how this will happen, or when, or who will be our Bismarck, Cavour or Garibaldi (the leaders who will unite India). One cannot be rigid about forms. But it is certain that the reunification will follow a mighty anti-feudal upheaval in India, a revolution, under patriotic modern-minded leaders who are determined to abolish poverty, unemployment and other social evils, sweep away the feudal filth of casteism, communalism, and superstitions, and rapidly industrialize and modernize the country, using ruthless means if necessary.
[Justice Markandey Katju is former Judge, Supreme Court of India and former Chairman, Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own]
[Photo courtesy: Election Commission of India.]