Justice Markandey Katju-
In this world there are really two worlds: (1) the world of the developed, highly industrialized countries e.g. North America, Europe, Japan, Australia and China (2) the world of the underdeveloped countries, including India.
Our national aim must be to transform and uplift India from the ranks of the second world to that of the first. On this there cannot be any compromise. This is necessary because only a highly developed and widespread modern industry can generate the wealth required for providing for the welfare of our people, and creating millions of jobs.
It takes only about 15-20 years for this transformation to take place, as the experience of Japan after the Meiji Restoration in 1868 shows. But for that the most important requirement is a modern minded, genuinely patriotic and selfless political leadership, which Japan had but India lacks today.
Of the two national parties, the Congress became totally corrupt, with scam following scam during its rule. And the BJP is dominated by men from the RSS, a rabidly anti-minority organization whose leaders have feudal mindsets (though some pretend to be modern). Our politicians have no genuine love for the country but only desire for power and pelf.
India today has two of the three pre-requisites for creating a highly developed industrial country viz a huge pool of technical talent and immense natural resources. What it lacks presently is the third: a genuinely patriotic modern minded political leadership.
Unfortunately, the parliamentary system of democracy which we adopted in our Constitution, following the British model, has degenerated into caste and communal vote bank politics in most parts of India. Casteism and communalism are feudal forces which must be destroyed if India is to progress, but parliamentary democracy further entrenches them. Our political leaders have great expertise in manipulating caste and communal vote banks, polarizing society and spreading caste and communal hatred. All they care for is planning for winning the next elections, and of course, making money.
In my article ‘ Why celebrate Republic Day when the Constitution has become a scarecrow ‘ I have pointed out that everything has collapsed in India, our state institutions have become hollow and empty shells, and the people’s distress is growing. Of late there has been a sharp downturn in the economy, with GDP growth down to 5%, steep decline in manufacturing ( e.g. auto sector ), agriculture, real estate, power, and other sectors, and record unemployment ( as the National Sample Survey admits ). The poor man in India eats roti with onions, but now onion prices have skyrocketed.
Building Ram Mandir, cow protection, Yoga Day, Swatchata Abhiyan, abolition of Article 370, etc were to my mind only desperate gimmicks by a beleaguered government to divert attention from the terrible economic crisis which has gripped the country. One may have won the 2019 elections on the plank of ‘Hindutva’, but one can’t eat Hindutva. One has to eat food, and to get food one has to have a job, but jobs are getting less (since manufacture is declining).
My own opinion is that in the near future massive popular agitations will begin in India, chaotic conditions will develop, and after maybe 10 years there will be some kind of French Revolution. This seems obvious from the fact that under the present system everything in India is at a standstill, and in fact getting worse.
When will this revolution take place, who will be its Robespierres, Dantons and Marats, what will be its form, etc is impossible to predict (one cannot be rigid about forms), but of one thing we can be sure: it is inevitable. Since everything has collapsed in India some alternative is bound to emerge. Nature does not like a vacuum for long.
It is only after such a revolution, led by modern minded, patriotic leaders, that India will set about on a course of rapid industrialization and creating a just social order, which will transform India from the second world into the first. All patriotic Indians must understand this, and contribute to it.
[Justice Markandey Katju is former Judge, Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman, Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own.