Justice Markandey Katju-
The rising people’s distress in India requires a massive united people’s struggle for its alleviation and the transformation of India into a highly industrialized prosperous country.
This massive historical struggle must be led by intellectuals, for intellectuals are the eyes of society, and without them society is blind.
India today has millions of so-called educated people. But I regard most of these educated people as uneducated. They are mostly people flaunting degrees, having superficial bookish knowledge, but often full of arrogance, who regard themselves as born sages. How can these people give leadership to the masses? How can the blind lead the blind?
For example, most of our economists, some having Ph.D. degrees from Harvard, Yale or the London School of Economics, have no idea how to solve the most pressing problem in India, which is the sinking economy and the record and rising unemployment.
Some of them are incorrigible because of their arrogance or vested interests, but some are upright, and with a sincere desire to help the country. By patient persuasion and explanation, these uneducated ‘educated’ can be remolded and rectified, and set on the correct path, and made real intellectuals.
We have to give eyes to this blind ‘educated’ class in India, so that they are transformed and made real thinkers. These will then give eyes to the rest of the nation, and become their leaders. This is a colossal task, for it requires tremendous patience, for most of such ‘educated’ people are conceited and impetuous, and full of themselves. They must first learn to be modest and prudent. They must be honest and conscientious, seeking truth from facts. They must not look down on the uneducated people, for they have to serve them, and indeed learn many things from them. They must not refuse to unite with such people and educate them simply because they have backward mindsets.
They must study day and night, not merely from books but also by interaction with others, and reflection on the things they study ( otherwise it will be sterile bookish knowledge, something which most of the so-called ‘intellectuals’ in India have ). They must develop truly scientific and rational mindsets, and re-examine the traditional views.
Correct ideas will often be initially unacceptable because most people in India are conservative and have been brainwashed ( e.g. that a cow is a holy animal ). New scientific ideas usually meet with intense hostility ( like the heliocentric theory of Copernicus ) as they are regarded as shocking and against the long-accepted traditional views. They will triumph and become acceptable only after many twists and turns, and a period of waiting, and this waiting is often a painful one. Correct ideas are often not easily understood initially and at once. Thus our true intellectuals have to develop patience and do persuasion and go through a painful process. But this should not discourage them if they wish to serve the people. They must first learn, and then explain the truth tirelessly, going over it again and again until it is accepted. They must not look down or abandon people who are superstitious and backward ( most Indians are ), rather they should patiently explain and educate them. They should help them learn and must learn from them also.
That is the only correct path forward for the nation.
[Justice Markandey Katju, former Judge, Supreme Court of India. The views expressed are his own].