Justice Markandey Katju is a former Judge, Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman, Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own.
The Bihar election results have now been declared, and the NDA has got a comfortable majority (contrary to many opinion polls ) and formed the government in the state.
The RJD leader Tejaswi Yadav had in his election speeches referred prominently to the massive unemployment in Bihar due to which many Biharis migrate to other states, and he promised to provide 10 lac jobs if he came to power. However, he did not elaborate on what was his magical formula of creating these jobs.
The election results make it obvious that when the voters went to cast their ballots, despite the large rallies of Tejaswi Yadav and all his demagoguery, rants and fulminations, the only consideration in the minds of the vast majority was caste and religion, not poverty, unemployment, malnourishment, price rise, lack of healthcare and good education for the masses, farmers distress, corruption, etc.
The situation will remain the same in much of India for quite some time, and the reason for this is obvious: India is still a semi-feudal country, and here feudal forces ( which in India are in the form of casteism and communalism ) are powerful and dominant. However much the poverty, unemployment and other social and economic distress, the backward feudal mindsets of most of our people will make them vote on caste and communal lines.
What is the way out of this morass? How are we to transform India from a semi-feudal to a highly industrialized country, which must be our national aim if we are to ever get rid of the huge socio-economic ills which plague us ?
A study of world history shows that great historical transformations usually do not take place merely because of the internal distress of the people, however great. An additional requirement is some international event that precipitates a crisis. Thus, the Russian Revolution took place in the midst of the First World War, and the Chinese Revolution took place after Japan invaded China.
Presently, the international crisis which is brewing is the hostility between the two world powers, America and China, and though this will not result in a world war ( as both sides have atomic weapons ) is bound to lead to regional conflicts. China is an expanding aggressive power ( see my article ‘The danger of Chinese imperialism’ published in indicanews.com ), and this is bound to have repercussions in India ( though what form that will take cannot be predicted ).
It is only then that the great historical transformation of India from a semi-feudal to a highly industrialized country is possible. That will take quite some time, and unfortunately till then the situation as at present will continue.