Justice Katju: My dream of visiting Lahore

Justice Markandey Katju

Justice Katju-

(Justice Markandey Katju is a former Judge, Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman, Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own)

I live in India, and have never been to Lahore, though it is my dream to visit it at least once before I die (I am 77). But I doubt that I will ever get a visa to go to Pakistan, for the reason mentioned in this video, which is of a short interview of me in Fremont, California taken in 2019 by my friend Haider Raza, who was originally from Lahore, but is now settled in California.

There is a well-known adage: ”Jisne Lahore nahi dekha woh janma hi nahi” (The one who has not seen Lahore has not even been born), and I want to be born.

Though I have never been to Lahore, I have several connections with that great cultural city, which I may mention.

I am a Kashmiri Pandit, but my ancestors migrated from Kashmir about 200 years ago and took up employment in the state of Jaora, which was a princely state (now in western Madhya Pradesh in central India) during the British rule, and served in the court of the Nawabs of Jaora for several generations.

In the year 1900, my great grandfather Pandit Tribhuwan Nath Katju, who was the dewan of Jaora, sent his son Kailas Nath Katju (1887-1968) to Lahore when the latter was 13, for his education, because Jaora did not have good educational institutions, whereas Lahore had excellent ones.

My grandfather Dr Kailas Nath Katju, who was a freedom fighter, later became a top lawyer in the Allahabad High Court, and then Governor of Odisha and West Bengal. He later became India’s then Home and Law Minister in Jawaharlal Nehru’s cabinet. He also became chief minister of Madhya Pradesh. He studied in Lahore from 1900 to 1905, first in Rang Mahal High School, and then in Forman Christian College, and both institutions still exist today.

I would like to see those institutions where my revered grandfather studied.

Later, after Dr KN Katju had become a top lawyer in the Allahabad High Court, he would often be engaged in cases before the Lahore High Court, and he visited Lahore often in that connection.

My own connection with Lahore is very different. I sometimes claim to be an ex-Chief Justice of Lahore High Court, and that is because I had been Chief Justice of Delhi High Court in 2005-2006 (before becoming a Judge of the Indian Supreme Court).

There was no High Court in Delhi during British rule, and appeals from decisions of the Delhi district court would go to the Lahore High Court. After Partition in 1947 such appeals would go to the newly created Punjab High Court, and it was only in 1966 that the Delhi High Court was created.

So Delhi High Court is an emanation from Lahore High Court, and since I was a Chief Justice of the former, in that respect I claim to be a former Chief Justice of the latter. Therefore I would like to meet the Hon’ble Judges and learned lawyers of Lahore High Court.

Though I have never been to Lahore, I am very keen to see the places, and meet the people, mentioned in my video interviews by my Lahore based journalist friend Sajjad Azhar Peerzada:


Long live Lahore and its people !

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