Justice Katju: Why I do not celebrate Chandrayaan-3

By Justice Markandey Katju-

Justice Markandey 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)

The whole country is celebrating, cheering, and lauding the launch of the Indian rocket Chandrayaan-3 to the moon.




However, I regret being the game spoiler and pouring cold water on my people’s exuberant faces. I simply cannot join this meaningless cacophony and hullabaloo.

How can one celebrate and cheer when half of our children are malnourished, wasted and/or stunted according to the Global Hunger Index, India (which has a population of 1400 million ) has slipped from position number 101 to 107 in just one year ( 2021-2022 ) among the 121 countries surveyed by that international agency?


How can one celebrate when over 55% of our women are anemic?


How can one celebrate when tens of millions of our young men and women are without jobs? If 100 class 4 govt jobs are advertised, there are often 500,000 applicants, many of them having M.Sc M.A., or M.B.A. degrees ( some even Ph.D. ), engineers, etc.

How can one celebrate when proper healthcare and good education is almost non-existent for the masses? Private hospitals and clinics are too expensive for the masses, and the condition of the govt ones is terrible (to say the least ). Even the All India Insititute of Medical Sciences ), New Delhi ( AIIMS ) looks like a railway station, with people waiting outside endlessly, and usually with perfunctory care, if any.

How can one celebrate when prices of essential commodities have soared?

How can one celebrate when minorities and Dalits are treated shabbily ( to put it politely).

How can one celebrate when the gap between rich and poor is widening, with a handful of big businessmen becoming richer ( often by illegal means ) while the poor get poorer ( because of escalating prices of food, etc ).

How can one celebrate when one sees our political leaders ( of all parties ) only cultivating caste or communal vote banks, and seeking power and pelf, instead of genuinely caring for the welfare of the people and squabbling with each other ( even committing acts of violence as in the recent West Bengal panchayat polls).

Such celebrations remind me of the Roman Emperors who used to say, “If you cannot give the people bread, give them circuses ”. Or Queen Marie Antoinette who when told that the people do not have bread, said ” Let them eat cake .”

To me, the launch of Chandrayaan-3 is just a circus, or offer of a piece of cake ( which of course will remain just an offer, never to be fulfilled).



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