Justice Markandey Katju: India will provide leadership to the world in 21st century

Justice Markandey Katju

By 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 basic problems in the world today are poverty, unemployment, malnutrition, lack of healthcare and good education, and religious, racial, caste and regional strife.

The 21st century will be characterised as the century in which the historical peoples’ struggles all over the world will be fought out to a conclusion, resulting in creation of a new world order, free of these evils.

India (in which is included Pakistan and Bangladesh, for we are really one country only temporarily and artificially divided by that British swindle called Partition), will be giving leadership to the world in this century. Let me explain.

Before the Industrial Revolution in England in the first half of the 18th century, the world was dominated by feudal agricultural societies. Their methods of production were backward and primitive.

For instance, the bullock was used for tilling the land in India, the buffalo in Thailand, Vietnam, etc, and the horse in Europe. There were no tractors, combines, and other modern machinery.

Consequently, little wealth could be generated. Only a handful of people such as kings, aristocrats, landlords, etc, could be rich, while over 95% of the people had to be poor. When the cake was itself small, very few people could partake of it.

This drastically changed after the Industrial Revolution. Now, modern industry has become so powerful and so big that enough wealth can be generated to give a decent life to everyone in the world, and no one need be poor.

Yet, despite this, about 75% of the global population especially in underdeveloped countries, remains poor, many without employment, proper food and healthcare, and good education.

This world is really two worlds: One comprising developed countries like the US, Canada, Europe, Japan, Australia, and now China and the second, underdeveloped countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

The aim of the underdeveloped countries must be to break into the ranks of the developed countries by rapid industrialization, for only if they create a massive industry can they abolish the evils of poverty, unemployment, malnourishment, lack of healthcare, etc.

India is the most developed of the underdeveloped countries. It has a huge pool of technical talent (Indian IT engineers are largely manning Silicon Valley in California, and there are many Indian professors in American universities in the Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Medical departments). India also has immense natural resources.

It is therefore potentially an industrial giant, like the US or China, and our goal must be to break into the ranks of the developed countries as China did.

Following our lead, other underdeveloped countries will do the same, resulting in the whole world being developed.
The basic obstacle for India in attaining our objective is lack of unity among our people and lack of modern minded leaders.

Our current leaders polarize society and spread caste and communal hatred to secure their vote banks. We have parliamentary democracy, which largely runs on caste and communal basis. Casteism and communalism are feudal forces which have to be destroyed if India is to progress, but parliamentary democracy further entrenches them.

So we have to create an alternative political system under which India can rapidly industrialize and modernize, led by modern-minded politicians. What that alternative system will be, how can it be created, how much time will it take to create it, and who will be these modern minded leaders, only time can tell.

The enlightened sections of our society have to use their creativity to deal with all this.

For creating this alternative system the Indian people must get united under secular modern minded leaders, rising above caste, communal, ethnic and other barriers, and launch a powerful, united people’s struggle, which will be protracted, arduous, with many ups and downs, twists and turns, and in which tremendous sacrifices will have to be made. There is no other way out.

Once India attains this objective, the rest of the underdeveloped countries will follow suit, and the whole world will become developed, and the basic problems of the world largely resolved

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