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)
These days there is a lot of hoopla, brouhaha and hullabaloo over Indian Prime Minister Modi’s current US visit, and it is being hailed on TV and the print and online media as a great historical event.
Somewhat similar was the response by some people to Rahul Gandhi’s recent US visit.
I regret I cannot join in this fanfare and extravaganza, and I regard Modi’s US visit as irrelevant as Rahul’s. Let me explain.
As I have repeatedly said, the test of every political system and political activity is one, and only one: does it raise the standard of living of the people? Does it give them better lives?
When Rahul Gandhi’s US visit, and his homilies like ‘nafrat ke bazaar mein mohabbat ki dukaan’ were being hailed by many people, I wrote an article pointing out the inanity and superficiality of such people.
As mentioned in the above article, the basic problems of India are its massive and grinding poverty, record and rising unemployment (for a hundred Class 4 government jobs advertised, there are usually half a million applicants, many holding Ph.D. M.Sc. MBA or engineering degrees), appalling level of child malnourishment (every second child in India is malnourished, according to Global Hunger Index, and India has slipped in recent years from position number 101 to 107 out of 121 countries surveyed).
Prices of essential commodities in India have skyrocketed in recent years. Proper healthcare is almost non existent for the masses, many of whom have to go to quacks. Good education is available only to a few.
Neither Rahul Gandhi nor Modi have any solutions to these problems, and all they can do is talk big, but deliver nothing to the Indian masses.
The solutions to these problems lie outside the system. Rahul and Modi are both within the system, and therefore they, and their US visits, are wholly irrelevant.