Rahul Gandhi’s conviction and Indian democracy

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)

Opposition parties in India have joined hands and are crying themselves hoarse in condemning Rahul Gandhi’s conviction and expulsion from Parliament as a huge assault on democracy. Many of the ‘liberal’ media persons and so called ‘intellectuals’ in India have also joined the chorus condemning the ‘murder’ of Indian democracy. One sees hardly any other news in the Indian media nowadays.

However, these people proceed on the assumption that democracy is a good thing in India, which needs to be protected. But is this assumption correct?

I submit that democracy, like freedom, may in some countries and in some circumstances be a good thing, but in others may be a bad thing, and one should not make a fetish or a holy cow out of it.

I submit that in India democracy is a bad thing, which has kept us backward, and therefore poor. Let me explain.

Everyone who has even a little knowledge of Indian realities knows that in India democracy runs largely on the basis of caste and communal vote banks. Casteism and communalism are feudal forces that have to be destroyed if India is to progress, but parliamentary democracy further entrenches them. How then can India progress with democracy?

Most of our people have backward mindsets, full of casteism, communalism, and superstitions. Democracy means rule of the majority, but the majority of Indians have feudal mindsets. How can rule by them or their representatives take the country forward? How can building a Ram temple in Ayodhya or cow protection solve India’s massive problems of poverty, unemployment, hunger, price rise, lack of healthcare etc?

In my opinion, to move forward we have to have an enlightened dictatorship led by modern-minded leaders, like Mustafa Kemal of Turkey in the 1920s, or the leaders who came to power in Japan after the Meiji Restoration of 1868, and rapidly industrialized the country.

The Opposition parties in India, even if they unite or form an alliance in next year’s parliamentary elections, have no vision about how to take the country forward. In fact they have nothing in common except the desire to oust the BJP. Even if they win the elections and come to power, the first thing they will do is to scramble for lucrative portfolios. Thereafter, too, they will keep jostling and infighting, like the constituents of the Janta Party which came to power in 1977 and eventually broke up over internal infighting in 1979.

And what is there in Rahul Gandhi, apart from being a member of self-proclaimed India’s ‘royal family’ ? Has he any idea how to solve India’s massive problems? He has none. All he knows is how to do stunts like the Bharat Jodo Yatra.


Why then should one have any sympathy for him?


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