The JNU issue

Justice Markandey Katju-


What has happened in JNU when about 50 masked vandals invaded the campus and assaulted students and teachers with iron rods and lathis, the police being deliberate bystanders, is symbolic of a qualitative change which has come in India.

Now the time for debate over issues is over, and has been replaced by the tactics of physically beating up opponents by strong arm methods, reminiscent of S.A. and S.S. thugs in the Nazi era in Germany.

Historical experience has shown that when there is an economic crisis in a country, and the rulers are unable to resolve it, fascist forces often take over. This happened in Italy in 1922, Germany in 1933, and Spain in 1936, And it is happening in India today.

The Constitution of India, promulgated in 1950, proclaimed the lofty principles of democracy, secularism, freedom of speech, liberty, equality, religious freedom etc. All these have gone with the wind (see my article ‘Why celebrate Republic Day when the Constitution has become a scarecrow?’ online).

Democracy has been reduced to caste and communal vote bank politics, and polarization of Indian society by crafty and selfish politicians who have expertise in spreading caste and communal hatred among the gullible masses, and whose only aim is to acquire power and pelf by hook or crook. Today almost all Indian politicians, of all parties, are scoundrels, thugs, gundas, rogues, rascals, looters and deceivers, who have honey tongues but venom in their hearts, and no genuine love for the people.

Secularism is in tatters, with regular lynching and attacks on minorities, particularly Muslims, who are often demonized by painting them as fanatics, terrorists, anti nationals and Pakistanis.

Freedom of speech has been largely suppressed by widespread use of sedition and preventive detention laws. The Indian media, instead of being a watch dog over the government, has largely become a limb of the government.

Freedom to criticize the government, which was declared as a fundamental right, being part of the freedom of speech guaranteed by Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution, in a very early decision of the Indian Supreme Court ( delivered only a few months after the promulgation of the Constitution ), Romesh Thapar vs State of Madras, is now a highly risky and perilous venture ( see my article ‘The right to criticize : the sedition judgment on Kishorchandra Wangkhem’ published in The Hindu ).

As stated in my articles ‘ All the times the Supreme Court has turned a Nelson’s eye to injustice ‘ published in, and in ‘ How the judiciary has largely surrendered before the political executive ‘ published in, the Indian judiciary, which was meant to be the guardian of the people’s rights and liberties, has largely abdicated its solemn duty, as the German judiciary had done in the Nazi era.

In I wrote an article ‘ India’s moment of turbulent revolution has arrived ‘, in which I have mentioned about the coming turbulent times, and the same has been stated in my article ‘ Recent agitation in India, a sign of the coming storm ‘ published in

In my article ‘Dark days are ahead for India’ published in and in I have said that the present rulers have no inkling how to resolve the economic crisis which has descended on India— with a tanking economy, rapidly slipping GDP, manufacturing decline, record and rising unemployment, soaring food and fuel prices, appalling child malnourishment, and almost nonexistent proper healthcare and good education for the masses, the only thing our rulers can resort to now is gimmicks like Swatchata Abhiyan, Yoga Day, Ram Mandir, Cow Protection, Article 370 abolition, CAA etc, and making Muslims scapegoats, like Jews in Nazi Germany, and Ahmadis in Pakistan ( see my article ‘Barbaric persecution of Ahmadis in Pakistan’ published in )

The great German leader Bismarck in a speech to the Prussian Landtag In 1862 said ” The great issues of the day will be decided not by votes and speeches, but by blood and iron (blut und eisen ) “. The same can be said today of India, though of course in a very different sense.


[Justice Markandey Katju is former Judge, Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman, Press Council of India. Janhvi Prakash, an advocate from New Delhi, India. The views expressed are their own].


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