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.
Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, a March from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, has entered Delhi.
Not only Congressmen but also some film stars like Swara Bhaskar, journalists like Om Thanvi, lawyers like Prashant Bhushan, former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan, social activists like Yogendra Yadav, and many others joined the yatra.
I submit that this yatra is just a gimmick, and only a desperate attempt by a family unaccustomed to remain out of power, like a fish out of water, aiming to come back to power and enjoy the loaves of office.
Rahul Gandhi has been talking of spreading love and opposing hate. This ostensibly seems like a very desirable objective, considering what has been happening since 2014. But what it really means is that Congress is desperate to get back the Muslim vote bank, which is particularly large in north India, which earlier was with Congress, but which had deserted it after the demolition of the Babri Masjid in December 1992.
The truth is that today Indian society is highly polarized. But even before 2014 there was a great amount of communalism in India, though it was to some extent kept in check by our so-called ‘secular’ parties like Congress, not because they had any genuine love or concern for Muslims, but with an eye on the large Muslim vote bank.
To ‘jodo’ India would require the elimination of casteism and communalism, but how can such a yatra achieve this? Casteism and communalism are feudal forces, and features of feudal society. India is still semi-feudal, and not highly industrialized like Western countries. Casteism and communalism will persist till India remains semi-feudal and will disappear only when India gets highly industrialized. The truth is that presently most Hindus are communal, and so are most Muslims. For instance, when a Muslim is lynched, most Hindus are indifferent, and some are even happy. Similarly, till caste is eliminated Dalits will be looked down upon, and upper caste Hindus or even OBCs will strongly oppose the marriage of their daughter/sister with a Dalit boy ( some will even commit ‘honor killing’ ).
Can a yatra abolish these feudal features in society that have been coming down for centuries? It is silly to think so. A study of the history of countries where feudalism was abolished and a modern society created shows that this transformation was only possible by a mighty struggle of the masses led by modern-minded leaders, and after tremendous turmoil, turbulence, wars, revolutions, etc e.g. the struggle in England in the 17th century between the King and Parliament, the French Revolution of 1789, the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 in Russia, and the Chinese Revolution which triumphed in 1949. Such transformation cannot be achieved by a yatra. Those who think it can, are superficial muddleheaded dimwits.