90% of Indians are fools. Justice Katju asked, is he wrong?

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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Was I wrong?

By Justice Markandey Katju

I was strongly criticised some time back when I called 90% Indians fools. But was I wrong? I will here deal with only one aspect of their foolishness: the belief of most Indians in astrology.

My guess is 90% Indians believe in astrology, and consult horoscopes.

Now while astronomy is a science, astrology is pure humbug and superstition. Even a little commonsense can tell us that there is no rational connection between the movement of stars and planets and our lives. Yet even many so called ‘educated’ persons believe in astrology, and consult astrologers, who are nothing but quacks, and yet earn a huge amount from their ‘profession’.. Let me give some illustrations.

1. When I was appointed Chief Justice of Madras High Court in 2004 I received a telephone call from Chennai from the Registrar General of the Court  ( I was then in Allahabad ) who advised me that I should not take oath at ‘rahukaalam’ time. When I asked him what was rahukaalam, he said it was the inauspicious time according to astrology.

2. In India, Ministers, Judges, and other high functionaries usually consult their astrologer about the auspicious time for taking oath of office.

3. A leading south Indian Supreme Court lawyer, who had been Attorney General of India, told me that when his south Indian clients, who are all educated and well-to-do, come to him about their case, they ask him not to start reading their brief at rahukaalam time.

4. Some Indian Universities have astrology departments. In other words, superstition, instead of scientific thinking,  is spread even in some institutions of higher learning.

5. Girls who are ‘maangliks’ have difficulty in getting married, as this case illustrates :

6. Many people wear rings, gems, or clothes of a particular colour, as advised by their astrologer, to avoid some evil, or obtain some benefit.

Why do so many people believe in astrology, which as I said before, is pure humbug ? That is because the chance factor is still very powerful in our lives. We plan something, but very often something else happens. In other words, we cannot control our lives. So we start believing that there are some supernatural or extra terrestrial forces which control our lives, and we have to avoid doing some things to avoid unpleasant consequences, or do some things for favourable ones.

For instance, business often has risks. So many businessmen in India consult astrologers to avoid failure in their business. Similarly, many Indian youth consult an astrologer to know about their future. Girls consult astrologers to know about their future married life.

The chance factor is still powerful in our lives because science is still as yet in a primitive stage, compared to what it will be after say 100 or 200 years. Then we will be able to plan and control our lives. Astrology, and even religion, will then disappear.

Unity of Indians is absolutely necessary at this historical juncture | Justice Katju on Manipur

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