A nation of over a billion fools and hypocrites

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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By Justice Markandey Katju

I have often said that 90% Indians are fools, whose heads are full of ‘gobar’ ( cow dung ), not brains. I was criticised for saying this, but what else can be said of people whose heads are crammed with casteism,, communalism and superstitions, and often behave irrationally like a bunch of harebrained idiots ?

Consider the following :

1. When most Indians go to vote they do not see the merits of the candidate, whether he is a good man or bad, educated or uneducated, etc, nor do keep in mind the real issues like unemployment, price rise, malnourishment, lack of healthcare, farmers distress, etc. All they see is the candidate’s caste or religion ( or the caste or religion which his party represents ). That is why there are so many MPs and MLAs with criminal backgrounds. That is why Phoolan Devi, a known dacoit-cum-murderer, was elected to Parliament — because she belonged to a backward caste that had a large number of voters in that constituency. Indian politics runs largely on the basis of caste and communal vote banks, which are craftily manipulated by our unscrupulous politicians who polarise society and incite caste and communal hatred to get votes.

2. Many Indians speak of  ’Vasudhev Kutumbakam’ ( the whole world is my family ) when describing the greatness of Indian culture. But what to say of the whole world, most Indians do not even regard a section of their own countrymen as members of the Indian family.

 For instance, dalits are not regarded as part of this ’Vasudha’, not members of this ’kutumb’, by most non dalits ( even OBCs ), who look down on dalits as inferior beings, and sometimes even physically assault them. For a dalit boy to have an affair with a non dalit girl is often inviting a death sentence, by ‘honour killing’.

Many Indians shout themselves hoarse when blacks are ill treated in America. But they turn a Nelson’s eye to ill treatment of dalits at home.

And Muslims, too, often face the same treatment, being often regarded as fanatics, terrorists, and anti-nationals. They are sometimes lynched, and often assaulted for not saying Jai Shri Ram or having an affair with a Hindu girl.

So isn’t this talk of vasudhev kutumbakam pure hypocrisy ?

Isn’t the description of India as a secular country in our Constitution pure hypocrisy when all kinds of atrocities are being committed on our minorities ?

3. 90 per cent Indians believe in astrology, which is pure superstition and humbug. Even a little common sense tells us that the movements of stars and planets have nothing to do with our lives. Yet, Ministers, Governors, Chief Justices, etc often consult astrologers to fix an ‘auspicious’ time for taking oath. TV channels showing astrology have high TRP ratings. Most Tamilians, otherwise highly intelligent people, believe in ‘rahukaalam’, which is unscientific nonsense.

4. Fraudulent ‘babas’ like Baba Ramdev, Asaram, Ram Rahim, Rampal, Radhe Ma, etc abound in India, and have huge followings. India can be called a ‘baba bound society’. Ramdev made a bogus claim to have discovered an Ayurvedic medicine called Coronil for preventing corona, and runs a big business.

5. Karl Marx said religion is the opium of the masses. But the Indian masses are administered several opiums apart from religion, e.g. cricket, bollywood, astrology, fashion parades and TV, which often spouts communal venom, whips up jingoism, or denounces ‘anti nationals, urban naxals, ‘tukde tukde’ gang, etc, ( as a TV anchor I have dubbed Lord Bhow Bhow often does ). or diverts people’s attention from the real issues like poverty, unemployment, child malnourishment, lack of healthcare etc to non issues like lives of film stars, petty politics, cricket etc

I had criticised the media hype around the film star Dev Anand’s death in 2011 at a time when 47 farmers in India were committing suicide on an average every day for the last 15 years. A section of the media attacked me for doing so, but I reiterated that I saw no justification for the high publicity given by the media to this event for several days.

In my opinion, Dev Anand’s films transported the minds of poor people to a world of make-believe, like a hill station where Dev Anand was romancing some girl. This gave relief for a couple of hours to the viewers from their lives of drudgery. Such films, to my mind, served no social purpose, but acted instead like a drug or alcohol to transport the viewer temporarily from his miserable existence to a beautiful world of tinsel.

As regards cricket, the Roman Emperors used to say if you cannot give the people bread, give them circuses. The same is said by the Indian Establishment, except that instead of circuses we have cricket.

6. The lives of our people will improve if scientific ideas are propagated among the masses and backward and unscientific ideas like casteism, communalism, and superstitions are combated. But the reverse is done in India.

Today, the Indian people are facing terrible problems — massive poverty (it is estimated that 75 % of rural Indians are earning 33 rupees a day ), huge unemployment, skyrocketing prices of foodstuffs, fuel etc, lack of any proper healthcare for the poor people, child malnutrition (about half our children are malnourished), farmers suicides (about 47 every day for the last 27 years, making a total of about 350,000 a world record of farmers suicides ), etc.

And yet our media (particularly the broadcast media) devotes 90 % of its coverage to lives of film stars, cricket, and glamour.

A few years back the Lakme Fashion parade was covered by 512 accredited journalists, at a time when the farmers who grew the cotton worn by the models in the Fashion Parade were committing suicide one hour’s flight away in the Vidarbha region.

Only one or two journalists covered those suicides locally. Is this a responsible way in which our media has been behaving? Is not our media behaving like the French Queen Marie Antoinette, who when told that the people have no bread said that they could eat cake.

Amitabh Bachchan’s birthday, Kareena Kapoor’s pregnancy, Sachin Tendolkar’s 100th century, Rahul Dravid’s retirement from cricket, Dev Anand and Rajesh Khanna’s death, Rakhi Sawant’s swayamvar, etc — these are depicted as the real issues facing the nation, not poverty, not unemployment, not price rise, not healthcare, not malnutrition.

7. During the Anna Hazare agitation in Delhi in 2011, the media hyped the event as a solution to the problem of corruption in India, and many Indians started believing it.

In reality it was, as Shakespeare said in Macbeth, “…a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”. But at that time, if anyone had raised any logical questions, he would have been denounced as a “gaddar” or “deshdrohi” ( traitor ). The people who collected at Jantar Mantar or the Ramlila grounds displayed a mob mentality that has been accurately described by Shakespeare in his play Julius Caesar after Mark Antony had harangued the Romans into a frenzy, so much so that they lynched Cinna the poet only because he bore the same name as Cinna the conspirator.

There are innumerable other examples too to show the stupidity and asinine behaviour of most Indians, whose minds have been brainwashed by backward, feudal, dumb and doltish ideas, which I call ‘gobar’.

That is why I had written my article ‘BJP will win India’s parliamentary elections in 2024’ published in hastakshepnews.com despite its present setbacks.

(Justice Markandey Katju is former Chairman, Press Council of India and former Judge, Supreme Court of India.)


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