Justice Katju's interaction with Dr Hoodbhoy

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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My interaction with Dr Hoodbhoy

By Justice Markandey Katju

Yesterday I sent this article by email to Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy, the eminent Pakistani scientist and secular activist, whom I respect..

On reading this Dr Hoodbhoy probably got so upset that he blocked me on email, because my subsequent emails to him were all blocked.

Later he must have realised that he was being inconsistent, because while he had always advocated freedom of speech he was denying it to a critic.

Today morning I received this email from him :

Dear Justice Markandey Katju,

Thank you for sending me what seems to be a review of my book, accompanied by a few kind words. Even though you describe my work as “superficial and inane” and lacking depth, reading your words of praise have put me in a state of joyous bliss since they come from a man of your high stature.  I hope you will not mind my pointing out that certain of your statements have made me very puzzled.

You wrote that: “he [Hoodbhoy] adds that people in India say that the two nation theory ( that Hindus and Muslims are two separate nations ) came with Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, Iqbal and Jinnah, and do not mention Veer Savarkar, MS Golwalkar and the RSS, who introduced the two nation theory on the Hindu side.”

Actually I do not know if it is my book that you read or perhaps some other book. If my book, you seem to have skipped an entire chapter that discusses Savarkar, Golwalkar and the RSS.  To correct any misunderstanding, may I request that you reread chapter-10? For your convenience I have attached the pages pertaining to the subsection titled “Hindutva Ideology”.

I am also quite mystified by some of your other claims such as, “Dr Hoodbhoy rightly says that there was no communal problem before the coming of the British into India.”. Could you kindly point out where I said that? Or anything close to it?

Have a good day. 

Pervez Hoodbhoy.

To this I sent the following reply :

Dear Dr Hoodbhoy,

I have read your email and the attachment therewith, and would like to respond.

At the outset I wish to say that I admire you for the courage you have shown in combating religious extremism, and promoting scientific thinking in Pakistan, for which you have made personal sacrifices. That was not easy in a country which declared itself an Islamic State.

However having said that, I wish to say that courage is not enough, one must also have deep understanding of the issues one discusses, and it is here that  I would like to state some facts.

Politics is concentrated economics, but you have not gone into the economic aspect of Partition and creation of Pakistan as an Islamic state at all. All you have done is referring to personalities like Sir Syed, Iqbal Jinnah, Lala Lajpat Rai, Savarkar, Golwalkar, Modi, etc and organisations like the RSS, Muslim League, BJP, etc. This will never give you a deep understanding of the matter you have discussed in your book, as you completely overlook the economic aspect, and that is why I called your approach superficial and inane..

I have dealt with it in detail in my article, which is given below, and which I request you read again carefully..

At the cost of repetition I would like to say that Partition was done by the British so that Indian industries do not emerge as a serious competitor to British industries, as Indian labour is cheap, while British labour is expensive. As I have explained in my article, cost of labour is a big chunk of the total cost of production, and so if the cost of labour is less the cost of production will be less, and one will be able to sell his goods at a cheaper price, and thereby undersell his business rival. This would have made the British industries collapse, throwing millions out unemployment, as they would not have been able to face Indian competition. That is why during their rule the British rulers did not permit setting up heavy industries in India, and only permitted light industries like textiles, plantations, etc.

There is a secret, unwritten rule among the developed countries that underdeveloped countries like India, other Asian, African, and Latin American countries must not be allowed to become developed countries, for then with their cheap labour they will undersell the goods of industries of developed countries, making them collapse since they will not be able to face the competition, throwing millions out of employment. And how do they do this ? They do it by making people of underdeveloped countries fight each other in the name of religion, caste, race, language etc.

This was the real reason for Partition of India in 1947, to keep Hindus and Muslims fighting each other even after the British leave, so that united India does not emerge as a modern industrial giant, like China, and thus become a rival to Western industries.. The real creators of the bogus two-nation theory.were the British, while Lala Lajpat Rai and the others you named were only their agents and small fries. You only take notice of the small fries, but overlook the big sharks.

Please read these articles of mine before commenting

Before I conclude, I once again wish to say I am your admirer for your courage, and your secular approach. But a true intellectual is a perpetual student. Although I am elder to you ( having been born in 1946 ) I will learn many things from you, and in that sense regard myself as your student. But regarding the topic we are discussing you must be my student and learn from me. No ego should be involved.

Just now I received this reply from him :

Dear Justice Katju: Again, thank you for your kind words. When you have the time, please do read the book. It is not at all what you make it out to be. I too believe in the centrality of economic causes but more in the Weberian than Marxist sense. An explanation of this point would entail too long a discussion so perhaps it would be best to let matters take a rest. Regards,

Pervez Hoodbhoy

To this I gave this reply :

Dear Dr Hoodbhoy

Let us agree to disagree. But I would love to talk with you and discuss certain other issues, for we have much in common. For instance, I have been strongly supporting Imran Khan on the social media, because I believe he is bravely leading the democratic forces in Pakistan against the fascist repression of democracy by the Pakistan Establishment.

If possible, please whatsapp me on 91-*********

Justice Katju


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