Justice Katju says Indians will have to unite

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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Indians must unite

Justice Katju says Indians will have to unite
 Justice Katju says Indians will have to unite

By Justice Markandey Katju

There is a Chinese proverb: people of one mind can move mountains.

We Indians must unite, rising above caste, religious, racial, lingual and regional barriers, as advised by our great ancestor Chanakya (see video below). Then alone can we emerge as a modern industrial giant, and make our country prosperous, and respected in the comity of nations.

Those who seek to polarise our people and incite hatred among us on religious, caste, racial, lingual or regional lines are our real enemies and must be exposed as such and fiercely combated.

How could 100,000 Britishers, who came from far away, conquer and rule over 350 million Indians during the British Raj, and transform us from a prosperous country, having 25% of the world's wealth and foreign trade during Mughal rule, to an impoverished one by 1947 having only 2-3%?

This happened for two reasons (1) Indians were technically backward (2) We were divided.

Presently we have no dearth of technical talent. In fact, Indian IT engineers are largely manning Silicon Valley in California, and American Universities have numerous professors of science, engineering, mathematics, medicine, etc, and technically India is today the most developed of the underdeveloped countries in the world.

So it is the second reason which has become all-important today. It is our disunity which is preventing us from becoming a modern industrial giant, like China. We are badly divided on the basis of religion, caste, ethnicity, etc, and unless we are united we will never be able to rapidly industrialise and abolish poverty, unemployment, malnutrition, and the other evils which plague us today.

In Shantiparva of Mahabharat (Ch 107/108, shlok 14): Bheeshma Pitamah tells Yudhishthir:

''भेदे गणाः विनश्यन्ति भिन्नास्तु सजाया: पराः

तस्मात् संघातयेंन प्रयतरेण गणाः सदा''


"Republics have been destroyed only because of internal divisions among its people.

Hence a Republic should always strive to achieve unity and good relations among its people "

Some people think that because of our tremendous diversity, we can never unite. I do not agree. Diversity can be a source of weakness, but it can also be a source of strength.

It is a source of weakness if we hate each other or fight with each other, as is happening in India today.

But it can also be a source of strength. For instance, USA is the most powerful and advanced nation in the world today, and one factor which contributed to this was its diversity. People from different countries in Europe, Asia, Latin America, etc came to USA bringing with them their own technical knowledge and culture, and when these were pooled together it contributed to rapid progress.

So, we need not worry too much about our diversity. There can be unity despite diversity.

Unfortunately, we adopted the parliamentary system of democracy, which runs (as everyone knows) largely on the basis of caste and communal vote banks. Casteism and communalism are feudal forces which must be destroyed if India is to progress, but parliamentary democracy further entrenches them ( as it runs largely on that basis). Our politicians, who have no genuine love for the country but are only interested in power and pelf, incite caste, communal and ethnic hatred for getting votes, which divides us.

So we have to devise an alternative political and social system which unites us, and under which we rapidly industrialise and emerge as a modern industrial giant, like China, of which we have all the potential. Such an alternative system can only be created after a mighty, united people's struggle led by patriotic, secular, modern-minded leaders determined to rapidly transform India into a modern, highly industrialised country, with its people enjoying a high standard of living, and leading decent lives.

How and when will that historical people's struggle begin, how much time will it take to achieve success, who will be the modern-minded leaders who will lead it, how will it be conducted, etc no one can presently foretell. One cannot be rigid about historical forms. But one thing is certain: it will be protracted (probably lasting 10-15 years or more), and entail huge sacrifices, for there are powerful forces, both external and internal, which will fiercely oppose it. The patriotic, enlightened section of our people will have to use their creativity in this connection.

But it is only by waging such a historical people's struggle, in which people are solidly united, and by creating such an alternative system, that we can ensure that never again will a handful of foreigners rule over us and exploit us, directly or indirectly.

(Justice Katju is a retired judge of the Supreme Court of India. These are his personal views.)

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