Justice Katju respects Pandit Nehru a lot, so why does he consider him a criminal?

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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The criminal Nehru

Justice Katju respects Pandit Nehru a lot, so why does he consider him a criminal?

By Justice Markandey Katju

I hold former Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in high respect. But I also regard him a criminal.

This sounds contradictory, so I have to explain.

I hold Nehru in high respect because he was secular and with a modern mind, who wanted to modernise India and abolish poverty. He realised that no country can be really independent and prosperous in the modern world without a heavy industrial base and a huge pool of technical talent.

The policy of our British rulers was not to allow India to develop a heavy industrial base, and keep us largely feudal and agricultural, since if India industrialised on a large scale, Indian industry would become a big rival to British industry. So they permitted only some light industries in India like textile mills, jute mills, etc and plantations of tea, coffee, tobacco, etc , but not steel mills etc.

Nehru set up steel mills, etc to create a heavy industrial base, and technical institutes like IITs etc, and promoted setting up schools, colleges etc to advance learning, even among women.

Despite strong objections by reactionaries among Hindus he got enacted laws abolishing the old Hindu law which permitted polygamy and did not permit divorce ( by the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 ) and gave a share in the father's property to daughters ( by the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 ).

He also got enacted laws abolishing the feudal zamindari system and gave land to the cultivators.

Thus it was mainly because of his leadership and vision that India today is very different from the India of 1947, and for this I respect him.

But now I will explain why I also regard him a criminal.

The greatest crime against India was the partition of our country in 1947 on the basis of the bogus two nation theory ( that Hindus and Muslims are two separate nations ).

No doubt the British were behind this swindle, and their main local agent was Jinnah, who propagated this theory relentlessly after the Lahore Resolution of the Muslim League in 1940. But the Congress party too ultimately accepted Partition, and therefore its leaders, including Nehru, too must be held equally complicit and culpable of this horrid crime.

In an interview with a foreign journalist Nehru said he was not in favour of Partition, but ultimately agreed to it '' as it was better to have Partition than this constant trouble''.

This is like a person saying he was not initially in favour of joining a conspiracy to commit a murder but ultimately agrees to it to avoid trouble.

The result of the Partition was the horrible killing of 500,000 people and the displacement of millions.

Moreover, the result of Partition can be seen even today. Once India was partititioned on a religious basis, and an Islamic state Pakistan, was created, the logical consequence was that sooner or later the rest of India would inevitably become a Hindu state, and minorities would become second-class citizens, with all kinds of atrocities committed on them. Also, the focus of attention of the nation would be shifted from the real issues confronting the country like abolition of poverty, hunger, unemployment, lack of healthcare and good education for the masses etc to propagating Hindutva, like building the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, cow protection, etc

Since Nehru was complicit in this tragedy, as he ultimately agreed to Partition, I regard him a criminal.

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

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