What is the job of patriots, Justice Katju explained

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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The task of patriots

What is the job of patriots, Justice Katju explained

By Justice Markandey Katju

Our national aim must be to create a highly industrialised, highly modern, India, with our people enjoying a high standard of living.

To achieve this objective requires a mighty, historical, united, protracted, people's struggle, led by patriotic, secular, modern-minded, leaders determined to create a just political and social order in which all our people get decent lives.

Historical experience shows that such a mighty people's struggle initially arises spontaneously due to certain events which were not planned by patriots, and not intended to make any social transformation. This happened in the struggle between King and Parliament in England in the 17th century, which culminated in the Glorious Revolution of 1688, in France where the bankruptcy of the monarchy and economic distress of the people led to the French Revolution of 1789, in Russia where the involvement of the country in the First World War and consequent death of millions and huge devastation led to the February and October revolutions of 1917, and in China where the dissolution of the Manchu dynasty in 1911, the chaos thereafter, the Japanese invasion etc resulted in the Revolution.of 1949.

While initially, these people's struggles arose spontaneously i.e. they were not planned by anyone, subsequently their leadership was taken over by patriotic, modern-minded leaders, who then guided the struggle.

In India presently the mighty people's struggle has not even begun. It cannot be created artificially but will arise spontaneously, generated by certain historical forces. So there is no question of guiding it, when it has not even begun.

What are patriotic people to do till that situation arises? Should they remain idle with folded hands ?

I have pointed out that before every great revolution, there is always an ideological revolution, in which the weapons used are not bombs or guns, but ideas.

For example, before the great French Revolution of 1789 there was an ideological revolution in France led by great writers like Voltaire, Rousseau, Diderot, and the French Encyclopedists, who launched a powerful ideological attack on feudalism and religious bigotry.

So the task of Indian patriots presently is to think out and disseminate correct, scientific ideas among the people. They will initially be met with great hostility, as most people are conservative and orthodox, and do not want to change their casteist and communal mindsets. Yet the patriots must carry on on their solemn mission, regardless of dangers, and regardless of the fact that they may not see the day of victory ( like me, since I am 78 ).

They must patiently explain the correct path to the people. Initially, they may be regarded as crazy and laughed upon. When Copernicus said in 1547 that the earth goes around the sun ( the heliocentric theory ) instead of the other way around ( the geocentric theory ), he was regarded crazy and a blasphemer ( since what he said went against the Bible ). But since what he said was the truth, it was accepted later by everyone. So patriots, knowing their path is full of thorns, must plod on.

India is presently passing through the period of ideological revolution, and the actual revolution is still a long way off. In this period ( which may last 10-15 years or so ), the patriotic, enlightened section of our society must launch a fierce ideological attack on feudal ideas and practices like casteism, communalism, superstitions, etc and patiently spread scientific, rational ideas among the masses. They must explain to the people that parliamentary democracy is a fraud, which further entrenches feudal forces like casteism and communalism ( because it largely runs on their basis ), and therefore has to be replaced by an alternative system under which India rapidly progresses.

No doubt this will not be easy, and patriots doing so will often be mocked, jeered, ridiculed, taunted, abused, and sometimes even physically assaulted.

It is relatively easy to change the physical environment, like constructing a building, bridge or road. It is ten or hundred times more difficult to change the feudal mindsets of people, the majority of whom will fiercely resist change in their casteist or communal opinions.

So the ideological revolution, though largely non violent, will be long, arduous, and with many twists and turns, before it succeeds.

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

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