Why does Justice Katju not celebrate Republic Day?

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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Republic Day in India

Why does Justice Katju not celebrate Republic Day?

By Justice Markandey Katju

Today, 26th January, is Republic Day in India, the day when the Indian Constitution was promulgated in 1950. There will be a huge military and cultural parade and fanfare on Rajpath, New Delhi, in which the Indian President Draupadi Murmu will take the salute, in the company of Prime Minister Modi, and the French President Macron, who is the Chief Guest, and other dignitaries. It will be celebrated all over India too.

I never celebrate Republic Day ( or Independence Day, on 15th August ). Our Constitution, for which Republic Day is celebrated, has been torn to shreds, and has now become a scarecrow

What is there to celebrate about ? Has massive poverty been abolished in India ? Has massive unemployment been abolished ? Have our masses been provided nutritious food, healthcare, good education and housing ? Have the skyrocketing prices of food and other essential commodities gone down ?

No ? Then what are the celebrations, parades and flag hoisting about ? A celebration of our country's massive poverty, massive unemployment, farmers suicides, widespread corruption, child malnutrition, and atrocities on minorities ?

No doubt it is often claimed that the Indian economy is growing, but here is the reality :

I regard it as a cruel farce and an insult to my people to celebrate when over 75% of the 1.4 billion Indians are living in horrible poverty, when half our children are malnourished, when 57% Indian women are anaemic, when there is massive unemployment and lack of healthcare and good education for the Indian masses, when there is discrimination against women, dalits, minorities, etc, when there are atrocities against women, starting from even before their birth ( female foeticide ), dowry deaths, etc, atrocities against minorities, when barbaric social practices like ' honour killing ' still continue, when farmers are regularly committing suicide, when corruption is rampant despite all talk of ' good governance ', when our political leaders bluff our people with false promises of ' vikas' ( development ) etc with no intention of ever fulfilling them.

And as for our much flaunted 'secularism', here is the truth :

Indians, you may participate in this farce and pantomime as much as you like, but please don't expect me to join you in this charade.

You may call me negative, and that is true, for I can see nothing positive in human suffering. You with your brilliant minds can see an India shining, but I, with my dull and dense mind, can only see gloom and despair among the Indian masses

My Republic Day and Independence Day will be celebrated when the Indian masses are having happy prosperous lives with a high standard of living.

I am quite sure that day will come long after I am dead. But on that day I will be showering flowers and rose petals on my motherland from the skies.
(Justice Katju is a retired judge of the Supreme Court of India. These are his personal views.)

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