In Memoriam Mool Behari Saxena

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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By Justice Markandey Katju

In Memoriam Mool Behari Saxena

A few days back an old friend of mine, Mool Behari Saxena, passed away in Mumbai.

He was born in 1936, and thus 10 years older than me. I did not know him in his youth, and came to know him only after I became a lawyer in the Allahabad High Court in 1971, where he too was practising.

A lawyer does not spend all his time in court arguing cases. Between finishing arguing one case and the take up of another case he has free time, which he spends in the bar library or bar canteen having tea and snacks, and chit-chatting all kinds of things with colleagues and friends.

It was during these intervals and discussions in the bar canteen that Mool Behari saheb became my mentor, explaining things which I never knew. He would often tell me to probe below the surface of things, and not be satisfied with the superficial, outward appearance

For instance, he often said ''Politics is concentrated economics, and so if you wish to understand political developments you must consider the economic factors behind them ''.

I was a supporter of Israel at one time, as I thought that the Jews deserved a homeland, after their persecution by the Nazis. But Mool Behari Saheb explained that the real reason for creating Israel was to safeguard the oil supplies for Western industries from the Middle East where a huge amount of oil deposits had been found in the first half of the 20th century

I had no idea of the realities of Indian politics, until Mool Behari saheb explained it to me. He said it is largely based on caste and communal vote banks, and when 90% voters in India go to vote they do not see the merit of the candidate but only his caste or religion ( or the caste or religion his party claims to represent ).

Casteism and communalism are feudal forces which must be destroyed if India is to progress, but parliamentary democracy further entrenches them. Hence parliamentary democracy must be replaced by another system led by modern minded leaders under which India rapidly modernises and industrialises so as to abolish our massive poverty, unemployment, child malnutrition, lack of healthcare and good education, etc. This, according to Mool Behari saheb, required some kind of revolution, and cannot be achieved through elections. Though not a communist, he was intellectually a revolutionary, and hated Indian politicians. He regarded them all as crooks, who spread hatred and polarise society on caste and religious lines to get votes, and are only interested in power and pelf.

His only fling in politics was at the age of 24 in 1970 when he contested and won the seat of corporator in the Allahabad Municipality. But in the next election of the Municipality in 1973 he refused to contest seeing the unholy, unprincipled alliance of leftists ( Socialists ), right-wing Hindus ( Jan Sangh ) and right wing Muslims ( Muslim Majlis ) against the Congress party.

Mool Behari saheb also told me that Pakistan was a fake, artificial country, created by a British swindle on the basis of the bogus two-nation theory ( that Hindus and Muslims are two separate nations ). He said India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh are really one country with a common culture, and were one since Moghul times. He said we are sure to reunite one day under a secular government, though that will take time, since the Western powers which divided us will not let us easily reunite.

Based on his ideas I later in life decided to form the Indian Reunification Association ( IRA )

Mool Behari saheb was always sympathetic to the poor, and hated hypocrisy. Despite coming from a deeply religious family, he became an atheist at an early age, and explained his reasons, which I have put in this blog :

He would often tell me that one day India will emerge as a modern industrial giant, like USA or China, with its people prosperous and enjoying a high standard of living, but he will not be alive to see that day. Though he has passed away, I am sure his dream will one day come true.

(Justice Katju is a former Judge, of the Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman, the Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own)

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