By Justice Markandey Katju, former Judge, Supreme Court of India
Many years back I was invited to Aligarh Muslim University to give a talk on India in general
I had been warned that boys of AMU spare no one, they even hooted out great figures who came to address them like Maulana Azad, the famous Urdu poet Josh Malihabadi, etc. So I decided to hoot at them first, since offence is the best form of defence.
The programme was held in Kennedy Auditorium, and the auditorium was jam-packed. Professors like the famous Irfan Habib, students, staff and others were all there.
I began by asking the boys whether they had brought pens and notebooks with them. When they said they had not, I gave them a tongue lashing, and said that whenever I come to speak they must have a pen and notebook to note down what I said, otherwise it would enter one ear and come out of the other, with nothing registering in between.
This statement so demoralised these heroes that then I had no problem.
I explained in my talk that India is broadly a country of immigrants, like North America, who came mainly from the north west over thousands of years ( see my article ‘What is India’ online ), and this explains its tremendous diversity, with numerous religions, castes, languages, ethnic groups etc. Each group of immigrants who came here brought their own religion, language, culture etc. Perhaps 92-93% Indians are descendants of such immigrants.
Who were the original inhabitants of India ?
At one time it was believed it was the Dravidians. But, as I have explained in the above article ( as well as in my Supreme Court judgment in Kailas vs State of Maharashtra ) now it is accepted that even Dravidians are outsiders, and the original inhabitants of India are the pre Dravidian tribals, like Bhils, Gonds, Santhals, Todas, etc ( called adivasis or Scheduled Tribes or STs ) who are today only 7-8% of our population.
Hence the only policy which will work in India, keep it together and take it on the path of progress, is secularism and giving equal respect to all religions, sects and communities, otherwise our country will break up into a hundred pieces.