(Justice Markandey Katju’s recent article in The Indian Express- ten ways of being foolish, has again triggered debates. Mr. Alok Kumar has penned down his reaction to Justice Katju’s take. Please have a look. The views expressed by the writer are his own.)
Well, I don’t know whether you took oath as the chief justice of Madras High court in Rahukalam or you went ahead with the ‘inauspicious period’ suggestions. You have not mentioned about this in your article. But one thing is amply clear from your writing is that you are very peeved over being an Indian, thus living your life among the crores of fools. Despite of this, you are trying to justify your statement in just ten counts is really regrettable.
Your encounter with ten incidents can’t justify your statement. Those counts are mere number of incidents. You may also relate it to story items or say prevalent traditions within our society. Of course, not the reasons, which can conclude 85 to 95 percent of population within fool criteria.
Being an ex judge of the Indian apex court and now as a president of the press council of India, I personally thought there would be deep thought process in those 10 counts. But I am finding myself very perturbed over your reasonings. These are so superfluous that will certainly not satisfy the Delhi Correspondent of The Wall Street Journal, who asked you on what basis you believe 90 percent Indians are fools.
I have strong objection on all your ten counts. Here is my autopsy of your 10 justification.
One, you say Tamilians are the most superstitious people in India. I don’t know whether your are blaming them or hurting their belief. As far as I believe, this statement is highly objectionable and may hurt their feelings. Superstition is not limited to a particular corner of this Globe but you may find traces of it in every part of the world. I have found you also reciting from Geeta and verses of Ramayna on so many occasions, though, I don’t know whether you also offer prayers or visit any place of worship. But I am quite sure you have a small temple in a corner of your house, where your family members offer prayers.
I mean, you may be not but other members of your family do. So, does it mean you are a fool since from historical perspective validity and sanctity of these texts are not proven. I want to know whether believing in Rahukalam affect the wisdom of a judge or a lawyer.
Two, There is a clearly defined line between our beliefs and profession. Myself a journalist or a scientist or a doctor from Tamilnadu never let their profession affected even if he or she believes in Rahukalam. And it applies to all Indians. I hardly believe 90 percent people of this country let their wisdom taken over by superstition and our history is a testimony of that. So it does not affect the functioning of those ministers or judges who take oath at ‘auspicious’ time. Well, if they are inefficient they will be so but please don’t relate it with superstition.
Three, If a particular house became haunted one just because some mishaps with some judges family and Chief Justice of India had to write the authorities to remove the house from Judges pool. This can be an individual thinking. However, I am sure this haunted house could not have affected the capability of carrying out judicial responsibilities of judges.
Four, You have mentioned a news story of Lord Ganesha drinking milk. Are you sure 90 percent of us tried to compel Lord Ganesha drink milk? You also accuse media of spreading superstitions. Do everyone wrote and showed this ‘miracle’ as you have depicted. Everybody who have studied till +2 knew this was due to surface tension. If it was the fact and people were fools then Lord Ganesha would have continued to consume millions of gallons of milk till today. It would have been much better if you had concentrated on how to report these kinds of stories though media has also matured since then.
Anyway Hollywood supernatural series is a big hit now a days among scientifically thinking masses of the west and I am about to download season-2 series.
Five, You say ours is a baba-bound society. I agree there are thousands of godmen in this country. Some spread yoga and religious theories but most of them are doing business by claiming to be the doctor of all evils. But not everyone goes to them with same wisdom. There are differences. Illiterate ones go them and abide by what they say to them. Here, we need to educate them. But even well educated people are also used to visit Baba of their choice for their personal gains. It is just a matter of personal belief and lack of awareness in this regard. So, calling them fool for just following self-claimed godmen, can’t be justified.
Six, you talk about a false claim of converting water into petrol. Now you yourself have described how it was not possible. You have brilliantly tried to explain it through a chemical formulations. But you must be agree with the facts that fantasy has always some inbuilt reality. Our all past inventions were propelled by the fantasies e.g. ‘Pushpak Biman’ in Ramayana, now we have aeroplanes. There are so many other examples available before us. Many research are underway and initial success suggest that H2O has the power of running a car and lone Hydrogen is going to do wonders as far as energy sector is concerned. It will be superstition to believe in impossibility while talking about science and it shows lack of scientific temperament which you desire for.
Seven, again very simplistic way of justifying your definition of a fool. Matching ‘Kundali’ for finalizing marriages has been in practice since India was a considered trove of treasure and preacher to the world. Though, I am not trying to endorse this tradition but it’s vanishing day by day. Live-in and increasing numbers of love marriages are simple examples.
Eight, Sir, it would be very funny to suggest that merely 18 years old private news channels have contributed making India a land of fools. As far as programming code is concerned, You are well placed to discuss this with Broadcast Editors Association for betterment. But I fail to understand why you have mentioned pay packages of editors in such a fashion. Media is a fast growing industry and you should feel proud as PCI chairman that now journalist are also well paid. Even then there is no similarity when you look at the slips of other company’s CMDs pay package. It’s ridiculous to relate TRP’s and editor’s salary with your claim of 90 percent Indians are fools.
Nine, how can you summarize most Hindus and Muslims are communal? This way you are doing disservice to this nation and questioning the secular credentials of our democracy. What young generation of this country has to do now with 1857 revolt other than it’s historical value. It would have been better if you had suggested measures to enhance communal harmony than showing us the ugly face of communalism.
Ten, you are disappointed over social evils so as all of us. But there is no denying of the fact that with growing literacy rate and awakening we have moved forward. Though a lot still has to be done but be sure fools will not do it. This is our responsibility to carry this nation forward and we are not fools.
(Alok Kumar is a senior journalist and this article was first published in Pratirodh)