Wednesday, 12 December 2012

A Response to Justice Katju

Justice Katju has written a blog on the many problems being faced by India, and lamenting the lack of scientific and rational thinking in present day Indians. To substantiate this, he presents his views on some topics, including communalism.

 I would like to address the issue of Communalism particularly, as it is highly misunderstood due to political propaganda. As Justice katju talks of "scientific and rational" mindset, I will try to proceed in that way to understand the problem of Communalism. He has presented certain opinions of him, and I would like to discuss them "scientifically", based on some assumptions.

Further, there are two types of communalism, the reflecting in the state policy, and the one reflecting in one's private views. As India is already a "declared secular" state, I assume that Justice Katju is talking about being secular in one's personal faith.

1. Laws of a civil society are equal for everyone.
2. What is communal is not secular, and what is secular is not communal.
3.  All unpleasant truths should not be hidden.

There can be many definitions of Communalism/secularism. One can choose any of them and proceed for analysis. I choose the following one:

Giving undue advantage to a section of people based on personal faith is communalism.

Observations by Justice Katju:

Communalism, which was almost non-existent in 1857, is widespread in our society today. Muslims often face discrimination in getting jobs, houses on rent, etc, as the Justice Sachar Committee report has highlighted.  Muslims are often falsely implicated in bomb blasts and they have to spend years in jail though ultimately found innocent. 

Communalism was non-existent till 1857, says Katju. How can we authenticate this statement? Justice Katju most probably cites the lack of data of any riots till this period to claim this. While I don't have any data to refute or substantiate this claim, let me go into other indicators to find out.
We didn't had a written constitution before 1857 to find the official state policy. What was the stance of the rulers in public works?

  1. There is a long history of destruction of temples by the invading and the established rulers. All the holy places of the Hindus were tried to be ransacked by them. Ayodhyaya, Kashi, Mathura are just a few names. The numbers run in thousands. How secular was that?
  2.  While these rulers built many mosques and tombs in the official capacity, which may be looked as cultural enrichment, what do they say about communalism? If they were truly secular, please show me any one temple built by them.
  3. If there was so much secularism, why there were so many one sided conversions from Hinduism to Islam? Did it all happen due to casteism, or it happened because Islam was the preferred state religion? How is it secularism then?
  4.  The above examples are for communalism as a state policy. What about the private life? Why India is secular at present? Is it because the constitution says so? No. The constitution is secular because the majority of us believe in this idea. The majority Hindus believe that religion is a private thing, and all religions are true, and lead to the same God. Are Abrahamic religions propagate the same personal belief? I hear a lot about Darul-Uloom Deoband that they are scholars of Islam. Can Katju Sir get ask them whether Islam alone is true, or other religions are true as well? Can he ask Islamic scholars to prove their faith in personal secularism?
  5. Muslims face discrimination  in Jobs and finding homes. Well, statistics asks us to believe in mean and averages. Then if 90% of all the terrorists caught would be found from a particular religion, isn't it scientific to be cautious? Even then, this issue is raised in a very biased way. This piece tells why exactly.
  6. Muslims are often falsely implicated in blasts, and are ultimately found innocent. This is a shocking statement by someone sitting on a responsible post as Mr Katju, and is far worse than appeasement. Is he implying that our Justice system is not good enough only for Muslims? Is he saying that everyone else, except Muslims are judged fairly by our criminal justice system? That Convictions of Muslims are wrong, but of every other community is correct? What exactly is being intended by the highly scientific and rational eminent justice, I am at a loss to understand.

I have not seen Justice Katju giving concrete solutions, not even elucidating the problem in relevant terms. I propose two solutions here for the good of India.

Regarding communalism:

Common civil code be immediately implemented. Law should refer only to citizens of India, and should not discriminate between them on the basis of religion. This is what a secular state should be about. Is this solution secular of communal? Can Mr Katju elucidate his views on this?

Regarding education:
Our country has a long tradition of sacrifice. At present, we have a ruler who sacrificed even accountability, and chose only to keep the power. The political class sacrificed the concept of merit, and chose to upheld the common greater good of mass upliftment, and thus is introducing reservation everywhere. If such high traditions exist, why not let us have some more reservation.

For any developed society, the state provides good primary education to all its citizens. In India, the politicians don't have an incentive to provide quality education to every citizen. Why not let us have a reservation that at least 49% of the primary education of the son/daughter of a public servant will have to be carried out in a government school? This reservation can be an impetus for the politicians and bureaucrats to get its act together. Is it possible for us to bell the cat? 

1 comment:

  1. the article is very eye opening and i think the best to Mr Kutju's remarks on Communalism. He tells that most of the indians thought process is communally influenced and what you mentioned here is the political facet of communalism. But i am little confused about which facet of communalism influenced which facet to emerge. Was it the demographic reason that influenced the govt/rulers to follow the non-secular means to rule the state without any sort of riots or other way round ?