Friday, 22 August 2014

India's basic problem

The basic problem of the country is not how to increase production but how to raise the purchasing power of the Indian masses.

With our huge pool of competent engineers and scientists, and our huge natural resources, we can easily increase production several times. The problem, however, is that of sale of these goods produced. 80% of our people are so poor that they do not have the purchasing power to buy these goods. This is particularly so in view of the high prices of basic requirements like food, which eat up most of the income of most people. Where is the money to buy other goods ? And unless the people have money to buy these goods there will be a glut in the market as the goods will remain unsold.
In classical economics there was a law called Say's Law, named after the French thinker Jean Baptiste Say ( 1767-1832) which said " Supply creates its own demand". This was disproved by the British economist John Maynard Keynes ( 1883-1946) in his famous book ' The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money' ( in brief known as 'The General Theory'), published during the Great Depression of 1929-1939.

So our thinkers must seriously consider and find out a viable solution to the problem of how to raise the purchasing power of the Indian masses.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

How to be true Indians

This is the modern age of equality To be true Indians we must change our mindsets and genuinely believe in equality But do most indians genuinely believe in equality ? I am afraid the answer is no. Most Hindus and most Muslims do not genuinely believe in equality. Let me try to prove this.

Let us take Hindus first.

Most Hindus believe that the Scheduled Castes are inferior. The test of this is whether non- SC Hindus would object to their sons or daughters marrying SCs. Most would certainly object, obviously because they regard SCs as inferiors.

I had in earlier posts given two examples. One was about a lady OBC Professor with whom I spoke. She claimed to be liberal and modern minded, but when I asked her whether she would permit her daughter to marry an SC boy she immediately said no. So even the so called backward castes regard SCs as inferior. The other example was of the Madras High Court SC Judge who had married a non-SC lady, and the lady's family performed her funeral rites on her marriage and thereafter had nothing to do with her. Any number of similar examples can be given. In many parts of the country if a non-SC boy or girl marries an SC both are killed as an 'honour ' killing.

Does this not prove that most Hindus do not believe in genuine equality, and regard SCs as inferior ?
Now let us consider Muslims. Most Muslims have castes, and Sayyids, Sheikhs and Pathans regard themselves as superior to Ansaris, Qureshis,etc. and would normally not marry with them, although Islam teaches equality of men. 

Moreover, Muslim Personal Law treats Muslim women as inferior, because while Muslim husbands can orally divorce their wives giving no reason, Muslim wives cannot do so, and have to file a petition in Court which may take several years to decide ( after appeals and second appeals), and then, too, the outcome is uncertain because they have to establish by evidence one of the grounds mentioned in section 2 of the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939.

Also, Muslim daughters get only half of what their brothers get to their father's property.

When I said this a fierce attack was made on me by many conservative Muslims alleging that I am against Islam. I have many Muslim friends, and I am not against Islam, but I am certainly against inequality. The Muslim Personal Law is an unjust law as it treats women as inferior, and so it must be abolished ( just as the old Hindu Law was abolished by the Hindu Marriages Act, 1955 and the Hindu Succession Act, 1956).

So if Hindus and Muslims want to become real Indians they must change their mindsets and practice and genuinely believe in real equality. Hindus will become real Indians when they stop regarding SCs as inferior, and marriages between non-SCs and SCs take place on a large scale. Muslims will become real Indians when marriages between the so called 'upper caste' Muslims and 'lower castes' take place on a large scale, and when a large number of Muslims demand abolition of the unjust Muslim Personal Law which treats women as inferior and get it abolished by legislation which abolishes oral divorce and makes Muslim men get a divorce in exactly the same manner, and on the same grounds, as Muslim women. Also, daughters should get the same share as their brothers to their father's property.

Until that day arrives, I will not regard most Hindus and most Muslims as real Indians.

I know I will be fiercely criticized for saying this, but that does not matter. I have been called a maverick, a publicity seeker, a crazy person, a person with a hidden agenda, and even a dog ( by one Chief Minister) in the past, so by now I am quite used to such vilifications and abuses. I will continue saying what I regard as in the national interest.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

God help this country

I met a friend who is head of an educational institution in Meerut today. He told me that he recently held an interview of persons who applied for the posts of lecturers, Assistant and Associate Professors in his college. The applicants all had a master's degree, some even pursuing Ph.D.

One candidate was asked who is Maneka Gandhi ? The answer : daughter of Mahatma Gandhi. When my friend asked are you sure, he said daughter of Indira Gandhi. 

Another candidate was asked who is the President of U.S. A. ? Answer : Osama. When my friend asked, please think again, he said Barack Osama.

Another candidate was asked, who is the Vice President of India ? Answer : Raj Nath Singh. 

Another candidate was asked who was the Prime Minister of India ? Answer Pranab Mukherji. Another candidate was asked what is the colour of the Indian flag ? Answer, red. 

Similar howlers were given by many applicants. And these are persons wanting to become lecturers, Assistant and Associate Professors ! God help this country.

Spirit of Sanskrit

In Chennai in a speech I had said that it is the spirit of Sanskrit which unites India. Several people have asked how can Sanskrit unite us as a nation when it is spoken or known by less than 1% people in India ?

It is true that very few people speak or know Sanskrit in India today. But I had spoken of the spirit of Sanskrit, not Sanskrit itself. What is this spirit ? It is the spirit of free thinkers, the spirit of the questioning mind, which questions everything.

The range of subjects dealt with in Sanskrit literature is remarkable, it covers subjects like philosophy, science, law, grammar, literature, etc.

For instance, in philosophy Sanskrit literature covers a very wide range, wider than even the ancient Greeks, from total atheism of the Charvaks to the most religious views of Vedanta etc.
I have written about all this in my article ' Sanskrit as a language of Science '

Unfortunately those who criticized my view think that Sanskrit is only a language of chanting mantras in temples or religious ceremonies. But, as I have pointed out in my article, that is only about 5% of Sanskrit literature. The remaining 95% or so has nothing to do with religion. How many people have heard of Aryabhatta, Sushrut, Vijnaneshwar or Panini ?

If India is to progress our people must develop the scientific questioning and rational attitude which is found in 95% of Sanskrit literature.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Dargah of Hazrat Amir Khusro

Went to the Dargah of Hazrat Amir Khusro in Delhi yesterday evening for the Urs Mubarak. Visited Sheikh Nizamuddin Aulia and Hazrat Amir Khusro's dargahs (they are next to each other in the same compound), and placed chaadar on them. Just in time for the dua prayers. Then went to the qawwali, after which I gave a short speech praising the sufi saints who made such a great contribution to our composite culture and spread the message of universal love and toleration. I was taken around by Farid Nizami, son of the head of the Dargah. Salman Chishty of Ajmer Sharif Dargah was with us.

I asked about the significance of Urs. I was told it is the death anniversary of the sufi saint, but it is celebrated as a wedding because after the whole life's service to mankind the saint goes to see God on his death. Thus his life's wish is fulfilled.

I was shown the photograph of Pt. Nehru with my grandfather Dr. Katju at the dargah. It must have been taken in the early 1950s when my grandfather was Union Home and Law Minister in Pt. Nehru's cabinet

(Pandit Nehru speaking at the Urs of Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia. Dr. Kailash Nath Katju sitting in the middle)
I love going to dargahs ( which are shrines built on graves of sufi saints) because they unite Indians. In temples only Hindus go, in mosques only Muslims go. but in dargahs all go. So Dargahs unite us, and I love whatever unites us.

Amir Khusro ( 1253-1325) was the Michelangelo of India. He was a Sufi mystic, and disciple of Hazrat Sheikh Nizamuddin Aulia. He is an iconic figure in Indian cultural history, having made contributions in several fields, a few of which are enumerated below :

1.He is perhaps the first poet in Hindi ( also called Hindvi), though he also wrote poems in Persian
2.He introduced ghazals in India, having borrowed this poetic form from Persian
3. He is the father of qawwali, a form of spiritual music often sung in dargahs
4. He invented the musical instruments sitar and tabla

It is said that once the great Sufi saint Sheikh Nizamuddin Aulia was standing on the bank of the Jamuna in Delhi with his disciple Amir Khusro. On seeing some Hindu worshippers bathing in the Jamuna Sheikh Nizamuddin Aulia said ( in Persian ) :

: Har qaum raast raahe
Din-e-wa qibla gaahe"

" Every people have a pole (qibla) to which they turn "
( Qibla means the direction a Muslim should face while saying his prayers i.e. towards the Holy Kaaba in Mecca)

Amir Khusro immediately supplied the second line of the couplet :
" Man qibla raast kardam
Bar samt kaj kulahe "
" I however turn my face
Towards the tilted cap "
( Nizamuddin Aulia used to wear a tilted cap)

The verse means that I am a sufi like my master.

It is a pity that many Indians do not know about Amir Khusro, who is a giant in our cultural history.

Real Independence Day

Today is India's Independence Day, and I send my greetings to all on this occasion.

But on 15.8.1947 India achieved only political independence, not economic independence. About 80% of our people are still poor, lacking basic necessities of a decent life. This is no independence for them.

Real independence will come when the Indian masses are prosperous, enjoying a high standard of living, when poverty, unemployment, lack of healthcare, good education, etc and social evils like the caste system, discrimination against women, etc are abolished, when true secularism is established, and when India gets its rightful place in the comity of nations.

That will be the day of our real Independence. I will almost certainly not be alive to see that day ( as I am already an old man of 68), but many of you young people will. But let me warn you. To achieve it will require about 20 or more years of tremendous struggle by the masses led by the patriotic, modern minded section of India, a struggle in which colossal sacrifices will have to be made.

But when that day comes I will be watching it with great happiness from the other world, weeping for those who will have fallen in this struggle ( and their numbers will be staggering), and marvelling at the stupendous achievement of the Indian masses led by their patriotic, modern minded leaders.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

A Unique Situation in World History

" It is plainly contrary to the law of nature, however defined, that children should command old men, fools wise men, and that the privileged few should gorge themselves with superfluities while the starving multitude are deprived of the basic necessities of life ".
Rousseau : Discourse on the Origins of Inequality

In feudal times there was no modern industry, and the methods of agricultural production were so primitive ( the bullock used for tilling the land in India, the buffalo in China, and the horse in Europe) that so little wealth was generated that only a handful of people ( kings, and aristocrats) could be rich, while 99.9% people had to be poor. When the cake is so small, very few people can eat it.

This situation has drastically changed in modern times. Now a unique situation has been created in world history, which never existed before. Modern industry is so powerful and so big that enough wealth can be generated by it that now no one need be poor, and everyone can be given a decent life, with proper employment, sufficient incomes, healthcare, good education, housing, etc

Despite this situation, the fact remains that 75% of the world's population or so is poor. The 21st century will therefore witness the struggles all over the world of this 75% for a better and decent life.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Khap Panchayat

It is shocking to know that a khap panchayat in Muzaffarnagar issued a dictat that unmarried girls should not wear jeans or use mobile phones. Strong action in accordance with law should be taken against such persons who issue such dictats which violate individual freedom

Duty of majority

It is reported that two dozen Muslim families in Basi village in Gurgaon were thrashed and forced to flee. These people were operating small units like barbers, tailoring and scrap dealers.
 I condemn this incident. A hallmark of a civilized society is that the minorities in it can live with dignity and honour. it is the duty of the majority community  to ensure that minorities are safe and can live with dignity. I deeply regret that the majority community in Basai village failed in their duty

Response to Justice Kapadia

I had stated in an earlier post that I gave to Justice Kapadia, the then CJI, 3 mobile numbers of agents of a very senior Allahabad High Court judge against whom there were serious allegations of corruption, and requested him to get those numbers tapped through intelligence. He did as I requested, and some time later he told me that the conversations taped on those numbers established the corruption of the Judge. 

Despite this, Justice Kapadia, took no action against this Judge ( although he did not make him Chief Justice of any High Court or Judge of the Supreme Court).

In response to my statement Justice Kapadia has said that he did not remember this . It is strange that he has no recollection of this, but the record would be existing with the intelligence agency concerned, and perhaps also in the official file of the Chief Justice.

Justice Kapadia also said that he did not bring any Judge to the Supreme Court who was unfit.
I may remind him that the Supreme Court Collegium, headed by CJI K.G. Balakrishnan, and of which Justice Kapadia was a member, almost succeeded in bringing a totally unfit person into the Supreme 
Court. That Judge was a Judge of the Madras High Court when I was Chief Justice there, so I knew all about his bad reputation. Later, he was made Chief Justice of another High Court , and was being considered for elevation to the Supreme court.

One day during lunch interval, I went to Justice Kapadia's chamber and told him about the bad reputation of that Judge, giving details. I told him that I was not in the Supreme Court Collegium, but he was, and now it was for him to do whatever he thinks proper, and I have done my duty. There was no use informing Justice Balakrishnan since it was he who was pushing for the Judge's elevation to the Supreme Court.

After listening to me, Justice Kapadia thanked me, and said that in future also if I have such information i should pass it on to him.

Despite this, the Collegium, of which Justice Kapadia was a member, recommended the name of that Judge having questionable integrity, and he would have definitely been elevated to the Supreme Court but for the Tamilnadu lawyers who produced voluminous documentary evidence of his corruption. As a result he was transferred to a small High Court, and later impeachment proceedings were brought against him in Parliament, which lapsed when he resigned.

So Justice Kapadia's claim that he did not bring any corrupt Judge to the Supreme Court, has to be qualified by at least one instance where he ( or rather the Collegium of which he was a member) almost succeeded.

It may be further mentioned that even though I had informed Justice Kapadia about that Judge's reputation, neither the Collegium, nor Justice K.G.Balakrishnan ever consulted me about that Judge. I should have been consulted, as the decision in the Judges case says, since I was on the bench of the Madras High Court ( as Chief Justice ) at the time that Judge was also in the Madras High Court. Instead, Justice Ravindran was consulted, although Justice Ravindran and that Judge were never in any High Court at the same time. This was obviously done by Justice K.G. Balakrishnan knowing that if consulted I would give an adverse report . But why did Justice Kapadia not tell Justice Balakrishnan to consult me ?

Much later I met Justice Kapadia and reminded him that I had informed him about the bad reputation of that Judge, but no heed was paid to my words. I said that the Supreme Court could have been saved so much embarrassment if my advice had been sought. Justice Kapadia admitted that I had informed him, but said that Justice Balakrishnan, the CJI, was adamant, and so the recommendation was made.