Eight steps to a revolution that can clean up the mess India is in right now

Markandey Katju
Markandey KatjuNov 13, 2018 | 12:32

Eight steps to a revolution that can clean up the mess India is in right now

There is no reason why we cannot become another China in 10-20 years

I had asked a student of Delhi University whom I know well as to what the university students say about my articles, Facebook posts and tweets.

This was her email reply:

"Sir, you have a huge fan base among students. But at the same time, there are some who disagree with you. I have hardly met any right-leaning student who supports you whole-heartedly. But when you advocate uniform civil code or reunification of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, they switch sides. The best thing is that your posts are constantly discussed by the students. The relevance and importance of your posts cannot be ignored.”


I am glad that the Indian youth are now discussing my ideas.

Frankly, I had given up hope on them as I thought they were all a bunch of careerists, and after a short spell of 'revolutionary' zeal, they will end up in the civil services or as politicians, professors, business executives etc., or will migrate abroad. But I am happy to learn I was wrong, and that there are indeed some youth who want to genuinely serve the country. 

But the desire to serve the country is not enough: one's ideas must first become clear and scientific. Otherwise, with the best of intentions, one will end up nowhere. 

It is here where I can be of some use, and it is for this purpose I am writing this article, to give theoretical guidance to such idealistic youth. 

Correct theoretical ideas are extremely important for bringing about great historical changes, and before every great revolution there was a revolution in the realm of ideas.

For instance, before the French Revolution of 1789, there were several decades of intellectual ferment in France, with ideas of Voltaire, Rousseau, the French Encyclopedists (Holbach, Helvetius, Diderot) etc., being debated and discussed everywhere in France. 


Without this intellectual revolution, the subsequent actual revolution in France would have been very difficult to achieve, if not impossible.

In India, there is utter theoretical confusion today. Many persons are posing to be 'intellectuals' (academics, writers, media persons etc.), but their knowledge and understanding is superficial.

So, I regard my job as being to contribute to the intellectual revolution India needs, so as to prepare the path for an actual revolution, which is needed.

Let me clarify the theoretical cobwebs step by step:

First, The worst thing in life is poverty, and therefore, the test of every political and social system is one and only one: does it raise the standard of living of the people and give them decent lives? In other words, does it abolish or reduce poverty, unemployment, malnourishment etc., and provide proper healthcare, good education, housing to the masses? 

poverty_111318115001.jpgWe need a system that abolishes poverty. (Photo: Reuters)

It is for this reason that while condemning atrocities by our security forces, I do not support the demand of Kashmiris for azadi, because Kashmiri leaders like Gilani are reactionary Islamic fundamentalists with no modern ideas. And assuming their struggle is successful, they will take Kashmir back to the Middle Ages, rather than taking it forward and uplifting the lives of the Kashmiris.


Second, It is only a massive and a highly developed industry, which can generate the wealth needed for setting up tens of thousands of schools, colleges, technical institutes, scientific research centres, medical colleges, hospitals, proper housing, etc., which can give our people decent lives. Hence, our national aim must be to rapidly industrialise India and make it a modern country.

industry_111318115308.jpgThere is no reason why we can't become another China in 10-20 years. (Photo: Reuters)

Third, In 1947, India was largely feudal. We then had few engineers and few industries (because the British policy was broadly to keep India backward and unindustrialised). Today the position has totally changed. Now, we have all that is required to become a highly industrialised country. We have tens of thousands of bright engineers, technicians, scientists, etc., (our IT specialists are largely manning Silicon Valley in California, and Western Universities are full of Indian professors in science, maths and engineering) and we have immense natural resources (India is not a small country like England, but is a sub-continent). 

So, there is no reason why we cannot become another China in 10-20 years, if we are properly organised under a modern-minded leadership.

Fourth, What is holding us up, however, is the feudal mindset and feudal practices of most of our people, and the total lack of genuine patriotism and modern thinking among our leaders. Casteism and communalism are still rampant in our country, and these have to be vigorously attacked, if we are to progress. 

There are powerful external forces which do not want India to emerge as a modern industrial giant like China, because if it does, Indian industry, with its cheap labour, will become a big rival to foreign industries.

Let me explain this further.

Cost of labour is a big chunk of the total cost of production, and so if cost of labour is less, the cost of production is less, and one can sell his goods at a cheaper price and undersell one's business rivals.

That is why China, which set up a massive industrial base after its Revolution in 1949, using its cheap labour, undersells the whole world in many commodities, and western supermarkets are packed with Chinese goods, which sell at less than half the price at which the western manufacturers can sell (because western labour is expensive).

We can do the same, and, in fact, our labour is cheaper than Chinese labour. 

But if we industrialise on a massive scale, who will buy the expensive goods of foreign countries? 

Therefore, these foreign countries are determined that India must not be allowed to further industrialise. 

And one way to do that is to make Indians fight with each other on the basis of caste, religion, race, language or region.

I have pointed out in my blog ‘What is India’ that India is broadly a country of immigrants, like North America, and about 92 or 93 per cent of its people are not descendants of the original inhabitants of India, but of immigrants. This explains the tremendous diversity of India, with so many religions, castes, lingual, ethnic and regional groups. 

Our objective must be to maintain our unity and reduce caste, religious, lingual, regional and other differences.

It may be mentioned that though secularism is mentioned in our Constitution, secularism is a feature of industrial, not feudal, society. India is semi-feudal, and religion has a strong hold on the minds of our people. Until we get fully industrialised, there will always be latent communalism in Indian society, which can flare up any time, if stoked up by mischievous elements.

babri_111318115712.jpgGiven all our needs, should building the Ram Mandir be our top priority? (Photo: India Today)

That is why I attack feudal beliefs and practices among both the major religious communities, Hindu and Muslim. I attack the Hindu caste system, the belief that a cow is holy, or that building Ram Mandir in Ayodhya should be our objective.

Among Muslims, I attack burqa and sharia, and advocate uniform civil code.

I am not a politician, I don't want your vote, and I don't care whether what I say makes you happy or unhappy. Two plus two will be four, whether you like it or lump it. 

Fifth, We had adopted the system of parliamentary democracy but, in India, parliamentary democracy in most parts of the country really means appealing to, and appeasing, caste and communal vote banks. 

Casteism and communalism are feudal forces, which need to be destroyed if we are to progress, but parliamentary democracy further entrenches them. China has no parliamentary democracy, and it is rapidly moving forward and has already become the second world superpower, while we are still embroiled in building Ram Mandir, ghar wapasi, cow protection, caste politics etc.

It is, therefore, obvious that we must replace parliamentary democracy by some other system which enables us to rapidly move forward. What that alternative system can be, and how it is to be achieved will require the creativity of our patriotic intelligentsia to think out.

Sixth, The present set of our politicians are mostly an utterly selfish lot who are in politics not to serve the people, but for self-aggrandisement; by pursuit of power and pelf. They know how to manipulate and polarise society and generate caste and communal strife for winning elections. Hence, these politicians have to be replaced by genuinely patriotic, modern-minded leaders.

tipu_111318120001.jpgChoose your idols carefully. (Photo: India Today)

Seventh, We must work for reunification of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh under a secular government.

Partition of India in 1947 was a historical British swindle. The two-nation theory on which it was based was bogus, and Pakistan is a fake, artificial entity. We are one country, and were one since the Mughal times. We share the same culture, speak the same language, Hindustani, (called Hindi in India and Urdu in Pakistan), and look like each other. We were befooled by the British into thinking that we were enemies, but how much longer must we remain befooled, how much longer must blood flow between us?

It is said that much water has flown since 1947 and so we cannot now unite. But Germany united in 1990 and Vietnam in 1975.

It is said that there is too much hatred between us. But the truth is that this hatred is artificially created. In fact, when Indians go to Pakistan, they are overwhelmed by the love and affection they get, and the same happens when Pakistanis come here.

We waste billions of dollars to buy arms from foreign countries, because of the hostility between India and Pakistan — the amount could be used for the welfare of our people, if we reunite.

Eighth, There are false idols we must demolish by knowing the truth about them. I have written blogs about these false idols

These, in my view, include Gandhi, Jinnah, Syed Ahmad Khan, 'Veer' Savarkar, Iqbal, Tilak, etc.

Our true heroes are — Emperor Akbar, Tipu Sultan, Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad, Surya Sen, Rajguru, Bismil, Ashfaqulla, Khudiram Bose, Dr Kotnis, Mirza Ghalib, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyaya, Kazi Nazrul Islam, Subramania Bharathi, Faiz, Manto, etc.

I know I will not live to see the India of my dreams. I am already 72, and my dream will become a reality only in 10-20 years, when I will not be around. But my reward is in contributing to that goal.

In Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities, Defarge and his wife Madame Defarge are both secret revolutionaries. One day, Madame Defarge found her husband despondent, and asks him the reason. Defarge replies that they have been working for the revolution for so long, yet it has not come about. He said it takes only a split second for lightning to strike the ground, so why is the revolution taking so long? 

To this, Madame Defarge, who is the more patient of the two, said, "And how much time does it take to build that lightning? An earthquake causes huge devastation in a moment, but how much time does it take to build that earthquake? You are working for the revolution. Let that be your reward".

Last updated: November 13, 2018 | 22:52
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