India’s moment of turbulent revolution is here, and it's going to be long and bloody, writes Justice Markandey Katju

  • We are passing through a transitional period in our history, from feudal agricultural society to a modern industrial society

  • Do historical transitions take place easily or quickly ? No, they are terrible things, full of turbulence, turmoil, wars, revolutions, chaos, social churning, intellectual ferment, etc as a study of European history shows

  • Our national aim must be to create a highly industrialised, prosperous country and a just social order in which our people get decent lives and enjoy a high standard of living

A curse shall light upon the limbs of men;
Domestic fury and fierce civil strife shall cumber all the parts of Italy;
Blood and destruction shall be so in use and dreadful objects so familiar
That mothers shall but smile when they behold their infants quarter'd with the hands of war;
All pity choked with custom of fell deeds:
And Caesar's spirit, ranging for revenge, with Ate by his side come hot from hell,
Shall in these confines with a monarch's voice Cry "Havoc!" and let slip the dogs of war;
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth with carrion men, groaning for burial.
Julius Caesar: Act 3 Scene 1

India is passing through turbulent times. The above speech made by Mark Antony before Caesar's body in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar portents the days to come in India.

I do not wish to frighten anyone or sound alarmist, but it is time someone told Indians the truth: terrible times are coming in this country. The anti CAA agitation and the attack by masked vandals on JNU students and teachers, which has raised such a furore, is only a small omen.

A revolution is coming in India, as I have said several times, but it will not be an easy or pleasant affair. And one wishes our historical transition (from feudal to industrial society) could be achieved without violence and pain, but that is unfortunately not how history functions.

 India’s moment of turbulent revolution is here, and its going to be long and bloody, writes Justice Markandey Katju

Police personnel pelt stones during a protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, at Babu Purwa in Kanpur. PTI

We are passing through a transitional period in our history, from feudal agricultural society to a modern industrial society. Do historical transitions take place easily or quickly ? No, they are terrible things, full of turbulence, turmoil, wars, revolutions, chaos, social churning, intellectual ferment, etc as a study of European history from the 16th to the 19th centuries (when Europe was passing through its transition from feudal to modern society) shows. For what is a historical transition ? It is a period in history when the old social order is being uprooted and torn apart. Can this happen peacefully ? No, the vested interests in the old social order will fiercely resist the transition, for they will feel their interests jeopardised. Only after going through this fire did modern society emerge in Europe.

Our national aim must be to create a highly industrialised, prosperous country and a just social order in which our people get decent lives and enjoy a high standard of living. But to achieve that we have to wage a mighty historical struggle, make tremendous sacrifices and pass through terrible times.

But there are powerful vested interests, both external and internal, which do not want India to industrialise and modernise. These vested interests will fiercely resist any change. They want India to remain backward and semi-feudal and maintain the status quo, and not become another China (as the Indian economy will become a powerful rival to their own economies). The vast majority of our people are still casteist, communal and superstitious, and fall easy prey to the wicked designs of the vested interests who polarise our society on caste and communal lines. Of late, after 2014, communal polarisation has increased exponentially.

Muslims are often lynched, attacked, humiliated and discriminated against. Dalits are looked down upon and often attacked. Half our children are malnourished, and healthcare is largely non existent for our masses. Honour killings, female foeticide, dowry deaths, farmers suicides, etc are commonplace in our society. There are people whose actions tend to disrupt the unity of the country, like those who spread religious or caste hatred, propagate the son of the soil theory or discriminate against North East people.

The Indian economy is in slide, and the business atmosphere is gloomy. Manufacturing and sales have dipped steeply. Unemployment is at a record high. Prices of foodstuffs and fuel have soared. The government, despite talk of vikas has offered no solutions for these real problems. Rather, we are presented with projects like Ram Mandir, Yoga Day, cow protection, CAA and so on. Also, it must have a scapegoat who must be blamed for all social ills, and these are our Muslims, who are painted as fanatics, terrorists and anti nationals or Pakistanis.

Historical experience has shown that when there is an economic crisis fascist forces arise, as it happened in Italy in 1922 and in Germany in 1933. The same tendency can be seen today in India ; for instance, the attack by masked hooligans in JNU or beating of Muslims by cow vigilantes.

The interests of our politicians are diametrically opposite to the national interest. The aim of our politicians is only to win elections, and for that they have to polarise society by spreading caste and communal hatred, and rely on divisive vote bank politics. Casteism and communalism are feudal forces, and our national interest demands destruction of feudal forces and spreading of scientific thinking to every nook and corner of the country, but parliamentary democracy further entrenches casteism and communalism, because it largely runs on it. It has therefore to be replaced by an alternative system which ensures our progress.

Our national aim must be to transform and uplift India from the ranks of the underdeveloped countries to the ranks of the developed, highly industrialised countries. But to do that requires a mighty upheaval, a united historical people's struggle over several years (maybe several decades) led by genuinely patriotic, selfless, modern minded leaders, and tremendous sacrifices by the people.

The author is a former judge, Supreme Court of India

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

Updated Date: Jan 11, 2020 09:58:15 IST