Markandey Katju

By S. M. Hali 

A former judge of the Indian Supreme Court and presently Chairman of the Press Council of India Markandey Katju is an outspoken person, but unfortunately, despite having been a senior member of the judicial community, he displays little or no control over his tongue. One would expect a former judge, having years of training and exposure to articulate properly, is displaying no sense of propriety before choosing his words or thoughts.

Suddenly, six and a half decades after the advent of India’s partition, Justice Katju has come up with an incessant tirade that Pakistan is an artificial country and will soon cease to exist.  Recently Justice Katju, in his controversial statements/speeches and articles are being reported/printed in Pakistani print media as well has propagated that

Pakistan is a fake country created artificially by the British who planted the bogus two nation theory in the sub-Continent. He also predicted that “in the next 15-20 years India and Pakistan would reunite and a strong, secular and modern government would come to power”. He claims that 90% of Indians are idiots who can easily be misled by mischievous elements in the name of religion. It is so easy to take Indians for a ride and make people start fighting on religion.

Mr. Shamshad Ahmad, former Foreign Secretary of Pakistan (1998-1999) was the first Pakistani who tried to persuade him, through emails and articles, that Justice Katju should try to bring the two countries closer instead of challenging the very raison d’être of Pakistan but he categorically refused to buy the idea of two nations on the basis that before the 1857 War of Independence, there was no communal problem in India. He argues that there were only differences between Hindus and Muslims but no animosity. It is all planted and nurtured by the British in order to rule the Sub-Continent.

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[box] A former judge of the Indian Supreme Court and presently Chairman of the Press Council of India Markandey Katju is an outspoken person, but unfortunately, despite having been a senior member of the judicial community, he displays little or no control over his tongue. One would expect a former judge, having years of training and exposure to articulate properly, is displaying no sense of propriety before choosing his words or thoughts.[/box]

Katju lost no time in sending a detailed rejoinder entitled “Truth about Pakistan” to the same newspaper in which he categorically said: “Pakistan was doomed from its very inception.” He believes that “created in pursuance of the wicked British policy of divide and rule and the bogus Two Nation Theory”, Pakistan is bound to reunify with India.

In his article, Katju also quoted Shamshad Ahmad from an e-mail message that he had addressed to him warning that he (Shamshad Ahmad) was not sure if any Pakistani newspaper will print anything questioning the very raison d’être of Pakistan. One esteemed daily did publish not only his bizarre, untruthful “truth about Pakistan” devoting to it more than half of its op-ed page, but also the text of Shamshad Ahmad’s e-mail message that Katju had unethically and illegally shared with it in blatant breach of the privacy of the mail exchanged between two individuals. It was a breach of the Code of Ethics followed by both the Press Councils of India and Pakistan. As President of the Press Council of India, Justice Katju should have known better.

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Justice Katju’s article finding op-ed space in a major Pakistani newspaper shocked the Indians, who expressed surprised at this. The Indian Express (“Pakistan all-praise for Markandey Katju”; March 7) viewed this event worthy of special attention disclosing how the Pakistani “newspaper that had traditionally taken an anti-India stance”, “surprisingly” agreed to publish Katju’s article. But the ‘Katju story’ did not end there. Pakistani readers paid no serious attention to Katju’s article. They just ignored it as yet another volley of a dogmatic if not rabid school of thought from across the border that never accepted Pakistan’s creation. From the Indian side, many knowledgeable comments were posted, mostly dismissive of Katju’s ‘reunification’ theory. The most shocking aspect was the totally unparliamentary language expressed regarding the founder of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah.

But then Shamshad Ahmad or any Pakistani should not have been surprised since

Justice Markandey Katju’s true colors have been revealed in his article ‘All the perfumes of Arabia’ published in the February 15 issue of “The Hindu”, in which projects a rabid Muslim baiter and the butcher of Gujarat, Narendra Modi as the next Prime Minister of India.

The honorable Justice is not an ordinary Indian. He is highly literate, being keenly interested in academics, and has a wide range of interests, including Sanskrit, Urdu, History, Philosophy, Science, Sociology etc., apart from his interest in Jurisprudence. He was awarded (Honoris Causa) a Doctorate of Philosophy from Lal Bahadur Shastri Sanskrit University, New Delhi, for his book Mimansa Rules of Interpretation, and a Doctorate of Law from Amity University. He is an Honorary Professor of Law at the National Law University, New Delhi and Ram Manohar Lohia National Law University, Lucknow. But when claims that Modi is a modern Moses, the one who will lead the beleaguered and despondent Indian people into a land of milk and honey, the man who is best suited to be the next Indian Prime Minister. Katju is the son of late Justice Shiva Nath Katju, formerly a Judge of the Allahabad High Court. Shiva Nath Katju, after retirement as High Court judge, had also served as President of the Vishva Hindu Parishad, an ultra-extremist Hindu organization operating under the umbrella of the Sangh Parivar, created to promote Hindutva. VHP had been in the forefront of the anti-Babri Masjid for over twenty years and played a major role in instigating Hindu extremists in the demolition of the historic mosque.

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Apparently, Shamshad Ahmad’s sermonizing was wasted and Katju continued his tirade, likening Pakistan to Jurassic Park, saying violence and deaths are being reported everyday due to inherent faults in that country’s formation. Delivering the second Rajiv Gandhi memorial lecture organized by the Institute of Parliamentary Affairs here, he said the commotion in that country was the natural consequence of setting up a theocratic state.

It is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. India itself is strife torn. Maoists control over twenty two states while rape, which has become an endemic disease, has rocked the entire nation yet the erudite scholar justice finds faults with Pakistan.

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