By Justice Markandey Katju
Fali Nariman has in the recent show ' Off the Cuff ' with Shekhar Gupta praised parliamentary democracy and the fundamental rights in our Constitution.
If I had been in the audience I would have asked him two questions :
1. Has not our democracy been largely reduced to caste and communal vote banks, and been hijacked by the feudals ? Parliamentary democracy is based on majority vote, but the majority in India are casteist and communal. When they go to vote, they do not see the merit of the candidate, i.e. whether he is a good man or bad, whether he is educated or not, but only his caste or religion ( or the party representing a caste or religion ). That is why there are so many legislators with a criminal background
The interest of the politicians is to win the next elections, and for that they have to rely on these feudal vote banks, which means they have to cater to casteism and communalism.. On the other hand, our national interest requires destruction of feudalism if we are to progress. So the national interest and the politicians interest are diametrically opposite to each other.
How, then, can the nation progress under parliamentary democracy ?
2. What does freedom of speech, liberty, equality, etc mean to the 75-80% of our 1.32 billion people who are poor, hungry, sick and unemployed ? Are the rights mentioned in Part III of or Constitution not a cruel irony and a cruel joke on such people ? They do not want such rights, but a job, food, healthcare, good education, housing, etc
The problem with people like Mr. Fali Nariman is that they seem to be unwilling to face the obvious truth---(1) that our Constitution has exhausted itself, and that all our state institutions have largely become hollow and empty shells. Our politicians, of all parties, are mostly a bunch of rogues, rascals, gangsters, looters, and frauds, with no genuine love for the country, but only seeking power and pelf. Parliamentary sessions are often washed out with members shouting much of the time, the judiciary often taking decades to decide cases finally, and partially corrupt, the bureaucracy and police largely corrupt (2) that on the other hand the distress of the Indian people is mounting---staggering poverty, massive unemployment ( 1 crore youth entering the job market every year, but only 1.4 lac jobs being created annually in the organized sector of the Indian economy ), almost total lack of healthcare and good education for the masses, half our children malnourished, 58% of our children below 5 years anaemic, lacs of farmers suicides ( I wonder whether Fali Nariman has taken the trouble to go to Jantar Mantar where Tamilnadu farmers are sitting with skulls of the suicides ), and (3) that India is therefore heading inevitably towards a Revolution ( what form it will take, and how much time will it take to be accomplished is difficult to predict ).
Mr Nariman and has kind may have read a lot of law, but I doubt that they have read much of the history of revolutions. They are hardly the kind to sermonize on our country's future