By Justice Markandey Katju, former Judge, Supreme Court of India
India is inevitably heading for a revolution. Why do I say so ? Let me explain
India is potentially a highly developed country, but actually a poor and backward country.
It is potentially a highly developed country because it has two of the basic requirements to be a highly developed country, viz. a huge pool of technical talent, and immense natural resources.
This was not the position in 1947 when India became independent. The British policy was broadly to keep India backward, feudal and largely unindustrialized, so that Indian industry may not emerge as a big rival to British industry. So we were not permitted by our British rulers to set up a heavy industrial base, but were permitted only some light industries like textiles, plantations, etc which, too, for a long time were mainly under British ownership. So till 1947 we had very few industries and very few engineers
The position today in 2017 is very different. Today we have a heavy industrial base, and a huge pool of competent engineers, technicians, scientists, managers, etc. Our I.T. engineers are manning Silicon Valley in California, and American Universities are full of our our mathematics and science professors.
In addition, we have immense natural wealth. India is not a small country like England or Japan. It is almost a continent.
So we have all that is required to be a first rate modern, highly developed country, like North America or Europe.
And yet the reality is that we are an underdeveloped, poor country, with massive unemployment, malnourishment, lack of healthcare, good education, etc for our masses.
We can consider some facts :
1. the level of unemployment can be gathered from two facts (a) 1 crore ( 10 million ) youth are entering the Indian job market every year, but only 1.4 lac ( 140, 000 ) jobs are being created every year in the organized sector of the Indian economy. So where do the remaining 9.86 million youth go ? They become hawkers, street vendors, bouncers, criminals, the girls often become prostitutes, and many end up as suicides.
(b) In 2015 the U.P. govt. advertised 380 jobs of peons ( chaprasis, i.e. class 4 employees ) for which there were 23 lac ( 2.3 million ) applications. 250 of the applicants had Ph.D. degrees, 2500 were M.Sc., M.B.A. engineers, etc all begging for a peon's job. Something similar happened when police constable's jobs were advertised in Madhya Pradesh
PhD holders among 23 lakh applicants for peon jobs in UP
3. Poor people in India have hardly any access to healthcare. There are no doubt some excellent hospitals in big cities of India, but they are exorbitantly expensive. Poor patients simply cannot afford good doctors. AiIIMS, ( All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi, ) looks like a railway station, with thousands of people sitting there, and no one caring for them, unless one is rich or powerful.. So where do the poor people go when they fall sick ? They go to quacks. Quackery is rampant in India.
4. The govt. spends a huge amount of money on I.I.T.s and elite institutions like JNU, but hardly anything for primary schools in villages, where the foundation of knowledge is laid.
5. 57 individuals in India control 70% of India's wealth
6. Far from there being any 'vikas', the Indian economy is lying stagnant, with chances of genuine growth remote. Whatever 'growth there has been has only benefited a handful of crony capitalists, but not the Indian masses.
7. There has been sky rocketing inflation in India, which has lowered real incomes
The question naturally arises that when we have all that is required to be a first rate highly developed country, why is India still poor and backward ?
The answer is that apart from the two requirements to become a highly developed country mentioned above, viz. a huge pool of technical talent, and huge natural resources, there is also a third requirement, which unfortunately we do not have, and that is a modern minded, patriotic political leadership. Let me explain this in some detail.
India borrowed the parliamentary system of democracy from England, and incorporated it into our Constitution. Now parliamentary democracy is based on majority vote, but the truth is that the vast majority of people in India are intellectually very backward, their minds full of casteism, communalism and superstitions. So when most indians go to vote they do not see the merit of the candidate, whether he is a good man or bad, educated or not, etc, but only see the candidate's caste or religion ( or the party representing a caste or religion ). That is why there are so many people with criminal antecedents in our legislatures.
Our cunning politicians take advantage of this, and have learnt the skill of manipulating caste and religious vote banks.
The interest of the nation is to rapidly modernize, for which it is necessary to destroy feudal forces like casteism and communalism. On the other hand, the interest of our politicians is to win the next elections, and for that they have to appeal to, and therefore perpetuate, casteism and communalism, which are feudal forces. Therefore the interest of our country, and the interest of our politicians are diametrically opposite to each other. How, then, can our country progress ?
Most of the Indian politicians are rogues, rascals, gundas, criminals, scoundrels, looters and gangsters. They have no genuine love for the country, but only seek power and pelf. They are shameless and incorrigible, and cannot be reformed. They are experts in manipulating caste and communal vote banks, and they polarize society by spreading caste and communal hatred. Don't such people deserve to be shot, like mad dogs, or like the aristocrats in the French Revolution who were guillotined ?
It is thus obvious that parliamentary democracy is not suited to India. Our Constitution has exhausted itself, our 'democracy' has been hijacked by feudal minded people, and all our state institutions have become hollow and empty shells.
On the other hand, the socio-economic distress of our people keeps mounting.
I submit that the solutions to the massive problems of India lie outside the system, not within it. No amount of reforms will do, what is now required is a revolution. What form this revolution will take, and how much time, cannot be predicted, but what certainly can be predicted is that it is coming.
It is only after such a revolution, which will be led by some genuinely patriotic, modern minded persons, that a just social order will be created in India, in which our masses get decent lives, and a high standard of living.