Monday, 30 May 2016

The Four People's Principles

Today our country India is facing huge problems. 70% of our people are living in horrible poverty, with massive unemployment, skyrocketing prices, massive problems of healthcare, education, housing etc. 48 farmers have been committing suicide on an average every day, and 47% of our children are malnourished, a figure which is over 10% higher than in countries of sub-Saharan Africa e.g. Ethiopia and Somalia.  

Our national aim must be to abolish these evils and make our country highly prosperous for all our citizens.

To address the nation’s problems I am propounding the Four People’s Principles (following Sun Yat Sen’s Three People’s Principles) which should be our guiding principles for solving India’s problems. These are:

1. Science 
3. Livelihood, 
 4. Unity of the People

1. Science

When our country was on the scientific path it prospered.  With the aid of science we had built mighty civilizations thousands of years ago when most people in Europe (except in Greece and Rome) were living in forests. We had made outstanding scientific discoveries e.g. the decimal system in mathematics, plastic surgery in medicine, etc. We had solved the problem of town planning 5000 years earlier in the Indus Valley Civilization, with covered drains, sewage system, etc (something which is lacking even today in most cities in India). However, we subsequently took to the unscientific path of superstitions and empty rituals, which has led us to disaster. The way out for our nation is to go back again to the scientific path shown by our great ancestors – the path of Aryabhatta and Brahmagupta, Sushrut and Charak, Ramanujan and Raman, Panini and Patanjali. I will give just three examples of our scientific achievements in ancient times.

 (a)       The decimal system was perhaps the most revolutionary and greatest scientific achievement in the ancient world. The numbers in the decimal system were called Arabic numerals by the Europeans, but surprisingly the Arabs called them Hindu numerals. Were they really Arabic or Hindu? In this connection it may be mentioned that the languages Urdu, Persian and Arabic are written from right to left but if you ask any speaker of these languages to write any number e.g. 257 he will write the number from left to right. This shows that these numbers were taken from a language which was written from left to right and not from right to left.  It is accepted now that these numbers came from India and they were copied by the Arabs from us.

I would like to illustrate the revolutionary significance of the decimal system. As we all know, ancient Rome was a great civilization, the civilization of Caesar and Augustus. But the ancient Romans felt very uncomfortable with numbers above 1000. This was because they wrote their numbers in alphabets, I standing for 1, V for 5, X for 10, L for 50, C for 100, D for 500 and M for 1000. There was no alphabet expressing a number higher than 1000. If one would have asked an ancient Roman to write the number one million he would have almost gone crazy because to write one million he would have to write the letter M which stands for millennium (or one thousand)  one thousand times. In the Roman numerals to write 2000 we have to write MM, to write 3000 we have to write MMM, and to write one million one had to write M one thousand times.

            On  the  other hand, under our system to express  one   million   we  have just to  write  the  number  one  followed   by  six  zeros.  We  could   thus   express astronomically high numbers by simply adding zeros. Thus, if  we  keep   adding 2 zeros  to  1000  we  get  lac, crore, arab, kharab,  padma,   neel,   shankh,  mahashankh,   etc.  On  the  other hand, in  the Roman numerals there is no zero. Zero  was  an invention of ancient India and progress was not possible without this invention.

(b)         5000 years ago in the Indus Valley Civilization we had created the system of town planning, with covered drains, sewage system, etc., something which is absent even today in most cities of India.

(c)         Plastic surgery was invented in India as early as the 6th Century B.C., while the Westerners discovered it only about 200 years ago.

I am not going into our other great scientific achievements (for details see ‘Sanskrit as a Language of Science on the website I have only referred to it to prove that there is nothing inherently inferior in us.

However, today there is no doubt that we are far behind the Western countries in science, and that is the real cause of our poverty and other social evils.

We must therefore spread science on a massive scale to every nook and corner of our country. And by science I do not mean physics, chemistry and biology alone. I mean the entire scientific outlook. We must spread rational and logical thinking among our masses and make them give up backwardness and superstitions. The entire mindset of our masses, who are presently steeped in casteism, communalism and superstitions must be changed, and made scientific.

I must clarify that by science I do not mean the natural sciences alone, I also include the social sciences. Today a worldwide recession is going on – infact the Second Great Depression after the first one from 1929 t0 1939 – and this can only be solved by knowledge of economic theory, not by knowledge of natural sciences or engineering.

2. Democracy

The second Great People’s Principle is Democracy.

In this connection it is interesting to note that when King Ajatshatru of Magadha was planning to attack the Vajjian democracy he sent a messenger to the Buddha for his advice. Instead of speaking to this messenger, the Buddha said to one of his disciples “Have you heard Anand,  that the Vajjians foregather often and frequent the public meetings of their clan? So long, Anand, as the Vajjians so foregather and so frequent the public meetings of their clan, so long they may be expected not to decline but to prosper.

Similarly in The Avadan Shatak, a Buddhist Sanskrit text of the second century A.D it is mentioned that a group of merchants went from North India to the Deccan and were asked by the Deccan King as to who was the king who ruled over North India. The merchants replied ”Deva, kechit deshah ganadheena, kechit rajaadheena, iti” which means “Your Majesty, some regions are under democratic rule, while others are under kings”. This shows that democracy is nothing new to India.

The method of shastrarthas was developed in ancient India, which permitted free discussion in the presence of a large assembly of people. This resulted not only in tremendous growth in philosophy, law, grammar etc but also tremendous growth in science including medicine, mathematics, astronomy etc.

Some people say that democracy is not good for India. I totally disagree. The problem in India is not that there is too much democracy but too little. We need more democracy, not less, and that means educating the masses, raising their cultural level, and involving them actively in the task of national reconstruction. The present democracy we have in India is phoney democracy, largely based on  caste and religious vote banks. It does not involve the people in governance. We must have genuine democracy if we are to prosper.

It may be mentioned that democracy and science go hand in hand. Scientific growth requires certain supportive values viz. freedom to think, to criticize, and to dissent, tolerance, plurality, and free flow of information. These precisely are the values of a democratic society  

3. Livelihood  

The third great people’s principle is livelihood for the masses.

Today 80% people in India are poor, and there is massive unemployment, lack of healthcare, housing, good education, etc.

What we have noticed in the last 25 years or so is that the rich have become richer, and the divide between rich and poor has greatly increased. The economic growth in India has benefited only a handful of people. Unless this trend is stopped it will be disastrous for the country.

As the great French thinker Rousseau wrote:

“It is obviously contrary to the law of nature for a handful of people to gorge themselves on superfluities while the starving multitudes lack the necessities of life.”  (Rousseau: Discourse on the Origins of Inequality)

We must, using our creativity, find out ways of raising the standard of living of the masses. Ultimately, that is what matters. Whether the system we adopt is called capitalism or socialism or communism or any other ism, the real test is whether the standard of living of the masses is going up under that system or not. Surely a system in which a quarter million farmers committed suicide in the last 15 years and vast masses live in abject poverty is totally unacceptable.

Before the Industrial Revolution, which began in Western Europe in the 18th Century, there was feudalism everywhere, and in the feudal system the methods of production (the bullock in India and the horse in Europe) were so primitive that very little wealth was generated, and so only a handful of people could be rich while the rest had to be poor. When the cake is small obviously few people can eat it.

In contrast, modern industry is so powerful and so big that enough wealth can be generated to meet the basic needs of everyone. This being so, now no one need be poor. And it is the duty of the state to ensure that no one today remains poor, unemployed, sick, illiterate or homeless.

4. Unity of the people
India is a country of great diversity having a large number of castes, languages, religions, ethnic groups, etc., because it is broadly a country of immigrants (see the article ‘Kalidas Ghalib Academy for Mutual Understanding, and the video ‘What is India’ on the website and online). So the only policy which will work here is secularism and giving equal respect to all communities. This was the policy of the great Mughal Emperor Akbar, who was really the architect of modern India. It is this policy which was continued by Pt. Nehru and his colleagues who created our secular Constitution.

In 1947 religious passions were inflamed, and Pakistan had declared itself an Islamic State. There must have been tremendous pressure on Pt. Nehru and his colleagues to declare India a Hindu State. It is not easy to keep a cool head when passions are inflamed, but it is the greatness of our leaders that they kept a cool head and said that India will not be a Hindu but a secular State. It is for this reason that we have relatively better off in India than people in our neighbouring country.

Powerful vested interests are trying to destroy our unity and make us fight each other on the basis of religion, caste, region, language, etc. It is the duty of all patriotic people to expose these nefarious designs and maintain the unity of the people, for without that we can never progress.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

A National Disgrace
I was in Toronto, Canada some years back attending a conference on Refugee Law at York University.
 There were delegates from many countries, including South Africa.
 When my turn came to speak, I stood up and said, addressing the South Africans, who were all blacks :
 " You say you were oppressed by the white apatheid regime. But has your behaviour been any better ? When refugees came from Zimbabwe to South Africa with only the clothes on their backs, who were oppressed by the tyrannical regime in Zimbabwe of Robert Mugabe, you should have been kind to them and given them all help. They were your black brothers of Africa.These people had lost everything, and needed help.. But instead, your people physically attacked them, killed many, and raped their women. What kind of behaviour was this ? "
 At this one South African High Court jJudge stood up and said :" Justice Katju, I apologize for the behaviour of my countrymen "
 I am reminded of this, because while we complain of the oppression by the Britishers during their rule in our country, we commit atrocities on people of Africa who are here as students, etc. These people are our guests, and we should help them and be kind to them.. In Sanskrit it is said " Atithi Devo Bhav " ( i.e. a guest is akin to God ). But do we live upto these high sounding words ?  Instead,  Africans have been regularly attacked in our country, and such incidents are continuing.
 This is a national disgraced.
Siddhis---The African Indians
When I went to Gujrat many years ago I visited Somnath. There I met some Siddhis, the African Indians, whose ancestors came to India, probably as slaves centuries ago ( in Pakistan they are known as 'Sheedis' ). They are mostly Muslims, and speak Gujrati, but have retained some of their African culture. Some also live in Karnataka.
 While the ancestors of blacks in America were brought from Western Africa, the blacks in Asia were probably brought from Zanzibar ( which is an island, now part of Tanzania ), in Eastern Africa.
 I visited Zanzibar some years ago. It was once under the Sultans of Oman. There was once a large slave market in Zanzibar. Africans from the mainland were captured and brought there to be sold as slaves in several countries. I visited the place which was the slave market, and has been preserved, It was a horrible, dingy and gloomy place, where the captured Africans lived in terrible conditions.
 We have several accounts of Africans living in India in our history. Razia Sultan had fallen in love with Yaqut, a black man, which was said to be the cause of her downfall. In the Mutiny of 1857, 'Bob the Nailer', was said to be a black who 'nailed' every defender of the Residency in Lucknow with just one shot.
 Today these African Indians live in poverty, mostly as labourers. Our government should do everything to uplift their social conditions, and thus undo the great historical wrong done to them
The Indian people and the 'Western Pilgrimage'
The 'Western Pilgrimage', also known as the ' Journey to the West ', is one of the 4 great Chinese classic novels in Chinese literature, published in the 16th century during the Ming dynasty and attributed to Wu Cheng'en. In English-speaking countries, the work is widely known as 'Monkey', the title of Arthur Waley's popular abridged translation
The novel is an extended account of the legendary pilgrimage of the Tang dynasty Buddhist monk Xuanzang ( 602-664  A.D.), known in India as Hiuen Tsang, who traveled to the "Western Regions", that is, Central Asia and India, to obtain Buddhist sacred texts (sūtras) and returned after many trials and much suffering. It retains the broad outline of Xuanzang's own account, 'Great Tang Records on the Western Regions', but the Ming dynasty novel adds elements from folk tales and the author's invention
In Indian history books Xuanzang is called Hiuen Tsang. He was a Chinese Buddhist monk who wanted to study Buddhism in India, and collect Buddhist texts to translate them into Chinese, so that Chinese scholars could study them.
 He started his journey from China in 1629, travelling via Kyrgyztan, Uzbegistan, and Afghanistan, reaching India in 1630, where he spent 13 years. He passed through the Khyber pass, visited Taxila, Peshawar, Kashmir, Lahore, Mathura, Kannauj, Kaushambhi, Shravasti, Kapilavastu, Lumbini ( birthplace of Lord Buddha ), Kushinagar ( where Lord Buddha died ), Sarnath ( where he gave his first sermon in the deer park ), Varanasi, Pataliputra ( modern Patna ), Bodh Gaya ( where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment), Nalanda ( where Xuanzang spent 2 years in the great University there studying Buddhism, grammar, logic, Sanskrit, etc ) ), Bangladesh, Kannauj, Amravati, Nagarjunakonda, Kamrup, Kanchi ( capital of the Pallavas ),  etc , He attended the 4th Buddhist Council in Kannauj, where he was applauded by Emperor Harshavardhan ).
   Going back to China he wrote his book ' Great Tang Records of the Western regions ' .in 645 A.D. and translated 653 Buddhist Sanskrit texts which he had copied and brought back
 This book was the basis on which the novel ' Western Pilgrimage ' was written during the Ming dynasty.
 In the ' Western Pilgrimage ' mention is made of a monkey called Sun Wukong, who had rebelled against the heavens. He had many powers, and using these powers saved Xuanzang from many dangers on his journey, such as from demons, monsters,  robbers, wild animals, etc. It is said that he could always recognize demons in disguise, which others could not.
In my opinion, the Indian people are like Xuanzang, on a long, difficult journey towards establishing a country whose people are prosperous, having decent lives, and a high standard of living. The monkey Sun Wukong are the patriotic, modern minded intellectuals of India , who will help the Indian people from avoiding dangers and pitfalls along this hard, long, dangerous journey, and can recognize fraudulent people, and expose them

Next Punjab government will be an AAP government.

I rarely go out, but today early morning I went for swimming. I used to swim a lot in my younger days, and know many of the swimming strokes e.g crawl, breast stroke, butterfly stroke, back stroke, etc. Now that I am old, I do it rarely, but enjoy it whenever I do. It is wonderful exercise and I recommend it to all of you especially youngsters.
After swimming I went to Saravana Bhavan at Connaught Place to have some breakfast. It is a south Indian restaurant, one of a world wide chain. I remember I had been to a Saravana restaurant in California last year.
As a Judge I hardly ever went to CP, although it was just a few miles from my official residence on Akbar Road, where I lived for several years.
There was a huge crowd in front of the CP restaurant, waiting for their number to get in. One has to register for getting a table and there is a long waiting time. After getting inside with a friend, I went to a table for two, and ordered cold coffee with ice-cream and butter masala dosa. The dosa was huge and crisp and delicious to eat.
An elderly Sikh couple were sitting at a table next to mine. I did not know them, but the Sikh gentleman, a retired banker, who is from Chandigarh, recognized me and we started talking. I told them that I have been to Punjab several times lately, and found things very bad. There were farmer suicides, wide spread drug addiction, huge corruption etc. (about which I had mentioned in my speech at Chandigarh which is on YouTube). I said that there is massive support of AAP in Punjab. Many people there told me that they had tried governments of Congress and Akali Dal, and found both useless and corrupt. So this time they will vote for 'jhadoo'. He agreed with me, and said that the next Punjab government will be an AAP government.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Demand for Bharat Ratna to ' Veer ' Savarkar

A typical modus operandi of British authorities during British rule was this : when they spotted an Indian who was then a genuine nationalist, and made fiery speeches or wrote fiery articles against British rule they would arrest him on trumped up charges, manufacture evidence and get the accused sentenced to long periods in jail through their biased judges.

 In jail the person would be given harsh treatment, solitary confinement, beatings, etc. This would usually ' soften up '  the detenue, and he would emerge as a tame person, often as a secret British agent after a secret deal with the British authorities

  This happened with many persons---M.N.Roy, Aurobindo Ghose, Veer Savarkar and Bal Gangadhar Tilak

  In 1908 a bomb blast killed a British barrister's wife and daughter in Alipore in Calcutta.. In the Alipore Bomb case Khudiram Bose was hanged, while Prafulla Chaki committed suicide when cornered.

 Aurobindo, who was a fiery revolutionary before this incident, was arrested for planning this incident on trumped up charges, and sentenced to jail. When he came out of jail he was no longer a revolutionary but had become a spiritualist, preaching nonsense like ' Integral Yoga ' ( see Life Divine )

 Bal Gangadhar Tilak, was a fiery person who said ' Swaraj is my birthright and I will have it '. He praised Khudiram Bose and Prafulla Chaki in his newspaper, and for this was tried for sedition and sentenced to 6 years imprisonment. When he came out of jail, he had mellowed, and was no longer the same man. He gave up the demand for Swaraj and became a Home Ruler.

 M.N. Roy was known to be getting money from the British.

 The same happened with Savarkar.

 This revolutionary was arrested in 1910 and sentenced to two life terms in jail, and sent to Andaman Islands, where he was softened up.

 On November 14, 1913, Savarkar sought clemency while lodged in Andamans' Cellular Jail. In his letter, asking for forgiveness, he described himself as a "prodigal son" longing to return to the "parental doors of the government". He wrote that his release from the jail will recast the faith of many Indians in the British rule. Also he said "Moreover, my conversion to the constitutional line would bring back all those misled young men in India and abroad who were once looking up to me as their guide. I am ready to serve the government in any capacity they like, for as my conversion is conscientious so I hope my future conduct would be. By keeping me in jail, nothing can be got in comparison to what would be otherwise."

In 1920, the Indian National Congress and leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, Vithalbhai Patel and Bal Gangadhar Tilak demanded his  release. Savarkar signed a statement endorsing his trial, verdict and British law, and renouncing violence, a bargain for freedom.

 On being released in 1921 Savarkar ceased being a revolutionary, and became a British collaborator,an ardent champion of Hindu militancy, thus serving the British divide and rule policy. He became President of the Hindu Mahasabha; and during the Second World War advanced the slogan ' Hinduize all politics, and militarize Hindus '. Obviously this was in furtherance of a secret deal he had struck with the British for his release

 And this is the man who is called 'veer', and for whom Bharat Ratna is proposed

 The real veers were Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad, Surya Sen ( Masterda ), Khudiram Bose, Rajguru, Ashfaqulla, Bismil, etc. who were mostly hanged by the British

The truth about 'Veer' Savarkar

Today is the birth anniversary of 'Veer' Savarkar ( 1883-1966 ).

 Many people have praised him as a great freedom fighter, but what is the truth about him ?

 The truth is that many nationalists during British rule were arrested by the British, and given long sentences.  In jail the British authorities would give them an offer : either collaborate with us, in which case we will free you, or rot in jail for the rest of your life.

 Most of them became collaborators, including Savarkar.

 Savarkar was a nationalist only till 1910 when he was arrested, and given two life sentences.

 After serving over 10 years in jail, the British evidently made the offer of collaboration, which Savarkar accepted. On coming out of jail he started preaching Hindu communalism, and became a British agent, serving the British policy of divide and rule.

Savarkar as president of the Hindu Mahasabha, during the Second World War, advanced the slogan "Hinduize all Politics and Militarize Hindudom", he decided to support the British war effort in India seeking military training for the Hindus. 

When the Congress launched the Quit India movement in 1942, Savarkar criticised it and asked Hindus to stay active in the war effort and not disobey the government, He urged the Hindus to enlist in the armed forces to learn the "arts of war'', but this appeal was made selectively to Hindus.

 Can this man be respected and praised as a freedom fighter ?

 The real veers were Bhagat Singh, Surya Sen ( Masterda ), Chandrashekhar Azad, Bismil, Ashfaqulla, Rajguru, Khudiram Bose, etc who were mostly hanged by the British. What was so 'veer' about Savarkar ? He had become a British agent after 1910.

Friday, 27 May 2016

A joke

In jaanleva garmiyon mein
ganne ka ras, nimboo paani, dahi pudina ki chhachh, lassi, faalooda, sharbate rooh afza, kai tarah ke joos, sattu, sharbat, tarbooz, kharbooza, ice-cream etc. etc. 
chaahe kitna bhi khaao aur piyo
kaleje mein thandak....
...Biwi (Patni) ke maike jaane par hi padti hai.

Socialism in America

 A remarkable transformation has taken place in USA.

At one time the word ' socialism ' was regarded with horror there, and to call oneself a socialist would be making oneself an outcast.

 But the victory of Bernie Sanders, who calls himself a democratic socialist, in several states in the Democratic primaries is a significant event. It has made the word ' socialist ' respectable in USA, dsespite the fact that Hillary Clinton will win the Democratic nomination.

  This has happened because Americans are facing a recession, and unempoyment, and many Americans have realised that socialism is not all that bad, and that 'free' enterprize has created many problems. Gross inequality of incomes is just not acceptable.

A meeting with Jayalalitha

This incident happened shortly I retired as a Judge of the Supreme Court in September 2011.
I was the Chief Justice of Madras High Court for about one year ( 2004-2005 ), but even thereafter have retained close ties with the High Court and the people of Tamilnadu. Maybe in my previous birth ( which I do not believe in ) I was a Tamilian.

 When I was Acting Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court I met the then Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, and requested him to grant an amount of Rs. 5000 ( apart from their pension ) to all retired Judges of Allahabad High Court for engaging a multi purpose domestic servant ( who knew not only cooking, washing etc. but also driving a car ). He had immediately acceded to my request.

 So I wanted a similar allowance to be given to retired Judges of Madras High Court. Normally no one cares for retired Judges, but they are often old and infirm, and need more help than sitting Judges.

I went to Chennai some time in 2012 or 2013 ( after retiring from the Supreme Court ) to attend some function. There I sought an appointment with the Chief Minister Jayalalitha, which was granted immediately.

I went to the Secretariat, and was taken to her office, perhaps on the second floor.

On entering her office room, I was greeted by Jayalalitha, who was sitting across her office table. No other politician was there, but there were several senior officials, the Chief Secretary, Home Secretary, etc. in the room, sitting on chairs in front of the side wall. She introduced me to them, and then asked me to sit on aa chair across her office table. I was offered tea..

 I said to her " Madam, before I tell you what I have come for, let me tell you that I respect you, because when I was Chief Justice here, and you were the Chief Minister, you respected the independence of the judiciary. You never asked me to recommend any name for appointment as Judge of the High Court, and never tried to interfere with my functioning in any way ".( I did not tell her how the DMK had behaved in this connection ).

 She was happy to hear this.

 Then I placed before her the Memorandum I had brought, requesting for an allowance to retired Judges of Madras High Court to engage a domestic servant, and told her what I had done for retired Judges of Allahabad High Court.I told her that retired Judges are more in need of help than sitting Judges, as they are older, often infirm.

She said she would certainly look into it, and a few weeks later acceded to my request. All retired Madras High Court Jiudges are now getting this allowance.

 I then told her that I was told she knew Hindi. At this she smiled, and said ' थोड़ा बहुत जानती हूँ ( 'Thoda bahut jaanti hoon ' i.e. I know a bit ), and started speaking in fluent Hindi.

 I was momentarily tempted to say that she looked beautiful ( which I do believe ), but then I checked my impulse. She may have taken offence, and discretion is the better part of valour.

 The meeting ended in very cordial terms.