Sunday, 18 January 2015

 The Herculean Task
Do you people realize the Herculean task confronting me ?
 I had once said that 90% Indians are fools. This was said not to belittle, disparage or denigrate Indians. I love you, I want to see you all prosperous and happy, I want to see India emerge as a highly industrialized nation,with its people enjoying a high standard of living, so how can I do that ?
 But the truth is that the vast majority of you ( including the so called ' educated ' people ) are mentally very backward, full of casteism, communalism and superstitions. Until this mentality changes India cannot progress.
 I don't want you to remain backward, I want you to become truly enlightened and scientific in your thinking. All my efforts are directed to that end.
 Consider just one example ( and I can give hundreds ). How many of the non  Scheduled Caste people in India ( including the so called ' educated ' class ) marry, or would willingly give their daughters in marriage, to a person belonging to the scheduled castes or scheduled tribes ? Very few. And why ? Because they consider SC people as inferior. Those who undergo such marriages ( and there are very few ) are often threatened, assaulted or even killed (' honour killing ). In a University in Tamilnadu non SC boys attacked SC boys some time back.  When I was Chief Justice of Madras High Court I was told by a non SC lady married to a SC High Court Judge that when she married her husband her relatives performed her funeral rites.
 And this malaise is not confined to Hindus, it is also in Muslims, Sikhs and Christians, whose religions preach equality of all men.
 I know of a SC young man, who was a magistrate, and fell in love with a Muslm girl belonging to a  Muslim community who were Rajput converts. She too was in love with him, and he converted to Islam to marry her. But the girl's relatives refused to let her marry him, saying " humne mazhab badla hai, jaat naheen " ( we have changed our religion, not our caste ). Do non SC Sikhs not look down on mazhabi ( SC ) Sikhs, though the Sikh religion does not recognize the caste system ? And is that not so even among many Christians ?
 Islam, Christianity and Sikhism preach equality. But what happens to them when it comes to marriage between non SCs and SCs ?
 In the American Declaration of Independence of 1776 it was said " We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal--". But 239 years thereafter many Indians regard a section of their own countrymen as inferiors. Is this not a clear proof of their mental backwardness ?
 And do not the vast majority of our countrymen believe in astrology, which is pure superstition and humbug ?
 And do most of you not follow like children some Pied Piper of Hamelin, some ' Sapnon ka Saudagar ' ( dream seller ) in politics ?
 So I have to change the mentality of almost 1250 Indians, I have to remould the minds of this ocean of human beings, and make them scientific and rational. Is this an easy task ?
 What, will I lift up Olympus alone ( Shakespeare : Julius Caesar, Act 3,Scene 1 ) ? Well, when I see no one else doing it, I will sure give it a shot, even if it means I am crushed in the process.
 I know the dangers in this herculean endeavour. There are powerful vested interests which wish to keep Indians backward and feudal. But what of that ? I have a responsibility to my nation, and I am going to discharge it,whatever the personal cost.
As Atticus Finch said in Harper Lee's novel '  To Kill  A Mocking Bird ' : " Courage is not a man with a gun in his hand. It is knowing you are licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do."
 So I know I am licked even before I begin, but I will see it through no matter what throughout the few years of life remaining in me.