Wednesday 19 December 2012

Reply to an American NRI

Dear Mr. Munshi,
Thank you for your email.

You have written therein "it is unfortunate that you should feel dismayed at my comments". Let me tell you that I never mind people disagreeing with me, provided it is done in a courteous and gentlemanly manner. In a democracy two people often disagree, and a debate is healthy. But in your note you described me as a person with a "prowl for glory, and a place in history". Was that fair ? Should you not apologize for that remark ?

As regards my comment that 90% Indians are fools, I have already clarified what I meant in my letter to the two students who threatened legal action against me (my letter is on my blog entitled 'Reply to young students Tanaya and Aditya), which you may read. ( )

However, I may again state my reasons why I called 90% Indians fools.

(1) In India when most people go to vote in an election they do not see the merit of the candidate but his caste or religion. What else is the meaning of vote bank politics in India ? And that is why we often get such rotten representatives in our legislatures, many of them having a criminal background. Does this not show the backwardness of most of us ? And it is not just illiterates who are casteist. I was a lawyer in the Allahabad High Court for 20 years and I saw that in the High Court Bar Association elections most Brahmin voters would vote for Brahmin candidates (for the posts of President, Vice President, Secretary,etc), the Kayasthas for Kayastha candidates, the Yadavs for Yadav candidates,etc. When even the so-called 'elite' in our society behave like this am I not justified in my remark ?

(2) 90% Indians believe in astrology, which is pure superstition and humbug. Even a little commonsense can tell us that the movement of stars and planets does not affect our lives , but most people in India (including much of our so-called educated class) believe in it. Before finalizing a marriage most parents consult the 'kundali' of the proposed boy or girl, and the poor 'mangali' girl is often rejected. 
When I went to take oath as Chief Justice of Madras High Court I was told not to take oath in 'rahukaalam ' i.e. the inauspicious time. Many Ministers, Judges, etc. consult astrologers to find out the 'auspicious' time to take oath. A very senior Tamilian lawyer practising in the Supreme Court told me that many of his clients tell him not to start reading their brief during 'rahukaalam' time. And his clients are all educated people, not illiterates.

(3) 'Honour' killing, that is killing of young people who have fallen in love and want to marry,by their relatives or caste or community members who disapprove of such marriage (because it is inter caste, inter religious, or for some other reason) is widespread in many parts of India, and so also are dowry deaths, casteism, communalism, etc. 

(4) Some years back it was announced in India that Lord Ganesh is drinking milk, and there was a rush of huge crowds in many cities of people who wanted to offer milk to Ganesh idols. Similarly, a 'miracle' chapati was announced some years back. Many of such 'miracles' keep recurring in India from time to time, and most people believe in them.

(5) Ours is a 'baba-bound' society. Consider the large number of 'Godmen' we have, and the huge properties they have amassed taking advantage of peoples' credulity. The latest one claimed to have a third eye, and he became very popular on T.V. channels. He advised people to eat kheer, samosas, pakoras, and golgappas for solving their problems, and all this was lapped up by his large followers who donated huge amounts to him.

(6) When I was a Judge in Allahabad High Court it was announced that someone in Tamilnadu had discovered a way of converting water into petrol (by putting some leaves into it). Some of my colleagues said that now we will get cheap petrol. I told them that this was a fraud, since in science there is a principle that everything moves from a higher energy level to a lower energy level. Petrol is at a higher energy level, while water is at a lower energy level. Water is really burnt hydrogen, it is like ash. You can convert wood or coal into ash, but how can you convert ash into wood or coal ? And later the 'discovery' was found to be a fraud. My point is that when many High Court Judges are so unscientific you can imagine the intellectual level of the Indian masses

(7) Once when I was a Judge of the Allahabad High Court I was having dinner with some colleagues of mine. Some of them said that in ancient India we had atom bombs, guided missiles, aeroplanes, etc I told them they were talking nonsense. Everyone in the world knows that the first aircraft was invented by the Wright brothers in America in 1903, and that the first atom bomb was exploded in Los Alamos in U.S.A. in 1945. We make ourselves a laughing stock before the whole world by talking like this. One of my colleagues said that there is mention of pushpak vimaan in the Ramayana, (on which Lord Rama is said to have brought Sita from Lanka to Ayodhya) and this prove that there were aircraft in ancient India. I replied that it is true that there is mention of pushpak vimaan in the Ramayana, but what is the Ramayana ? It is an epic poem (mahakaavya). Poets have what is known as 'poetic licence', that is, they can exaggerate. So one should not take mention of pushpak vimaan literally. It is a poet's imagination.

I can give several other examples of the foolishness of the vast majority of us. But I want to make it clear that I made that statement not to harm, humiliate or demoralize Indians but to make them conscious of the present backwarness of most (not all) of us. I love my people, and so I do not want them to remain backward. I want to see India in the front ranks of the most highly industrialized countries in the world, and its people happy and prosperous.

There was a time in the past when we were leading the whole world in science and technology, as I have mentioned in my letter to the two young students (see my blog ), but today we are indeed largely backward compared to Western countries. There is massive poverty in India, and over 75 % of our people are surviving on 25 rupees a day in these days of skyrocketing prices. There is massive unemployment in India. 48% of our children are malnourished, which is a rate far higher than the sub Saharan countries like Somalia and Ethiopia, where the child nourishment rate is about 33%, and The Indian Prime Minister admitted in a speech that this is a matter of shame.

There have been 250,000 farmers suicides in india (47 per day which is still continuing) , which is a world record of farmers suicides. Healthcare for the masses in India is almost non existent (there are of course very good hospitals for the rich and powerful) because doctors and medicines are too expensive for them. Consequently most of them go to quacks having no proper medical qualification.

Education in India is in shambles. The Government no doubt gives a lot of money for I.I.Ts and some other institutions of higher learning, but hardly any money is given to primary schools (particularly in rural areas) where the foundation of knowledge is to be laid. And of course most of these I.I.T. products migrate to the West, which means we Indians pay for their education, but Western countries (not Indians) benefit from it
It is only when we get rid of our mental and social backwardness and spread science and the scientific temper to every nook and corner of our country that our people can progress and become truly prosperous. At present the prosperity in India is of only a tiny section of our people, while the rest are poor. The 'India Shining' slogan is a myth for our vast majority.

As regards my statement that India and Pakistan should reunite (and I should have said Bangladesh too) I have already given my view on my blog in the article 'India and Pakistan--The case for Reunification'

Justice Katju


  1. Hats off to you, sir! Lots of respect.
    I'm a final year engineering student and from what I've seen and experienced in my life, I completely agree with you.

  2. Tusi great ho sir jee, hope our new suprime court of India( i mean media) will understand and explain to ppl what u really meant


    1. no ways.. they're never gonna do this. they are only interested in sensational headlines because news channels are more about entertainment than news these days.. :(

  3. sir...
    you know the real pulse of common people.. like justice v.R krishna iyyer of kerala..

  4. I am dissapointed to say why not many says am among 10%....

    1. They all think they belog to 10% but they are opposing it because they think they are doing a favor for those 90% by defending them. :D and that's where they also become the part of that 90%. :) It's sad that instead of taking lessons people here love to whine on others' remarks.

    2. 90% of the people think that they are within the 10%

  5. Respect Sir! I am from Assam, and i have come to work in Delhi. While in Assam i used to think that because Delhi is so developed infrastructure wise , the people must be very liberated, forward thinking. But alas, i am shocked. My fried who sits next to me tells me there is pressure on her to give birth to a boy(her first child was a girl).Love marriage is still a taboo.Or else only possible if the caste , community, family status etc matches exactly. And you should see the marriage functions here.So much money in concentrated in such few hands,so less love and humanity.SOrry to say Sir,but in my native place people are wise everyone educated(or rather a lot more forward thinking).My mother never made the slightest distinction between me and my brother.I dont spend my whole life planning for my marriage.And Astrology! It stuns me, that people fall for such things, and so easily. I have a lot of faith in my country.But India, still has a long way to go in terms of enlightening her people, educating as well as feeding them. I for sure will do my part.And yes sir, we need more people like you.

    1. *Sorry to say Sir,but in my native place peoplewise most of the people, are educated and at least a lot more enlightened

  6. Sir ,
    Whatever you have said is what the great reformer of Tamilnadu E.V.Ramaswamy Naicker said .You called them fools ,but Ramaswamy Naicker called them Onions ,because when we peel out the onion petal by petal at last there won't be anything have .As per your remarks they have a dull brain. But according to Naicker they don't have brains.

  7. Justice Katju speaks blatant and yet the obvious truth, He like a well meaning elder is showing the mirror to us.
    We have our heads buried in the sand.
    One can wake someone up who is asleep but how does wake one up who is pretending to be asleep.
    Most Indians pretend to be asleep and refuse to wake up.
    I congratulate Justice Katju for his comments.
    I hope few will wake up after this.

  8. ye badi badi batein kewaldusaron ke bachchon ke sath hue apraadh par nikalti hain.Jab apane pe gujarati hai . tab pata chalata hai. Thoo thoo.....

  9. Aur ye shor kewal ek din ka gussa nahin hai. Ye kai dino ka gussa hai. atah shreemaan se niwedan hai ki apani aap ko loktantrik darshane ke bajay maa- bahaon kee surakchha ke baare mein tippanni karate to aap ki izzat samaj mein aur badh jaati. puri namrata ke sath kahata hunMaaf kijiyega par aapse aisi tippani ki ummeed nahi thi. Jab ya pura desh is ghrinit aur nrishans kritya ki awahelana kar raha hai to aap media ko seekh dene mein lage hain. Sayad media mein mein agar ye case na aata to, CPC delhi ghar mrin aaram farama rahe hote aur court sarkar aur police par tippanni karke ya fatkar laga kar barso case chalata rahega. Kyonki sabke paas apane bahane hain. Aur main puchhata hun ki ab nahi to kab bolenge hum?ya apane fayade ke liye domocratic hone ka dikhawa karte rahenge. Nyay ki baat theek hai par der se mila nyay anyay se kam hai kya? ye media ka heen Halla bol hai ki is maamle mein sarkar aur sansad itani chusht hai, warna aam logo ki peeda sunane aur samajhane ki furshat kise hai?

  10. great reply of a great thinker!!!

  11. good view.india need people like u

  12. Sir, I admire your civilized reaction to a profane expression. The accuser would have done justice if he had made allegations based on facts.
    The case of "mere Bharath mahan" is a meaningless chant when each of us vie to ensure that the land and culture gets deeper into an abyss.
    Greatness of a country comes from its people and we have no contribution to India's greatness because we are fools and dumb too.

  13. Honorable Sir,

    I read your replies to the students and the NRI explaining your remark that '90% Indians are fools'.

    In both your replies, you have stated, "When most of our people go to vote they cast their votes on the basis of caste or religion, not the merit of the candidate. What else is the meaning of vote bank politics?" But I feel it is not only with Indians, but elsewhere also it is the same story. According to an exit poll figures on the US Presidential elections published in a web site "... key to Obama's victory was winning 93 percent of African-Americans, 71 percent of Hispanics, and 73 percent of Asians. Mitt Romney took most of the white vote, which is 72 percent of the electorate." I think it is the same story in other countries too.

    A recent US census report says, "the whites may be relegated to minority in 2040 and lose their majority status." When I write this, I'm not discussing about covering such details in a census. But why should this particular detail be given so much importance as to make it a headline for the report in the media?

    Superstition is there in other countries too. How Mayan Calendar and Doomsday are doing rounds in other countries are there in the media reports. Even sportspersons are no exception. Wearing particular jacket during or before matches, going round the stumps before facing the delivery from a bowler, being nervous when on 13 runs by cricketeers are also in a way superstition.

    Similarly, I feel that discrimination on the basis of gender and religion is prevalent in other countries too.

    Comparing Indian mindset with other countries is not to justify Indians' mindset but to find an answer as to how other countries could overcome such mindset and become strong and rich and why India couldn't?

  14. 1) pakistan was a nation carved out of our erstwhile land, BHARAT, so it must get re united.

    2) The VEDIC society was different, they never believed in these materialist views of NATIONALISM, RELIGIONS etc. And in my opinion, VEDIC people had real knowledge, we in modern times are not able to understand there works. Fault is with us.

    3) Astrology and all have indeed become a business. I have studied BHRIGU SAMHITA, and never he said to wear a GEM STONE which would get a HIGH PAYING JOB and a CAR to the person. Infact, i am surprised that people instead of developing skills, rely more on ASTROLOGERS word to earn a job. But i can safely say that SAGES never propagated such superstitious. The sages works was to GUIDE others, and they themselves used to do hard work to guide others.

  15. how many people understand DEMOCRACY in india. According to me, the lady who is actually guardian of my daughter and her husband must get all the rights to read your blogs and comment, as they also have indian citizenship, and it was the responsiblity of state to provide them with these things, because constitution of india is clear on this. It is there rights. And this is where india has failed as a state and as a democracy also. Thats why i say that we must study manu smriti properly, because i have read original manu smriti, and manu maharaj had clearly said that those who are being guided under the rule of law, must be given their RIGHTS. the ruler must ensure that the rights are given properly. We can see perfect example of legal rights in LORD RAM'S kingdom, where a WASHER MAN casts doubt on SITA'S and LORD RAM, instead of saying how dare you say this, infact, asks the washer man to come in his court, and say whatever he wants to say. Is this possible in present times in india?

  16. It is not that astrology is bad/wrong but it is understood wrongly by many people.For example Rahu kala is only meant for commencement of long journeys.It has nothing to do with taking oath at a particular time.As far as matching of horoscopes is concerned my own unprejudiced study has convinced me of its correctness all the time.mangali is not a criteria for rejection as per ancient scriptures.The solution to this problem would be to make astrology part of the curriculum by recognizing it as a proper science.In this way this science will be thoroghly investigated instead of depending on heresay and labelling it as humbug.If you think it is not even that will become self evident.At least it will not be abused by ignorant people like this.

  17. The so called poet of Ramayana knew about the complete geography from Himalaya to Sri Lanka. How did he manage to travel this much? Any idea?

  18. It seems you have been surrounded by Fools. not sure if why your sample has been a bad one. Indians have also produced the most brilliant scholars. The best in Astronomy, Ayurveda, Vedic Mathematics. There have been great scholars like Vivekanada, Ambedkar, Sarabhai etc and people with strong characters like Mahatma Gandi.
    Just making a general statement trivalises the issue. You sure get TRPs and that motivates you to make such comments.

  19. Mr. Ajay, I have only known the Justice from his writings in the press and now in his BLog. So that will discount any allegation of being biased in his favour.
    Your ostentatious lining up of talents of ancient India and of not so distant is admirable . We certainly have reasons to be proud of what India once was.

    But rather than resting upon laurels brought by the by gone era and its men and women ,we look into ourselves and the present times and see what we are other than a country of fools.
    And The Justice himself has eulogised those talents in his replies.

  20. I don,t hesitate to say I am one of the 90% fool basket. We need not tablet but we need surgery what tamil rationalist thanthai periyar said once.

  21. If every one of us introspect and observe what is happening around us for decades, may be we will agree with the observation which is 100% right and 90% perhaps is a conservative estimate.

  22. Faith in God and Blind faith are two different things...I see your point but you cannot ignore the fact that Faith and Believe in god are always a huge support for people! Again...its a point for good long debate but yeah the aforementioned feelings vary in quantity from person to person :)

  23. I cudnt be more agree to this bitter truth written in it Sir. but when can we keep this majority/minority aside? The democratic country has already created so many minorities which constitutes the massive majority of the society.. SC, ST, OBC, Women, Handicapped, Region, Kutte, Bllly, Gadhe etc etc...

  24. Mr Ajay, Trust me I have never seen a bigger idiot than you. #NoOffence. & the reason why I m saying it is, I live the TRP everyday in my life and you are the biggest idiot who referred it the most foolish way. Sorry, but it's the truth. plz dont open ur mouth because it always speaks shit.

  25. Contrary to the acceptable norms, Justice Katju has chosen to post his reply to the American NRI in his blog without giving his readers the benefit of the information that prompted his response, and the subsequent string of email exchanges between the two. For good or for bad, some of the readers would perhaps alter their opinion, if they had the complete picture.

  26. Sir, the concept of astrology is predominant in several developed nations. They have not have kundaali chart but they have other means like looking into a crystal ball, tarot cards etc.

  27. Dear Sir,
    I would like to thank you for reminding us that 90% of Indians are fools. I completely agree with you . Indians don't realize that their foolishness is making life difficult for many people in India.Most of the Indians are not aware how this foolishness of caste system,dowry ,female foeticide etc. affect their own lives.
    I was a cool college going kid like everyone else not bothered about the problems in our society.Indians don't react until something affects them directly. Let me tell you how the foolishness of Indians is affecting people like me.

    CASTE SYSTEM: - I was not even aware of this term when i was in school. Problem started when one of my friends is looking for a bride in an online matrimonial site. There are very few girls in his caste and he could not find a perfect match for him in his caste. So he started searching for girls in other castes. But the sad part is even these so called modern women and their parents(modern only in attire and not in thoughts) have so much caste feeling that they are reluctant to have someone of a different caste in their life. Indians boast of UNITY IN DIVERSITY so proudly but the fact is there is no unity at all .Indians are a bunch of fools who confine themselves to such ridiculous things like caste ,religion and what not. And even if someone finds a girl of his choice ,they are welcomed by honour killings or some other harassment. Because of this caste and religious sentiments our choices are being restricted .

    FEMALE FOETICIDE : -This ultimately leads to the decline in sex ratio .. Very few girls for a large number of boys. I studied in an engineering college in which out of a total 429 seats in my batch there were only 70 girl students. That means 359 boys and 70 girls. There was so much competition if anyone wants to go out on a date with a girl.You may think that that it is a trivial issue that is confined to just a college goer .But if you see the college as a social structure ,as a part of this society you can extrapolate and u will realize the gravity of the situation. Interaction between men and women is necessary for emotional maturity.Our own actions are resulting in crimes against women.

    DOWRY :- Dowry still exists which results in the preference for a male child. Even some women support dowry because they say that they had given dowry during their marriage and so the tradition must continue.If a family is having a boy and a girl and they cannot afford their daughter's marriage they will ask their son to marry first so that he can get enough money in the form of dowry and this will in turn has a spill over effect. We don't know where it starts and where it ends..This is a vicious circle.Dowry is like corruption and bribery.It has to stop. People instead of educating their children ,try to accumulate wealth since the infancy of girl child.Even if some people are mature enough to go against dowry other Indians are fools and they insist on dowry.

  28. For a person who believes "Ramayana" as a fictional literature and Rama as an imaginary character, everything in Hindu sacred texts looks unconvincing. Decoding your behavior, you are essentially an atheist. With you influential position (i.e. PCI chief), you are spreading your Evangelical teachings of atheism to everyone! Is it fair to abuse your position ? Being in a responsible public position does not grant you the liberty of push your "so-called" superior views on to everyone.

    Going by same logic, even US & Europe are stupid by same % because they believe events in Bible, which are imaginary stories.

    While 90% of the times, you address on the right issues, rest of times you make ridiculous comments on the faith systems.

    Remember Katju saab, Use public fora for highlighting public issues (like malnutrition, caste, corruption, etc) and NOT for pushing your damn personal opinions!

    1. Dear Anonymous
      I think you have misunderstood Mr.Katju's statement.

      He was merely pointing to the the facts about us that our own anachronistic beliefs and values are resulting in the ignorance of many problems that Indians face today. If you are not even ready to accept the existence of a problem you will never try to solve it thinking that everything is normal and you will keep on living in this utopia of religion and caste.We are still living in a different societal time frame when compared to other developed countries.

      Religion is for man not man is for religion. It is not about believing in one religion or the other.Its about the consequences of that beliefs that matters to us.If it is not serving our purpose we should stop believing in it blindly.People in India still follow caste system .Don't you think it is disintegrating our society.
      People of US and Europe believe in Bible but they know to what extent to believe in it so that it may not harm their own societal interests. They don't bring religion in politics.People of US and Europe are not stupids because they cannot be taken for a ride in the name of religion and caste.
      Mr. Katju is trying to enlighten us .Our country needs people like him.He is trying to convince our ignorant minds that there is a problem that exists in our society and people like you are not even ready to accept that a problem exists.

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