Former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju, known for often mouthing politically incorrect statements, added one more to the long list of controversial statements made on Facebook.
This time, Katju has chosen a matter close to his heart, Kashmir.
Asserting — in rather colorful language — that the people of Kashmir are victims of Islamist propaganda — Katju called them unfit to be granted self determination, a demand that is as old as Indian independence itself.
“I am sorry to say but most Kashmiris are like brainwashed children who do not know what is good for them. They keep parroting ‘azadi’ without thinking deeply into the implications of azadi, and without knowing the international forces at work in Kashmir, which are manipulating them. They are like mindless pawns, who are controlled and operated by an unseen chess player… they are certainly not fit for azadi, just like a child is not fit to get a driving licence.”
Katju’s sentiments are echoed by many in India, though, for reasons of political correctness, such views are seldom aired publicly. Katju, being well versed in law, openly says things that less-legally erudite people find difficult due to legal complications.
India has a maze of laws that can be used to prosecute people who say politically sensitive things. Among other things, it is criminal in India to offend anybody’s religious beliefs or to say anything that may be interpreted as encouraging ‘ill will’ among communities.
Katju, who swears by modern science and logic, has criticized fanatics of all colors in his posts. He was subjected to intimidation by sloganeering fanatics after he said the cow cannot be considered anyone’s mother and that he does, and will eat beef. He has also said that 90% of the people are idiots.
Kashmir, which was coveted by Pakistan and India when the two countries were carved out of the former British Indian territories, has seen persistent violence in the name of freedom for close to three decades.
Many Kashmiris believe that they will be able to remain an independent nation if India ‘pulls out’, while most Indian strategists fear history repeating itself. Armed Pakistani tribesmen had attacked and capture a large chunk of Kashmir in 1997 when the Kashmir’s Hindu ruler Hari Singh refused to join India or Pakistan at the time of partition.
India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who also traced his roots to Kashmir like Katju, was quick to send Indian troops to the valley to prevent a total takeover of the region by Pakistani tribesmen.
¨Azadi (freedom), even if granted to Kashmiris, will not last long. Kashmir is too small and economically weak a state to survive independently, and will soon be swallowed up by Pakistan, and come under the Pakistani military jackboot,” Katju said in his typical provocative style.
“Then even the amount of freedom Kashmiris are presently enjoying will cease, since in POK even the smallest amount of dissension is crushed.”
Katju said people who call for Azadi have not analysed their situation clearly, and could end up throwing Kashmir back to the middle ages.
He said an administrative system — such as the one under Indian Union — may be overthrown and replaced with a new one only if there will be clear benefits to doing so.
“The test of every system must be raising the standard of living of the people, i.e. giving them large scale employment, healthcare, nutritious food, good education, etc. So if it can be demonstrated that Azadi for Kashmir will result in raising the standard of living of the Kashmiri people I will support it,” he said.
“No Kashmiri has ever been able to demonstrate this, rather the Kashmiri separatists like that feudal buffoon Syed Ali Shah Geeelani and the late lamented Burhan Wani have ( or had ) only Islamic fundamentalism as their ideology, which will only drag Kashmiris back into the dark middle ages with imposition of the barbaric obsolete Sharia law.”
He also dismissed calls for a plebiscite saying that it is possible for clever leaders to mislead an entire population for a period of time.
“Most people in most countries, even in advanced countries, have a low, superficial understanding of political realities, and can be easily brainwashed by propaganda. For instance, the Germans, who are a highly cultured people with great contributions in science, arts, philosophy, literature, etc were bamboozled and taken for a ride by that evil monster Hitler and Goebbels’ propaganda. In India, our netas are expert in manipulating the people by appealing to caste and religion,” he added, claiming that majority opinion may not always be the right way to find the way forward.
This is Katju’s second prominent post on the recent spurt in violence in India’s northern province. He recently said the so-called Liberals in India has selective vision when it came to persecution and ethnic violence, and only saw incidents against minorities while ignoring violence against Hindus.