Tuesday, December 10, 2019

India's Retired Justice Katju at Interfaith Event in Silicon Valley

Justice Markandey Katju, retired judge of Supreme Court of India, talked of "dark clouds over India" in a speech to about 200 people of all faiths at an interfaith event in Silicon Valley.  He said "Muslims making up only 15% of the population are on the receiving end" but the rest of India is also paying the price. India's economy is in serious trouble. There is rampant poverty and high rates of malnutrition in the country. There are heavy job losses across the entire labor market.  The event was organized by Ibadatkhana Foundation led by Tasawar Jalali. Other organizers included Javed Ellahie, Naren Singh, Santosh Addagulla and Prabakar Karuppiah .

"Indian Supreme Court has surrendered, Indian media have surrendered" to the "dark forces" of Modi's "Hindutva", he said. He said "there was no communalism in India before 1857", the year Delhi fell to the British colonizers. The colonial rulers from Britain then proceeded to "divide and conquer India" by using what Justice Katju described as "history in the service of colonialism", an apparent reference to Professor B.N. Pande's 1977 speech to Rajya Sabha, the upper house of India's  parliament.


Justice Katju described "Ibadat Khana" as part of a brief history lesson on Mughal Rule in India.  Ibadat Khana was built by Emperor Akbar in Fatehpur Sikri in 1575 as a place where scholars of various faiths could discuss theology. The establishment of this center of learning was motivated by the emperor's desire for "Sulh-e-Kul, meaning "universal peace" among various faiths.

This was about the same period as St. Bartholomew Massacre in Europe. Catholic mobs attacked and killed tens of thousands of Protestants in France. These religious wars raged in Europe for centuries. In fact, Ireland witnessed sectarian massacres as recently as the 1990s.

India's Diversity:

Justice Katju said India is a very diverse land of immigrants. He said 92% of the population descended from ancestors who arrived from other lands to settle in India. The original inhabitants of India make up about 8% of the population.

He said people migrate from harsh to more comfortable places. India with its rivers and valleys offered rich fertile soil for agriculture that dominated the world economy for thousands of years before the Industrial Revolution. There have been only two periods when people left India in large numbers to go elsewhere: Indentured service after the end of slavery in 1800s and more recently the migration of better educated Indian to America and Europe.

Modi's India:

Mr. Katju said "dark clouds" are gathering over India with courts and media surrendering to Modi's despotic rule. He said "Muslims making up only 15% of the population are on the receiving end" but the rest of India is also paying the price. India's economy is in serious trouble. There is rampant poverty and high rates of malnutrition in the country. There are heavy job losses across the entire labor market.

A diverse country like India can not afford Hindutva. This is a time to bring back Emperor "Sulh-e-Kul" to save India.

Panel Discussion:

There was a panel discussion with Justice Katju, Dr. Jasbir Kang, Mr. Javed Ellahie and Prof. Randolph Langenbach. The panel was moderated by Ritu Jha and Mariam Turab. During the panel discussion, Justice Katju brought up the idea of reunification of India and Pakistan. He argued "if East and West Germany can reunify, so can India and Pakistan". The idea was contested by Mr. Javed Ellahi and Dr. Jasbir Kang who talked about the idea of pushing for more trade and people-to-people exchanges which could eventually lead to replication of European Union in South Asia. But Hindutva stands in the way of peace in South Asia.


In a speech to about 200 people of various faiths in Silicon Valley, Justice Markandey Katju, India's retired Supreme Court judge, talked about "dark clouds over India". The event was organized as an interfaith event by Ibadatkhana Foundation. A diverse country like India can not afford Hindutva. This is a time to bring back Emperor Akbar's "Sulh-e-Kul" to save India, he said.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Hindutva: Legacy of British Raj

Balakot and Kashmir: Fact Checkers Debunk Indian Claims

South Asian Contrasts: Kartarpur and Ayodhya

Hindu Nationalists Admire Nazis

Lynchistan: India is the Lynching Capital of the World

Hindu Supremacist Yogi Adiyanath's Rise in UP

Hinduization of India

Globalization of Hindu Nationalism

Hindutva Distortion of Indian History Textbooks


Anonymous said...


Majority of the Indians do want to see unification of both India and Pakistan but people of Pakistan must not come in their trap ,as their intention of uniting India and Pakistan is to make Pakistan a part of India under Indian govt.

This is not true that most of the the Indian population in India now wewe s are actually descendants of foreign immigrants .

Riaz Haq said...

Incumbent #AAP set to crush #Modi's #BJP in #NewDelhi. Exit polls telecast on #Indian news channels shortly after the voting ended at 6pm (12:30 GMT) predicted a strong showing for the AAP, which could win more than 50 of the 70 seats. #India @AJENews https://aje.io/77mpp

India's capital has voted in a crucial state election, with exit polls showing the incumbent Aam Aadmi Party (Common Man's Party or AAP) led by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is set for a hat-trick victory.

Residents on Saturday lined up in long queues across New Delhi neighbourhoods, where nearly 57 percent of the capital's 14.7 million voters cast their ballots. Results will be declared on Tuesday.

Exit polls telecast on Indian news channels shortly after the voting ended at 6pm (12:30 GMT) predicted a strong showing for the AAP, which could win more than 50 of the 70 seats.

In 2015, the party won a landslide 67 seats, and is now eyeing a second successive five-year term.

An average of nine exit polls showed Kejriwal's party was likely to win 52 seats. "We are winning by a huge margin," tweeted Manish Sisodia, the deputy chief minister of Delhi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has not governed the national capital territory of Delhi for 22 years, is expected to win approximately 15 seats.

India's main opposition Congress party, which governed the capital for 15 consecutive years before AAP unseated it in 2013, is predicted to come a distant third.

AAP, born out of an anti-corruption campaign in 2012, stunned the country by forming the Delhi government in 2013. However, Kejriwal resigned after 49 days when legislation he was pursuing could not be passed, but later went on to secure his second term in 2015.

The AAP party's pro-poor policies have focused on fixing state-run schools and providing free healthcare and bus fares for women during its first term.

In the past two years, the Hindu nationalist BJP has lost power in key state assembly elections such as Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh, raising the stakes even further for it in the Saturday vote.

"They [BJP] have been losing power on the state level for the past 18 months to two years, including in states that are considered the Hindi heartland," said Al Jazeera's Elizabeth Puranam, reporting from New Delhi, referring to the Hindi-speaking north Indian states where BJP enjoys most support.

Riaz Haq said...

In Search of India's Soul: From Mughals to Modi----#Muslims and other minorities under threat in #Modi's #India. #BJP #Vigilantes #Hindutva -- | Featured Documentary narrated by Aatish Taseer https://youtu.be/EPHe4oag0R8 via @YouTube

Riaz Haq said...

#India is facing twin #economic & #political #crises under #Modi. Ex chief #economist Arvind Subramanian says every important indicator — investment, credit, profits, tax revenue, industrial output, exports and imports — has weakened. https://www.ft.com/content/81a7935c-56e0-11ea-abe5-8e03987b7b20 via @financialtimes


The crackdown in Kashmir, the explicit discrimination against Muslims in the new Citizenship Amendment Act, the proposed national register of citizens, in a country with notoriously bad documentation, and the apparent intention to deport Muslims who cannot prove their right to stay, do together suggest a transformation of the Indian polity. So, too, is the free use of labels like “traitor” for those who disagree and “sedition” about those who protest. It is quite clear, surely, that the transformation of India into another “illiberal democracy” is long-intended. Little wonder US president Donald Trump admires Mr Modi. They play the same game, but Mr Modi’s majority gives him more cards.
India is undergoing another transformation. The India I first visited, in the 1970s, was impressively democratic — with the exception of the period known as the Emergency imposed by then prime minister Indira Gandhi between 1975 and 1977. But its economy grew too slowly. After the balance of payments crisis of 1991, India introduced radical reforms. Over the next two decades its economy became faster-growing, while the political system remained robustly democratic. After the global financial crisis, however, growth slowed. India’s politics is also now moving towards an aggressively illiberal form of majoritarianism. These twin changes are not for the better.

Arvind Subramanian, a former chief economic adviser, has co-authored a paper on the post-crisis slowdown. It notes that every important indicator — investment, credit, profits, tax revenue, industrial output, exports and imports — has weakened sharply since the financial crisis. Yet overall economic growth has supposedly risen. This contradiction persuaded him to challenge the reliability of official estimates of economic growth. His conclusion was that the overestimate of growth between 2011 and 2016 averaged about 2.5 percentage points annually, which would lower average growth to somewhere around 4.5 per cent. If true, this has been really poor.

Alas, there is worse. The economy has been slowing even more dramatically in the recent past, even on the official statistics. These show that growth of gross domestic product slowed to just 4.5 per cent, year on year, in the third quarter of last year. Growth may now turn around. But the slowdown has been dramatic, comparable even to what happened in the crisis of the early 1990s.

So what explains the weak growth after 2008 and the sharper slowdown in the recent past? First, unsustainable expansion of exports and credit-fuelled domestic investment exaggerated India’s pre-crisis growth rate. Second, despite the post-crisis emergence of severe balance-sheet-problems in financial and non-financial corporate sectors, government spending, falling oil prices and buoyant lending from non-bank financial companies sustained growth. Finally, credit from these last institutions collapsed in 2019. Consumption then joined other sources of demand — notably investment and exports — in weakening sharply. Today, argues Mr Subramanian, a vicious spiral is at work: high interest rates, weak economic growth and poor profitability are worsening debt burdens and so aggravating the problems of financial and non-financial corporations.

Riaz Haq said...

#India's #Modi Has Lit a Fuse. Killings of #Muslims by #Hindu mobs in #Delhi were neither spontaneous nor without a warning but inevitable. Modi's #Hindutva policies have entrenched impunity, captured institutions and fanned religious hatred. #pogrom #BJP https://nyti.ms/2whFvc4

Many Muslims are now leaving (their homes), hoisting their unburned things on their heads and trudging away from streets that still smell of smoke.

The question before the nation is whether the bloodshed will change the direction of Mr. Modi — who first ran for prime minister in 2014 under the slogan “Together for all, development for all.”

In that campaign, Mr. Modi presented himself as a strong nationalist leader and economic reformer, playing down his Bharatiya Janata Party’s history of Hindu-nationalist aims and vilification of Muslims.

Some doubt clung to him personally as well. Despite his having been cleared by a court, accusations remained that he was complicit in the massacre of hundreds of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002, when he was the state’s chief minister.


Lynch mobs who said they were protecting cows, a holy animal in Hinduism, popped up across the landscape. They have gone on to kill scores of people, mostly Muslims and lower-caste Dalits.

Mr. Modi appointed Hindu extremists to top government posts, including Yogi Adityanath, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, India’s largest state, who has called Muslims a “crop of two-legged animals” and promised to wage a “religious war.”

Mr. Modi placed other Hindu nationalist allies at the heads of important universities and cultural institutions. Place names were changed — so, too, were textbooks — to de-emphasize Muslims’ contribution to India and play up Hindu teachings. Many Muslim Indians, who make up one of the world’s largest Muslim populations, at 200 million, said they had never felt so marginalized.

And impunity flourished. Members of mobs who had been filmed in broad daylight beating the life out of someone went unpunished, or, if they were caught, they were often hailed by party leaders as heroes.

That violence did not appear to hurt Mr. Modi with his most ardent supporters in a country that is 80 percent Hindu. And he was given a boost before elections last year by a wave of nationalist sentiment over clashes between India and Pakistan.


“It may not work in Delhi, but incidents like this do work in some places in Uttar Pradesh or Bihar,” said Mr. Gokhale, the Mumbai activist, mentioning two other states. “Tomorrow Modi might reap political dividends, but people are going to be dead.”

There could be other costs, as well. These days, Mr. Modi speaks less about the development and reforms he once promised. The economy is reeling, with unemployment at a 45-year high and growth slowing to the lowest rate seen in nearly a decade.

Privately, some officials say that Mr. Modi’s government is so focused on its ideological aspirations that it is losing sight of the economy. And as the country’s economic malaise deepens, there is worry that Mr. Modi and his allies will again look to Hindu nationalist sentiment for a boost, and a distraction.

“To build that Hindu nation, control is everything,” said Shivshankar Menon, a former national security adviser.

“We may see them continue to inflame tensions domestically,” he said. “They need the violence as a distraction from those failures.”

Riaz Haq said...

In a Tweet on Saturday, Markandey Katju also praised Pakistani nation for showing maturity and cool temperament.


He tweeted, “When I called Pakistan a fake, artificial country, not a single Pakistani abused me.”

Katju added “But when I praised Imran Khan, dozens of Indians abused me, calling me senile, traitor, mad and what not, and telling me to migrate to Pakistan.”

“Now who has more maturity?”, the ex-judge questioned.

Katju on February 28, after Prime Minister Imran Khan’s address to nation, had said, “I was earlier a critic of Imran Khan, but after the wise and restrained speech he gave on TV I have become his admirer.”

Also, in his Facebook post today, justice Markandey lauded PM Imran Khan, saying Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s offer to cooperate with the Indian government in any kind of investigation into Pulwama attack is reasonable and his offer for talks instead of jingoistic sabre rattling, as is being done by many Indian politicians, has proved his maturity, sagacity and statesmanship.


A former judge of India's Supreme Court said on Tuesday that Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan deserves the Nobel Peace Prize for his statesman-like approach in the face of heightened tensions between Pakistan and India.

"Pakistan and India are poor countries, who cannot afford a war," Justice (retd) Markandey Katju said, while speaking to anchorperson, Hamid Mir in the programme ‘Capital Talk' on Geo News.


He said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was creating an atmosphere of war due to elections in India.

Tensions between India and Pakistan escalated following Indian incursions into Pakistani airspace and subsequent downing of two Indian warplanes and the capture of an IAF pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.

It was when Prime Minister Imran Khan, in his address to a joint session of Parliament last week, decided to release the IAF pilot as a 'gesture of peace' towards India.

"I was greatly impressed by Prime Minister Imran Khan's speech," the former Indian judge said further on the show. "Imran said what an intellectual would say."

Justice (retd) Katju said he found the quality of a scholar in Pakistan’s Prime Minister and salutes Khan for it.

He said PM Imran Khan behaved very wisely and deserves the Nobel Peace prize.

Riaz Haq said...

Did you know that the composition of Mahmood Ghaznavi's army when he raided the Somnath temple in 1025 was, solely not a Muslim Army. Out of 12 Generals, 5 were Hindus. Their names are:1. Tilak2. Rai3. Sondhi4. Hazran5. Not knownAfter the battle, Mahmood issued coins in his name with inscriptions in Sanskrit. He appointed a Hindu Raja as his representative in Somnath. Arab traders who had settled in Gujarat during the 8th and 9th century died to protect the Somnath temple against Ghaznavi's Army.

Just three years before Ghaznavi's raid on Somnath in 1022, a general acting on the authority of Rajendra I, Maharaja of the Chola empire (848–1279) had marched 1,600 kilometres north from the Cholas’ royal capital of Tanjavur. After subduing kings in Orissa, Chola warriors defeated Mahipala, maharaja of the Pala empire (c.750–1161), who was the dominant power in India’s easternmost region of Bengal. The Chola's crowned their victory by carrying off a bronze image of the deity Śiva, which they seized from a royal temple that Mahipala had patronized. In the course of this long campaign, the invaders also took from the Kalinga Raja of Orissa images of Bhairava, Bhairavi and Kali. These, together with precious gems looted from the Pala king, were taken down to the Chola capital as war booty.
The question arises why is Mahmud Ghaznavi demonized but not Rajendra Chola's plunder of Hindu temples?In fact, the demonization of Mahmud and the portrayal of his raid on Somnath as an assault on Hinduism by Muslim invaders dates only from the early 1840s.

In 1842, the British East India Company suffered the annihilation of an entire army of some 16,000 in the First Afghan War (1839–42). Seeking to regain face among their Hindu subjects after this humiliating defeat, the British contrived a bit of self-serving fiction, namely...that Mahmud, after sacking the temple of Somnath, carried off a pair of the temple’s gates on his way back to Afghanistan.
By ‘discovering’ these fictitious gates in Mahmud’s former capital of Ghazni, and by ‘restoring’ them to their rightful owners in India, British officials hoped to be admired for heroically rectifying what they construed heinous wrongs that had caused centuries of distress among Hindus. Though intended to win the letters' gratitude while distracting the locals from Britain’s catastrophic defeat just beyond the Khyber, this bit of colonial mischief has stoked Hindus’ ill-feeling towards Muslims ever since.By contrast, Rajendra Chola’s raid on Bengal remained largely forgotten outside the Chola country.12 years after the attack, a king from the Goa region recorded performing a pilgrimage to the temple, but he failed to mention Mahmud’s raid. Another inscription dated 1169 mentioned repairs made to the temple owing to normal deterioration, but again without mentioning Mahmud’s raid. In 1216 Somnath’s overlords fortified the temple to protect it not from attacks by invaders from beyond the Khyber Pass, but from those by Hindu rulers in neighbouring Malwa; apparently, such attacks were so frequent as to require precautionary measures; apparently, such attacks were so frequent as to require precautionary measures.
The silence of contemporary Hindu sources regarding Mahmud’s raid suggests that in Somnath itself it was either forgotten altogether or viewed as just another unfortunate attack by an outsider, and hence unremarkable.

1. “India in the Persianate Age: 1000-1765” by Richard M. Eaton2. “Somanatha: The Many Voices of a History” by Romila Thapar