Katju on 90% of Indians being fools

A response to the WSJ’s Delhi correspondent asking the basis on which the 90% figure was reached.


Newslaundry comments: Who knew that what Aakar Patel is to North Indians, Justice Katju is to Tamilians? Don’t know what we are talking about? Take a look at  http://www.livemint.com/Articles/2012/03/29200444/Why-is-it-better-to-live-in-th.html

The 90% – Part II

by Justice Markandey Katju

After my article ‘The 90%’ was published in Indian Express on 4.4.2012 I got a call from the Delhi correspondent of the Wall Street Journal asking me on what basis I had mentioned the figure 90% when I said that 90% Indians are fools. I replied that it was not a mathematical figure, what I meant was that an overwhelming number of Indians were fools. Therefore the figure might be 85%, on the other hand it could be 95%. Consider the following facts:

1. Tamilians are some of the finest and most intelligent among Indians. They have done the country proud in various fields — scientific research, mathematics, I.T., medicine, etc. In U.S.A. and Europe the science and mathematics departments of many Universities and Institutes are full of Tamilian Professors.

Yet Tamilians are some of the most superstitious people in India. This may sound a paradox, but it is true, and this just shows that scientific and unscientific ideas can co-exist in the same head. When I went to Chennai to take oath as Chief Justice of Madras High Court in November 2004 I was told not to take oath in Rahukalam time. I asked what was this Rahukalam, and was told it was the inauspicious time according to astrology.

Now Rahukalam is all nonsense (as is all astrology), but over 90% Tamilians believe in it. To give an example, a very senior South Indian lawyer practising in the Supreme Court told me that his Tamilian clients tell him not to begin reading their briefs during Rahukalam time.

2. Most Ministers and even many Chief Justices of High Courts take oath at the ‘auspicious’ time, as advised by their astrologer.

3. Judges of the Supreme Court are allotted houses in the Supreme Court Judges pool. One of such houses was 7 Tughlak Lane. Unfortunately some mishaps happened to some Judges who occupied this house, and thereafter no Judge would accept it thinking it was inauspicious. Ultimately, the then Chief Justice of India wrote to the concerned authority to remove that house from the Judges Pool, which was done, and another house allotted to the Pool.

4. Some years back it was announced in the media (which plays a prominent role in spreading superstitions) that Lord Ganesh was drinking milk. There was a rush of huge crowds in many cities in India to offer milk to idols of Lord Ganesh. Similarly, some years back a miracle chapati was announced. Many such ‘miracles’ keep happening from time to time, and most people believe in them.

5. This is a ‘baba bound’ society. Consider the number of ‘godmen’, and their huge following and huge properties they amass. The latest one claims to have a third eye, like Lord Shiva. In a leading English newspaper it was published today (18.4.2012) that he had told people in Raipur not to keep shivalingams at home for their welfare but put them in temples. As a result, temples in Raipur were found flooded with Shivalingams. He had also advised eating kheer, samasosas, golgappas etc. for various problems. And much of all this was lapped up by his followers, who have donated huge amounts to him.

6. When I was a Judge in Allahabad High Court it was announced that in Tamil Nadu someone had discovered a method of converting water into petrol. Some of my colleagues said that now we will get cheap petrol. I told them this was a fraud, because 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, whereas water is at a lower energy level. Water (H2 O) is really burnt hydrogen, it is like ash. You can convert wood into ash by burning it, but how can you convert ash into wood? And later it was found to be a fraud.

7. Before finalizing a marriage most parents consult astrologers, and it is only if the ‘kundali’ matches that the proposal is finalized. The poor ‘mangali’ girl is often rejected for no fault of hers.

8. Every day a large number of T.V channels show astrology and all kinds of superstition. The Broadcast Editors Association announced that they will stop all this shortly but how can they? The members of these bodies are only employees, not owners of the channels. Their pay packages (sometimes going up to Rs.2 or 3 crores per year) are often linked with the T.R.P. rating. Their owners have given one simple instruction to them: keep the T.R.P. rating high.The owners only want profits, profits depend on advertisement revenues, which in turn depends on viewership.

Unfortunately the intellectual level of the middle classes (who are the main viewers) in India is very low. All they wish to see is lives of filmstars, fashion parades (often with half naked women), cricket (which is one of the main opium of the masses) and of course, astrology. And so this is dished out day after day to get high T.R.P rating.

9. Most Hindus are communal, and most Muslims are also communal. As I have repeatedly pointed out, they were not communal before 1857. Before 1857 Hindus used to celebrate Eid, and Muslims used to celebrate holi and diwali. Muslim rulers, like the Nawab of Avadh, Tipu Sultan, etc. used to organize Ramlila, give grants to Hindu temples, etc. It was after suppressing the Mutiny that the British decided that the only way to control India was by divide and rule. Hence a deliberate policy was laid down by the British to generate hatred between Hindus and Muslims. All communal riots start after 1857. The English Collector would secretly call the local Panditji, give him money, and ask him to start speaking against Muslims, and he would also call the local Maulvi secretly and give him money to speak against Hindus. This poison was systematically spread year after year, decade after decade, until it culminated in the Partition of 1947 (see online ‘History in the Service of Imperialism’, and my articles ‘What is India’ and other articles on my blog justicekajtublogspot.in and the articles and the video on the website kgfindia.com). Even now there are powerful vested interests which are promoting communal hatred. The truth is that 99% people of all communities are good, but it will take a lot of time to remove the communal virus from our body politic. Today the situation is that whenever any bomb blasts etc. take place immediately Muslim individuals or groups are blamed for it.

10. Social evils like honour killing, dowry deaths, female foeticide, etc are still widely prevalent in India.

I have said all this not to demoralize Indians, but to point out to them the correct path to prosperity. It is only scientific thinking which can save us from the disaster to which we are headed.

India has a strong scientific heritage (see my article ‘Sanskrit as a language of Science’ on the website kgfindia.com). It is only when we go back to the path shown by our great scientific ancestors, Aryabhatta, Brahmagupta, Sushrut, Charak, Ramanujan and Raman and spread scientific thinking widely that we can recover our former glory.

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  • Roark

    Sorry for replying late…But the contention by Mr Katju saying that all the people who believe in astrology are fools..Let me make it very clear…That a case in this regard was filed in the Honourable Supreme Court by a scientist when the study of astrology was proposed to be introduced in the schools and colleges under UGC…The reasons given were the very much same as given by Justice Katju…Its all a superstition..

    The SC gave its order against the appeal…and the introduction of astrology as subject was very much allowed…So Is Justice Katju trying to defy the order of Honourable Supreme Court and trying to suggest that the apex court of this country is nothing but foolish….???….Being the law abiding citizen of this country…I want an answer to this…

    • Raju

      Well your comment is correct but only to a limited extent. The Supreme Court dismissed the SLP not because it agreed that astrology is a science but on the ground that the Court should not interfere in policy matters of the Executive arm of the government! Justice Katju’s opinion about the astrology is not a defiance of the Supreme court.

    • Manish

      Well Raju has already put forward the facts, but there’s something that I would like to clear up. Supreme Court is the Apex court and you are bound to follow anything that it has directed but it is not necessarily the case that you may agree with all the judgments given the Supreme court. Your point of view might still contradict with the court’s decision. Mr. Katju has put forward his point of view and as a law abiding citizen of India, no law deters him from doing that.
      I hope you would have got your answer.

  • Lal Bahadur Jai Jawan

    Katju seems like a narcissist. Pineapple judge in mango republic 🙂

    Who the heck is he ? Hypertensive, egoistic and hyperinflated megalomaniac.

    • Manish

      Mr. Lal Bahabur Jai Jawan, it would have been lot better if you would have pointed out some logical points that contradict with what Mr. Katju has written above rather than just using all your knowledge of adjectives.

      Do not ask blurred questions, this is the kind of irrationality that he has referred to above. It is quite possible that you may not agree with anything he has said or everything he has said. If that is the case, point out your logic and reason. There’s a reason why he was the chief justice of supreme court and you are not. You are free to have a point of view so present the ‘point’ of your view.

  • kukad

    seems like 90% figure include katju also

  • Ramesh

    I love Mr Katju. He talks sense. He is straight and blunt. Yes, most Indians are foolish because they, even the educated ones, believe in astrology, vaastu and rubbish like that. That’s a perfectly legitimate conclusion. In developed countries, they don’t have as much superstition. Belief in miracles, godmen are all similar signs of stupidity.

    • Chintu

      using vague points like above you can prove people of any country as fool… then why to use word ‘India’ ..?? why you can’t generalize at much higher level that most of the HUMANS or PEOPLE on the earth are fool..

  • Defender

    Why can’t with the same scientific temper can Katju accept that Astrology too is a science… It is just because of incompetent ppl, its glory is going down… It is based on equations of planetary positions and the resultant effects of their electromagnetic forces…. How can one believe in the ideas of ppl who claim astrology as mere dogma… who on the other hand persecuted ppl like Galileo for being anti bibilical…

    • Derek Francis

      How can EM forces of planets thousands of KMs away have an effect on you when those of the electricity wire right outside your house don’t? Stop claiming astrology as science… it is only superstition just the same as Friday 13 or black cats crossing the street and that’s the end of it.