The Tennis Court Oath has occurred in India

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The Tennis Court Oath has occurred in India

By Justice Markandey Katju

I have often said that India is heading for some kind of French Revolution. Many historians regard the Tennis Court Oath of the French National Assembly (the Third Estate in the Estates General) taken on 20th June, 1789 as the beginning of the French Revolution.

In my opinion the raid on the office of Rajinder Kumar, which is perceived as a raid on the office of the Delhi Chief Minister, and his reaction to it (calling Prime Minister Modi a psychopath) is the precursor of the Indian Revolution, for now state institutions (the Delhi government and the Central government) have started fighting each other. For a revolution it is not enough that the people should be in distress It is also necessary that the rulers should start fighting each other.

Consider the facts…

1. The people of India are in deep distress, with massive poverty, rising unemployment ( 10 million youth enter the job market every year, but only half a million jobs are created annually in the organized sector of our economy ), rising prices of foodstuffs, malnutrition ( 50% of our children suffer from it ), almost total lack of healthcare and good education for the masses, famers suicides, etc.

2. The interest of our political leaders is directly opposite to the interest of the nation. The interest of our leaders is to win elections, and for that they have to appeal to, and rely on, caste and communal vote banks i.e. feudal forces. The interest of the nation, however, requires destruction of feudal forces, spreading of scientific ideas among our masses, and rapid industrialization, which alone can abolish poverty, unemployment, etc, raise the standard of living of our masses, and give our people decent lives.

3. Parliament was supposed to be an institution where differences between various interests are resolved peacefully, after debate and discussion. But what has it become ? It has become a fish market. All our state institutions have become hollow and empty shells, and the Constitution seems to have exhausted itself. What do the formal guarantees of freedom of speech and expression, liberty, equality etc mean to a poor, hungry or unemployed man?

The last 20 days have shown that we have a Parliament that hardly functions, with its members shouting and screaming, often all at the same time, constantly rushing to the well of the House and hardly any meaningful debate is held or business transacted there. When the UPA was in power, BJP members were disrupting the functioning of the House ( the then Leader of the Opposition, Sushma Swaraj openly said that disrupting Parliament is a legitimate method of democratic protest ), and when the NDA is in power, the Congress and others are doing the same. The monsoon session was washed out, and similar appears to be the fate of the present winter session, It seems the same thing will be repeated in the budget session, and so on ad infinitum. Parliament, as a debating and legislating body, appears to be finished forever.

4. Moreover, a large number of our MPs, MLAs, and other politicians have criminal antecedents. We have politicians who are mostly incorrigible rogues and rascals with no genuine love for India, but who have looted the country, taking much of the country’s wealth to secret foreign banks and havens, and who know how to manipulate caste and communal vote banks, often by inciting caste or religious hatred and riots. Our bureaucracy has largely become corrupt, and so has a large section of the judiciary, which has moreover become a joke as it takes an inordinate time to decide cases.

Our democracy has been hijacked by the feudals, and now elections in most places are held on the basis of caste and religious vote banks, and no one bothers about the merit of the candidate.

5. “Hai maujazan ek kulzum-e-khoon kaash yahi ho
Aata hai abhi dekhiye kya kya mere agey”
-Mirza Ghalib

“A turbulent sea of blood is before me, I wish it were only so…
But see what all is coming in the times ahead”

This sher (couplet) of the great Urdu poet Ghalib is portentous and ominous for the coming days in India.

Since ‘vikas’, the slogan on which the present Indian Government came to power, has proved to be  fake, fraudulent and sham, the only recourse for some people to retain their popularity will now be to instigate and organize large scale attacks and massacre of minorities, as Hitler had done to the Jews.

6. The present Indian government came to power on high expectations with the slogan of ‘ vikas ‘ or development. This meant, or at least was perceived as, millions of jobs for the youth, industrial growth benefiting businessmen and others, and general prosperity for the public.

b. We are now one and a half years since the new government came to power, but one can see no traces of vikas ( see my articles ‘ The Shape of Things to come ‘, ‘ Vikas ‘, ‘Healthcare in India’, ‘ Malnutrition in India ‘, ‘Unemployment in India;, ‘ The Trickle Down Theory ‘, ‘ The Dream has evaporated ‘ etc on my facebook page and my blog ). All we have witnessed are stunts like Swatchata Abhiyaan, Ghar wapasi, Good Governance day, Yoga Day, etc. In these articles I have demonstrated that under the economic policies being pursued by this government there is bound to be further economic recession. In fact recent figures show manufacturing and exports declining ( Raghuram Rajan, the RBI Governor said that most factories are working at 70% capacity ) causing further unemployment. There is general gloom in the business world. though a handful of big businessmen may have benefited. Prices of essential foodstuffs like dal and onions have already gone through the roof.

c. Consequently this government will become increasingly unpopular day by day, as people, especially the youth, get disillusioned and realize that they were befooled and taken for a ride by our superman who promised a paradise and Shangri-La in India with his accession to power, but has left people in the lurch.

d. This disillusionment and disenchantment, coupled with the terrible economic hardships and distress the Indian people are facing, with rising prices, rising unemployment, widespread malnutrition, farmers suicides, etc, is bound to lead to widespread and massive popular agitations, disturbances, and turbulence all over the country.

The conclusion to all this is that some kind of French Revolution seems inevitable in India, though it will be preceded by a long period of chaos.

लेखक जस्टिस मार्कंडेय काटजू सुप्रीम कोर्ट में देश के जाने-माने चिंतक और बेबाक वक्ता हैं. हाईकोर्ट से लेकर सुप्रीम कोर्ट तक में अपने जनपक्षधर न्याय के लिए चर्चित रहे हैं. उनसे संपर्क के जरिए किया जा सकता है.

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