In praise of: Justice Markendey Katju

In our class and caste infected society where people in high position of power jealously maintain distance from others, it is pleasing to see a retired Supreme Court judge talking with common people, and at times making others to give answers to people.

One needs not agree or disagree with his praise or condemnation of certain politicians for appreciating his efforts in improving probity in public life. Politicians everywhere are driven by Realpolitik above everything else. No matter how tolerable or admirable some politicians look to Mr. Katju, in a parliamentary democracy it is the society at large which decides how good or bad a politician can be. Our successful politicians are our reflection as a society in the mirror of reality.

One admires Mr. Katju courage to call a spade a spade. There is no dearth of people in this country who find easy victims of their intellectual wrath in far away places of power and politics but quickly avert their eyes when they see something rotten just under their noses. It is heartening that Mr. Katju does not spare his own colleagues even when it is quite late. Who is to say that it is easy to find courage to do the right thing when one’s colleague is involved.

Indian judiciary has a mixed record: the higher courts are still respected and admired by public but the lower courts — like our universities — are not known to be places of virtue. Overall our judiciary is able to hold itself better in public eye than our executive. I don’t believe that this is because people in judiciary are more Lilly white in their purity. They are much like members of our executives. They have the same kind of education and are shaped by same kind of cultural environment. But unlike executive,  our judiciary has very little to defend itself against charges of corruption. As long as our value system is not rotten, this works as an inbuilt correcting mechanism. People like Katju does a great service to their profession; they are not averse to wash their dirty linen in public before something is permanently rotten in their institution.




In praise of : Secularism

A growing tendency in India is to attack secularism, covertly and indirectly. The attack on secularism is somewhat similar to the attack on equality. They maintain since we can not define secularism (like equality) in a strict sense, it will be good if we stop using the term altogether, at least to avoid the intellectual confusion. More adventurous among them will go on to say that it does not exists at all and everything which is called secular is a form of pseudo-secular. Continue reading “In praise of : Secularism”

In praise of : Ashis Nandy

English: Ashis Nandy, receiving the Fukuoka As...To one of his admirers, no less than a Ramachandra Guha, Ashis Nandy is ‘an unclassifiable social scientist’. He mixes psychology and philosophy with sociology to a magical effect, some would say to a corrupting effect. I can not imagine anyone who would read him without being deeply influenced. His masterpiece ‘The intimate enemy‘  have decolonized some minds. His work continues to have a deep impact on South Asian intellectual culture. He is surely one of the finest public intellectuals of our time.

Continue reading “In praise of : Ashis Nandy”