Justice Markandey Katju, Chairman of the Press Council of India, is known for his outspoken criticisms on many issues. He has recently written vehemently opposing the arrest of two Mumbai girls on a Facebook post. I admire Justice Katju. He is not afraid to voice out courageously on injustices prevalent in society. I also appreciated his article on the Op-Ed page of The Hindu titled "Why I can't pay tribute to Thackeray" dated 18 November, 2012 where he criticised the policies of the Shiv Sena supremo.
Two days ago, Justice Katju at a seminar in Delhi stated, "I say ninety percent of Indians are idiots. You people don't have brains in your heads....It is so easy to take you for a ride," he was referring to how gullible we Indians were, that we could be lead into a communal disharmony by forces without much effort. He said that a mere two thousand rupees would suffice to incite a communal riot in Delhi and that a people start fighting each other even if a mischievous gesture is made at a place of worship. This made two students file suit against him on the grounds of defamation, and Justice Katju has also replied to them on his blog - Satyam Bruyat - Justice Katju.
I feel Justice Katju is right in pointing out how gullible we are. The 'Idiot' remark may sound harsh because Indians after all are doing great in various fields and across the world. But if you take his remarks in the context of his speech, I do feel we are idiots. The Babri Masjid demolition; the train burning at Godhra and the riots that followed and the attack on churches in Orissa and Karnataka are all blots in the modern history of secular India.
I disagree, however, with the number that Justice Katju mentioned. I do not think 90% of Indians fall into the trap of communalism with or without incitement. On the other hand, I feel only 10% are the gullible people whom Justice Katju remarks about. Although voices are not as loud as his, most Indians do not harbour hate for other religions but only wish to live in harmony and reap the benefits of a progressing India. It is the minority, the 10%, probably even lesser, who want to break the rich history of tolerance in India and most of the time, I feel, it's for personal gain.
Therefore, I feel I'm part of the 90%, not the 90% that Justice Katju pointed out, but the 90% who I feel are the ones who appreciate India's culture of secularism and tolerance. Yes we are silent and Justice Katju is right in pointing that out. But we are definitely not willing to surrender to communal forces.