Tag: Markandey Katju

Sarabjit and Surjeet

On 26/6/2012 around 7 p.m. news broke out that Sarabjit Singh was to be released as Asif Ali Zardari was to commute his death sentence to life which he had already completed as he was in prison for over 14 years he had spent 22 years in jail. Sarabjit Singh was in Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore. The news was too good to be true. The decision would have been unpopular in Pakistan.

Ansar Burney, Asma Jehangir and Awaiz Sheikh had tried for Sarabjit’s release. After the news broke out some Maulvis demonstrated outside Lahore Press Club against the release.

There were celebrations in Sarabjit Singh’s family. Markandey Katju, who was out of news for a long time, wrote a letter to Asif Ali Zardari thanking him for the pardon.

Something changed during the night. Around 1 a.m. came the news that Surjeet Singh will be released and not Sarabjit Singh. There was miscommunication. Sarabjit Singh’s family members felt it was a cruel joke. Some said it was a diversionary tactic meant to divert attention from the arrest of Abu Jundal wanted in 26/11 case. Surjeet Singh’s family celebrated at unexpected good news.

This is a lesson for TV channels who get into Breaking News quoting sources. Some channels cancel their regular programmes to run such reports without official word from government.

Khalil Chisti got bail and went to Pakistan. Some hoped Pakistan will release Sarabjit. Pakistan released Surjeet. Previously Pakistan had released Gopal Dass and Kashmir Singh. We do not know how many Indians are in Pakistani jails with no one pleading for their release.

Indians and fools

Markandey Katju said 90% of Indians are fools. He clarified that by 90% he means an overwhelming number; it can be 85% or 95%.

Markandey Katju gave 10 reasons why majority of Indians are fools.

First, Tamilians follow rahukalam. They consider it inauspicious. They are fools. Katju has shown courage to single out Tamilians as more foolish than other foolish Indians.

Second, many ministers and chief justices of high courts take oath during “auspicious” times.

Third, Supreme Court judges considered 7, Tughlak Lane as inauspicious residence due to some mishaps there.

Fourth, there was a superstition that an idol was drinking milk and media played a part in spreading the superstition.

Fifth, babas have great following. He mentions one baba who advises his followers to eat certain things to solve their problems.

Sixth, someone in Tamil Nadu had claimed he can convert water into petrol and was exposed as a fraud.

Seventh, most parents consult astrologers when their children marry.

Eighth, TV channels show astrology and all kinds of superstition. The editors have no power to stop such shows. The owners want TRPs. The intellectual level of the middle classes is very low. They want to watch lives of film stars, fashion parades, cricket and astrology.

Ninth, most Hindus and Muslims are communal. They were not communal before 1857.

Tenth, India has social evils like honour killings, dowry deaths, and female foeticide.

Katju talks of India’s great scientific heritage, following the path shown by great scientific ancestors and recovering former glory.

Of the ten reasons, five have to do wholly or partly with astrology. Markandey Katju is chairman of Press Council. He wants to control TV channels and does not want them to have shows on astrology. As chairman of Press Council he has not stopped newspapers and magazines from publishing astrological columns. By Katju’s logic Indira Gandhi was a fool. Ramaswamy Venkataraman was a fool. Lal Krishna Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi are fools.

I do not know about the mishaps at 7 Tughlak Lane. I suppose there were several mishaps so the judges got scared. Did Markandey Katju volunteer to go there?

The superstition of idol drinking milk lasted for a day.

Babas can fool people for some time. After that they are exposed and lose their followers. If some followers want to suspend disbelief and want to follow babas even after they are exposed it is their problem.

Anybody can make any claim. Sooner or later he is exposed. One person claimed he had passed an exam conducted by NASA. He got publicity. President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam felicitated him. Then NASA stated that it had not conducted any exam in India.

TV channels want TRPs. They have to survive. India has done well in cricket, so cricket has got following. Many people also watch car race and European football. Watching sport on TV does not mean intellectual level is low. Interest in fashion parades and the lives of film stars is not confined to India.

Being communal is different from being foolish. It is wrong to say people were not communal before 1857. Katju should remember Aurangzeb.

What people call honour killings and dowry deaths are murders and female foeticide is a crime. Murders and crimes should be called as such and should not be called social evils. Caste system is a social evil.

Katju has not spoken against numerology, palmistry and tarot card reading. He has not spoken against glorification of child marriage in a TV serial. What Katju has to say about vastu and feng shui?

India’s strong glorious scientific past is a myth. People like Aryabhatta, Brahmagupta, Charaka and Shushruta were exception during their times. India’s fools inherited their superstitions from their ancestors. Sangram Singh believed in astrology and did not attack Babur when his forces were demoralised. He waited for an auspicious moment to attack Babur. That gave time for Babur to make a speech and fill his soldiers with courage. Sangram Singh lost the battle. India’s past has many things which are not glorious and some of them continue to present day. There was sati. Widows could not remarry. Untouchability was widespread. People did not cross the sea. If Indians were scientific they would have reached and conquered America, Australia and large parts of Africa. Instead India was conquered repeatedly.

Many chairmen of Press Council have come and gone. None of them made news. Markandey Katju makes news regularly. He said there is no freedom of press in Bihar but does not want journalists to report bad things about UP for one or two years because Akhilesh Yadav is new CM.