OPINION: A call to Indian patriots

Patriotic Indians must develop and disseminate correct, scientific ideas among public

36-Port-officials-have-seized-dual-use-military-grade-items-shipped File image used for representation | Amey Mansabdar

One single thought must haunt, obsess, torment, agonise, harrow, harass and madden the minds of all Indian patriots (as it haunts mine) day and night, 24x7 (and by Indian, I mean Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, for we are really one nation, only temporarily and artificially divided by a British swindle in 1947, but are sure to reunite one day): how to transform our Indian subcontinent into a modern industrial giant, with our people enjoying a high standard of living? All other thoughts are irrelevant, superficial, minor or at best trivial or subsidiary issues.

We owe this transformation to our children, grandchildren, and succeeding generations, for without it they too will suffer terribly from massive poverty, unemployment, malnutrition, and lack of proper healthcare and good education, as our generation and our ancestors suffered from.

It must be clearly understood that such a transformation will not be easy. There are powerful forces, both national and international, which will oppose it tooth and nail, as their vested interests will be adversely affected by it. They fear that if India becomes a modern industrial giant, for which it has all the potential, having a huge pool of technical talent and immense natural resources, and with our cheap labour, we will undersell their goods, leading to collapse of their industries, throwing millions of their people out of employment.

Therefore our national interest directly conflicts with the interest of the developed countries. Our interest is to rapidly industrialise, while the latter's interest is to keep us semi-feudal, backward and weak.

Hence a mighty people's struggle led by patriotic, and selfless leaders will be needed to achieve India's transformation into a modern industrial giant. It cannot be achieved within the present constitutional system of parliamentary democracy.

Huge sacrifices will have to be made in this people's struggle, and 10 per cent of our population may perish in it, as historical experience shows.

After the success of the Chinese Revolution in 1949, an estimate was made by the Chinese government, and it was found that out of the approximately 500 million Chinese who lived before the start of the revolution in the 1920s, about 50 million perished in it. Similarly, of the approximately 40 million Vietnamese living in 1945, about 4 million were killed in the liberation wars against France and America which ended in 1975.

The struggle will be long drawn, arduous, and with many twists and turns, probably extending over 10 to 15 years, or even more. It will initially be an ideological struggle. Later, it will develop into a revolutionary struggle.

The current task for Indian patriots is to develop and disseminate correct, scientific ideas among the people. This mission will initially face fierce hostility, as most people are resistant to changing their orthodox beliefs. However, patriots must persevere in their mission, regardless of the dangers or the likelihood of not witnessing the fruits of their labour.

Transforming the mindset of a largely feudal population is a daunting task. Patriots undertaking this mission will face mockery, ridicule and even physical assaults. Changing deep-rooted feudal mindsets is significantly more challenging than altering the physical environment.

In this struggle, unity of our people is absolutely essential if we are to have success. Taking advantage of our tremendous diversity, our enemies, internal and external, always seek to divide us, as our British rulers did, on the basis of caste, religion, language or race. We must therefore expose such antinational elements, such as most of our present political leaders, who try to polarise society and incite caste, religious, lingual and racial hatred among us, for vote banks, and must safeguard and maintain our unity.

The real transformation of India can only begin after this heroic people's struggle is over, and an alternative political order is created under which India rapidly industrialises, and the standard of living of our people is steadily raised.

A storm is coming in India, and we must prepare for it. Till then, we must, paraphrasing the words of Winston Churchill, say to our countrymen: “Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duty, and so bear ourselves, that if the Indian nation lasts for a thousand years, men will still say, 'this was their finest hour'.

Justice Markandey Katju retired from the Supreme Court in 2011.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of THE WEEK.

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