Katju’s dreary mirror

By Shamshad Ahmad Shamshad

How he is wrong on some fronts and yet right on some others

Justice Markandey Katju, a former judge of the Indian Supreme Court who also served as Chief Justice of three high courts and who is currently chairman of India’s statutory media regulatory body, the Press Council of India, has lately been in the news for his outspoken ‘words of wisdom’ on almost everything from the state of media to the failures of governments in India. Recently, at a seminar in New Delhi, he shocked his own people by telling them that at least 90 percent of them were “idiots”. On the same occasion, Katju also took a freaky shot on Pakistan by distorting our history as a nation and questioning the very creation of Pakistan.

He called Pakistan a “fake” country which according to him was created artificially by the Britishers through their “bogus Two-Nation Theory”. Katju also predicted that “in the next 15-20 years India and Pakistan would reunite”. If this outlandish statement had come from a traditional fanatic Indian mindset, one could just ignore it. But coming from a retired judge of India’s superior judiciary with distinguished lineage and family history, who was known for his non-communal moderate outlook, this was nothing but a barefaced assault on Pakistan’s raison d’être. Obviously, it was for the Indians to take him to task for calling them “idiots” but for us in Pakistan, it surely was our challenge to prove him wrong and repudiate his aberrant ‘reunification’ theory.

Since Katju made his statement in his capacity as Chairman, Press Council of India, one expected our media to at least show some sensitivity to his remarks about Pakistan. In particular, those newspapers which have traditionally claimed ‘nationalist’ credentials should have editorially demolished Katju’s ‘reunification’ illusions by challenging him on what he thought of our nationhood and about our country’s future. This never happened. I could not resist responding to Katju’s slur and wrote an article giving a dispassionate account of history to establish why Hindus and Muslims in the subcontinent, having lived together for centuries, remained poles apart eventually becoming two separate states in 1947.

Despite Jinnah’s efforts for Hindu-Muslim unity, the beginning of the 20th century saw a line being drawn, making it impossible for Hindus and Muslims to live together in India. What brought the simmering Muslim nationalism in the open was the character of the Congress rule in the Muslim minority provinces during 1937-39. The Congress policies in these provinces hurt Muslim susceptibilities leaving them with no doubt that in the Congress scheme of things, they could live only on sufferance of Hindus and as “second class” citizens. They were convinced that it was impossible to live in an undivided India after freedom from colonial rule because their interests would be completely suppressed.

In response to my article published in a major ultra-conservative newspaper, Katju sent me an e-mail message requesting for the e-mail address of that newspaper saying he wanted to respond to my article through a ‘rejoinder’. While sending him the requested e-mail address, I warned him that I was not sure if any newspaper in Pakistan, much less this particular one, will print anything questioning the very raison d’être of Pakistan. I was wrong. The esteemed paper published not only Katju’s bizarre “truth about Pakistan” devoting to it more than half of its op-ed page but also the text of my e-mail message that Katju had unethically and illegally shared with it in blatant breach of the privacy of the mail exchanged between two individuals. It was violation of the Code of Ethics followed by both the Press Councils of India and Pakistan.

In his article, Katju said that “Pakistan was doomed from its very inception”. According to him, “Created artificially by the British through their wicked policy of divide and rule and the bogus two-nation theory, Pakistan is bound to reunify with India.” He also distorted some of the historical facts. All said and done, Justice Katju’s article finding prominent space in a major Pakistani newspaper known for its ultra-conservative outlook and ideological ‘guardianship’ shocked the people of Pakistan. They couldn’t believe it. Even the Indians were surprised at this turn of the tide in Pakistan. The Indian Express (Pakistan all-praise for Markandey Katju, March 7) viewed this event worthy of special attention disclosing how the Pakistani “newspaper that had traditionally taken an anti-India stance surprisingly agreed to publish Katju’s article”.

According to The Indian Express, this decision came only because his daughter considered Katju’s article print worthy. She was quoted to have said: “I expected spirited feedback on it and haven’t been disappointed. My father knew I was publishing it and agreed. I’d be delighted to publish Katju again.” That sounded generous. One noted a dramatic change of direction in this paper’s known policy. Apparently, no one realised that there is one full clause in PCP’s Code of Ethics that forbids printing, publishing or disseminating any material, which may bring into contempt Pakistan or its people or tends to undermine its sovereignty or integrity as an independent country. It appeared to mark the end of an era. But the ‘Katju story’ did not end there.

My own read on the ‘feedback’ was disappointingly different. Pakistani readers paid no serious attention to Katju’s article. They just ignored it as yet another volley of a dogmatic if not rabid school of thought from across the border that never accepted Pakistan’s creation. From the Indian side, many knowledgeable comments were posted, mostly dismissive of Katju’s ‘reunification’ theory. One was, however, shocked at the unworthy and graceless language that some of the comments from across the border used for Pakistan and its founder, Mohammad Ali Jinnah. They crossed all limits of civility. It was by no means a ‘spirited’ feedback. It was just filth and vulgarity. No newspaper in the world would allow abuse of its space for such trash. I am sure even Justice Katju must have been ashamed of the profanity heaped on our Quaid.

Katju presented his aberrant ‘reunification’ theory without being disrespectful to anyone. That is perhaps the spirit of his ‘satyam bruyat’. Jinnah is one of those rare leaders who received some of the greatest tributes paid to any one in modern times, some of them even from those who held a diametrically opposed viewpoint. Katju’s own illustrious grandfather, Dr Kailash Nath Katju, one of India’s leading lawyers who participated in the country’s freedom movement, then serving as Governor of West Bengal, also paid glowing tribute to our Quaid describing him as “an outstanding figure of this century not only in India, but in the whole world”.

Our Quaid did not live long to personally steer Pakistan to be what he thought would be “one of the greatest nations of the world”. No doubt, we have had a chequered history after independence. But it has been a failure of governance, not of the nationhood. A Hindu fanatic has every reason to challenge Pakistan’s nationhood. But if a man of Katju’s non-communal outlook is drawing negative conclusions on our future, there is cause for us to look at ourselves to find what after all is wrong with us. No matter what Katju’s motives are, he has indeed shown us a mirror.

What if Katju’s mirror shows us a hazy picture? We see a mutilated and disjointed nation debilitating itself physically as well as spiritually. We also see a country looted and plundered by its own rulers, and left with no dignity and sovereign independence. We are not even ashamed of what we are doing to ourselves. Isn’t it time for us to change and behave like a nation? Isn’t it also time, our increasingly family concentrated media owned its national responsibility and played its role in defending Pakistan’s independent statehood?

The writer is former foreign secretary, Pakistan.

The Article was Forwarded to Blog Moderator for publishing.

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  • Wajahat Hussain  On March 25, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    I am seeing a tremdous anti Pakistan Propaganda being subtly put forward by Indian
    media and certain key figures. It is not Katju alone, Mr Tata has also been pretty vocal in recent interviews.
    It all seem to focus on the non reason for existance of Pakistan.

    We need to remind fellow Pakistanis that Pakistan was created for one purpose only. To provide
    sovereignty to Muslims of India. For we the Muslims of India while being Indian have fallen into the category
    of second class citizen on departure of the British. After having lived for 400 years as the first class citizen
    this status only will be a sour point in coexistence.

    India should be thankful for creation of Pakistan. If Pakistan had not been created there was every possibility
    of major blood shed as Muslims would invariably fall into the less desirable group for employment and opportunities.
    Much the same as what is occurring to day in India.

    If Mr. Katju wants to see a unification at any level. First he will have to clean up his back yard to fascilitate such
    and event to occur. With the pathetic condition of the Muslims poor in India, the idea has no future and should be dropped.

    A nation is not conquered by force alone. A nation has to be cajoled into camaraderie. I odnt see any sign of such love This for Pakistan demonstrated in India. There always was a rift and it will require concentrated effort to make such a unification work.

    Someone wrote in one of the published articles. Enviously describing Amabni brothers as fully capable of buying
    100% of Pakistan. Why would any one wish to do that when there is an opportunity for Ambani brothers to
    invest in industries in Pakistan and extract more profits from the strong hard working labour force that Pakistan has to offer.

    Syed W. Hussain

  • Usman Ahmed  On March 25, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    Pakistani did not react to the article of Mr Katju, considering it thoughts of a lunatic, person who cannot view the history in correct perspective but only through his prejudices. I wounder a person who has spent his whole life in a chamber of a judge, how can he be expected to understand the human beings living free in a country. This article has exposed his, prejudices and shallow personality and poor knowledge about the sub-continent and history. Many new countries have emerged in the world due to one or the other reason and they are existing happily with their neighboring countries.
    I have yet to find a leader like Muhammad Ali Jinnah who abides by the law and social norms by letter and spirit, yet to see an honest and truthful person like him. There is no leader at least in sub continent who possesses a character like him unlike others leaders who were gay and were cheating on their wives with other’s wives.
    Pakistan came into existence due to the lack of ability of Hindus to co-exist with others. Why would Pakistanis like to reunite with a poor country like India. Mr Katju may be a competent judge but he cant be expert on history, sociology and on international affairs. He needs to improve upon his shallow knowledge and stop poking his knows in other’s affairs which is quite unlawful and unethical not expected out of a justice.
    Pakistan is much better then India, it has survived the most difficult times it will survive in future INSHALLAH in a much better way. Confused and illogical ideas full of prejudices of a person like Mr. Katju will make hardly any impact on the minds of people of sub-continent. Terming 90 percent Indians as idiots is enough of evidence of his insanity and being out of mind.
    I fully support and appreciate the logical reply of Mr. Shamshad Ahmed ex Foreign Secretary of Pakistan, a right person to comment on the subject.

  • Khalid Rahim  On March 26, 2013 at 5:57 am

    Let alone the Indian vile propaganda the worst are the fifth columists from within us who have been outrightly attacking the Defense and Justice Institutions. Upto the last minute Mohammad Ali Jinnah hoped that Indian Congress leaders would come to terms by which the country could remain united and all members of different religion could live and work as equal humans. The Hindu mentality did not allow this, And unfortunately we today in Pakistan have developed the same mentality towards other religions. No external power can breakup Pakistan unless we ourselves want to break her into pieces like Yugoslavia.We as a nation must know the difference between PRINCIPALS and PRINCIPLES. ” Learn to serve your Principal/s without compromising on your Principles.”

  • idrees  On March 26, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    Indian nation has never been a nation except by coercion which was the rare case under Asoka, some of the Muslim sultans, and for part of the time in late 19th century under the British before independence. India has many nations and it represents only a temporary union, which through inertia is being kept presently together god politics. Katju must know lthat the Indian union is a temporary phenomenon. Pakistan is here to stay and to grow because Pakistan’s philosophy is different, whereas India’s is static, fissiparous.


  • Javed Chaudhry  On March 27, 2013 at 1:17 am

    Katju may have been meaning well by writing what he wrote in his article about Pakistan, but I disagree with him. I disagree with him not only on grounds of ideological differences but also because the reason for mayhem in Pakistan is not what he thinks – an attempt to create a theocratic state. It’s not the religion that deserves the blame but the lack of governance, the worst five years in the history of Pakistan in the hands of NRO puppets in Islamabad. And of course, not to overlook the inept and incompetent rulers, both civil and military, decade after decade since 1948. The religion is only being used as a weapon and an excuse. During the last five years, the useless PPP government has created a lawless environment making it easier for the foreign funded terrorists to establish and do whatever they want to do unchecked.

    There is a small cross-section of Pakistani population that has never accepted 1947 partition of India, but a reunification now, as Katju suggests, would be even a bigger mistake.

    Katju has not perhaps accounted for the foreign money that is pouring in to create Pakistan into a killing field only to cater for bigger objectives to accomplish the geo-political goals that the imperialists have through a civil war in Pakistan leading to its breakup. TTP in FATA , several rebellious Sardars in Balochistan and other groups are busy in Karachi and in other major centres to push the country to civil war footings.


  • Khan Zia  On March 28, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    We have a veritable fifth column operating inside Pakistan. Our media do not simply pander to foreign interest but actively promote the aims and objectives of powers whose intentions towards Pakistan are anything but sanguine.

    There is a concerted and determined effort to undermine the morale and faith of our people and make them lose hope. Distortion to the extent of re-inventing history is just one part of this campaign.

    Shamshad Sahib is fortunate his rebuttal of Mr. Katju was printed. The rest of us lesser mortals are assiduously ignored as will be evident from the following recent case in The Express Tribune.

    March 19, 2013

    “Sometimes people don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed.” Friedrich Nietzsche

    Jinnah’s Pakistan

    By Yaqoob Khan Bangash.

    (The author is professor of history at FC College)

    Over the past few days, I have regularly heard the refrain “This is not Jinnah’s Pakistan”. Even the people protesting the events at Badami Bagh, Lahore, carried banners yearning for “Jinnah’s Pakistan”. A few months ago, the MQM was also aiming to hold a referendum, asking people if they wanted the “Taliban’s Pakistan”, or “Jinnah’s Pakistan”. Often, people with a liberal bent in Pakistan quote Jinnah’s August 11, 1947 speech and want Pakistan to be modelled on the vision presented in it. But let me tell you the bitter truth: this is Jinnah’s Pakistan!

    Why? First, simply because except for the lone August 11 speech, there is nothing much in Jinnah’s utterances, which points towards a secular or even mildly religious state. The August 11, 1947 speech was a rare, only once presented, vision. No wonder then that the Government of Pakistan, through secretary general Chaudhry Mohammad Ali, initially censored the rather liberal parts of the speech. Certainly, this change of mind on Jinnah’s part was a shock for many in the Muslim League, especially since here was a person who, not so long ago, had promised Islamic rule! In his address to the Muslims of India on Eid in 1945, for example, Jinnah had noted: “Islam is not merely confined to the spiritual tenets and doctrines or rituals and ceremonies. It is a complete code regulating the whole Muslim society, every department of life, collective[ly] and individually”. Many such speeches can be quoted, which clearly indicated that Jinnah had promised a country based on Islamic principles — rather than secular ones — to the people. No surprise then that Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar pointed out in the debate over the Objectives Resolution in March 1949 that while Jinnah had made some promises to the minorities, he had also made some promises to the majority, and the introduction of an Islamic state was one of them. The debate over an Islamic system still continues.

    Secondly, Jinnah was quite clear that the Muslims of India were one compact community and that their sole representative was the Muslim League. Therefore, any dissension from the Muslim League mantle meant that non-Muslim League Muslims could not even call themselves Muslims, at least politically. The best example of this closed door policy was when Jinnah insisted that the Congress could not include a Muslim member in its list of ministers (even though Maulana Azad was its president) since only the Muslim League had the right to nominate Muslims to the interim government in 1946. Thus, one of the great Muslim scholars of the 20th century, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, (and others) were prevented from joining the government. With such a control over who is a “real” Muslim (though primarily political at this juncture), it was not inconceivable that such notions would continue after independence and soon permeate the religious realm — and this is exactly what has happened.

    Thirdly, Jinnah himself gave the example of undemocratic government. Not only did Jinnah preside over cabinet meetings (remember Pervez Musharraf?), one of his first acts after independence was to dismiss the popularly-elected government of Dr Khan Sahib in the then-NWFP on August 22, 1947. While it was a foregone conclusion that a League ministry would soon take over in the province, the manner in which the dismissal was done created precedence. Jinnah did not wait for the assembly itself to bring a motion of no confidence against the premier and nor did he call for new elections, both of which would have been clearly democratic and would have certainly brought in a Muslim League government. Instead, he simply got the Congress ministry dismissed and a Muslim League ministry installed — this procedural change was very significant at this early stage and set an example. Jinnah was also, extraordinarily, a minister in his own government, setting a clear precedence for future heads of state (followed by Ayub Khan, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Ziaul Haq and Musharraf) to be very comfortable being heads of state and ministers at the same time.

    Therefore, Jinnah’s Pakistan is an Islamic state, which defines who a Muslim is, excludes those Muslims it does not like and is not very democratic. Imagining it in any other way is living in a dreamland and refusing to accept the reality. However, this does not mean that Pakistan is unworkable. Pakistan might be saddled with issues of the past, but surely we can accept and solve them, if we want.

    Published in The Express Tribune, March 19th, 2013.


    Dear Sir,
    With respect the article Jinnah’s Pakistan by Professor Yaqoob Khan Bangash is full of fallacies. Jinnah never ordained any Constitution for Pakistan —- secular or theocratic. He went out of his way to stress on numerous occasions that the Constitution of Pakistan will be what the People of Pakistan will decide. He is also on record stating that he does not agree with theocratic rule. If, as a Muslim, he admired Islamic principles as indeed all of us do it did not mean that he favoured theocracy in Pakistan. There is a world of difference between admiring Islamic principles and supporting theocratic rule. The Lahore Resolution itself makes no reference to the rule of Sharia or an Islamic theocratic state.

    Jinnah had every right to claim that Muslim League represented all the Muslims of India. It had won every single Muslim seat in the Central Assembly from every corner of the sub-continent —- an event unparallelled in the annals of free elections anywhere to this day. It had polled 87% of the total votes that were cast as against 12% by various regional parties in different provinces and a miserable one per cent by Maulana Azad’s Congress. To know the truth about the Maulana’s Islamic religious credentials and standing in the Congress Party it would be well to refer to the book Reminiscences of the Nehru Age by Mr. Nehru’s secretary, O. V Mathai, in particular p. 152 and India Wins Errors by Raj Mohan Gandhi, the mahatama’s grandson.

    After independence both India and Pakistan accepted the 1935 India Act as their interim Constitution. This gave the Governor General certain powers, among these to chair the cabinet meetings. It also gave him constitutional authority to dismiss provincial governments. Dr. Khan Sahib had formed the government in then NWFP with the help of the Congress Party and had campaigned for the province to become a part of India. In the ensuing referendum, 99% of the people (289,000 vs. 2,900) voted to join Pakistan.

    There could hardly have been a greater repudiation of the Congress backed provincial government by the people. Any self-respecting government anywhere would have accepted the people’s verdict and resigned but not Dr. Khan Sahib. He and his cabinet absented themselves from the 14th August 1947 Pakistan flag raising ceremony by the Governor in Peshawar. His nephew, Yunas Khan, who was also secretary to Abdul Ghaffar Khan, moved to spend the rest of his life in India as his home and continued to pour vitriol against Pakistan.

    When Jinnah removed Dr. Khan’s government he not only acted constitutionally but in doing so also upheld the basic principle of democracy that any government must be representative of the people of the country and not hostile foreign interests.

    Sincerely, K. Hussan Zia
    The writer is author of Pakistan: Roots, Perspective and Genesis.

  • Tahir Sher Mohammad  On March 28, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    We are such a sick nation of sick people. Is everybody aware of the First Edition of Pakistan Air Force Book when it was RPAF (Royal Pakistan Air Force)? When Quaid was sick and was flown from Quetta by a Transportation Aircraft a British Squadron Leader wrote a log book:
    1) mentioned how many times oxygen had to be given to Quaid
    2) He was shocked that he could not land at the Drigh Road Air Base where the runway was blocked, and to save Quaid he was forced to fly the plane to the Mauri Pur Air Base (now called PAF Masroof). 3) Twice Quaid’s Ambulance stopped to breakdown, after wich he died.
    Please advise if my enemies are inside Pakistan or in India and Israel, should I love morons inside? Was it the same group that murdered Liaqat Ali Khan? Who murdered Madam Fatima Jinnah? The inside has to be the most pathetic Kafirs!

  • Jamil Mukhtar  On March 30, 2013 at 1:39 am

    There is nothing new for an Indian to concoct anything or everything, irrespective of his standing that he may enjoy, nationaly or internationally, to malign Pakistan and its founding leadership.They conceive a well thought out lie,project it with guile, distort historical facts to lend it support, and then repeat it so many times at so many fora, that it is ultimately perceived as a truth.Our misfortune is that we also start believing in it,what to say of trying to contradict it.A lot can be written on it.However, I would like to restrict myself to what Alastair Lamb has to say in his book “Incomplete Partition-The Genesis of the Kashmir Dispute 1947-1948” about the Two Nation concept and the Hindu character.
    Pages 3 & 4.
    In the event,a unitary solution proved impossible.Yet, miraculously, instead of instant fragmentation as some contemporary observers anticipated the post-1935 British Indian Empire was divided in 1947 into but two (in 1971, with the transformation of East Pakistan into Bangladesh, to become three) successor regimes.This outcome was achieved by substituting a bipartite communal classification, Muslim and non-Muslim (which last term, in practice, means Hindu) for all the multitude of possible local ethnic and linguistic criteria for separate statehood.The “Two Nation” scheme, which is usually seen as the realisation of the vision of M.A.Jinnah, preseved a great deal indeed of the political integrity of the ndian Subcontinent which had emerged under British rule: it is thus foolish , as many Indian politicians still do, to deride it.The alternative, it is more than probable, would have been a Gadarene rush towards “Balkanisation”.
    Had it not been for the Kashmir problem, it is not difficult to argue, the achievement of the “Two Nation” concept might well have been greater, the creation of the British Raj not so much of two new discrete Dominions as a pair of twin Dominions evolving towards each other instead of in increasingly separate directions. Kashmir guaranteed post-British inter-dominion hostility of a kind which could only produce the most baleful consequences.
    Mountbatten, before setting out on 17 June 1947, for a visit to the State of Jammu & kashmir, he asked Nehru for a memorandum on Kashmir, which was just ready before he left New Delhi.It is interesting that Nehru’s memorandum contained a number of statements which were untrue, and which Nehru knew to be untrue: for example, he told the Viceroy that
    the Maharaja is a Dogra Rajput and his army consists almost entirely of Dogra Rajputs. Kashmiris, whether Hindu or Muslim, are excluded from it. This was a common grievance among all Kashmiris.
    In view of the part that Muslim troops in the Jammu & Kashmir State Forces were to play in undermining Maharaja Sir Hari Singh’s position in October and November 1947, this was an extraordinary piece of misformation to feed to the Viceroy (Page 108).
    His chapter on “The Accession Crisis” is very illuminating.
    The most logical explanation is that which I have advanced earlier in this Chapter. The direct intervention in Kashmir required, atleast in the view of the Mountbatten, a prior Instrument of Accession. This was not to hand: it was necessary, therefore, to fabricate a set of circumstances which indicated that it indeed was (Page 175).
    It was also through a plethora of lies that created crisis in East Pakistan followed by a physical intervention that Indian leadership managed to dismember Pakistan. We also contributed through the incompetence of people at the helm of affairs and lust for power of some of out political leaders.It is high time that we wake up.Balochistan is the likely target.

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