Justice Katju at AMU
Addressing a huge gathering at the Kennedy Auditorium organized by the Aligarh Muslim University Chapter of the Progressive Writers’ Association, the Chairman of the Press Council of India, Mr. Justice Markandey Katju asserted that in 1857, there was almost zero percent communalism in the country while today 80% of both Hindus and Muslims had fallen prey to the devil’s designs.
Quoting extensively from historical documents, Katju said, “There is a plethora of documentary evidence available including correspondence between different Viceroys and British government, which makes it clear that history books were deliberately doctored by the British rulers to spawn communalism in India”.
Katju said, “India’s steep decline on the tragic path of communalism can be reversed and the country can become one of the greatest industrial powers in the world if the educated Indians accept the challenge of demolishing the demon of communalism from the country. India can only thrive and become strong if the edifice of secularism becomes the cornerstone in the everyday life of the common man”.
He said that it might take a few decades for the people to grasp the full reality of the roots of Hindu-Muslim conflict which was engineered by the British as a deliberate state policy for maintaining the British hold over India”.
Making a point, Justice Katju declared that the real tragedy was that while the British sowed the seeds of discords in hearts and minds of the people, after independence agent provocateurs were continuing this nefarious policy. He said that he had no hesitation to state that politicians had played a major role in spreading this poison deeper for serving their own vote bank politics.
Referring to the ongoing battle against terror in the Indian Subcontinent, Katju said that there was ample evidence to suggest that whenever incidents of terror took place in India, very frequently innocent Muslim youth were randomly picked up by the security forces. This is not only unjust but also helps the actual perpetrators of such heinous crimes from escaping the clutches of the law. He said that on every terror incident, the police was under pressure to nab the culprits at the earliest and the easiest way out was to implicate innocent persons to ease the pressure.
Katju said that there were historic evidences suggesting the thesis that India is overwhelmingly a country of immigrants with their own cultural, social and religious legacies and 90% of the Indian population comprised of people who migrated to India from different parts of the world over the centuries in search of the green pastures of this beautiful fertile country and a comfortable living. The ten percent original residents of India are the pre-Dravidian tribal who have now been pushed into the sidelines.
Katju said that the problem of communalism in India was artificial created by some mischievous elements. He appealed the youth of the country to fight against communalism. He said that intellectuals are the eyes of society.
Delivering his presidential remarks, the Vice Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University, Retired Lt. General Zameer Uddin Shah assured that the AMU community was fully committed to the cause of promoting secularism in India and would never bow to the divisive forces of communalism and regionalism. Shah said that Muslims often fell prey to discrimination but the only way out for them to ensure that they are able to play their due role as equal citizens was to empower themselves through the weapon of education.
Shah said that if Muslim youth are not ready to wallow in ignorance and illiteracy, then there is no force which can stop their journey ahead.
Earlier, welcoming the guests, the Convener of the programme, Dr. Mohd. Asim Siddiqui said that the Aligarh Chapter of Progressive Writers’ Association had organized the seminar to mark the birth centenary of Manto, Majaz, Faiz and Nagarjun. He said that the great poet Ghalib and Sir Syed Ahmad Khan also were progressive in their approach.
Dr. Tasadduq Husain said that Progressive Writers’ Association was established in 1936 in Lucknow and was revived in 1990. He said that progressive writers have touched most the subjects like India’s division and communalism. He said that Rasheed Jahan was Aligarh’s first progressive writer.
Dr. Ved Prakash proposed the vote of thanks. An interactive session was also held at the end of the Seminar.