Tag Archives: The Hindu

The curious case of Katju!

Accept it or not. Like it or dislike it. Justice Markandey Katju will end his term as the most controversial and outspoken Press Council of India Chairman. His single comment on an issue gives a lot of food for thought and airtime to television news channels who inadvertently say, “Today India is hearing. The people of India needs an answer!” Sigh! Even Ekta Kapoor’s serials were less dramatic!

Sometimes, I wonder that is every and any kind of publicity really the best publicity? Well, the likes of Rakhi Sawant, Sherlyn Chopra, Poonam Pandey might now see a lot of people joining their bandwagon driving the media persons around them. Latest yet unnoticed entry is Mr. Katju. First of all, I respect Mr. Katju a lot. He has shown the guts to come and speak in public sphere time and again against ill-practices in states against media and the wrongdoings by media itself.

ImagePic: Retired Supreme Court of India Justice Markandey Katju

But, some of his statements have been perplexing. The latest jaw-dropping statement made by the Retired Supreme Court Judge is that, “Pakistan is a fake country, and one day it will reunite with India along with Bangladesh.” At a time when both the neighbor countries are disturbed internally and India’s foreign policy has taken a beating, such statements won’t amuse many.

He may confuse you with his words many a times. When he sees that he is in danger then he says that he has made that particular statement as a citizen of India, and when he sees that he has to take decision, he asserts his authority as a retired judge. Swapping roles fast, eh?  

He further goes on to say, “A fake country was created in the name of Pakistan. It is an artificially created entity by the British to make Hindus and Muslims keep fighting with each other, to stop India from becoming a powerful industrialized nation,” he said, answering questions after a symposium on ‘Reporting Terror: How Sensitive is the media?’ on 07 April 2013.

I am not against his statement but I do not like the timing as well as the free publicity element behind it. Without digressing from the subject, I would say that unless the politicians stop mixing their profession with religion and avoid from calling for caste based voting, there shall not be any solution or occurrence of merger between countries.

Once he said, “Ninety per cent of Indians are idiots. You people don’t have brains in your heads.” Subsequently, a PIL was filed against him and he eventually said sorry.

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If that wasn’t enough, read his one more remarkable statement! On September 3, Justice Katju had written an article in The Hindu, in which he, inter alia, went on to say:

“The level of intellect of many teachers is low, because many of them have not been appointed on merit but on extraneous considerations. To give an example, when I was a judge of Allahabad High Court I had a case relating to a service matter of a mathematics lecturer in a university in Uttar Pradesh.

Since the teacher was present in court I asked him how much one divided by zero is equal to.

He replied, Infinity.

I told him that his answer was incorrect, and it was evident that he was not even fit to be a teacher in an intermediate college. I wondered how had he become a university lecturer.”

Justice Katju claims that anything divided by zero is indeterminate. He is wrong and the lecturer was right because any non-zero number divided by zero is infinity. It is zero divided by zero that is indeterminate.

While one can understand the plight of the poor lecturer who did not have the courage to correct the judge hearing his case, I am appalled at the timidity of “some of the top senior academicians” of Jawaharlal Nehru University, to whom Justice Katju narrated the incident.

Well there a many startling statement made by him, but they cannot be put in here.By the way another one was, when he said that, “Sanjay Dutt should be pardoned because he was part of Munnabhai film, spreading Mahatma Gandhi’s ideologies…” And the list goes on.

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Conquering the odds

What Americans couldn’t solve for over 30 years, a poor man from North Lakhimpur, Assam did in a matter of 2 years! He came up with a pomegranate de-seeding machine which separated the outer cover and thin inner membrane without damaging the seeds. The marvelous innovation has a capacity of de-seeding 50-55 kg of pomegranate fruits per hour!

What’s remarkable to note is that this 47 year-old man was only four years old when he realized that his family had inched towards acute poverty. I got to know about him, while researching for story ideas during my internship days at The Hindu newspaper. 

He was labelled as ‘insane’ by his family for his desire to invent things, and today he has been shortlisted by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for their prestigious Technology Award.

ImagePic: Uddhab Bharali with his pomegranate de-seeder

Another breakthrough by him was the Mini CTC tea plant, which aimed to help small time tea-pluckers and farmers. Tea-pluckers, who earlier received Rs. 9/kg for the tea crop, are now getting upto Rs. 20/kg through this plant.

Its heart rendering to see that there exist people in our society, who are ready to do something for the other members of the populace. 

As of now, he is planning to make toilets for the handicapped. Handicapped people are dependent on others for their daily activities. But, this toilet-chair will run without power and will take care of the dressing, usage and flushing automatically.

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Pic: The toilet chair for the handicapped prototype

During our discourse, he mentioned how teachers would make him stand-out of the class for asking difficult questions. How interesting is that? True to its meaning, this out-stander did an outstanding job.

German Philosopher, Immanuel Kant had once said, “We are not rich by what we possess, but, by what we can do without.” Probably, Bharali lives up to his words.

As we neared an end to our conversation, he said something, which struck my heart. He said “I want parents to raise their kids as human beings first, and as engineers and doctors later. A child must know the working of the fan or construction of the desk, he is sitting on. By theory he’ll get no practical knowledge, and would only sit in air-conditioned rooms, serving nothing to the nation.”

So is he another Benjamin Franklin in making? Or maybe he is finding his own niche. Let’s hope for the best.