Notwithstanding the brouhaha over his comments on the idiots and ignoramuses of the media, about which plenty has been said, the former Supreme Court judge Justice Markandey Katju has been singing the same song in interaction after public interaction.
Namely, that besides the media, there is something wrong with “We, the People of India”. In other words, there is something wanting in not just those who deliver the message but also those who receive it.
He mentioned it first in his TV interview with Karan Thapar on October 30:
“You know, 90% of the people in the country are mentally very backward, steeped in casteism, communalism, superstition and so on.”
He repeated it in his published comments on the role of media on November 5:
“It is true that the intellectual level of the vast majority of Indians is very low, they are steeped in casteism, communalism, and superstitions.”
He said it in his talk ‘What is India?’ at Jawaharlal Nehru University on November 14:
“Unfortunately, the intellectual level of a majority of our countrymen is very low.”
And he has again put his first comment on record in his clarification on November 15:
“I stated that in my opinion the majority of media people are of a poor intellectual level.”
Mentally very backward. Intellectual level is very low. Poor intellectual level.
Is Justice Markandey Katju correct in his surmise? Despite all our civilisational claims of our wisdom, is the “intellectual level” of a majority of Indians low? What is the barometer? Does our “mental backwardness” get reflected only in our casteism, communalism and superstition? Is it as high as 90 per cent?
Or is the learned judge, a Brahmin from Kashmir, talking down to the rest of his countrymen and women in a derisive sort of way, which “We, the People” would not be wrong to take offence at?