If Markandey Katju cared about brickbats and hatred, which he knew would follow his controversial tweets on Subhash Chandra Bose, he’d have stayed quiet. But he couldn’t care less.
We know that the retired Supreme Court Judge has a mind of his own. Once he makes his opinions public, he never backs down, not even when Times Now boss, Arnab Goswami, repeatedly implored justice Katju to apologise on television for his cold remarks. Even Arnab knew it was a wasted effort.
In fact, katju played reverse psychology and demanded apologies from Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s two nephews, who were debating and defending the legacy of Bose, for harassing him on national television!
That’s Markandey Katju, the quintessential maverick.
If there is no absolute clarity on a particular subject, there are bound to be differing theories floating around. Justice Katju had one too, but it bombed!
He says he believes Bose has been given undue credit. He says that the creator of the ‘Azad Hind Fauj’ (INA) was not a freedom fighter, but a Japanese stooge! That he was helping the Japanese imperial forces to replace the British, and enslave India.
While he certainly overstretched his opinion, no one knows for sure the actual fate of Netaji. There are no definitive records to define his role in the freedom movement, perhaps because he was mostly stationed in Japan and conducted his fight from there.
It is no secret that Bose was ill-treated in his own country by Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. Bose’ growing power and acceptance was a threat to their influence and he was, very cleverly, sidelined.
Katju says India did not achieve freedom because of the struggles of Gandhi and Bose, but primarily because after Germany invaded England in the Second World war, the British forces were stretched. Battling on multiple fronts was proving to be extremely taxing and loss of men and money was becoming difficult to handle. The East India Company was going into losses and suddenly, India made little sense to them.
Of course, Gandhi and Bose made significant contributions to the cause, but it would be factually wrong to attribute every victory to Bose and Gandhi. Had the World War not taken place, the Britishers would continued their reign for a much longer period.
While Bose may not really have been a Japanese stooge, he was definitely known to be close to the imperial forces. They trusted each other. According to Katju, the trust led to a pact between the two, where Japan would take over India from the British. Katju had to bear the brunt of the entire nation as it came crashing down on him. But Katju thrives under such circumstances.
While Katju could have toned down his tweet, and not used words like “a running dog”, it is also equally important to react rationally. Upon hearing the word dog, most of us pounced on him, without having any idea what it really meant.
It’s a Chinese expression, which means a lackey, a sidekick. It definitely sounds less humiliating than dog!
The Supreme court is a blessing in this country. It does not allow anyone, not even the Government or a large section of people, to intimidate an individual for his opinion. The Supreme Court has said Mr Katju, if he likes, can speak again on similar lines, no one can ever take away that right. But yes, the Court added, just like Justice Katju has a right to free speech, others also have a right to speak in criticism.
Of course, slandering is not allowed.