Markandey Katju at JNU

The following is the text of a speech delivered by Justice Markandey Katju, chairman of the Press Council of India, at Jawaharlal Nehru University on November 14, 2011.

On Corruption

We are also human beings, we too have temptations, and many people may not be able to resist that temptation. It all depends what values have been instilled into you by your parents, it's a big problem.  

On Property and Rea-lty

Do you have any idea what a three bed room flat in Greater Kailash would cost? It is about Rs. 5 Crores. I am a Supreme Court Judge can I do it? What to say of a house I cannot even buy a two room flat in Delhi on my salary even if I remain in service for a hundred years, I will not able to buy it. In my salary it will take 200 years to collect that much money. In the British rule, the British Collectors were paid say 2000 rupees a month in those days, which amounts to perhaps 5 Lakh Rupees per month today, and there were hardly any income tax. Within 10 years the British Collector could buy a house in London on his salary. So he did not have to be corrupt because he was paid so well he had no worry. Today I am worried, where I will go after retirement, how can I buy a flat, I do not have the money. 

Etiquettes and Garbage

My question is why people in India do not follow traffic rules? Is it the transition to industrialization or is it the lack of law enforcement or is there something intrinsic in your culture?

No, as I told you we are passing through a transitional period between feudal agricultural society and modern industrial society and we are somewhere in between. So a large section of our people are still not modern, they do not follow rules. For example, just take a simple thing, when I come to America, I stay with my daughter Vandana, my job which Vandana has given me, is everyday to take the garbage from the house and take it outside and put it in a huge garbage bin. In India you take the garbage and throw it out of the house, while traveling on a car we throw out the garbage and anything outside. In the West it is taught in childhood to a child that littering garbage is not proper, the value is put in you by your parents in childhood that this is not done. Garbage must be put it in the garbage bin. On the other hand, in India because people are still partly feudal and backward, not completely modern, therefore these values are not there, they will come after 10-20 years when we also become industrialized. But at present people just throw out the garbage, everywhere in India you will find a huge pile of rubbish, on every road you will find rubbish, people moving by the car just throw out the garbage, nobody cares, that mindset has to be created, that modern mind set, it is not created in one day it requires a whole era to create it. In London the whole Thames river upto the 19th century was full of sewage, people used to just dump the sewage there, today it is clean. So it will come when we will become totally modern, but today we are neither totally backward nor totally modern.  

On his Salary and Food

I mentioned that my salary is 2000 dollars a month. I get a lot of perks of course. My house is free, government accommodation and my car is free, electricity, water, servants etc. but cash in hand I get only 2000 dollars. After deducting income tax I get about One Lakh Rupees which is around 2000 dollars a month. Now my food is not a perk, I have to buy the food, my clothing is not a perk. I am a Kashmiri Pandit, solid non-vegetarians. In childhood I used to have meat both morning and night. Now I can afford it only once a week. Meat is so expensive and I cannot afford to eat it everyday even though I am a Supreme Court Judge.

 First published on the toi

photo source : thehindu

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