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The coming Great Turbulence

By Justice Markandey Katju

On New Year’s Eve I wish I could wish Happy New Year to people, but I regret I cannot as I just cannot be a hypocrite.

The truth is that from this year India is going to enter into an era of what can be called the Great Turbulence, which in my estimate will last for 15-20 years, and in which crores of Indians will perish or suffer terribly. Let me explain.


India had a period of great turbulence from 1707 when the last strong Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb died, to 1857 when after suppressing the Mutiny the British consolidated their rule over India.,

But from 1857 till now it had relative peace and stability. Of course we had Partition violence in 1947, wars with China and Pakistan, etc but these were of short durations, and nothing compared to what horrors China went through from 1839 ( the Opium War ) to 1949 when the Communists came to power. During this interval China went from the Taiping Rebellion (1850-64) to ultimately the victory of the Red Army under Mao Tse Tung in 1949. Thereafter China has had a period of relative peace and stability.

In contrast, after the period of relative peace and stability in India from 1857 till now, we are going to now enter a period of tremendous turmoil and violence, which I call The Great Turbulence, which may last for 2 decades. It will be like the period of the later Mughals (1707-1857).

But if we industrialise we will become a big industrial rival for the industrialised countries. Will they permit this? So the unwritten rule of the industrialised nations is : do not let India industrialise any further. For doing this, instigate caste, communal and other kinds of strife

The catalyst for this is going to be the coming Lok Sabha elections in which no holds will be barred, as it is a fight for the Delhi Sultanate, and a study of Indian history reveals that rivers of blood have flown in these. Communal and caste violence will be unleashed on a massive scale and every dirty trick resorted to. My own guess is that no party will get anywhere near a majority in this election, and a coalition govt will be formed, with regional leaders as the kingmakers. But apart from the above, we may look at things from a larger perspective

Today India has all that is required to become a modern, highly industrialised nation with its people enjoying a high standard of living. We have a huge pool of technical talent ( our IT engineers are largely manning Silicon Valley, and Indian Professors are in Maths, Science and Engineering Departments in many American and European Universities ), and we have immense natural resources.

Yet despite this we have massive poverty, unemployment, child malnourishment, farmers’ suicides, almost total lack of healthcare and good education for our masses, etc.

India is passing through a transitional period in our history, transition from feudal agricultural to modern industrial society. Presently we are neither totally feudal nor totally industrial but somewhere in between.

India is presently going through this fire. We are going through a very painful period in our history (which I guess will last for another 15-20 years). For after all what is a transition? It is a period when the old society is being uprooted and torn apart, when old values are being challenged, but a new society and new values have not yet been established. Can this be accomplished without pain and turbulence? Certainly not.

Our national aim must be to create a new social and political order in which all our people get decent lives and enjoy a high standard of living. That is only possible if we have a high degree and widespread industrialisation.

But if we industrialise we will become a big industrial rival for the industrialised countries. Will they permit this?

Cost of labour is a big chunk of the total cost of production, and so if the cost of labour is less the cost of production is less, and consequently one can sell at a cheaper price and undersell his business rival.

Indian labour is even cheaper than Chinese labour. So if we get fully industrialised we will undersell the whole world, even the Chinese. Who then will buy their costly goods when the same quality Indian goods will sell at one third the price?

So the unwritten rule of the industrialised nations is: do not let India industrialise any further. For doing this, instigate caste, communal and other kinds of strife.

But our aim must be to become a highly industrialised country, for only then can we get rid of poverty, unemployment and our other social evils.

This conflict between our national goal and the effort of the industrialised countries (to prevent further Indian industrialisation) will be another cause for the coming period of Great Turbulence.

Some people tell me I should not scare them. But if the truth scares you that is your problem. It will not cease to be the truth.

During this Great Turbulence (as I call it) some genuinely patriotic and modern minded leaders will emerge who will lead our people towards our national goal of creating a prosperous highly industrialised nation with its people enjoying a high standard of living. But before that is achieved great sacrifices will be required, and great pain endured