‘Most Hindus and most Muslims are communal’

Even as his observation that “90% of Indians are fools” flatters the other 10%, Justice Markandey Katju, the retired judge of the Supreme Court turned chairman of the press council of India, offers a ten-point defence in the Indian Express.

Defence #9:

“Most Hindus are communal, and most Muslims are also communal.

“As I have repeatedly pointed out, they were not communal before 1857. Before 1857, Hindus used to celebrate Eid, and Muslims used to celebrate Holi and Diwali. Muslim rulers, like the nawab of Avadh, Tipu Sultan et al used to organise Ram Lila, give grants to Hindu temples, etc.

“It was after suppressing the Mutiny that the British decided that the only way to control India was by divide and rule. Hence a deliberate policy was laid down by the British to generate hatred between Hindus and Muslims.

“All communal riots started after 1857. The English collector would secretly call the local panditji, give him money, and ask him to start speaking against Muslims, and he would also call the local Maulvi secretly and give him money to speak against Hindus. This poison was systematically spread year after year, decade after decade, until it culminated in the Partition of 1947 .

“Even now, there are powerful vested interests promoting communal hatred. The truth is that 99 per cent people of all communities are good, but it will take a lot of time to remove the communal virus from our body politic. Today the situation is that whenever any bomb blasts take place, immediately Muslim individuals or groups are blamed for it.”

Read the full article: Ten ways of being foolish

Also read: Tipu Sultan and the truth about 3,000 Brahmins’

Are 90% of Indians “mentally backward”?

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27 Responses to “‘Most Hindus and most Muslims are communal’”

  1. Indu Ramesh Says:

    Is Justice Katju rewriting History/

  2. Anonymous Guy Says:

    Katju’s comments on present day India makes sense. But his harping back to the past does not. In that way he seems to be like the 90% (i.e. rest of us).

    Katju come up with the fantastic theory that Hindus and Muslims were not communal before 1857. Easy huh? Just blame the British for all our ills. Then blame the mysterious powerful few. If both Hindus and Muslims were so great, how is it we sold our souls to the British for a few pennies (according to Katju’s own theory)?

    Another thing:
    Katju’s uses some stray examples of ancient times to show how scientific our thinking was. Wasn’t it a primitive, repressive and warring society which produced the scientists and thinkers he talks about? What does he want us to do – revert back to those times where a handful had it good and the others were all slaves?

  3. Anand Baradi Says:

    From point nine of the article one thing is for sure , Mr Katju would have definitely read history books written by ether Romila thapar / R S sharma / Satish chandra

  4. Mysore Peshva Says:

    The most important demand of the All-India Muslim League led by Mohammed Ali Jinnah (its leader since 1936) was to create a new nation-state of Pakistan. It was first expressed in the Lahore Resolution of March 23, 1940, and not any earlier as Justice Katju seems to suggest. Within seven years, the colonial British had acquiesced to that demand — they quickly created Pakistan and left India!

    Not only was the demand for Pakistan just seven years old, it was also beset with two fundamental problems that should have prompted the British to nix it:

    (1) Justice Katju would be aware that Jinnah’s League did not include Muslims who supported the ostensibly non-communal Indian National Congress. In other words, the demand for Pakistan was far from unanimous among the Muslims.

    (2) An argument can be made that the Partition was based on a dubious claim of exclusiveness. Cultural anthropologists/historians have found that Islam came to India as early as the seventh century via Arab traders to Kerala more than 3,000 years after the Indus Valley civilization began – and some 1,300 years before the League demanded Partition. India’s Muslims obviously have cultural elements that significantly overlap with those of their compatriots. At present, South Asia contains nearly 390 million Muslims of whom some 180 million live in India, making India the largest ethnic Muslim nation outside of the Arabian Peninsula, and overall the second most populous Islamic nation after Indonesia. India, which also has about 960 million Hindus, and consistent with the inherently pluralistic Hindu ethos, has been constituted as a democratic and secular republic. To reject that sort of a society for Partition means Pakistan was founded upon not only a platform of rejection, but also a premise that any reconciliation with India would decimate its identity.

    I wish Katju had focused on the League’s tenuous seven-year demand, and its inherent futility, when he alluded to the Partition.

  5. Kumar Says:

    If Tippu was not communal, then why did he convert thousands of Hindus in the Malbar region?
    If Muslim rulers before 1857 were not communal, then why did Aurangajeb imposed Jizya on Hindus?
    Who killed the pious Guru Teg Bahadur and why?
    Who destroyed Ayodhya, Mathura, Kashi, Puri, Somanath, Pandarapur and numerous Hindu temples and why?

    If Muslims were not communal, then why did people like Shivaji, Chatrasal, Rana Pratap, Rana Sangram Sinh, Raja Ranjith Singh. Guru Govind Singh, etc had to wage war for years?

    The very roots of Semetic religions are communal in nature – they ask their followers to follow “Only” one book and one god; Not only that, they also call other gods as “false gods” and ask their followers to convert them into their religion by any means. This kind of intolerance towards other religions breeds communalism.

    Teach “tolerance” to followers of semetic religions and let their followers look at Hindu as their equal, then there will be no communalism in this world.

  6. asha Says:

    To believe that he was the supreme court judge is really baffling..Tippu Sultan and grants….that is some new history Katju is telling us….Tippu was one of the most rabid muslim rulers….ask the malabar hindus about him….he is definitely read the eminent historians of india

  7. Anil Says:

    Isn’t this guy known to make some of the most sensational-centric ridiculous comments on indians?

    The indian media seem to love him. He loves them back, A mutual relationship IMO.

  8. chidu22 Says:

    Mr Katju is leaving in a parallel world, so ignore him. However well his intentions are, the stories quoted are figment of his imagination. If muslims were good,look at what is happening in Pakistan which is nearly 100% muslim state. The law is abetting forceful conversion of hindus and christians. There, they are targetting the weaker sex of the minorties by abducting them, forcefully converting them thru marriage. This way they are preventing the propagation of minority community by removing the weaker sex from the equation. I don’t see anything different could have happened before the british occupied. In fact they prevented the extinction of hindu race under the muslim rule.
    So dont repeat the mistake of Gandhi/Nehru by appeasing the bigots, if you can’t speak the truth, don’t screw your own for your inflated sense of magnanimity.

  9. Gokulam 3rd Stage Says:

    He is probably speaking for himself as a Hindu, and may have experienced Muslim communalism as a Kashmiri pandit.

  10. Anil Says:

    Yesterday, M Katju was on CNN IBN saying that there is a need to regulate and monitor social media post singhvi sex tape

    Here is the interview:

  11. naija vishwa Says:

    “As I have repeatedly pointed out, they were not communal before 1857. Before 1857, Hindus used to celebrate Eid, and Muslims used to celebrate Holi and Diwali. Muslim rulers, like the nawab of Avadh, Tipu Sultan et al used to organise Ram Lila, give grants to Hindu temples, etc”

    Neither did anyone desire to celebrate Eid nor did anyone cry if Tipu and his ilk would not celebrate Ram Lila or deepavali. We did know to celebrate more festivals than Ram Lila and deepavali.

  12. harkol Says:

    Katju is unnecessarily given so much importance. He keeps making some non-sense statements, thinking he is the only intelligent person in the world. What is his definition of Communalism?

    Communalism began in 1857?

    What about the sword point conversions of Hindus by many Muslim kings? What about Kodava Revolts against Muslims? Malabar revolts?

    How about so many Hindu Kings before 1800s? Did they all have secular laws?

    How absurd it is for a man to think India today is more communal than before, when the reverse is true with secular laws and secular governance?

  13. Mysore Peshva Says:

    Good comments all.

    If the demand for Pakistan was really a short burst of foolish political rhetoric, well, then you should hear what Dominique Lapierre has to say about Jinnah’s health in 1947 — and Lord Mountbatten’s response.

    (Specifically, watch minutes 6.47 to 8.10).

    It seems that the Partition of India was not just sad, but also incredible.

  14. mohammad Says:

    INDIA has always been “SECULAR”. Each one defines Secularism in his / her own way to suit their own ego & argument. Literally or Practically, Secularism is with out favourism to any religion. 1.Constitution of India is secular ( Though Reservations are based on cast( so what is cast system ) & not Religion)
    2.Government functions are secular ( They need to have the ceremones before starting a thing)
    the list goes on. Religion is the chosen beleif of an individual not the one imposed by the king or ancestors.
    there would not be any so called communal rift as long as people become a follower of a particular religion by their own understanding & free will. the moment religion is acquired through lineage, all nonsense starts.
    please analyse this before posting reactive comments

  15. chidu22 Says:


    Is your faith by choice or by forceful conversion of your ancestors by rabid islamists? Can you analyse your own situation for the benefit of others here please.

  16. kalmanja Says:

    can you throw some light on your ancestry too?
    You might be reading all the gloss written in your history books about hindu rulers while Unthinkable atrocities commited when they attacked, what attrocities women endured or what was the state of lower caste subjects are mostly ignored by historians.Some of them will put modern day Taliban to shame. Rulers across the board are oppressors, so lets not go there.

  17. Gokulam 3rd Stage Says:

    90% of Indians are fools, and since Katju is talking about Hindus and Muslims in India, 90% of each of them are fools assuming the distribution of fools is uniform. Now he also says that “most” Hindus and Muslims are communal. How much is “most”? 51%? 60%? 90? How much overlap is there between the fools and the communalists? I suppose there could be a communal fool and a non communal fool, with the latter being only a tad less harmful. Of the non-fools, I wonder how many are communal because they would really be dangerous.

  18. EmptyMind Says:

    Historians are like deaf people who go on answering questions that no one has asked them -Leo Tolstoy
    This quote certainly fits to Katju and also his counter historian supporters.

  19. Anonymous Guy Says:

    chidu, Should I guess your caste/religion based on your comments and make snarky comments about your ancestors choices? How about analysing your own situation for the benefit of others before asking others?

  20. harkol Says:


    A ‘country’ in olden days was defined by the royal family which ruled it. The subjects had not much say in the matter. Geographies were traded like commodity thru treaties, purchases or wars (hostile takeover)! That isn’t much different today either. A country is an artificial edifice constructed on the basis of an ideology or initiative of a bunch of individuals (founding fathers), most of the time preceded by a lot of violence. The only difference now is said to be – individuals or families aren’t supposed to be as important – which is not the case at least in South Asia with new type of dynasties ruling roost.

    Coming to your point regarding atrocities committed. All nations forged through struggle or war had to go through attrocities. India & Pakistan were forged after unthinkable savagery. But, that has nothing to do with ‘secularism’. The question is how in peace time citizens were treated. The savagery of the men of the books (Islam, Catholics) are very well known. Their missionary zeal in spreading the religion took a violent path of conversions by swords. Check how the entire state of Kashmir was ethnically cleansed of Pandits under the rule of Sikandhar Butshikan, and later by Aurangzeb. Somthing like this was unparalleled in pre-islamic India.

    Hindu Kings too enforced religious discipline by way of law. But, Hinduism never had a concept of ‘conversions’. Even today there aren’t anyone who are proselytizing Hinduism. But, there are instances of violence against different sects – Shivites vs Vaishnavites etc.

    State of lower castes? I never understood this. If you check history – In southern India, for most of 2,000 years lower castes (Shudra) were the ruling class. If at all someone was discriminated it was the ‘outcastes’ (or caste less, untouchable SC/STs).

    If things were as bad as you make out, just think how so many Shudra kingdoms ruled south India – (Chola, Pandya, Chera, Vijayanagara, Hoysala, Chalukya etc.)?

  21. chidu22 Says:

    Anonymous Guy and others of your like,

    I am not here to speak politically correct or pretend like many of you including Mr Katju. The history of muslims in India is riddled with violence and brutality against so called non believers, my religion or death. It’s not any different in other parts of the world where they set their foot on. This is communalism. What Mr Mohammad is talking about faith by choice is contrary to how Islam is propagated through the ages. My comments are snarky because I am saying the uncomfortable truth.
    Coming to my ancestry, if you are presuming I am Hindu, I desist it as much, if you could provide evidence of forceful conversion. If you are referring to the ills in Hindu society ( also to answer Mr Kalmanja) of atrocities against shudras or sati system, I deplore them with same gusto.


    For reasons above, your attempt to balance the argument is flawed.

  22. Anil Says:

    Katju is sort of like the digvijay singh of indian judiciary

  23. Salman Says:

    I agree 100% with the article and any atrocities seen before 1857 was purely king versus king and was irrelevant to Hindu or Muslim. In Hindu kingdom there used to be Muslim ‘Commander in Chief’ and in the same manner in Muslim Kingdom there used to be Hindu Prime Minister.

  24. harkol Says:


    What you mentioned are not the example of secularism.

    secularism = An idea that rejects religion as a basis for any activity. That includes everyday life, law making, job appointments, trade etc.

    India was never secular. It is a bit more secular today, though isn’t as secular as some of the western nations who disregard religion totally in law making. India has separate civil laws. Wonder how’s that secular!

    In India, we confuse Secularism to tolerance. Tolerance is learning to live with other religions something without violently reacting. Secularism is the disregard for something – Not being affected by it in any way.

    You ‘tolerate’ a fly and ignore it. That doesn’t mean you aren’t annoyed by it. To be secular you should truly be un-concerned about it.

    The only true secular folk are the Atheists or Agnostics. Their tribe only increased in recent decades. Other semi-secular folk are the ones who follow religion without dogma, not mixing it in their everyday life.

    But, It is a myth that in olden days people lived happily with people of other religions. The religious indoctrination was very high in centuries passed by and folks were bothered and tried to stop other ideas/life styles.

  25. chidu22 Says:

    Harkol Sahebra,

    >You ‘tolerate’ a fly and ignore it. That doesn’t mean you aren’t annoyed by it.<<

    .. chalo helidre!

  26. harihara Says:

    Assuming that prior to 1857 hindoos and muslims respected each others” religion nay even participated in the acharas and that some paid pundit and moulvi brought in hate , the thing that is not understood is -were there no big people of the stature of Shri Kaatju at that time in both sides who could bring and enforce wisdom and harmony ??? Then again, at least now, after this great discovery, why can’t some biggies on both sides work with the masses on both sides and
    restore mutual respect repeat mutual respect of each others” faith instead of whimpering ???

  27. harihara Says:

    The learned Shri katju should try to see certain ground realities. This land and its people of spiritual ways of life from time immemorial is the only place on earth which has , is and will respect all religious paths and postulates monistic,dualistic, mixed or nihilistic all of which have been experienced and found utterance in the drishtaaras of this land . But there will be conflict if the postulates amd aacharas are patented, dogmatised forced or sold. As such if the modern concept of secularism has to thrive it is only in away of life which is vychaaric and not constrained by dogma. Patented religions will not allow modern secularism.Their allowing somne aacharaas is more of political management than genuine respect Even the much touted kashmeeriyat which is now gone was there only because of the openness and seeking nature ofpeople of this land and not because of dogmatists. He can now select what is natural and good for India

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