New Delhi: Former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju has stirred a new controversy by describing noted freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak as a 'British stooge'.
Katju was in the eye of storm recently for describing Mahatma Gandhi as a "British agent" and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose as a 'Japanese stooge'. Both the Houses of Parliament had condemned the former SC judge's remarks.
Writing in his blog 'Satyam Bruyat', Justice Katju describes Tilak as "an obscurantist, propagandist of militant Hinduism, and therefore objectively a British agent, like Gandhi, since his ideology, statements and actions furthered the British policy of divide and rule."
To buttress his argument, the former SC judge writes: "In 1894, he transformed household worship of the Hindu god Ganesh into a grand public event in many parts of Maharashtra. The festival organizers would urge Hindus to protect cows, and boycott participation in Muharram, which they had been doing for decades. Similarly, in 1895, he organized Shivaji festivals. Thus he injected religion into politics, like Gandhi, and thereby served the British policy of divide and rule."
He further writes: "When in 1891, the British introduced the Age of Consent Bill to raise the minimum age of marriage from 10 to 12 years, Tilak strongly opposed it, saying it is against Hinduism."
The former SC judge wrote: "When in late 1896 there was an epidemic of plague from Bombay to Pune, and the British authorities wanted to fumigate all houses to destroy the plague bacteria (sic), Tilak strongly opposed it as he said it would violate purdah of Hindu women. Tilak wrote obscurantist nonsensical theories like saying that the origin of Aryans was in the Arctic."
Katju writes: "After his 6 years in jail in Burma, he became an open British stooge, supporting recruitment for the British army in the First World War, supporting the Montague Chelmsford 'Reforms', 1919, etc."
"I have called him and Gandhi as objectively British agents, not subjectively. By the term 'objectively' I mean that he may not be getting any payment from the British, and may not even be conscious of the fact that he is serving British interests, but objectively his his deeds and statements served British interests."
The former SC judge admits: "I know I will again have to face a torrent of invectives, abuses and vituperations for expressing my views. But that does not matter. the truth must be told in the national interest."