At a seminar last week, one of the most senior judges in India courted controversy by suggesting that “90% of Indians were idiots” . But Justice Markandey Katju hadn’t bargained for the enthusiasm of a pair of “deeply hurt” law students in the audience to put their legal education into practice…
This morning it was reported that Tanaya Thakur and Aditya Thakur have initiated legal proceedings against the judge.
It’s heartwarming to know that there are special little snowflakes, fragile flowers, the Slackoisie, wherever young lawyers can be found.
“We are deeply hurt and humiliated by Justice Katju’s words,” said the duo, adding that the judge’s jibe “would depreciate the reputation of India and its citizens”.
Is Justice Katju right? Beats me, but then, I certainly have no basis to quibble. Regardless, the fact that his words are deeply hurtful and humiliating seems to be the issue, because reality doesn’t matter. Even young Indian lawyers are entitled to hear only words of warmth and support, lest their ears burn and self-esteem crumble.
American lawyers tend to think that this is just a local phenomenon, a by-product of our culture of giving every millennial a trophy for participating, where the child who came in last was merely the 37th winner. Nobody is a loser in America.
Apparently, not in India either.
One of the great unspoken fears of new lawyers here is that while they whine about the misery of their unemployed lives, the lack of recognition of their brilliance or appreciation of their total awesomeness, even the crap legal jobs are being shipped overseas to foreign lawyers. It’s not that they want these jobs. They don’t. But when they get hungry enough, they would take them begrudingly.
The belief is that while the work is beneath the dignity of our newest colleagues, there are millions of young lawyers in India who are thrilled to have the work and will work awfully hard to do the best job possible. Unlike our little darlings, Indian lawyers are happy to labor long and hard, put in their best efforts and would never be so sensitive as cry when their self-esteem is bruised.
Good news! It’s just a myth. They, or at least some of them just as it’s only some of our own who share their entitlement, are just as whiny.
The bad news is that this doesn’t mean they won’t work for a pittance compared to what young American lawyers need to service their debt or the price of a bag of Cheetos. Or that they won’t take the responsibilities seriously and perform the work with vigor and diligence. But at least they demand the same validation as do our own.
This, of course, presents a grand opportunity for young lawyers here, now that we know their counterparts in Bangalore are prepared to sue if they don’t get a red balloon. Fill the gap. As lawyers in other countries become more like us, become less like us and embrace the work ethic, the quest for excellence, that comes with winning the race rather than demanding a trophy for being the 37th winner.
And don’t sue anybody because they hurt your feelings.