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‘Juche’: Why is Twitter Comparing PM’s Speech to a N Korean Term?

Pronounced as ‘joo-chay’, it translates to ‘self-reliance’ and is the central philosophy that governs North Korea

Published
India
2 min read
‘Juche’ lies at heart of North Korean life and one that has granted complete legitimacy to the government of Kim Jong-Un, his father Kim Jong-Il and grandfather Kim Il Sung.
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Within minutes of Prime Minister Narendra Modi coming on air at 8 pm on Tuesday, 12 May, to address the nation, Twitter was buzzing with references to a North Korean term – ‘Juche’.

What has this oddly specific word from a faraway land got to with the PM’s speech?

Pronounced as ‘joo-chay’, it translates to ‘self-reliance’. It is the central guiding philosophy that governs all areas of North Korea's politics, economy, society, culture, and military affairs.

In other words, ‘Juche’, lies at heart of North Korean life and is one that has granted complete legitimacy to the government of Kim Jong-Un, his father Kim Jong-Il and grandfather Kim Il Sung.
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North Korean Roots

Vox, in an article of North Korea, says, “From its inception, Juche has meant more or less whatever the North Korean government needed it to mean.”

It adds that Juche is the “tool the state has used to convince” the country that Kim Jong-Un has found a wonder drug that can cure AIDS and Ebola virus and that his father invented the hamburger.

The phrase was developed by Kim’s grandfather and founder of North Korea and has been described as an eclectic blend of Marxism, Confucianism, Koran Nationalism, and Japanese Fascism.

Minutes after the PM’s speech concluded, Lok Sabha MP Mahua Moitra tweeted, “Listening to the Hon’ble PM. Is it just me or strong shades of North Korea’s Kim Jong-Il’s ‘Juche’?”

In Kim Il Sung’s now famous speech to party workers on 28 December 1955, the first supreme commander elaborated on the official ideology.

“The principal shortcomings in ideological work are the failure to delve deeply into all matters and the lack of Juche,” he said.

“What is Juche in our party’s ideological work?” he asked and went on to expand. “This, the Korean revolution, constitutes Juche in the ideological work of our Party. Therefore, all ideological work must be subordinated to the interests of the Korean revolution.”

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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