Thursday, May 16, 2002
CONTENTS OF THIS DISPATCH: 14 LETTERS
(SOME LETTERS TO THE EDITORS OF MAINSTREAM ENGLISH INDIAN NEWSPAPERS: ( FOR YOUR KIND ATTENTION, INFORMATION AND SUITABLE RESPONSE / FOLLOW-UP ACTION, IF ANY )
48.1 ----- Wednesday, May 01, 2002
A LETTER TO THE EDITOR
BJP leader Atal Behari Vajpayee has taken pains to correct the misconception about his ranting against Islam. He said again and again and even during the censure motion debate in Parliament, that there are two versions of Islam; one is for peace and another for jihad in the name of Islam. One wonders, why he cannot figure out the same duality in his own religion of Hinduism that stands for peace and the other version of militant Hindutva, to which unfortunately he and all his Sanghis belong. If the Godhra is a blot on Islam, then Gujarat mass murders and rapes too are a blot on Hinduism ----- though apparently not on Hindutva of the RSS version. By appearing to be fighting a survival battle with political opponent, he is never the less reiterating his militant Hindutva that has so much in common with militant Islam, as far as in human brutality is concerned. So he has no right to condemn militant Islam, as long as he himself is a devotee of the militant Hindutva. He may be appearing to win a political battle to save Narendra Modi, but he is losing the war for the soul of the nation. RSS is now fully exposed of its fascist ideology and the whole world has now witnessed its full bloom in blood red. Its 75-old year shroud of ultra-nationalism and pseudo-patriotism has got torned off its hideous apparition. Millions died in the West fighting the scourge of fascism. Heaven forbid this plague hits India with all its potential of death and destruction. If Vajpayeeji has left with any independent power of objective judgment, he should either retrace his steps or take sanyas.
48.2 -----Wednesday, May 01, 2002
A LETTER TO THE EDITOR
The choice of Uma Bharati by BJP to be the first speaker from their side to speak on the censure motion brought in the 13th Lok Sabha by opposition was a clear sign that BJP was not ready to give the debate any respectability. Her unparliamentary attack on Congress --- satta ke bagair inke bhookon marnay ke din agaye hain ----- 'without power Congress is on the verge of starvation'---- was more suited to neighbourhood water-tap fights, than the staid portal of national democracy. Uma Bharati disgraced our parliament.
By openly attacking Congress for its desperate struggle for power, for the loaves of office; she could hardly fight the impression that BJP too is fighting for its survival not for any noble cause of 'nationalism and patriotism', but for the corruption-ridden spoils of governance.
Thousands have met grisly death through mob attack in Gujarat. Congress had the 'good sense' to camouflage even its own complicity during communal riots, by never trying to defend the deaths in action/reaction terms. BJP's obstinacy and false bravado was like rubbing salt on the wounds. That enforces the impression, that BJP's attack on Muslims was a deliberate attempt to bring into play its long-held agenda of ‘ethnic cleaning' of minorities, especially Muslims and Christians.
Unfortunately for RSS and Sangh Parivar, neither the overwhelming majority of Indian people nor the international community is sympathetic to its fascist agenda and the 2000 Muslims deaths in Gujarat should be recognized as martyrs in the cause of India’s challenge to save its soul for democracy and secularism. In the event, Sangh Parivar will have to contend with 140 million Muslims, before it can claim any victories in subversion of India.
48.3 ----- Saturday, May 04, 2002
The Editor, The Times of India, Mumbai
This refers to P.M. Apte's letter: Minority Police (TOI, 4/5/2002) where he poses the question: Does he ( Former Chief Justice of India, M. A. Ahmadi) thinks that a police force with 12 percent Muslims will change the situation even marginally? The answer should be an emphatic yes. It is plain human nature that all criminal activities are always secret affairs and the moment there is a chance of possible exposure or failure of collusion, to that extent crime is contained. It is sadly again a 'pseudo-secular Congress' legacy that discriminated against Muslims getting entry into police and security agencies for over 40 years; thus covertly declaring the Muslim community as undependable. Professional jobs should have been openly available to all communities. A 30% pre-partition representation of Muslims in various services, to pummel down to less than 3% requires some very persistent and aggressive depletion strategies. Congress cannot escape its historical responsibility in rampant communal discrimination against Muslims. One hopes, under Sonia Gandhi, the new Congress could figure out the colossal scale of damage it has done to the secular fabric of our society, thus paving the way for communal extremists to grab power through such openings. With such a sordid record, how ironical is the fact that Congress had all the time posed as the very epitome of Indian secularism.
48. 4 ----- Saturday, May 04, 2002
A LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Supercop KPS Gill is blindly stepping into a very cleverly devised trap by BJP's central leadership to shield Gujarat's Chief Minister Narendra Modi from any further criticism for the continuing deterioration of law and order. Gill will become their convenient scapegoat. Police bias against Muslim minority had been provide beyond any doubt, when the details are coming about the ratios of Muslim dead in police firing during Gujarat riots, being much higher than the Hindu rioters. The mood of Muslims in refugee camps is desperate, but there is an imminent dread of retaliation by handful of more militant Muslims who, as per motivated reports, 'are now regrouping to wage guerrilla attacks on their tormentors'. Herein steps the Supercop to handle the dirty job of carrying on the rest of the 'ethnic cleansing', by branding all defensive actions by Muslims to ward off mob attacks, as terrorist act by the Muslim underworld. Besides, as a Hindustan Times editorial has correctly made out, Gill is bound to face difficulty in carrying out Narendra Modi's orders to keep his hands off from the 'patrons of the rioters in organisations like VHP and Bajrang Dal.'
Consequently, Mr. Gill is being recruited only to crack down further on Muslims, under one pretext or another. It is surprising, that even with the whole world now unanimously condemning BJP's pogrom of Gujarati Muslims, the hard-headed extremists in power both in the state as well as at the center, are not ready to call it a day and refrain from further violence. As if their hidden agenda is much more bloodshed, much more destruction. This time the honour for handling the slaughter of the innocents will be a Sikh and not a Hindu; a Gill and not a Modi or Jhadapia or Tagodia. But the pogrom will go on. It appears that Gujarat is not yet seen the last of the carnage, ---- not when the rioters have tasted human blood and have virtually turned man-eaters.
48.5 ----- Sunday, May 05, 2002
The Editor, The Sunday Times of India, Mumbai
This refers to Rashmee Ahmed's column: Eurovision (STOI, 5/5/2002). It is ironical that during the recent upsurge of far-right elements in political circles all across several important countries in Europe, at places like Burnley in UK, Indian Hindus are trying to ingratiate themselves with the protagonists of British National Party to distance themselves from other Asians ---namely Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Indian Muslims. Little do they realise the depth of hatred that Nazis harbour for the 'other' and such opportunist role of informants on 'the Siddiquis and Patels to lead the beer-bellied mobs on to the Khans', can never give them more than very temporary respite. If UK Hindus have got some back-handed boost from the temporary fortunes of Sangh Parivar brand of ultra-rights in India, they will be living in the fools' paradise to imagine that just by adopting some fascist ideology and methodology, they can join the skin-heads of world at large. Even the world's overwhelming negative response is enough to caution them. It will be more honourable for them to strive for an exemplary unity as Asians rather than resort to importing sub-continental divisions over to the international arena. They have more going for them if they could rise above traditional animosities and influence the peace moves from abroad that could restore the sub-continent to pride of place in the comity of the nations.
48.6 ----- Sunday, May 05, 2002
A LETTER TO THE EDITOR
BJP's rout in UP assembly election had triggered the Gujarat attacks on Muslims. For Sangh Parivar, the culprits for its debacle in UP elections, are the Muslim voters, who provide back-bones to other 'secular' parties and make it extremely difficult if not impossible for BJP to score its own majorities. However, in the aftermath of the much touted 72 hours, when BJP faced universal condemnation, it assumed that it was all orchestrated by Sonia's Congress party, which is now on a very fast comeback trail around in several states and therefore aggressively making moves to topple BJP in its only bastion, where it is on the helm of the affair on its own, for the last 15 years. BJP's all subsequent arrogant and aggressive justification of its governments role in Muslim pogrom, was directed more against Congress Party, than against the mass of public outcry that has now become the voice of the people; not only all over India, but all over the world. In its short-sighted vindictive focus on Congress politics, it is coming out with responses, that nobody in their right senses would expect from any self-respecting political party, not on the way to commit hara-kiri. George Fernandes attack on Congress's aggressive opposition move took the most heinous turn, when he lost all his cool and addressed the august Lok Sabha in a most reprehensible description of the crimes on women in Gujarat, even by hand-gesturing to depict the disembowelment and the throwing of the fetus, as nothing new in India, to justify Congress hue and cry. He could not make out, that such crimes are perennially abhorrent and cannot be so callously described and condoned as common affliction of Indian society. All BJP leaders, starting from Vajpayee to Modi, are so obsessed with their war on Congress Party, that they have completely lost sense of proportion and perspective in their arrogant statements both in the house and outside. All such blatantly imprudent statements will come to haunt them long, even when the memories of these terrible months of Gujarat mob attacks will dim out. And nobody can blame the opposition, if they keep the nation reminding of their arrogant posturing in the face of universal opprobrium for their apparent direct acts of commission or omission when over 2000 innocent Muslims lost their lives, Crores of their properties destroyed by mob arson, hundreds of them died in police firing, their women were prime target for rape, decapitation and death by fire. The tragedy of Gujarat cannot be disowned by BJP leaders so easily. They will have to pay the price, sooner or later.
48.8 ----- Monday, May 06, 2002
A LETTER TO THE EDITOR
When Texas Republican Congressman calls for ethnic cleansing of all Palestinians from the West Bank --- his argument is ---
"ARMEY: Most of the people who now populate Israel were transported from all over the world to that land and they made it their home. The Palestinians can do the same, and we're per--perfectly content to work with the Palestinians in doing that..."
He forgets that all such migration by international Zionists to British Administrated Palestine as well as the later formed Israel, was voluntary and not forced migration. To accommodate all such migrants, how can one force the existing resident to migrate to other places, be that even in the United States of America, the most preferred nation for Zionist migrants. In proposing such a forced ethnic cleansing, Congressman Armey is only following the Zionist line, where they want all Arab Palestinians to leave the land of their ancestors and go into exile. This is sheer racialism of the Nazi kind. The Arabs had no hand in persecution of Jews in Europe. They do sympathize with such victimized Jews as any human being with an awake conscience will naturally do. They may be even willing to share their homes and living with them, in a gesture of humanity. But when the victims are out to make their benefactors themselves as victims of their greed and avaricious land grab, the limits of cooperation and accommodation are reached.
Zionists have used every trick in the trade to drive Palestinians out of Palestine Proper. Palestinians are refugees in camps all over the Arab countries. They have full rights of return, same as the right of return claimed by Zionists in Israel.
If Congressman as US citizen is so sympathetic to Zionist cause, why can't he work to offer unlimited rights of migration to all Jews and Palestinians into the US itself, or better still, offer a Palestine State in Florida.
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful
CAIR ACTION ALERT #330
CONGRESSMAN CALLS FOR ETHNIC CLEANSING OF PALESTINIANS
Muslims urged to contact congressman to demands retraction, apology
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 5/2/2002) - CAIR is calling on all people of conscience to contact House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX) to demand that he retract his call for ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. Last night on MSNBC's "Hardball," host Chris Matthews had the following dialogue with Rep. Armey:
ARMEY: I'm content to have Israel grab the entire West Bank.
MATTHEWS: Well, where do you put the Palestinian state, in Norway? Once the Israelis take back the West Bank permanently and annex it, there's no place else for the Palestinians to have a state.
ARMEY: No, no, that's not--that's not at all true. There are many Arab
nations that have many hundreds of thousands of acres of land and--and soil
and property and opportunity to create a Palestinian state.
MATTHEWS: So you would transport--you would transport the Palestinians from Palestine to somewhere else and call it their state?
ARMEY: I would be perfectly content to have a homeland, just as--most of...
MATTHEWS: But not in Palestine?
ARMEY: Most of the people who now populate Israel were transported from all over the world to that land and they made it their home. The Palestinians
can do the same, and we're per--perfectly content to work with the
Palestinians in doing that...
MATTHEWS: Right, no. No, that's not the question and that's not your
answer. The question here is: What is the future of the Palestinians who
are fighting Israel right now? You say there future is somewhere besides
Palestine. That runs in the way of US policy going back to 1948. It
runs--it runs completely against the president's policy and every policy
I've heard a president take, which is that Israel has to give up its
settlements on the West Bank and give it back to the Arabs in exchange for
peace. You say the deal should be the Palestinians leave?
ARMEY: That's right...I happened to believe that the Palestinians should leave.
MATTHEWS: Have you ever told George Bush, the president from your home state of Texas, that you think the Palestinians should get up and go and
leave Palestine and that's the solution?
ARMEY: I'm probably telling him that right now.
MATTHEWS: Well, just to repeat, you believe that the Palestinians who are
now living on the West Bank should get out of there?
"It is beyond belief that Representative Armey would openly call for the
ethnic cleansing of the entire Muslim and Christian Palestinian population,
something that violates every norm of international law and human rights.
Even the most extreme Israelis are reluctant to publicly advocate such an
insane policy," said CAIR Governmental Affairs Director Jason Erb.
Erb demanded an immediate retraction and apology from Armey. He said CAIR has received many complaints about Armey's remarks.
IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUESTED: (As always, be POLITE.)
Contact Rep. Armey to ask that he retract his call for ethnic cleansing and
that he apologize for advocating a policy that would violate all norms of
international law and human rights.
CONTACT:(A personal call is best, followed by a fax, followed by an e-mail
message. Inform CAIR of what you are told, or how you are treated, by
Congressman Dick Armey
301 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-4326
TEL: (202) 225-7772 or 202-225-4000
Fax: (202) 226-8100
9901 East Valley Ranch Parkway, Suite 3050
Irving, TX 75063
TEL: (972) 556-2500
E-MAIL: Brian.Gunderson@mail.house.gov, firstname.lastname@example.org
COPY TO: email@example.com
- PLEASE ANNOUNCE, POST AND DISTRIBUTE - (
48.8 ----- Monday, May 06, 2002
The Editor Mid-Day/ Zaheer Merchant
This refers to Zaheer Merchant's article; 'the fanatics will rule Pakistan', ( Sunday Mid-day, 5/5/2002) which discusses in detail a report by Mumbai-based Think Tank, International Centre for Peace Initiatives (ICPI) on the future of Pakistan. The report is to be released coming May 12. The preview of the report does not appear to do any justice to its credibility, in as much as its forecasts appear to be without any logic and merely based on conjectures. It could have been more credible, if it was put out as astrological predictions on Pakistan's future. There is no justification for the forecast about President Pervez Musharraf's fall within one year ----or at worst, as the report seems to hedge, within the next three or three and half years. Granted the stakes are heavily against the President; but to select a time frame with some certainty has to have some convincing and clinching justification. Otherwise all such conjectures are merely kite-flying. The irony is that Mr. Merchant treats the prediction not only as 'brave' but even 'on sound backing'.
The general feeling is that the Presidential referendum and the selection of the coming Prime Minister is all a done deal, when Musharraf last visited Washington. The way President Musharraf has straight away presented himself at Imran Khan's Cancer Hospital, no sooner he touched the Pakistan soil on his return from visiting President Bush and presented him with a gift of US $500,000 for the hospital, even the post of Prime Minister seems to be all fixed in advance. All world media flake against the Pak referendum is to give an appearance of surrealism ----nothing more.
Similarly, the prediction of war with India, for money and water problem, is nothing short of being ridiculous, unless the ICPI is preparing some esoteric and spacious grounds for some future moves by India. This kind of amateurish attempt at convincing people to prepare for a war between the two neighbours can hardly be taken seriously by people at large. In comparison, Pramod Navalkar's short report on 'How prepared are we for war?'( Mid-day, 6/5/2002), is more realistic and scary.
The most one can concede is that the preview cannot be the last word on the coming report and any definitive comments on the report itself, should better await the IPCI report itself.
48.9 ----- Thursday, May 09, 2002
The Editor, The Free Press Journal, Mumbai.
'How many Muslim Congress MPs resigned during Babri Masjid?', asks Omar Abdulla, as per a PTI report (FPJ, May 9, 2002). The young Omar has yet to understand, that if Muslim MPs had resigned at that juncture, Congress would have got the message much faster and had not to suffer the ignominy of wandering in the wilderness all these years, once the Muslim voter, instead of its Congress MPs, had to give it the final resounding message in election after election. Unfortunately, the traumatic loss of power post-Babri Masjid demolition, has not yet taught any lessons to the die-hard old Machiavellian octogenarians of the GOP and they are again acting cocky, even though 'Dilli hunooz door ast'. Unless they unlearn the lessons of the golden monopoly years, they will not be able to survive in this age of coalition and compromises. Congress itself sowed the seeds of Gujarat pogrom long back, when it started shuffling its Hindu card and Muslim card in the old British style of 'Hindu Pani' and 'Muslim Pani' on railway platforms.
Omar Abdulla's charade of politically confronting BJP in Lok Sabha debate over Gujarat ethnic cleansing mob violence and then rejoining the NDA, was one of the most blatant act of public fraud and he should know that it will never wash where it is so crucially counts. He should look out for surprises at the coming polls in J&K.
48.10 ----- Thursday, May 9, 2002
' GUJARAT CARNAGE: LET THE TRUTH BE TOLD'
A point by point rebuttal to Mr. M. V. Kamath's article published in The Free Press Journal of May 9, 2002.
By Ghulam Muhammed
The truth as Mr. Kamath has laid out has other facets. Let that too become public.
# Mr. Kamath's contention that there would have been no Ahmedabad, if there had been no Godhra is the same repetition of Narendra Modi's action/reaction theory, that was officially backed by Prime Minister at Goa too. The theory had been thoroughly rejected as untenable as even a third party neutral the British Embassy officials report that got leaked out, held that even if there had not been any Godhra, Ahmedabad was bound to happen as it was so planned.
Even after two months, no official agency has come out with any definitive answers to Godhra riddle, except the Railway police report that confirms that there was no preplanning apparent in what ever happened in Godhra. Even some international observers too have confirmed that it was a spontaneous outrage. The most outrageous was the Prime Minister's rhetorical question in Goa: aag kisne lagaii?' As if that gives the BJP full legitimacy to unleash mob violence on the supposed culprit community as a form of collective punishment! Prime Minister's crude way of justifying the Ahmadabad carnage was most cruel and insensitive for any head of a democratic government, who finds no hesitation in legitimizing acts of wanton genocide on the flimsy basis of assumed guilt of a whole community. It was for the people of India to ask the Prime Minister the question, Aag kisne lagaii? Not for the Prime Minister to ask the people: Aag kisne lagaii. If he has no answers to the question till now, then he has failed as a Prime Minister.
The act of commission and omission after Godhra lies entirely with the established authority that is the Government of Gujarat, which could have seen to it that law and order in the state is maintained and the guilty in Godhra should have been brought to justice. Instead, it allowed a Gujarat Bandh next day, even though all Bandhs are rendered illegal by a Kerala High Court Judgment. In permitting the observance of Gujarat Bandh, Modi Government stands guilty of the contempt of the court and it is time, it should be hauled in the courts to answer for its major act of provocation that directly resulted in the mob violence and the death of over 2000 innocents, who were in no way connected with the Godhra carnage. Arson, murders, rape all followed with predictable management by organized groups.
Modi government failed in its constitutional duty of securing the lives and property of its citizens and is criminally involved in letting the organized mob take law into their own hands. Complicity of its official machinery in either encouraging or remaining criminally passive in the face of large scale looting, arson and mass murders and burning of Muslims in cities and villages.
With this legal position, Mr. Kamath has no ground left to justify Ahmadabad, even if Godhra has been proved to be a direct act of some Muslim criminals. The response of Modi government was patently ultra vires of all constitutional norms and was tantamount to an act of fascist Kangaroo justice meted out to an arbitrarily selected community, for crimes it has not committed.
# The provocation suffered by Godhra Muslims in tolerating daily sloganeering by Kar sevaks, deliberately instigating the Muslims of Godhra, in the wake of the nation-wide tension over VHP's campaign to forcefully starting the Temple construction at the disputed site, cannot be justified as reason enough for the criminals to have burnt the whole train-load of women and children. But this crime has to be addressed in a orderly legal manner, especially when the Gujarat Government itself was that of Sangh Parivar and Muslims had remained woefully unrepresented. One could understand the mob violence, when people had no recourse to legal rederessal; as is the common case of Muslim minority. But when the Modi Government was in office, the VHP and Bajrang Dal had no cause to take the law into their own hands, unless the whole carnage was preplanned with a predetermined set fascist agenda.
Mr. Kamath's rhetorical question: where is that slogan ----Bharat mata ki jai ---is to be shouted --- in Pakistan? cannot hide the mischief inherent in slogan shouting. His reference to Pakistan too is not without mischief. Hindus of course have as much right to raise the slogan: Bharat Mata ki Jai, as Muslims have a right to raise the slogan: Allahu Akbar. But if the underlining motive in raising such sectarian slogans is to create disharmony and discord, then this right cannot be allowed to be exercised without reservations. And there cannot be any discrimination in the exercise of such reservation.
# Mr. Kamath's comments that 'any connection being drawn between Godhra and Ayodhya is like adding insult to injury'. Godhra had direct connection with Ayodhya in as much as daily Sabarmati Express passing through Godhra had become a 'haloed' tradition to shout Bharat Mata Ki Jai, to provoke and harass passengers and stall-holders on the station. As per reports, the abduction of a girl into the compartment became the trigger point and people in the vicinity of tracks instantly flocked to the call for help to save the girl from rape as is general trend of youngsters in their over-confident mood with such religious jamborees. The resistance to release the girl invited harsher measures and later retaliations too. But it cannot be denied that Ayodhya series of incidents where Supreme Court disallowed even token pooja on the reserve site, had created tremendous tension all over India and more so in Gujarat and in the back drop of that tension, both the sloganeering as well as abduction of the young girl by 'Kar Sevak' occasioned the reprehensible criminal act of burning of humans beings. The brutality cannot be condoned by any reasoning what so ever; but it cannot be denied that the Ayodhya drama has vitiated the inter-community atmosphere to the boiling point. One cannot comment on Godhra without reference to incidents in Ayodhya.
Mr. Kamath's oft-repeated insistence that Muslims had better hand-over the Masjid site 'gracefully', as demanded by Sangh Parivar politicians, is an open fascist threat and not tenable in a democratic and secular country, except through proper legal procedures. Muslims have been most forthcoming by declaring that they will abide by court decisions; while BJP/VHP had been more keen in playing up the matter for electoral gains. Besides Muslims, all the people of India fully understand that Ayodhya is more a political gimmick. Even the sants in Ayodhya had threatened to throw the carved temple stone into 'gutter', if not taken away from their temple premises. That shows the 'Hindu' commitment to the Ram Jamanbhoomi temple and the depth of any sense of sanctity revolving around the much advertised 'national sentiment'.
Mr. Kamath should know that the Ram Janambhoomi project has been too over-stretched and has lost its earlier political windfall content. People have suffered while BJP and its storm-troopers tried to reap political power and perks of office. The common people have no sympathy with Sangh Parivar's sheniganians. If people had been with the Sangh Parivar, BJP would have suffered such resounding defeats in state after state recently.
# Mr. Kamath may have some legitimate grievance against 'secular extremists' having become the cause of 'spawning the Bajrang Dal and the Vishva Hindu Parishad'; but why should Muslims be targeted as convenient escape-goat. They have neither fished for political power to be threat to others; neither they have any such delusions. Why should the Sangh Parivar, instead of engaging the secular extremists, are after Muslim blood.
# Mr. Kamath has tried to compare the scenarios of 1984 riots in Delhi after Mrs. Gandhi was assassinated and the Ahmedabad carnage, to claim some credit for Narendra Modi having got the army within 2 days. Here again, Mr. Kamath is addressing wrong comparisons as Muslims had nothing to do with 1984 Sikh carnage. If it is a face-off between BJP and Congress; why should they both play their political games over the dead bodies of innocent Indians? Mr. Kamath is not even averse to contend that the body count in 1984 Sikh massacre was three times that of current Ahmedabad massacre. Mr. Kamath even cites the earlier Gujarat riots --- apparently alluding to Congress rule and in comparison seems to suggest that the dead count in Modi riots are mercifully less than earlier riots. There is limit to the cynicism associated with this kind of body counts. Still, Mr. Kamath fails to notice the difference, that no Congress government, though invariably acknowledged as the prime instigators of communal riots, had the audacity or foolishness to admit and justify the wanton murders, arson, rapes and clear-cut language of ethnic cleansing. Modi's arrogance is unsurpassed and can be cited as a reprehensible case of adding insult to injuries. With his kind of insolent attitude, to expect any forced scheme for relief and rehabilitation, makes any swift restoration of peace all the more unimaginable.
# Without giving any explanations, Mr. Kamath cited 'an impartial' writer, Bharat Wariawala's assertion that communal divide in Gujarat is more than anywhere else in the country. One hopes Mr. Kamath does not wish to justify and legitimise through this reference, Gujarat's Hindu-Muslim riots in the past and specially the current mass murders, rape and burning of corpses as well as live woman and children.
# It is presumptuous of Mr. Kamath to cite Press Council report of media fanning the fires of killings, loot and murder, and absolve the vernacular press from all such continued mischief. In fact the poison spread by vernacular press was much more deadly than English media can ever be capable of achieving, given the reach of Gujarati press. English media can not compete in reaching the grassroots and middle class readership spread of the majority of Gujarat's people all across towns and villages. To ignore the role of vernacular press, especially Sandesh and Gujarat Samachar and to single out mainstream English media and national TV channels does not hold up Mr. Kamath's objectivity specially as a senior journalist.
# Mr. Kamath is critical of all opposition parties who have 'cynically used the Ahmedabad riots for self-serving purposes' and as a way of catching minority (namely Muslim) votes. Mr. Kamath very conveniently ignores the fact, that it was BJP Chief Minister Narendra Modi himself, who was first to hint immediate assembly elections in Gujarat --- to reap the enraged feeling of the rioters in BJP's favour. Was this not a self-serving exercise? A big public hue and cry across the nation, forced both State as well as BJP's central leadership to declare postponement of assembly elections till normalcy is restored.
# Mr. Kamath laments the 6-day long wrangling in Lok Sabha, with huge financial losses to the national exchequer. Mr. Kamath fails to apportion any blame to BJP, who knowing full well its eventual strength on the floor of the lower house had deliberately chosen to confront the opposition, in a futile game of one-upmanship. The language used by BJP's speakers like Uma Bharati, who came out with the street-level sentence: satta ke bagair inki bhookon marne ki halat ho gai hay ( without power they are on the verge of starvation) cannot be termed as ideal parliamentary give and take. In fact, the choice of Uma Bharati, as the first speaker from treasury benches was meant to give a distinct purple colour to the whole debate. This too is not something to glorify and surely calls for public condemnation. Mr. Kamath conveniently absolves BJP on this count too, by concentrating only on opposition.
# Mr. Kamath has brought out a serious complaint that the 7000 tribals that attacked Muslims in Chotta-udepur areas of the Vadodra district, armed to the teeth, sought to massacre Muslims in Bodeli town ------ as they complained to have been long ill-treated by Muslim merchants and middle-men. So this time there is some legitimate grievance against Muslims, other than their being Muslims. It is now for Mr. Kamath to pronounce and justify the sentence for human exploitation, if any, if genocide should be the preferred solution. Would Mr. Kamath choose the same genocide punishment for the higher caste Hindus who have been traditionally exploiting the lower castes throughout thousands of years of Manu rule?
# Mr. Kamath has come out against the phrase 'Jihad', being now frequently used in Jammu and Kashmir. Can he deny that the phrase 'Dharam Yudh' more or less has same connotation in Hindu phraseology and the difference between both is just that Muslims are the current target group, while all violence by Hindu-named extremists who went of rampage in Gujarat, is not yet been so identified, targeted and vilified.
# Mr. Kamath comes down heavily on the 'secularists' for not highlighting the plight of Kashmiri Pandit families now in refugee camps in Delhi for over decade. He forgets that it is not the secularists but his own friends, the BJP that is at the helm of the central government since last 4 years. Why have they not taken up the matter in earnest to resettle them in Jammu and Kashmir? Or is it only in the blame game that Mr. Kamath and others in line with him thinking that they are more interested in. Why Mr. Kamath has not castigated the BJP led coalition government for neglecting the plight of Kashmiri Pandits. Besides, will Mr. Kamath recall the role of Mr. Jag Mohan, who was the main culprit in hastening the mass immigration of Kashmiri Pandits from the valley. He is now peacefully ensconced in the BJP fold and safely out of sight and out of minds of critics like Mr. Kamath. Why degrade the Kashmiri Pandits asking for words of sympathy for them, when you in the BJP administration can give them full rights of dignified living without anybody holding you back. Why lament the insensitivity of the 'secularists' when your own insensitivity is so glaringly exposed.
# Mr. Kamath notes that for the first time in Indian history, foreign intervention in India's affairs, when the European Union issues a 'demarche' against Delhi for violation of Human Rights. Mr. Kamath ignores the fact that Indian History is nothing but the saga of foreign interventions all throughout centuries. And the main factor that gives succor to such foreign intervention remains the same: division in our midst that shows up as opportunities for the foreigners to invite themselves into our affairs. Instead of crying foul over foreign interventions, India should strengthen its own position from within. It is we who are to be blamed for giving others the chance to intervene in our affairs. Besides, are we not ourselves engaged in foreign interventions, when we warn our neighbours Bangladesh over it Human Rights abuses and send over our own Brajesh Mishra to take up the matter with Bangladesh Prime Minister Khalida Zia? We cannot play this game of double standards with any degree of credibility. India is signatory to various international Human Rights conventions and therefore has no ground to make an issue of foreign intervention. Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh's use of grandstanding in the Parliament about India not ready to be spoken to in such matters had carried weight if our record had been clean. Under the circumstance, the high-fluting verbiage not only exposes our own empty rhetoric, but proves counterproductive as instigating more vocal responses from the world at large.
The most ironical position held by Mr. Kamath is when he comes down on sarcastically on Spain for having driven away all moors from entire Iberian peninsula, some centuries back.. This he wants to use as his justification for the current BJP agenda of 'ethnic cleansing' in Gujarat and elsewhere in India. He cannot figure out that one wrong cannot justify another wrong. He feels that Spain and Belgium, the later guilty of wholesale massacres in Congo, are under the impression that 'India has no sense of history or is short of memory'. Mr. Kamath hardly realizes that the trouble with India is that it is very selective in its sense of history as well as its choice of public memory.
# Mr. Kamath is optimistic about Hindu-Muslim patch-up, and hopeful that as after 25 years internecine wars, Lebanese Muslims and Christians have buried their animosities and now living peacefully side by side, so will Hindu Muslims in Gujarat as well as all over India. Muslims at the moment are not in a frame of mind to be as optimist as Mr. Kamath is; but there can be no two opinion, that except for criminals posing as politicians, the mass of Indian people are for peace between the communities.
# Mr. Kamath quotes from M.J. Akbar recently released book to prove that 160 million Muslims of India, are the only Muslims in world with guaranteed democratic rights. Not long if Narendra Modi, Ashok Singhal and Praveen Tagodia have their way and if people like Mr. Kamath go on supporting their militant Hindutva without any reservations. At least Mr. MJ Akbar has highlighted the last link if not the weakest link that holds Muslims and Hindus together in a united, pluralist India and the saving grace is that this fact is noted if not fully absorbed by Mr. Kamath.
48.11 ----- Saturday, May 11, 2002
The Editor, The Times of India, Mumbai
Coming in the wake of cries of triumphalism from Sangh Parivar's Tagodia and Singhal and Vajpayee's call for reference to Vivekananda’s version of Hinduism, Jag Mohan's blue-print for reforms in Hindu thoughts and practices ( TOI: 'Reform Hinduism, Grasp its Essence', 11/5/2002) appears as a stitch in time. The difference between thoughts and deeds have immensely distorted the image of the pristine Vedantic philosophy, which was deliberately mortgaged to a select caste hegemony in the first place, and has now more and more people ranging from thinkers to ordinary believers losing faith in the very spiritual magnetism of Hinduism's core message of unity in diversity. The damage to human society if not addressed promptly, will be immense and incalculable.
Jag Mohan's 3-tier concept of Hindu thoughts and practices is the best road map to initiate a sustained reform programme to bring the whole jumble of creeds and rituals into a contemporary mode of rational as well as spiritual comprehension. Swami Vivekananda had already hinted about a formula to amalgamate the universal truths from Hinduism and Islam. An ecumenical spirit to search for common truth would go a long way to bring peace to this beleaguered nation which is thirsting for healing touch and hopefully even the world at large.
48.12 ----- Monday, May 13, 2002
The Editor, The Hindu, Chennai
This refers to Prof. Tahir Mahmood's article: An alibi that isn't.(The Hindu, 10/5/2002). It is one of the great tragedies of recent times that a bogus and unsubstantiated propaganda-based anti-Muslim movement was triggered by a wholly misguided and misinformed interpretation of Shah Bano case, where facts got buried to such an extent that nobody has an open mind to analyze the real issues involved in this intricate set of power plays. The judiciary, the political parties, the Sangh Parivar and last but not the least, the great intellectual class of Left liberals had played their role in such a herd mentality compulsions that the truth got completely snowed over. Prof. Mahmood has come out belatedly in giving out the bare details of the issues and forces involved in the infamous Shah Bano case and one feels a beginning will be made by the Left liberals to shed their anti-Islamic and anti-ulemas inhibitions and adjust their priorities to focus on the bigger issues involved in the fight for secular space in India. The way they had been inadvertently strengthening the hands of Hindutva extremists right from the outset, by feeding them with anti-Islamic issues, cannot be ignored, as it is undoubtedly a sad chapter in liberalism's misguided exuberance to keep active and in shape without any sense of direction or wider perspectives involved.
48.14 ----- Monday, May 13, 2002
The Editor, Sunday Express
RE: EXPRESS YOUR VOICE
Long back in our school's Urdu text book: Urdu Adab, there was a lesson titled: The last lesson. It depicted how the entire population of a small village in Russia, ---- children, elderly, women, farmers, carpenters, mechanics, barber, cobbler --- all who have never ever attended a single day in school, came to the village school to join the last day last lesson of their beloved Russian mother language, as the German occupiers had given a deadline, after which all schools will teach only German.
When I read the interviews of Waheeda Rehman and Shaukat Azmi in Sunday Express (May 12, 2002) with headlines: 'It's time to speak up, show some grace and let go': Waheeda Rehman; 'Why can't my Muslim brothers give away land in Ayodhya, it will only end mayhem': Shuakat Kaifi Azmi; ------I felt as if without full realization, they have come to attend the last lesson, before the syllabus will change for a compulsory Hindutva course----God forbid. The irony is that both the worthies felt they owe it to their 'religion' to speak out.
GHULAM MUHAMMED, P.O.BOX: 16685, BANDRA WEST, MUMBAI -400 050.
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GHULAM MUHAMMED SIDDIQUI, MUMBAI, INDIA.