Tuesday, January 07, 2003
DISPATCH - 65
65.1 ----- Tuesday, December 17, 2002
A LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Speaking on the occasion of a victory meeting of the BJP bigwigs, Prime Minister Atal Behari appeared to be magnanimous in BJP's finest hour, and tried to sooth the ruffled feathers of the opposition as well as the minorities. He said, election is over and the chapter is closed. BJP with a 2/3rd majority will start anew its good-governance agenda for Gujarat.
However, Prime Minister could not resist the temptation of responding to the widespread apprehension in India and even abroad, if as Ashok Singhal has so very emphatically declared, that the Gujarat experiment will be replicated all over the country.
Prime Minister tried to reply by posing another question: will 'they' repeat Godhra? The short response repeats the old Narendra Modi mantra of action-reaction sequence, which seems to have stuck with the Prime Minister as much as the rank and file of his party. He had repeated the same Modi Mantra of action-reaction in Goa too.
Prime Minister should realize that there is no irrefutable proof that 'Muslims' have committed Godhra and even if some criminals purporting to be "Muslims' have committed a terrorist act on the ill-fated Godhra train, how his legal position as Prime Minister can so routinely justify the Gujarat mass murders. Prime Minister has not bothered to even deny that Gujarat Government is anyway by any act of commission or omission is involved in the widespread communal riots. By implication, Prime Minister appears to accept that the Gujarat communal riots did take place and he continues to hold that it was natural and therefore justifiable pogrom against Muslims for the Godhra burning of 60 odd Hindus.
There are any number of political pundits, who find it difficult to accept that Godhra was not a organised incident by vested political interests in a criminal conspiracy. As in any murder enquiry, the benefit accruing to suspect becomes very crucial and thus the victorious BJP cannot avoid the finger of suspicion just by blustering.
A legally correct action by a democratic government would have instituted a speedy enquiry, arrested all culprits and send them on to their just punishment. Instead, elements closely aligned with BJP government and VHP are most openly flaunting their subversion of law and order and taking out Gaurav Yatra for the orgy of blood and gore.
How can the highest constituted authority in the land, could so casually justify massacre of thousand men, women and children as in a manner of 'understandable, though regrettable'. How can he reconcile his stand with his solemn oath of office of the Prime Ministership?
The least he could do is to bring all culprits of Godhra and Gujarat murders to book in a determined public commitment to see that both such gory incident are not left unsolved and unpunished. That is his Raj Dharma.(#4045)
65.2 ----- Wednesday, December 18, 2002
The Times of India, Mumbai < firstname.lastname@example.org >
This refers to your editorial: Uncorked Genie (TOI, 17/12/2002). There is more to the call of the Imam of Jama Masjid than what public perceives. According to a report published in the Urdu daily, Hindustan, Mumbai, it is the BJP's dirty tricks department that had organised the whole charade for spreading false panic reaction in Hindu voters. According to the report, there is widespread belief in Ahmedabad that the newly formed All India Ulema Council in Ahmedabad was formed on the combined initiative of Keshau Bhai Patel and a New Delhi BJP Maulana. The appeal to Muslims in Ahmedabad was issued on the initiative of BJP with full intent to use the paper as a stunt to fool the public. It is with full knowledge of the BJP own fraud that Narendra Modi had gone on to highlight the 'communal' nature of total Muslim support, in the TV monitored election speech on the last day of the campaign. This was to trigger the wave of revenge voting against Muslim support. Your reporters can check the veracity of this very serious matter by contacting Maulana Musanna Miyan in Mumbai through Reza Academy, who was quoted in Hindustan Urdu daily. Musanna Miyan is a very respected cleric from Brelvi School.
In fairness this perfidy should be exposed so that such a widespread canard against Muslims of Gujarat should be nipped in bud. It is nobody's brief that Muslims had on their own, not decided to support Congress; but people like Milli Council, Jamat e Islami and Jamiate Ulema have all agreed not to issue any public appeal in the name of Muslims alone. They had decided to support secular candidates. Probably this news was leaked to BJP and they arranged their own appeal to exploit the situation.
In view of your very strong editorial against 'the Imam', it would be fair, if you give equal importance to the double game that Modi played, by using unfair means to defame and denigrate Muslims. In fact the whole game of BJP is heavily dependant of fraud. It is time they should be systematically exposed.
I am attaching a copy of the Urdu Hindustan's news report. (#4047)
GHULAM MUHAMMED, P.O.BOX: 16685, BANDRA WEST, MUMBAI - 400 050.
65.3 ----- Thursday, December 19, 2002
TO: Farrukh Dhondy
My dear Bawaji, Sahebji
I really enjoyed your squirming, wriggling, writhing, twisting, fidgeting and struggling to come to terms with the enigma of Prophet Mohammad's many marriages. That is nothing new. For 14 centuries, detractors have continued to pick and choose as to how they can denigrate and demonise the unique phenomena of a human being with a common- sensical message, which could mesmerize practically one third of the world --- all the work of merely 23 years of his prophethood. I thought you are a man of some original insights. All you attempted was to feel jealous of a 2 hour TV programme that was not scripted by you. Without much attempt, the publicity that preceded the planned showing of the 'Legacy' could hardly have been achieved without colossal budgeting. I have spent my adolescent life with hordes of Parsis that flocked to Maulana Baba Dargah in Bandra West; just behind the imposing minarets of Jama Masjid. I found all them without exception, people of faith and belief. The more they observed their own religion, the more they had respect for all other religions. They bent before the sun, the sea, the idols, the trees, and the wells. I was always touched by their religiosity. They, who have been derived out of Persia by the 'fanatical' forces of Islam, have overcome their innermost reservations and found spirituality and peace in the sanctuary of peers and saints on the island of Bombay. How is that you escaped from the charm of Islam. I am surprised to read your very laboured piece; primarily motivated by adverse professional antagonism towards the success of an amateurish TV film that will be seen by millions and that may still change the lives of further millions in days to come. In time, you too will get your chance to write paeans in the praise of Mohammed. My dear Farrukh, you try and open your heart and mind to the simplicity and sincerity of Mohammed's message. You had been in the company of learned ignorants. You are a person who can read. Prophet was a unlettered man. But he has left a legacy that is immortal, everlasting, infinite. You can always reason, go for logic, and find ecstasy in words and vignettes. But if you have not experienced the ecstasy of faith and belief, your life is not complete.
GHULAM MUHAMMED, P.O.BOX: 16685, BANDRA WEST, MUMBAI - 400 050.
65.4 ----- Saturday, December 21, 2002
The Editor, The Telegraph, Kolkata. < email@example.com >
It's regrettable that even after the passage of half a century, Indian and Pakistani historians and commentators shy away from calling a spade a spade.( In a misguided attempt to prop up and build up their own leaders in larger than life imagery, they keep denying the villainous but overpowering role of British that partitioned India, not for the love of justice to the Muslim minority, but to carve a military outpost in the Indian sub-continent, in order to safeguard their continuing interest in the area --- to take care of the 'wells of power' in Persian gulf oil countries and to erect deterrents to any Russian moves to advance to warmer ports of Arabian sea.
The defining reason was the 'intransigent' attitude of Congress leaders, who 'stubbornly' refused to give any handle to British to linger on in the sub-continent under any pretext whatsoever. That forced Lord Wavell's hand and he decided to partition the country and sent out his Partition judgment by secret cables to Whitehall. (The same archival material that the British themselves have released in recent years evidences all this.)
Lord Wavell's decision sealed the fate of India, once for all. Jinnah's Pakistan was just a ruse for the British to ensure their presence in this strategic area. That position is still secured for the West and it virtually limits India's own independence in the region.
Even after partition and India's independence, the British Officers were still running both countries for considerable time after August 14/15 and their sheniganians were detailed by C. Gupta in his book: War and Diplomacy in Kashmir.
The stark and perfidious role of the departing colonists, forced to leave 'British India' for compelling reasons of changed global scenario and their own bankruptcy after fighting a most debilitating World War II, should be boldly noted and highlighted by scholars and reviewers like Kaushik Roy without any fear or favour. There is no need to beat around the bush. (#4049)
65.5 ----- Saturday, December 21, 2002
The Editor, The Asian Age, Mumbai < firstname.lastname@example.org>
Saira Insan Ali, a Behrampada fish seller, can be held up as a shining example of deep-rooted humanity of a humble Indian woman that should shame the likes of Modis, Togadias, Advanis and Vajpayees, when it comes to value the worth of human life. Is their rejoicing at winning the elections in Gujarat over the blood of thousands murdered carries any moral justification?
For Saira, so appropriately married to Insan Ali, there is no Hindus or Muslims that died in the aftermath of the worst communal riots that Bombay had seen in the aftermath of Babri Masjid demolition. For her each one was an innocent whose blood was shed in vain that accursed day. It's a tribute to her abiding belief in the in universal humanity and her faith in the final judgment day, when she will stand before her creator and have to answer for her duties that even after ten years of trials and tribulations, she is striving to seek justice for the Hindus who died in wanton frenzy and punishment for the Muslim wrongdoers who went out to murder innocents. May all Indian mothers give birth to sons and daughters to emulate her example. India deserves nothing less.
If BJP leaders have even a small iota of her measure of human value, they will own up the carnage they organised and give solemn promise to the people of India, that they will abide by their own pledge of office and never harm a soul in their relentless quest for power. Besides, they should present themselves to the law authorities to clear their name voluntarily.
The authorities in Maharashtra in a classical mode of denial, want bygone to be bygone. Little do they realize that if truth is not faced straight away, the tragedy will come to haunt again and again. The guilty must be brought to book ----their religion becomes immaterial when their crime is against humanity itself. (#4050)
65.6 ----- Sunday, December 22, 2002
The Editor, The Times of India, < email@example.com>
This refers to TNN report by Robin David from Ahmedabad (TOI, 22/12/2002: Muslims want to get to the bottom of dubious 'Fatwa') as well as to my letter of Dec 18 to you on the same subject. Though you have not gone into greater detail, but your headline itself carries the hint that the so-called 'fatwa' was a managed affair. I understand that the appeal was in the nature of an advertisement in a Gujarati newspaper. Who paid for this advertisement? The money trail will certainly expose the hidden hand and discredit the Imam with his 'democratic right' defence shield.
Imam's defence on the face of it is maintainable that all he had done was to exercise his democratic right to issue an appeal to his own community. But the behind the scene perfidy of the Imam and his 'appeal', on behalf of BJP has to be brought out and Imam and his Ulema Council's connection with BJP should be exposed.
Though the left liberals have demonised the 'fatwa', as a religious edict, BJP has gone one step further and have seen to it that Muslim should be completely denied any voice in the democratic set-up by branding all their appeals of political nature as 'fatwa'. The liberals will have to think how far their hatred of religion in general and the religion of Islam in particular should be pressed so as not to handicap the secular front in such a manner that fascist should take over. Muslims are a substantial chunk of Indian population. They cannot be wished away. They have been exploited by Congress for last 40 years of their rule as captive 'vote bank'. This rudderless rogue element cannot be let lose in the country without any positive use of their many potentials. The socialist attempt to absorb them in brahmanical caste system as OBCs, cannot work as they cannot be permanently camouflaged.
For some this cannot be a priority, but the looming danger of Muslims getting radicalized cannot be summarily ignored, while the threat of their radicalization is being readily used to scare the Hindus and collect their votes.
TOI has been cautious with the development. However, with resources available to it, it will have to go more behind the scene to make its stand less academic and more pragmatic and relevant.
GHULAM MUHAMMED, P.O.BOX: 16685, BANDRA WEST, MUMBAI - 400 050.
65.7 ----- Monday, December 23, 2002
The Editor, The Pioneer < firstname.lastname@example.org,email@example.com>
Though Chandan Mitra had the occasion to observe L.K. Advani from close quarters, it is surprising that though he could pick out Advani's disdain for ritualistic religion, Mitra could not see the irony of such a man trying to build a Ram Mandir over mayhem and bloodshed, and in the process exposing the stark opportunistic trait of a political mind. (THE PIONEER, 22/12/2002: Day of the political Hindu). The Gujarat development is the second and more sophisticated phase of the same opportunistic obsession for power, devoid of any consideration as to where all this would lead in the future. You live for the day. If mobilization on the strength of Babri Masjid demolition could be called Advanitva, Moditva could be the distinctive name for BJP's Gujarat strategy. Both Advanitva and Moditva, have nothing to do with Hinduism. It's a grab of power in the name of religion.
Ironically the Moditva's Gujarat operation was picked up from the old Congress bag of tricks, where communal riots were organised, at times with full and major participation by RSS cadre themselves, to send out a forked message to the two major constituents of Indian polity. Congress posed itself as a neutral arbitrator between the two 'opposing' sides and the final guarantor of peace and security to both. It's the old protection racket in more grand scale. It achieved a successful coalition of communities for Congress around its monopoly power that returned it to the helm of affair again and again.
Only flaw that kept Congress leaders on the defensive and circumspect was that it was a patent serial criminal conspiracy of brutal one-sided massacre of Muslim minorities. However, as long as Congress was the absolute ruler, not a single culprit was brought to justice in all the 40 years of its monopoly reign. Scholars were engaged to write long-winded deeply researched treatises on communal riots, which could conveniently never discern any Congress hand in the successive communal riots. Commission after Commission gave out their damning reports on criminals but never on the conspiracy. All such reports were conveniently shelved. The law had to be permanently compromised to feed the need to prop up a modicum of democratic governance. In effect it was a highly organised fascist operation to prop up the dynasty. Its fascist face was inadvertently exposed only during Indira Gandhi's emergency, when a lower level judicial official played truant and set aside her election to Parliament.
BJP has not done something spectacularly new and novel in Gujarat. Those that have been shocked to see BJP coming to power with such thumbing majority had never had the occasion to consider the mechanics of communal riots and its symbiotic relationship with Indian democratic election process. BJP, on the contrary, has botched up the whole process. The main drawback for BJP now on will be that compared to Congress, BJP will have tougher time to carry forth on the same route without its modes operandi, now so open and exposed, coming into more and more scrutiny due to its tainted reputation of a deeply structured fascist orientation. Its performance will be watched by the whole world; which had not been the case with the Congress's half a century of extended honeymoon. Congress had bottled up India from external meddling. With liberalization and globalisation, BJP will not enjoy the same freedom of action. In a way, BJP's success in coming to power after organizing an amateurish open pogrom had attracted so much adverse publicity, that it is bound to end in more hurdles for any of its planned repeat performances. In the end it may damage the whole democratic process and that is probably what is BJP's ultimate goal. But before that opposing forces may come out on the streets with such force that there will be a grave danger of the whole nation becoming unmanageable; thus discrediting BJP and its Moditva for all time to come.(#4052)
65.8 ----- Tuesday, December 24, 2002
The Editor, The Asian Age, Mumbai
Balbir Punj has tried to ride the international bandwagon against Muslims worldwide, mainly to camouflage BJP's own hideous 'state-sponsored pogrom against minorities'. (AA, 'Gujarat calls a spade a spade', 24/12/2002). Desperately, he looks around any and every far-fetched analogies to tragedies of ethnic cleansings; massacres and minority bashing to whitewash VHP/BD engineered mob riots that brandished the ultimate threat of annihilation of minorities in Gujarat State.
He has a point that large part of Hindu minorities gradually moved out of Pakistan, Kashmir and Bangladesh to India. But compared to Gujarat Pogrom all such migrations were unorganized mob reaction and spread out over longer period of time. Gujarat's wild fire that was more successfully orchestrated to end in widespread ethnic cleansing to complete its carnage in shortest possible time before world could respond.
Besides, all such mass migration of Hindus from Kashmir were more in the nature of economic migration, except for the migration of Kashmiri Pandits, which owes more to Jagmohan than to the terrorist elements. The Kashmiri people had never behaved with their neighbours as Gujarat villagers under VHP/BD long drawn campaign of hate, did. Kashmiri people had never become anti-Hindu and even today, are willing to welcome back their migrated brethren, without imposing the ignominious conditions that Gujarat villagers routinely demand.
Moreover, the glitter of India, with its open arms for all Hindus, had tremendous attraction to all Hindus in neighbouring countries, who had preferred to migrate rather than face adverse social and religious pressures. This has been a major factor that is not available to Indian Muslims so that they could pack up and leave. Hundreds of thousands of 'Bihari migrants' to Bangladesh and 'Muhajirs' of Karachi colonies are trapped in societies that do not want them. But they just cannot move out in any substantial numbers. So when Punj wants to blame Muslims for 'ethnic cleansing and genocide of Hindus', he should know that even Muslims face the same fate in those countries and that the unfriendly society's reactions in Pakistan and Bangladesh to 'the other' is more due to provincial prejudices or economic rivalries, rather than to any religious bias.
Incomplete … …
65.9 ----- Tuesday, December 24, 2002
Killer instinct. Congress lacked the killer instinct. The main reason for the lackadaisical performance of Sonia Congress in Gujarat election was complete absence of that killer instinct that makes the crucial difference. Sonia's total mobilization was a half-hearted attempt to fill in the blank in comparison to the BJP/VHP/BD combine's life and death survival saga. Even Vaghela's speeches were more like school assembly sermons. It did not had the sharpness to penetrate people's deeply insecure consciousness, which was more tuned to Modi's most simplistic message of convoluted scare tactic. (#4054)
Incomplete … …
65.10 ----- Thursday, December 26, 2002
The Editor, The Free Press Journal. Mumbai
As usual M. V. Kamath has presented a grand tour of the Muslim world, its oil resources and its dire predicament, its wild aspiration to 'rule the world', its strengths and its weaknesses, all a in very lucid and exhaustive manner that is his famous hallmark. However, it seems it is too much to expect from him to be above the fixations that his emotional association with Hindutvadis impose on his reasoning as well as expressions.
He writes: The western industrial world today is so totally dependent on Middle East oil that it would do anything to have full control over it. Fair enough. Now how does that translate into: 'This means 'appeasing' the Middle East which, in turns means, appeasing the Muslim world.' This word 'appeasement is the deep-seated psychological hang-up of all that goes with the Sangh Parivar baggage.
The US is out to invade an Arab country with a formidable array of most modern and deadly arsenal threatening the lives of hundreds and thousands innocents in its devilish strategy to take over all the rich resources of the oil countries and the worst that appears to Mr. Kamath in the whole scenario is that 'the western world in appeasing the Muslims.'
One hopes, there could be some sense of balance in carrying through with such convoluted logic. In a world of straight give and take, a barrel of oil that cost US dollars 2.50 in 60s; should command today a world price of not less than US$50.00 if measured in devalued dollars. But through threats to the whole bunch of defenceless Arab countries, the US is robbing the Muslim world blind. And all Mr. Kamath finds off-key is an imagined 'appeasement' of the Muslim world. Suppose he can come out with some solution to how the Muslim world should get some justice out of those Rambos. (#4055)
(Published in The Free Press Journal, Mumbai)
65.11 ----- Friday, December 27, 2002
The Editor, The Indian Express, Mumbai
Alas Shudhir Bhave did not had the privilege of learning Islamic teachings in a Madarsa like his co-religionists in the past, or he would not have so categorically stated that according to the teachings of Islam a Muslim cannot be tolerant toward other religions or be secular. (IE, Letters, 27/12/2002). All suras of Quran that are favourite with propagandists are routinely quoted out of context. There is no cure for ignorance and no excuse for bigotry, except the recourse to spread correct information with a sense of responsibility. Islam had for its adherents, detailed guidance on all facets of life including armed conflicts, but armed conflicts are the last resort and not the first option in the case of disagreements. Muslims are supposed to bear arms and fight all oppressors even within their own fold, but only in defence of the community and its beliefs as well as to protect all oppressed regardless of race, color, ethnicity and religion. Similar guidelines are present in books of all religions and can become part of malicious propaganda if someone is so motivated. Islam expressly calls for respect to all religions. How this can be different from the spirit of secularism? (#4056)
65.12 ----- Saturday, December 28, 2002
TO: The Editor, Los Angeles Times
This refers to your editorial: Acid test for secular India and your comments: "Muslims set fire to a train, carrying Hindus from a disputed religious site, killing 59". The impression that 'Muslims set fire to the train', is unadulterated propaganda. Muslims crowds were there. They stopped the train by some of them boarding the train and pulling the chain. That was apparently to retrieve a young Muslim girl who was dragged the 'rowdies' from among the pilgrims with not any noble intentions. The girl was retrieved but the news of that act of abduction of the Muslim girl spread like wild fire. The area is Muslim dominated. The stopped train was stoned mercilessly. But there is no proof of any arson attempt on the train coach from outside. The unexplained fact is that there were some canister of self-inflammable liquid inside the bogey. That either spilled by accident or was used to start the fire. The same inflammable material was later used by rioters to torch Muslim homes and shops in the following mob attacks all around the state. The presence of that material and its use in so many places all at the same time, points to the possibility that the material was procured and stored for use in planned nefarious manner. It is not the case that burning of the coach was deliberately staged to exploit the incident in fomenting genocidal riots. The accidental fire provided the convenient trigger for the BJP government authorities to allow the VHP and BD, the storm-troopers of the Hindu nationalist party : BJP, to call a general Bandh or LOCK_OUT of the whole state of Gujarat and follow it up with the planned unleashing of mob violence on Muslim areas and marked out Muslim homes and properties in mixed localities. Cases of women raped and later torched to eliminate any trace of the identities and proof of violence were systematically planned and executed. A more sinister motive reportedly for burning of the victims was to save the BJP government from paying any monetary compensation to the victim's families.
I would request you kindly to verify the facts before blaming the Muslims for the firing of the coach and the death of the innocent 59. Till then it should be cited as a case of reported and widely publicized Muslim arson attack on the train coach. Both State BJP government and the Central BJP-led coalition government are in no hurry to speed up the enquiries to dig out the facts about the burning of the train coach and with it the innocent 59.
It is intriguing that out of many coaches, all carrying pilgrims from Ayodhaya, only one coach got burned. (#4057)
65.13 ----- Monday, December 30, 2002
A LETTER TO THE EDITOR
With Narendra Modi withdrawing the case against Kasim Razak for his threatening emails to him, there seems to be growing recognizance in at least some quarters of the ruling BJP establishment that a 'healing touch' is required after the bloody crescendo of violence on the basis of which BJP got its majority in Gujarat. The authorities want to limit the amount of political confrontation with the minority, to an arbitrary limit so that things should not translate into widespread disaffection and reaction so as to render their success into a pyrrhic victory. Minorities welcome all such reconciliation gestures, however the scars of deliberately organised communal riots bordering on genocidal mob attacks, does leave their own deep hurt and the raw wounds are still fresh too fresh to absorb the rounding up of Muslims at wrong pretexts just for the law and authority's own need to keep the people satisfied that police is in full control and able to swiftly nab the culprits who have tried to mess up with the relatively peaceful and harmonious atmosphere of the city, specially during a string of religious holidays of all communities coming one after the other. Mumbai's outgoing police commissioner, M. N. Singh has admitted that Afroz case has been a black mark in his book and its seems that the police even after a prolonged struggle to get away from the traumatic handling of Afroz affair, is not able to resist a repeat by rushing to arrest innocents and going to media as a big break-through without a thought that any wrong move will once again smear their already tattered reputation when it comes to dealing with Muslim minority.
Narendra Modi had tried to make a distinction between individuals who out of sheer frustration had gone berserk and resorted to unwise and stupid acts of their own brand of revenge on behalf of the wronged community and the more sinisterly organised conspirators to take on the system in a foolhardy but deliberate manner. Mumbai police too should be aware of such finer distinction in framing its policies towards dealing with very sensitive Muslim in the state of despair and disaffection. The more our authorities give professional finesse to their actions and seal the occasional over-reaction by the hard-pressed rank and file, the more the whole society will be benefited in both short and long run.
Whatever the political constraints of L. K. Advani in denigrating J&K Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Saeed's well thought-out 'healing touch' policies, the nation has gone through a prolonged patch of serious turmoil and if it can be managed with minimum of disorientation, there is never a good time as today to inaugurate a new season of reconciliation and rehabilitation in the states and the country at large.(#4058)
65.13 ----- Tuesday, December 31, 2002
A LETTER TO THE EDITOR
North Korea has declared its inability to stick by its earlier commitment to non-proliferation of nuclear weapons treaty and the reason it gave out, is a big slap to the gung-ho aggressive policies of US President Bush's blustering and threatening spree. (Bush could not have imagined in his wildest dreams that a single phrase --- axis of evil' coined by one of his many hawkish Jewish speech-writers, will resurrect the phantom of another 'nuclear-size' problem to the security of its Western coastline.
No doubt Russia is behind the Korean decision to stand up to US threats. However, the moment US has decided to test its formidable armament advantage to go for highly self-centered goals, without any convincing attempt to respect the general consensus of the world opinion, it has lost its moral high ground to brand others 'evil' and get away with it.
The worst part is that practically all powers stand for such unilateral exploitation of the weak but manage it with such panache as not to make the subterfuge so open and abhorrent as President Bush and his side-kick Rumsfeld had made out.
A member of the old communist block, North Korea has remained isolated and tried to manage its economy on the old self-sufficiency principal. Its people suffered the worst standard of living as compared to its sibling state: South Korea, but it had continued to invest heavily in its security and defence even in relatively peace times. Even its main export item is armaments to other countries. (#4059)
65.14 ----- Wednesday, January 01, 2003
A LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Prime Minister Vajpayee's year-end message of painting Hindutva as secularism will not wash with the people of India. The general perception is that after exploiting the aggressive content of the Hindutva movement through organised communal riots to garner voting majorities, Prime Minister has taken a now standard temporary political about-turn. His about-face will not be convincing anybody, as this is the umpteenth time he has changed his mukhota. The farce has gone on far too long to help build up confidence in Sangh Parivar's hot and cold strategies. It is generally believed that people's memory is short; but not in this age and times, when the fractured Sangh Parivar groupies themselves are bent on fueling the dark memories of Babri Masjid demolition and the alleged unproven Muslim role in Godhra burning. The moment Godhra is mentioned, does anyone need any further cue to recall the mass massacre of innocent Muslim men, women and children, the burning of rape victims to obliterate the proof of the crime, the loot and arson that was systematically planned with state connivance. Prime Minister is neither willing nor capable of turning the wolf into a sheep. His party's government has utterly failed to protect the beleaguered Muslim minority, not by default but by design and he should first accept the grave sin of the Muslim massacre in Gujarat even if the remorse on the death of over 2000 will not be accepted by Muslims in any way other than a political act of chicanery. To restore the trust and bonafide of his intent to lead the nation with a visionary message, he will have to take concrete and speedy steps to bring to book all the culprits involved in Godhra and post-Godhra violence and undertake massive rehabilitation projects in towns and villages where the Muslims were deliberately targeted and attacked. Mere media statements don't count. (#4060)
65.15 ----- Thursday, January 02, 2003
A LETTER TO THE EDITOR
President Bush is finding it extremely difficult to justify his vastly discriminative response to unconfirmed WMD in the hands of Saddam and those confirmed to be with North Korea's Kim Jong Il.
North Korea is suspected of holding up to two nuclear bombs and with the now new supplies of material from its nuclear facilities free from international inspection; it can facilitate new weapons within six months. North Korea has a formidable arsenal of delivery missiles that could reach as far as 100,000 American troops in Asia, besides Japan and South Korea.
In contrast, Iraq has only few short-range scud missiles that can only reach at best Israel, the only enemy for Iraq on the horizon, though by no stretch of imagination, those scud missiles can reach the mainland US. US is ready to spend up to US $60 billion to attack Iraq and take full control of the country with all its oil reserve for it to recoup its dirty 'investment' of over 60 billion dollars and more.
In final cold analysis, President Bush has two main reason to prepare to attack Iraq and its people: to save Israel from a scenario however remote and academic, where its balance of terror in the Middle East will be compromised for good if Saddam crosses the nuclear threshold, and to gobble up a oil rich country, first of the many in the pipeline.
The fruits of aggression for President Bush are so enticing, that it is very hard for rest of the world to convince him and his hawkish coterie, that the danger of destabilizing the whole Middle East is too risky and too far-reaching to justify a proactive war on a defence less country and its hapless people. No amount of diplomatic effort can achieve comparable results for the US and Israel. And this is the clincher that tilts the balance in favour of war on Iraq. (#4061)
GHULAM MUHAMMED, P.O.BOX: 16685, BANDRA WEST, MUMBAI – 400 050.