New colour to old trouble
Sir — A five-match ban — which covers only the first of Australia’s World Cup games — means that Darren Lehmann has got off quite lightly for abusing the Sri Lankan players along racial lines (“5 match ban on Lehmann”, Jan 19). But it must be admitted that racial overtones in cricket are much less these days than before. Even when Ranjitsinhji was playing for England, he was denied entry into many public places in London. For teams like the West Indies, racial discrimination became the motivating factor when they played the white teams. There was also a tradition of friendly racial banter among cricketers which must now come to an end, lest the International Cricket Council finds it offensive. Sunil Gavaskar relates in his autobiography how he spotted Clive Lloyd sipping black coffee in the dressing room during a match and asked him not to be “racial” even about his coffee. Lehmann’s offence cries out for punishment, but the ICC must know where to draw the line.
Sonali Guha Roy, Calcutta
Calling all Indians
Sir — The rare jugalbandi by the Bharat Ratna duo, Bismilla Khan and Ravi Shankar, and the prime minister’s spontaneous poetry reading demonstrate exactly what kind of clout the non-resident Indians enjoy in the country of their origin. However, the organizers of the meet could have been a little more courteous and invited the leader of the opposition. Granting dual citizenship to NRIs from select countries could well be symbolic of India’s emotional attachment with its expatriate sons. But shouldn’t the government first set its own home right by improving the country’s infrastructure and its poor ranking in the list of Transparency International so that people like the Nobel Prize winner, Hargobind Khorana, may not have to leave the country for want of a suitable job' If the NRIs experience the nightmare that ordinary Indians go through every day, they may soon realize the truth in the saying, “Distant drums sound well”.
Subhash Chandra Agrawal, New Delhi
Sir — If the government does not indeed want the riches of the NRIs, but only the richness of their experience, then why the discrimination in granting dual citizenships to NRIs from a select few countries (“Atal gives and seeks from the diaspora”, Jan 10)' There is no doubt that the government is only interested in the dollars and euros that NRIs from the United States of America and the European Union can bring in, and not in those currencies whose exchange rates are lower.
Jang Bahadur Singh, Jamshedpur
Sir — The proposal of Atal Bihari Vajpayee to grant dual citizenship to NRIs spells out the government’s aims of capitalizing on the connections of these successful Indians (“Passport to two worlds”, Jan 12). The enthusiastic participation of thousands of expatriate Indians too speaks of their deep emotional attachment with their motherland. Given that many of the participants in the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas celebrations are highly successful in their fields and hold positions of eminence in the countries where they now live, India can hope for developmental outcomes — political as well as economic — from granting favours to them. In today’s context, the relationship between a developing and a developed nation is largely determined by the strength of the former’s “lobbying”. India can and should use its NRI connections to build a positive image of itself abroad.
Rajesh K. Sharma, Kankinara
Sir — Very few newspapers have given adequate coverage to the question posed by Nadira Naipaul to L.K. Advani. Advani was expressing his pleasure with Navneet Dholakia’s metaphor of Hanuman carrying the images of Ram and Sita in his heart, when Nadira Naipaul interjected. She asked Advani the pertinent question whether those expatriate Indians who did not have Ram in their hearts, that is, the thousands of non-Hindu NRIs, would be welcomed too. Advani, quite predictably, rose in defence of India’s secular credentials and claimed for the umpteenth time that Gujarat was an aberration.
Both Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Advani have gone to town, especially post-Gujarat, trying to sell their Hindutva as the ultimate secular ideology, which does not discriminate on the basis of religion. In practice, however, they have no space for Muslims in their dreamland. There are reasons to suspect that the dual citizenship scheme was delayed for so long because Advani and his ilk were trying to evolve a method to exclude those Indian Muslims who were driven from their homes during the 1947 riots. Many of them and their children and grandchildren are still languishing in the dingy colonies of Karachi and Dhaka. They should be the first claimants of the “right to return”. But such discrimination against Muslims will be too obvious to the world for Advani to fulfil his private exclusion agenda.
Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai
Sir — Dual citizenship for NRIs is a joke thought up by the Bharatiya Janata Party government. Why should I take dual citizenship when it will not give me the right to vote or contest elections' What could be the meaning of such a citizenship' It is the prime minister’s little gift to the fanatic Hindu NRIs. Will the new paper citizen have to pay for his visa '
Diptendu Chakraborty, Toronto
Sir — Dual citizenship alone will not do. The government must relax the red tapism and create an investor-friendly atmosphere for NRIs to be really interested in India.
R. Sekar, Angul