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Divided views

Sir — In his article, “Notes towards a secular solution” (Nov 2), Rajeev Dhavan seems determined to prove that the Muslim community has been short-changed by the Ayodhya verdict. But most members of that community have accepted the verdict without complaint. Even Muslim organizations with grievances have shown mature restraint, saying that they would take the matter to the Supreme Court. Some ‘secularists’ seem to be more concerned about Muslim sentiments than Muslims themselves are.

One must remember that the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court was ruling on three title suits that were filed years before the demolition of the Babri Masjid. The destruction of the mosque was outside the purview of this case. Then the article mentions that the findings of the Archaeological Survey of India have been “solidly questioned by distinguished archaeologists”. However, Dhavan does not name any of these scholars. The ASI report gives conclusive evidence of the fact that the mosque had been built on top of an earlier structure. None of the parties to the case seems to have raised objections to the findings of the ASI report.

The author also objects to the tendency to dwell on the premise that in the past, several temples had been destroyed to build mosques. But this remains an undeniable fact, whether one acknowledges it or not. The charge that the sangh parivar demonizes present-day Muslims and makes them pay for the deeds of their “irreverent ancestors” is, at best, a cliché. Dhavan also says that Hindu claims about the site being Ram Janmabhoomi should be backed by facts. But why should Hindus alone be asked to back their faith with archaeological evidence when no such demands are made of other religions? Perhaps the reason why the Muslim community kept calm after the verdict was that the Babri Masjid was no longer a burning issue with them. Even when in use, it had only been one of the many mosques found in every nook and corner of the country.

Yours faithfully,
Priyadarshi Dutta, New Delhi


Sir — Rajeev Dhavan’s article presented an excellent and thought-provoking debate on the question of the ownership of the Babri Masjid. It left me wondering why the disputed site was not divided equally between Hindus and Muslims.

Yours faithfully,
Legden Lhamu Bhutia, Darjeeling


Second thoughts

Sir — In two short years, the euphoria following Barack Obama’s electoral victory has faded (“Midterm crisis”, Nov 4). In a nation that has always thrived on undiluted capitalism, Obama’s success was unique. His policies, after all, have often had a socialist slant. Perhaps Obama’s win proved the extent to which the Bush regime had alienated the electorate. People voted for change.

In 2008, Obama inherited the mess of two wars and an economy in the throes of a recession. A mammoth task of repair lay ahead of him. But Obama’s proposed healthcare reforms were not received favourably by large sections of the people. The economists in his administration seem to have neglected the long-term consequences of their policies. Perhaps, to the traditionally capitalist United States of America, Obama’s Left-leaning policies raised the spectre of controls and close government regulation in all spheres.

There are more positive aspects of Obama’s stint in office. He has tried to reverse the aggressive military policy of the Bush era and redeem the US’s image as a well-meaning peacekeeper. One cannot deny that there is more to Obama than his oratory.

The midterm low can only drive this ‘thinking president’ to reinvent himself, and find new ways of steering the US back into eminence and prosperity.

Yours faithfully,
R. Narayanan, Ghaziabad


Sir — President Barack Obama was voted to power with great expectations. But the results of the recent midterm elections seem to indicate that he has not lived up to his promise.

Americans have been badly affected by unemployment and recession. There is a feeling that these issues have not been adequately addressed by Obama. The stimulus package and proposed healthcare reforms have had little impact on the electorate.The anger of the people was perhaps reflected in the midterm election results. If Obama is to be elected for a second term, he must revise his gameplan and deliver what he has promised.

Yours faithfully,
N.R. Ramachandran, Chennai

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