Towards greater instability
Sir — Babulal Marandi could not have it better (“Advani pat for Marandi”, Nov 16). Not only did the deputy prime minister grace his flop show on the second birth anniversary of Jharkhand and commend him for his “seriousness” about development, but he also gave a fillip to the pernicious idea of a “greater Jharkhand” in a bid to steal the opposition’s thunder. Marandi’s reservations and domicile policies have done enough damage to the state already. Did Jharkhand need a Central government nod for the dream of a larger state just to create more instability' The state is only two years’ old and has aeons to go in industrial and social development. L.K. Advani should have asked Marandi to concentrate on the state’s administration instead of giving him the carte blanche to join a race started by the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha. But no. Jharkhand is only one of the two states in which the Bharatiya Janata Party heads the government. It better keep it at any cost, even human.
M. Chatterjee, Calcutta
Sir — The rhetoric of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief, K.S. Sudarshan, against Muslims surprises me once again (“RSS pins riot blame on Pak”, Nov 18). The post-Godhra riot has been credited to Pakistan by Sudarshan. He seems to have forgotten the colour of the headgear worn by the rioters and the slogans they chanted. Today Muslims are being abused by these sectarian leaders who do not fail to exploit them for their vested political interests. If madrasas produce “al-Qaida type elements”, what do RSS camps produce, Mr Sudarshan' Sudarshan’s appeal to “educated Muslims” to “lead the community and ensure that their holy texts are interpreted according to the times” is a brazen attempt to interfere in the affairs of another community. Sudarshan should have been aware that the holy texts of any religion do not preach hatred against any community.
The RSS leader’s irresponsible statement punctures the communal harmony again. Leaders like him force demonic ugly masks on the serene face of Hindutva in India which has accepted Muslims with tolerance and love for decades.
Sk. Rezaul Karim, Calcutta
Sir — It is quite heartening to hear from the deputy prime minister that his party has no intentions of converting India into a Hindu state. It is also true that Hinduism does not envisage a theocratic state. But what is actually happening in India at present is the exact opposite. Most government offices are adorned with pictures of Hindu gods and goddesses, official ceremonies are generally performed amidst the chanting of Vedic slokas and most of the financial institutions of the government, including banks, invariably have an idol of either Ganesh or Lakshmi. In short, India is an undeclared theocracy, even though Advani may deny it.
It is a matter of great relief for Indian Muslims to be acknowledged as the “sons” of India. It is a different matter that they are treated as step-sons by the powers-that-be. At this juncture, Advani should have perhaps also volunteered to explain what he means by “pseudo-secularism”.
S. Tajuddin, Hyderabad
Sir — Replying to the debate in Parliament on the opening day of its winter session, the Union home minister, L.K. Advani, is reported to have assured the nation that India could never become a Hindu rashtra. One can understand his argument about people not condoning “communal violence”. But what does he mean by “pseudo-secularism”' In its broadest sense, secularism means accommodating all lines of religious thoughts and respecting them. Hence it should be accepted as an integral element in the governance of the country.
S. Farhan Ali, Hyderabad
Sir — Indians seems to be suffering from a majority-minority mania which is detrimental to the safety, security and integration of the country. In fact, it is one of our greatest mistakes to classify the people of the country into compartments. In a secular country like India, there should be no such segregation which breeds hatred and violence. The only people who can be considered minorities are the foreigners who come for a sojourn or settle here and are not born in India. There should be a uniform civil code for all citizens. The division between communities is part of the vote bank politics which is now wrecking the nation. We should dispense with it.
B.S. Ganesh, Bangalore
Sir — “Masjid loudspeakers to preach polio message” (Nov 1) is a novel met-hod of social service. It will benefit all sections of society irrespective of caste and creed since the masjid speakers reach not merely members of the minority community. Maulvis will be doing society yeoman service by their decision to help the government in the pulse-polio drive. Through their consultation with villagers after prayers, they will insist on the necessity to give children the polio vaccine.
But a larger issue needs to be kept in mind. The earlier members of the minority community are integrated into the mainstream, the better. This holds true not only in matters of healthcare, but also in education and the other service sectors. Special privileges for the minorities will only widen the distance with the majority community. There should be no reservations, no special commissions and so on. Muslims too are sons of the soil. Unless they acknowledge this fact, progress will be difficult to sustain.
Govind Das Dujari, Calcutta