Tuesday, March 12, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Why do they kill in God’s name?

Once more people have killed people in God’s name. It is an old sport. Accusations and regrets are flying in the air, with smoke and the stench of burning flesh.

Who is the typical person who stabs and burns people and destroys property? Is it really the crusader’s blind passion that impels him? Does he have a genuine religious consciousness? What is his economic position? What ideas characterise him?

Some apologists for the killers suggest that it is religious sentiment that drives people to kill others. Were it true, women might have been the greater killers. After all, they are thought to be more sentimentally religious. On any occasion for a religious discourse, they easily outnumber men.

It is the pleasure of killing, not the love of God, which drives these killers. It is a perverse pleasure no doubt, but a pleasure nevertheless. They kill with the abandon of a group on a wild picnic. And they derive a sense of accomplishment from the act. Most of them have no work, or little and uncertain work, to do. They think, incorrectly though, that they have no stake in peace and prosperity. Their religious identity feeds their craving to belong to a powerful group. In losing themselves in a faceless crowd, they seem to find themselves.

Do they have ideas? I think not. Instead, they are prisoners of ideologies. The latter-day crusaders deploy them in their battles as remote-controlled soldiers. The poor mechanical toys of God’s evil children, they have been long denied self-awareness. They are the cyborgs of India’s medieval politics in the age of information technology.


In place of continued education, what they receive is a messy serving of escapist pseudo-spiritual discourses. In the virtual economy of religion, particularly Hinduism, these discourses come cheap from the self-appointed franchisees of religion who are sprouting everywhere to spawn sects of their own.

Truly, India badly needs another avatar, another divine incarnation. But I am afraid the franchisees of religion may form a cartel, negotiate a secret deal with politicians and IT wizards and foist a fake, virtual Divinity on the believing but unthinking people.

Dr RAJESH K. SHARMA, Hoshiarpur

Communal Riots: The recent events in Gujarat expose once again the failure of the concept of secularism in our caste-ridden society. The real touchstone of secularism is when an entire community or a caste is not held responsible for the misdeeds by a few amongst them. However, the minority communities, lower-end castes & even upper castes have been targeted whenever there has been provocation by mischief mongers. One Godhra & the entire state goes in revengeful hunting!

If one goes deeper it would appear that communal violence has always political overtones. The best course should be to tone down our dependence on castes & communal divides for winning elections. Some parties thrive by polarising vote banks through a fear psychosis.

The law enforcement authorities must work independently & ensure safety of life & properly, especially in communal frenzy. The Godhra massacre & the violence thereafter be investigated property & exemplary punishment given to the real culprits as deterrence to prevent recurrence.


Violence: Communal violence that rocked Gujarat reminds us of two phrases, “History repeats itself” and “What we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history”. Where are we taking out country by indulging in all such activities? What impression are we leaving on the world of our culture, heritage and secularism? Whatever factors the law enforcing agencies attributes to such mayhems, I think these are the same basic factors i.e. lack of education and unemployment.

Education channels the energy and thinking capabilities of a person and he is less likely to yield to mass frenzy. A financially secure person too will not easily join the bandwagon of the hooligans and looters.

Instead of progressing, we are still entrapped in our age-old mental make up and some selfish persons take advantage of our weakness. Both parties suffer from such violent acts, many innocent lives lost, property destroyed and only hatred and destruction is left. The ultimate sufferer is the common man.

Time is the best healer, it is said, but by the time it starts healing yet another communal valcano erupts, thus making the wound gangrenous which most of the time requires amputation of the limb to sustain life, as we saw during 1947 and many times before that.


Right to reject

The article “The right to reject” by Kiran Bedi is the finest presentation of the existing situation of a nexus between politicians, policemen and bureaucrats and the consequent outcome. The example of the Britain for policing is the best suited one. I have attended many country fairs/shows in Britain and found that the shops set up by the country police during these shows are the most famous one with children. Rather children are trained to call the police in the hour of distress, even in cases of maltreatment by parents.

Many a time the parents are taken to task, and are made to spend nights in police stations for not treating their children properly.

It is not only the policing system which we should have studied in Britain after Independence, but also the whole system of self-governance. One system to involve the communities in governance is by making the local self-government more effective for the governance of a district/county. Nowhere in the developed world, be it the UK or the USA, the government servants are heading the district/counties. Whereas in our country a government servant de facto, in the name of co-ordination, heads the district. This system suited the colonial raj as it was easy for the colonial rulers to deal with one person, who was their employee and will not ever dare go against the policies/wishes of the Raj even if these are anti-community.

It is high time that we adopt the system which is prevalent in the UK i.e. to let the people representative head the district make our zila prishads not only functional but also give them the required right to self-governance. Let there be governance by the local communities for the local communities in the districts and eliminate the rule of government servants in any form. Some states tried to do so, but again the process got infested with indirectly by having the same government servant as secretary to the zila prishads.

I have my doubts if such articles written by very dedicated individuals are ever read by the people who matter i.e. the political masters in a democracy. Political masters in our country do not have time to go through such intellectual and thought provoking writings. They are surrounded by sycophants who will present a picture which suits the interest of such psychophants.


Capt Amarinder Singh

Capt Amarinder Singh has succeeded where his father, Maharaja Yadevindera Singh, had failed in 1967. The late Maharaja was elected to the Punjab Assembly as an independent candidate and expected to be the Chief Minister of Punjab, but both the Akalis and Congressmen did not elect him as their leader. He did not take the oath as an MLA and preferred to remain an independent Indian. The Captain deserves congratulations.


Errors in paper

The Punjab School Education Board’s class 8 English paper (26/D set) held on 18.2.2002 had a few mistakes. Question No. 5 at page 5 (No. 3) reads: “He has gone man” (mad). Question No. 3 regarding filling the blanks (part-1) goes as: “The gentlemen felt — for the lamb (lame) boy”. The examinees deserve grace marks.

G. L. JOSHI, Naya Nangal


Here is a suggestion. The post of Vice-Chancellor should be redesignated. It should be called “Virtue-Chancellor”.

IQBAL SINGH, Damdama Sahib

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