Friday, March 15, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Pangs of a wounded nation: looking beyond the Gujarat divide

This refers to the article “Pangs of a wounded nation” by Mr Hari Jaisingh. I agree with his argument: “Two wrongs don’t make a right”. The Godhra incident was shameful but what followed it was more shameful and heart-rending. I personally feel that the primitive and tribal beliefs are still deeply embedded in our psyche as a people. In dress and deportment, we have become modern but mentally we remain tribal and barbaric.

A former Congress MP, Mr Ehsan Jaffrey, kept on ringing up from morning till afternoon in the hope of some help but no help came and he was burnt alive along with some members of his family. Mr Narendra Modi did not behave as a responsible and sensible Chief Minister. He seemed to be pandering to the communal frenzy by invoking Newton’s law that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. It will be in the interest of the people of Gujarat if he is asked to step down as Chief Minister by the BJP high command.

The dead are dead and they ought to be treated respectfully irrespective of their religion and race. But Mr Modi gave Rs 2 lakh per head to the victims of the Godhra attack whereas the riot victims were spared only one lakh each. Even gods are not so cold and calculating.

The Prime Minister aptly described the communal massacres as a “black mark on the nation’s forehead” but he failed to convince the common people of this country about the safety and security of the minorities in Gujarat. After all, the Muslims are also citizens of this big country and they should not be denied their “fundamental right to life”.


It is quite improper and unethical to kill innocent children, women and old men in the name of religion or race. Gujarat cannot be and should not be allowed to become the cradle of fascist forces if we want our democracy to survive.

Dr R. B. YADAV DEHATI , Rewari

Policy of appeasement: The common Muslim has no objection if the Ram Temple is constructed at the site of the “Garbh Grih” (sanctum sanctorum) and the mosque is raised elsewhere. It is the politicians belonging to both communities who have messed up the compromise formula.

The Shankaracharya of Kanchi Kamkoti Peetham, Sri Jayendra Saraswati, has made very sincere efforts to resolve the vexed issue. That the members of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) gave a patient hearing to the Kanchi seer is all the more graceful. India is a secular country. It is an acknowledged fact that here the Hindus and the Muslims have to live together and share the common heritage. What is needed is the emotional integration of all communities. It is the appeasement of any community that is proving counter-productive to achieve emotional integration.

IQBAL SINGH, Bijhari (Hamirpur)

Law of jungle: All that happened at Godhra and later on in retaliation in other parts of Gujarat shows communalism, fundamentalism and fanaticism at their worst. There was a distressing picture of the law of jungle and barbarism of medieval times when man was uncivilised. Is this the progress we have made so far? In civilisation we have gone too far but in culture we have lagged behind. All moral human values have been thrown to the winds. This is cultural lag. This is the land of Gandhi, whose principles of truth and non-violence are held in high esteem.

But our leaders, national as well as state level, have failed us miserable as they, by pursuing petty vote-bank politics, go to any extent in exploiting religion for the promotion of their political interests.

K. L. BATRA, Yamunanagar

Barbaric: Gujarat, once known as the state of gentle and God-fearing people, has suddenly suffered a serious setback for its glorious name due to the disastrous design of a few fundamentalists on both sides of the communal divide. The soul of Mahatma Gandhi and the blood-choked soil of the state that gave birth to great leaders who fought for freedom must be cursing those indulging in communal conflicts. If the country's partition on the basis of religion was a crime against humanity, Gujarat tragedy has brought disgrace to every right-thinking religious person. A great Urdu poet Faani once wrote:


Stubborn: What is actually required at this juncture is that our people must be immunised against demagogy and misinterpretation of facts. Let us not be credulous or stubborn as illiterates and insensitive as monsters. Only then we can be forward looking and modern. This alone will give us, as Mr Hari Jaisingh says, the norms of a human and civilised society.


Tragic flaw: Our tragic flaw is that all of us call ourselves Punjabis, Bengalis, Gujaratis, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs et al but not Indians which is the root cause of communal disharmony and disturbance. The policy of divide and rule is still pursued by political vested interests. One wonders why they are inconsiderate to the pangs of the nation.


Religion misused: It is a matter of grave concern that religion in India has been used, misused and abused not only by the clergy but also by politicians and this has encouraged politico-religious realingnments. The leaders who spread hatred among the innocent people must mend their ways and work for the betterment of society.



Arundhati effect

Apropos the editorial “Arundhati effect” (March 8), this is a fact that no democracy thrives by contempt proceedings alone. The editorial and the incident, both should make the powers that be to think whether this rule or power of contempt of court is required, if so then to what extent.

When a doctor appears in court as a witness, he has to leave the sick and suffering people unattended. Can any authority count how many doctor days in India are lost because of court cases. Most of the times a doctor’s day is wasted because either lawyers are on strike or the judge is on leave and so on. There is no provision to inform the doctor so that he could attend the sick people and the doctor himself cannot protest because of the draconian contempt of court law.

A lady doctor had to attend a sessions court many times for a medical case. One day her father died and for that reason she could not attend the court and look at the worthiness of the sessions judge, he issued her warrants.

If the powers that be think rationally, then judges are not super humans or gods who alone can do the right. A doctor is an equally responsible and respected person. He is as independent and unbiased as the judge is. So where is the need to make him stand in the witness box and take the oath that he will speak only truth. In fact the written report of the doctor should be honoured and treated as an authentic document. If the court has any query then it can ask for additional report.

Dr TIRATH GARG, Ferozepore

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