Monday, May 6, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Image India: as a French scribe
sees it

Thanks for publishing the article Image India: as a French scribe sees it. My heartfelt compliments to Mr Francois Gautier for a commendable and very timely letter of his to the President of the Foreign Correspondents Club highlighting the “partisan coverage” of communal violence in Gujarat.

It is a matter of shame for the national media that Mr Francois is more enlightened than them about the virtues of the tolerant Hindu majority in India as well as the plight of around 400,000 “Hindus who are refugees in their own land. The Indian media in its overjealous attempt at government bashing and to be first in doing so has portrayed such a wholly distorted and one-sided picture of events in Gujarat that they have beaten the Indian opposition parties in this game.

The Leader of Opposition in Parliament questions as to what stopped the PM from bringing in a motion in Parliament to condemn the Godhra carnage promptly. Agreed, he failed the nation in doing so for whatever reason, but she did not say what prevented her from doing so as the Leader of the Opposition. Is she not playing to the organised Muslim vote bank? Why were our parliamentarians, free press-media, the National Human Rights Commission, the National Commission for Minorities, the National Commission for Women and our worthy intellectuals, who have suddenly become so hyperactive, were so dumb in failing to generate a Gujarat type of hype in favour of the Hindu minority in J&K, who were and even today are victims of “ethnic cleansing without parallel in the world” the foreign Press feels it is none of its responsibilities to speak for the Hindu minority in J&K.


Before our neighbour and Muslim fundamentalists elsewhere succeed in provoking a backlash of the tolerant Hindu majority in rest of the country, all sane people in Parliament and elsewhere must stop dirty politics and rise as one in dealing with the national calamity and they have a lot to learn from the USA with regard to events in the aftermath of Sept 11. Instead of settling scores, finding scape-goats and targeting any person, let us have the leaders of all political parties regardless of their religion or faith on the same platform appealing for peace in Gujarat.

Col S.K. GUPTA (retd), Pathankot

Ironic: Isn’t it ironic that a French scribe, Mr Francois Gautier should come to understand Hindus much better after living here for only 25 years than many of our intellectuals and politicians born and brought up in India?

Mr Gautier was at his incisive best when he says that you run the risk of being labelled a “pro-Hindu” whenever you say anything against Muslims. All “intellectuals and politicians” vied with one another to be seen on TV condemning the Gujarat riot, if only to attain the ‘secular’ tag and be counted as progressive.

Perhaps, Mr Mulayam Singh had his Muslim vote-bank to look after when he speaks so vehemently about Gujarat, but what stopped Ms Shabana Azmi from carrying a placard condemning Godhra before asking for Modi’s head, if only to follow the chronology of the events.

This is not to justify whatever happened in Gujarat. Ms Tavleen Singh was the only “secular intellectual” to have condemned Godhra as well as Gujarat reactions, unequivocally, and in the same breath.

RAJIV AWASTHI, Sundernagar

Mistrust: A foreigner has tried to understand this country over a span of 25 years and feel proud of it while we Indians have just misunderstood one another and developed a sense of mistrust in more than half a century. All communities have lived hand in glove with one another for centuries. But politicians need sparks. Be it any party or any leader, they need power for which they resort to any inhuman act or stoop to a level not suited for a human being.

The media should behave responsibly to give equal exposure to everybody’s woes and play a constructive role. Be it the majority or the minority, none is meant to die like dogs.



‘Chhote Sardar’

The title of “Chhote Sardar” has been conferred on Mr Narendra Modi, who has been responsible for the state-sponsored anti-Muslim pogrom and whose administration’s law and peace enforcing agencies actively helped the rioters in committing the worst kind of brutalities in Gujarat.

Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, the Bara Sardar far from being appreciative of the RSS, held very strong views against it as is evident from the following extracts from his letters:

“Militant communalism which was preached only a few months ago by many spokesmen of Maha Sabha, including men like Mahant Digvijaynath, Prof Ram Singh and Deshpande, could not be regarded but as a danger.

The same would apply to the RSS with the additional danger inherent in an organisation run in secret on military and semi-military lines”.

[Sardar Patel to Dr S.P. Mookerjee, May 4, 1948. Sardar Patel’s correspondence edited by Durga Das, Vol 6 page No. 64].

(Dr) M. HASHIM KIDWAI, ex-member, Rajya Sabha, New Delhi


Azad’s lies

In his letter Azad’s assessment (April 24), Mr Davinderpal S. Bhatia has observed that it is a matter of shame that “Ghulam (of the Congress) Nabi (who thinks he is) Azad” is saying that his party caused less misery in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots than that the BJP gave in the communal violence in Gujarat.

Mr Azad had said that the anti-Sikh riots lasted three days, that the Congress had always condemned the same and ignored the tainted party leaders (Azad sees PM, Advani hand in riots, April 21). While dubbing Mr Vajpayee’s speech in Goa a blot on democracy, he brazenly ignored the fact that instead of coming down heavily on the hoodlums, the late Rajiv Gandhi ruthlessly remarked that the earth shook when a big tree fell.

Did not it tantamount to sprinkling salt in the wounds of the survivors of the victims of the horrible bloodbath? About 4,000 innocent Sikhs were brutally killed in the national Capital alone.

Apparently, the heart-rending carnage was regarded as evidence of the status of the slain Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, as that of a “big tree”. Her dead body, surrounded by unscrupulous people shouting slogans like “Khoon ka badla khoon sey lein- gey”, was displayed on television, which encouraged ruffians to indulge in shedding innocent blood more vehemently.

The then Union Home Minister, Mr P.V. Narasimha Rao, did nothing to quell the riots. I don’t think that he or any other Congress leader had ever even slightly condemned the killings. Only once did the Congress President, Ms Sonia Gandhi express regret over the same after many years to garner the Sikh votes. Even the Lok Sabha neither denounced the bestial violence nor mourned the deaths of its victims.

After the death of Mr Rajiv Gandhi, Mr Rao was made Prime Minister. Yet Mr Azad says that the Congress had always condemned the 1984 riots and ignored the tainted leaders. He is more “Ghulam” of Ms Sonia Gandhi than that of the Nabi (the holy Prophet), otherwise he would not have indulged in telling thumping lies.

I want to remind the perpetrators of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and communal violence in Gujarat and their aiders and abettors of Ameer Minaai’s verse:

Qareeb hai yaaro roz-e-mahshar chhupey ga kushton ka khoon kyoon-kar.

Jo chup rahey gee zubaan-e-khanjar lahoo pukaarey ga aasteen ka.

(O friends! The Judgement Day is near. The blood of the slain people could not be hidden. If the tongue of the sword remains silent, victims’ blood on the slayers’ sleeves will cry for justice).


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