Friday, December 6, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Testing time for Gujarat: Hindutva forces need to understand meaning of dharma

This refers to the article "Testing time for Gujarat" (Nov 29) by Hari Jaisingh. The Gujarat Assembly election is going to have an indelible impact on the future of this country. Some politicians want to win elections in the name of Hinduism. Some others have become so emboldened that they want even the present Prime Minister to quit his office at once since he is not ready to approve of their slanders and insinuations against the Election Commission of India.

When the NDA came to power, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee was their hero and the undisputed leader. Now Mr Vajpayee seems to be in the second row, the first being manned by those who don't feel ashamed of saying anything any where. If such men win the elections in Gujarat, the leaders like Mr Vajpayee would lose their relevance in Indian politics and fascism would stalk throughout the country in its naked form.

The entire national media has criticised Mr Narendra Modiís speeches full of avoidable references to minorities but he seems to be in no mood to listen to anybody. He is perhaps the hero of the present-day Hindutva outfit. Mr Vajpayee is no longer in the race. The over zealous supporters of the extremist line seem to have been fed up with him. So every Tom, Dick and Harry is asking him to resign. I think it will be in the interest of the entire nation if the election results prove to be another waterloo for the communal forces in Gujarat. If those who preach religious obscurantism and ethnic hatred come to power again in this state, it would sound the death-knell of pluralistic culture and tradition of India. So in my opinion, these Assembly elections are going to be another signpost of historical change in the political and cultural life of our country. They will decide the future of our democratic institutions also.

R. B. YADAV DEHATI, Fatehabad


Modi's agenda: I fully subscribe to Mr Hari Jaisingh's observation that "Hindutva forces need to understand meaning of dharma". It is being increasingly felt that Modi's election agenda of extreme religions hatred has reached its climax in Gujarat. There are already reports of backlash from the corporates, medium industries, traders and those who had lost business and jobs during Modi's cynical programmes for tapping the Hindu votes. The state's hitherto robust economy is collapsing. Investors are withdrawing and even Bill Gates refused to visit Gujarat.

Besides, the people of Gujarat must be extremely gullible to swallow the rubbish provided by Mr Modi. How can anyone digest blatant half truths, white lies and distortion of facts? Gujarat is already divided with no meeting ground between the two communities. Mr Modi's postures and speeches have only aggravated the situation like his comments on the religion of the Chief Election Commissioner.


Leave them alone: Where is the need to create such a hullabaloo over the Gujarat elections? And where is the need to rake up Godhra or its aftermath whenever we talk of Gujarat? The media seems to miss no opportunity in administering an overdoze of sermons. Shouldn't we allow the matter to rest?

The voters are not that dumb any more. Let them judge for themselves as to what and who is good or bad for them. Let us leave them alone for a while.

WG CDR C. L. SEHGAL (retd), Jalandhar

Composite culture: At present Gujarat is split between Hindus and Muslims. Certain narrow-minded fanatics have distorted our pluralistic identities. Riot victims are in bad shape and many among them are suffering the pangs of social and economic boycott and rejection. Now is the time to say no to violence. This election must bring forth positive signs through inner resolution of saner elements to stop, turn around and face the challenge of protecting Gujarat's composite culture. These elections are crucial for Gujaratis who should exercise their voting rights with caution to give a befitting reply to easy climbers and opportunists who are bent upon capturing power through short-cuts by dividing the people.

K. L. BATRA, Yamunanagar

Feudalism: At the socio-cultural level our politicians, for their narrow vested interests, have often inflamed communal passions instead of strengthening our age-old secular and tolerant Indian civilisation. On the administrative front they have rather played havoc with the system. Institutional authority has been reduced to the level of personal feudalism with the dubious support of mafia. Hence it would be naive to expect from the political leadership any regard for public hopes aspirations and their sensitivities.

Be it in Jammu & Kashmir or in Gujarat, politicians are least bothered whether the masses stand traumatised with the scourge of cross-border terrorism or their life and property stand almost destroyed by draught, plague and earthquake and is in constant fear of communal fenzy. Their sole interest lies in gaining political power at whatever cost and in whichever manner ó by alluring or threatening the voters or by arousing communal passions against the rival groups and communities.

For any enduring and positive change in the system, we must rise above our personal bias and prejudice and learn to put the society and the country before one's self, which at present neither the masses nor the political leadership is prepared to do. Naturally Gujarat elections arouse no curiosity beyond its arithmetical outcome.


Godhra & after

Hari Jaisingh's article was clear, crisp and incisive. Godhra was bad, post-Godhra happenings were worse. Any reference to either to seek votes will be bad for the beleaguered state hit by several wounds ó drought, earthquake and starvation deaths.

Mr Jaisingh has rightly given full marks to Mr Vajpayee for it is he who took on the VHP and the Bajrang Dal on their post-Godhra stance, including the attacks on the Election Commission. Even the hardliner, Mr L.K. Advani, now says: the Muslims who remained in India (during partition) are the children of Mother India.

The attacks on two Jammu temples a few days back were unfortunate, but Mr Modi must not use these to beat the Congress party's new recruit, Mr Shankarsinh Vaghela, who may talk anything back which would take him closer to the Sonia durbar. And then, Kashmir is too sensitive a matter to be used for making political capital.

The writer has rightly advised Mr Modi not to blame the entire Muslim community for the mischief of the few fundamentalists. But it does happen. We blame the Muslims for partition, though it was all the handiwork of Mr Jinnah and his few cohorts. Even Jinnah later repented on what he had done.

S .S. JAIN, Chandigarh

Advani on Pakistan

If Mr L.K. Advani's bombastic oratory could turn into a nuclear missile, Pakistan would have been wiped off the globe. He makes a mockery of himself by shouting without meaning anything.

Lt Col K. S. GREWAL (retd), Chandigarh

DA delayed

Despite the Punjab Finance Ministerís announcement that Punjab would soon release the DA instalment, nothing has happened so far. Interestingly, the Punjab cadre IAS and IPS officers have already got the enhanced DA, while others are still clamouring for it.


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