Monday, February 24, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


The idea of “regime change”

APROPOS of Mr Sunanda K. Datta Ray's article “The idea of regime change” (February 18), it was a sincere and timely display of human sentiment for a civilised peaceful coexistence when the vast mass of humanity across the globe in countries small and large turned up on the streets with one common slogan that any US war on Iraq should be ‘Not in my name’.

It was human concern against war and war mongering rulers that millions of people in London, Rome, Berlin, New York, Cape Town, Auckland, etc. lodged their protest against the USA’s designs on Iraq. To the civilised world, the USA seems to be the greater threat to world peace than Iraq or North Korea.



It is an established fact that in the name of establishing democratic rule, the USA has preferred military dictators (in Pakistan and earlier in Uganda and South Vietnam) who enjoy its confidence. Ironically, in the name of overthrowing the corrupt, fascist, totalitarian regimes and desalinisation of the civilised world, the USA has encouraged the Taliban and persons like General Musharraf, General Zia-ul-Haq and Ngo Dinh Diem, only to strengthen its “sole-super-power” status.

No doubt, President Bush is determined to bring in a “regime change” in Iraq, be it to control the Gulf oil or to destroy the so-called mass destruction weapons amassed in Iraq, but one thing that seems to have been overlooked is the possible international Jihad that may engulf the whole world and result in a catastrophic disaster. Invading Iraq, against the wishes of the UN would mean an attempt to isolate the Muslim community in the world, which is bound to have its own serious repercussions.

It may be wise for President Bush to heed what Dr Henry Kissinger, the former US Secretary of State, had once said, “The USA should transform its power into moral consensus, promoting its values not by promoting its values not by imposition but by their willing acceptance...”


Take the bull by the horns

Saddam HusseinTHE world is seized of Iraqi-American impasse. The United Nations is desperately trying peaceful means to settle the problem. Europe is unequally divided on the stance to be taken. The entire Middle East region is apprehensive about the development. The African and South East Asian countries are in a quandary to fathom the situation.

Saddam Hussein stands out as an example of the head of a state who is a despot, tyrant and dictator. He has maimed the democratic values and institutions in Iraq. The voice and aspirations of the independent Iraqi people have been gagged. He has flouted peaceful co-existence. He is advocating Pan-Islamic Jehad — a pseudo philosophy — into which illiterate, fanatics and indoctrined minds are easily drawn.

Saddam’s clandestine support and association with various terrorist groups, organisations is well-known. His hegemonic tendencies have always been of concern and a threat to the countries in the Middle East. The world knows that he has amassed weapons of mass destruction — biological, chemical, nuclear. As usual he is feigning ignorance and befooling UN arms inspectors. In this backdrop, someone with guts has to come forward and take the bull by the horns, before it is too late as persuasion and dialogue have fallen on deaf ears. Let us not forget that conditions and priorities of the world order are dictated by the powerful. While the others fret and fume, the powerful are ready to act, to maintain the world order.

RANDHIR CHAUHAN, Tharola-Kotkhai (HP)



American imperialism

This refers to your editorial “Strengthening anti-war drive” (February 17). The common people of America are fully justified in raising the strange and startling slogan ‘Drop Bush, not bombs’. I endorse your argument “The unending American hunger for Arab oil seems to be taking the great nation to a suicidal path”.

To common people of all peace-loving nations, Mr Bush is the worst misanthrope of the present times. He does not have any respect in his stony heart for masses and nations. He has a deep contempt for the UN also as he is in no mood to go by the authentic reports of its inspectors. He is trying to browbeat the UN Security Council also and pressurising its members to fall in line with the monstrous designs of the USA.

From North Pole to South Pole, we don’t see any committed supporter for the immoral designs of Mr Bush; every nation (except Britain) seems to be deeply upset on the latent war in the Gulf region. Millions of upright citizens are marching and demonstrating against the war threats of the USA in the streets of all the sovereign states.

Mr Bush is isolated from the entire world. Yet, his utterances mock at the heaven. If there is any dictator on this earth, it is not Saddam Hussein but it is George Bush. He is trampling upon the UN and the world opinion.

In 1783, America got complete freedom from the British imperialism and President Munroe floated his well-known policy in 1823 which has come to be recorded as the Munroe doctrine in the world history, according to which “America was only for Americans” and the imperialist countries were warned to keep their hands off the American interests. For many decades, successive American Presidents did not think about expanding the newborn nation’s territories or political influence at the international level but after the First World War, their foreign policy underwent a sea-change and they started nourishing imperialist designs and desires.

As most of the journalists think in India and abroad, it is Arab oil which has moved Mr Bush and Mr Tony Blair to spit venom against Iraq. In fact, I am not ready to accept the USA and Great Britain as brave nations as they have always appeared as cold and calculating traders in the world history. The modern America does not have any ancient religion or culture or any relic of ancient civilisation as many other countries in Asia and Europe have.


Voice of sanity

This refers to the article Mr S. Nihal Singh’s article “Response to war Clouds in Gulf” (February 19). It is now crystal clear that the USA is not at all prepared to listen to the voice of sanity. Undeterred by global protests including its own finest brains of 40 Nobel laureates, horrendous consequences of war in the shape of breeding a whole new generation of terrorists, and exasperation tensions in the world, as rightly pointed out by the learned author, the USA is unilaterally convinced to take a quantum leap backward against humanity.

The USA’s declared objective of disarming Iraq and destroying alleged weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) that the UN inspectors are yet to confirm, apparently in the “interest of

international peace” is ridiculous, self-contradictory and egomaniacal in the face of its own confirmed huge stock of destructive weapons with massive annihilative capacity.



Gayatri mantra

Refuting the interpretations of Gayatri mantra by Davendranath Tagore, Rabindranath Tagore and Aurobindo Ghosh, Dr S. S. Bhatti has advised me to read Iqbal’s poem ‘Aaftaab’, and adds that it will send me into ‘trance’ ( The Tribune, February 6). I assure that it did nothing of the kind.

May I draw Dr Bhatt’s attention to my discussion of Iqbal’s religious poetry in my latest publications in ‘Message of Iqbal in Persian and Urdu poetry’ in “A Sacred Heritage, The Growth of Civilizations in India and Iran”, ed Irfan Habib, Tulika, New Delhi, 2001, and ‘Iqbal, Jinnah and the Partition’ in “Economic and Political Weekly”, Mumbai, December 14, 2001. Iqbals’s is essentially a translation, while Davendranth Tagore , Rabindranath Tagore and Aurobindo captured the spirit of the mantra through their spiritual quest and meditations.

Dismissing Ramakrishna as an individual devoid of originality, and condemning Vivekananda as a ‘marketing executive’, Dr Bhatti views the Arya Samaj with contemptuous indifference. I hope the researches of Kenneth Jones , Indu Banga, and Nonica Datta on Arya Samaj in Punjab should dispel the misgivings. I dare say that Ramakrishna and Vivekananda ( the spiritual Guru of Mahatma Gandhi), stand out for the depth and stimulation of spiritual and philosophical thought.

Dr Bhatti and Mr R.C.Khanna object to my calling the Gita a philosophical poem comparable to Dante’s Divine Comedy. The Gita deals with human predicament and Divine Revelation and so does Dante’s Divine Comedy. Dante faces the Godhead in cantos XI and XIII in Purgatorio and Paradiso respectively where he submits and says, “You are my refuge, you redeem me”. Like Arjuna, Dante is dazzled by the splendour of the sublime thoughts in verse. The Gita too is rendered in verse. T. S. Eliot’s “Four Quarterts”, Milton’s “Paradise Regained” and Aurobindo’s “Savitri” are relevant in this context.

V.N.DATTA, New Delhi

Passport to power

In his article “Himachal’s murky poll campaign” (February 14), Mr Hari Jaisingh has rightly pointed out that nowadays election campaigns are based on non-issues. For our leaders, religious and caste issues seem to have become easy passports to power. Urgent issues like unemployment, poverty, water and education have been relegated to the background. Moreover, character assassination and imputing personal motives seem to have become a part and parcel of our election campaign.


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