Is India Rwanda? (March 18). Excellent, courageous and much-needed. We need more such voices from every corner.
Adml and Mrs L. Ramdas, on e-mail
There’s no profession like journalism, it seems. It allows you to be an expert on everything, and pontificate on any subject. An added advantage is the absence of accountability. Vinod Mehta’s editorial proves this. One would squarely blame the media for feeding highly inflammatory material without any evidence of state participation in the riots. However, the Outlook editor does deserve praise for his candid confession that there’s no harm in jettisoning the parameters of objective journalism and being partisan on the side of the victims.
G.R. Saha, Calcutta
Mr Mehta addresses only the symptoms and not the cause. The appeasement of minorities over the decades has made the majority community believe they have to take things into their own hands. It’s the reason for the growing popularity of the vhp and the Bajrang Dal. So whoever is responsible for this appeasement, the Left parties and Congress included, they are as much responsible for the mayhem in Gujarat as are the bjp, the rss or the vhp.
Murali, on e-mail
For your innumerable readers, the accused is not Narendra Modi but the shameless bunch of secular terrorists whose political and intellectual dishonesty is plumbing such horrendous depths that the Hindus see the vhp and Bajrang Dal as their saviours (Thy Hand, Great Anarch, March 18). Hindu blood is boiling and Gujarat was just a trailer.
Vineet Goyal, on e-mail
After the ethnic cleansing unleashed by Modi’s ilk in Gujarat, Advani has the cheek to defend him in Parliament instead of bringing him to book. Is there any hope for this country?
Asif Sultan, on e-mail
In Narendra Modi at last an Indian state has found a chief minister who believes in ‘scientific’ governance. Converting Gujarat into a human laboratory for applying Newton’s laws and other laws of applied sciences, he has done great service to the nation. I wish Modi is honoured with the 2002 Nobel for Physics.
Mohd Amir Idrees, Lucknow
"Where was the delay? I restored sanity within 72 hours." Narendra Modi must be congratulating the Sangh parivar for clinically completing the task within 72 hours—the task of destruction of Muslim lives and properties. Or was it all decided—had Modi given a deadline of 72 hours to the Sangh parivar to complete its task?
Rizwana Tharola, Hyderabad
Your magazine, known for bjp-bashing, has now enlarged its prejudice to cover acharyas and Shankaracharyas. You’ve also been less than fair to Modi. How could he, busy as he was with the budget presentation in the assembly, have known about the communal diehards gathered at Godhra? Despite provocations, Gujarat had maintained peace between Hindus and Muslims post-’95, when the bjp took over. This last incident was beyond the limits of tolerance for any society, and it’s unreasonable to expect any regime to control a deluge of public anger.
Bipin B. Jhaveri, Jamnagar
Not The Sage of Reason (March 18), as you say, Jayendra Saraswati had at that juncture become the rage of the season, by dint of circumstance. Events, of course, have moved on.
C.G. Prasad, Chennai
Apropos "This was a lab experiment", you’d have been better off choosing a professional to comment on the Gujarat affair rather than an untrustworthy trustee of a so-called Muslim newspaper which is not read by even two per cent of the Muslim population of Gujarat.
Yusuf Khan, Ahmedabad
Does Saba Naqvi realise that more Muslims may have been killed in communal/sectarian violence in Pakistan than in India (The Mark of Hindutva)? Ours must be the only country where the majority has less rights than its minorities! And if after all this, we’re accused of ethnic cleansing, the Muslims of India need to take a closer look at their own record and the history of so-called Islamic nations to know what ethnic cleansing really means.
Bhagwat Shah, on e-mail
Saba Naqvi, I think, should move to Zimbabwe. She is ready to wallow in pride for whatever good India represents to her, but escape seems to be on her mind when India does not live up to her and her friends’ expectations.
Saikat Banerjee, on e-mail
The last time (on March 13) I took a train to New Delhi, I wrote out a will. My panic-stricken family tried to dissuade me from travelling in the tinderbox given the powder keg our country was sitting on but I couldn’t postpone it. At least wait till March 15, they told me. I couldn’t. And so I wrote a will which said: "I leave all my love to my children as there’s no point bequeathing my belongings since they won’t go unlooted over my prostrate body. I leave the last chance to say ‘I told you so’ to my family. I leave my abaya, my black covering garment, to avoid being identified as an easy Muslim target for sharpshooters."
Rahla Khan, on e-mail
I’m surprised at Soli Sorabjee’s attitude. While the Supreme Court interim verdict has reaffirmed our faith in the judiciary, Sorabjee’s double standards are quite shocking. Even the noble, pacifist Parsi community has disowned the A-G completely for this. Sorabjee had earlier represented the case in 1994 for the other group and, against all ethics, has changed his stand completely so as to blatantly toe the line of Advani, Jaitley and the rest of the Hindutva brigade.
Vineet Kaul, on e-mail
For ordinary citizens like us, it’s time for self-introspection. How about reflecting on these verses: "Come together, speak together/Let your minds be in harmony" (Rig Veda-X 191.2) , and "Disturbance is a greater evil than murder" (Holy Quran 2:217).
Ruby Nishat, Bangalore
I looked at the fanatical face on your cover (March 11), the raging fire behind and I thought to myself—this is where we have come after 50 years of Independence. We are ready to butcher, maim, burn, pillage and kill each other. When will we understand that this country belongs to all of us, and not to any particular religion or mindset?
Dr Aminuddin Khan, Hyderabad
By targeting Rs 13,700 crore through its proposals for excise and income tax in the recent budget, the Indian government has flogged a tired horse (Ideas at a Premium, March 18). The Indian economy is suffering from recession and demand constriction as it is. To cure these diseases, taxes and duties should actually be reduced. The government could have raised this money by increasing the cost of lpg by Rs 210 per cylinder rather than just
Rs 40. Other conveniences like kerosene and electricity can be made available without any subsidy. Similarly, there’s no need for an lpg subsidy either.
Alok Sharma, Gwalior
I beg to differ from your Ayodhya Case History (March 18). The story of Ayodhya didnot start in 1885. It started the day Babar’s commander demolished the original temple and built a memorial to Mughal supremacy. Perhaps you’d do well to check the Encyclopaedia Britannica on this.Or should we demand a ban on it too, for spreading disaffection?
Ratan Sharda, on e-mail
I don’t care if the mandir in Ayodhya is built or not. The only thing I care about is whether I can live with dignity in my country and not be ashamed of being called a Hindu. As a thinking, unbiased, non-political and non-religious Indian, I feel it’s the reporting of the kind one reads in the so-called secular media that would push the likes of me into supporting the vhp.
S. Venkatraman, on e-mail
From my childhood onwards I have been taught that Hindus are tolerant and peace-loving, that their abiding philosophy is sarvadharma sambhav. What happened in Gujarat then? Why should I want a Ram temple for which 3,500 people from both communities have been killed so far? I’m sure even Lord Rama wouldn’t want to be worshipped on the pile of these innocent dead.
Geeta Lingwal, Chennai
The lion’s share of the blame for the Gujarat carnage should go to India’s fairweather friends—the nris. His Holiness, the Shankaracharya of Puri, has on more than one occasion publicly demanded an accounting of the enormous funds available with the vhp and the Bajrang Dal. Are the nris proud of the way their huge contributions are being utilised to create mayhem and disharmony?
Dr Mathew Joseph, Kollam
When all I ask for is roti, kapda aur makaan, why am I being given mandir, masjid aur shamshaan?
Vinod Kumar B., Bangalore
The widespread condemnation by the media and intellectuals of Arundhati Roy’s one-day incarceration for contempt of court really surprised me (Small Things Matter, March 18). In the whole media circus and criticism of the judgment, one important point was lost. That there is difference between criticising a judgement and attributing motives to judges without any evidence, which is precisely what Arundhati did. You just can’t claim a judge is biased or has accepted a bribe for delivering a judgement sans any proof. Such wild claims are not good for the country as there is only one institution Indians still repose faith in—the judiciary.
Deepa Kandaswamy, Trichy
Even Nelson Mandela didn’t celebrate his release (after decades in jail) as Ms Roy did after less than 24 hours in jail.
Ashutosh Nayak, Hyderabad
Khushwant Singh certainly tread on my toes when he declaimed at the recently-held International Literary Festival that Indians are bad at biography (Bleeding Ink, March 4). If so, the conference could have done well to have devoted more of its "unmapped spaces" to this neglected genre. Biography is as much a literary form as any, in so far as it recreates a character from available sources and places them against the backdrop of their age. If Indian biographers are perceived to have failed, the answer could well lie in our tradition, which demands uncritical reverence for its heroes (we rarely write about others, least of all villains) and a silent requiem for their skeletons. Willy-nilly we are thus forced into producing hagiographies and need an Erik Erikson to tell us of Gandhi’s Truth.
Nayana Goradia, New Delhi
The Bull’s Eye of March 18 was bullshit! Alleging the presence of isi people within the vhp is the height of perversion. You, of course, can publish junk, but for God’s sake let it not stink!
Dr B.N. Gangadhar, on e-mail
May I say how thrilled I was to have read the feature Blimps on the Radar (March 4). It took me back to a friendly debate in the ’70s between JRD Tata and his respected colleague Suman Moolgaonkar on the future of aviation in the 21st century. The great engineer that Moolgaonkar was, he argued as far back as then that zeppelins would return in the 21st century. Let’s hope his words are coming true.
Fredie A. Mehta, Mumbai