Apropos Politics of Amnesia (December 9), the disastrous events that shook Ayodhya and the rest of the nation 10 years ago may have paralysed our secular conscience temporarily but sanity and right-mindedness did triumph ultimately. The fact that Ayodhya does not reap electoral benefit for the bjp any more illustrates this. For the political parties, Ayodhya may be a closed chapter, but for us Indians, it is a grim reminder of our collective failure as a cohesive, cultured and civilised unit. That Ayodhya is not predominant in people’s minds anymore is an indication that the Gujarat riots too, within 10 years from now, will invite the same reaction. So even if the bjp wins this time around, it won’t be long before Vajpayee and Co realises that the magic of communal politics is ephemeral.
I hope your poll prediction Congress Edges bjp in Photofinish (December 9) comes true. Only without Modi will the real story about Godhra and the Gujarat violence be told as it was and the guilty punished.
A.T. Rajan, New Jersey, US
Majority or minority, nobody is above the law. If Modi wins, Gujarat will be ruled by the mob. And it will be like Pakistan under the mullahs.
After the Mandal Commission and the Babri Masjid demolition, it is now the Gujarat poll which will be another watershed for Indian polity (rather than a watershed for the bjp, as many believe). It does not matter to us—the middle class—what fate the bjp meets but it surely sends shivers through us when we think of the protagonists in this electoral orgy. A sense of helplessness, disenchantment and anger grips us at the thought that a nation’s future may possibly be affected by a bunch of people who’ve displayed utter senselessness and complete disregard for the heterogeneity of our nation.
Kaushik Som, Bangalore
An upper-caste shopkeeper in Gujarat had this observation to make, "No law in the world punishes a son for the crime committed by his father. How can we justify the killing of a five-year-old in Ahmedabad for a crime committed in Godhra? Do we kill the boy just because he is the same community as those who torched the train?" This is what differentiates civilised and uncivilised humans. And thank god that some of this ilk are around!
Sanjay Patel, Edison, US
The Supreme Court should impose a ban on pre-election opinion polls and surveys which tend to change the voters’ minds. It is a proven fact that the actual results of elections are most often the complete reverse of such surveys, like in the last Punjab assembly election results. Even agencies conducting such surveys admit that a deviation of 2-3 per cent is always possible. In most cases, such a 2-3 per cent tilt is enough to reverse party positions in legislatures.
Aditya Aggarwal, Delhi
Your survey will ring true if indeed the polarisation along religious lines has been diffused and dwarfed by the lately dominant issue of governance. In that case, it will also be a great day for the secular credentials of our country. The Gujarat poll results may not determine whether India will remain headed in a secular direction or not but they will definitely give the signal—red or green—towards it.
A. Jacob Sahayam, Karigir, Tamil Nadu
That journalism has become a sham in India is evident from the opinion polls of both India Today and Outlook. How can Modi get a two-third majority and Congress win at the same time? You just put what you want in the mouths of other people and publish it as poll findings. It’s high time you guys stopped fooling people in the name of opinion polls which count for nothing.
Vinoo Ramakrishnan, New Jersey, US
This is not about the Congress or bjp winning or losing; it’s about the state ensuring the safety of its people, their lives, property and dignity. Modi has personally failed in this regard and people should realise that people like him are not only endangering the lives of people but also spell danger for our country’s existence. Modi has no place in our society; he should be tried under our laws and punished.
Samer Ali, Dubai
I pray that the outcome of the Gujarat polls is what you project it to be. India’s a secular state and when tempers cool down, clear logic I am sure will prevail. And that hopefully will determine voting on December 12.
Khushhal Mah, Boise, US
Between Outlook and India Today, let’s see who eats crow. I have a sneaking feeling that Pakistan-supporter Outlook is going to be the one.
Manohar Advani, on e-mail
Congress Edges bjp in a Photofinish... Yes, and Sitaram Yechuri would be prime minister!
Mandira Gupta, Ahmedabad
If there’s anyone whose conduct has been despicable during the whole genocide in Gujarat and now in the follow-up to the election campaign, it’s L.K. Advani (Call It Internal Democracy). His defence of Modi is unpardonable. Most of us studying at foreign universities are hard-pressed to explain to our incredulous colleagues—who are interested in and worried about India’s future—how we end up electing third-rate leaders like these two.
Bharat Punjabi, North York, Toronto
Hope to God your survey reflects the reality...
Partha Jha, Dubai
The efforts to establish peace in Nagaland best illustrates that any negotiated peace process is bound to be slow and painful but the only way forward in a democracy (IMpending Peace?, December 9). If the latest efforts bear fruit, this will be the only achievement of the Vajpayee-led government which otherwise has a pretty dismal record. One hopes that some of the pig-headed Kashmiri outfits also learn a lesson from this.
Bharat Pandya, on e-mail
Anita Pratap seems to have been influenced by the propaganda of the US-based Campaign Against Hate Funding in her column Canals of Communalism (December 9). Had she applied due diligence before embarking on Hindu-bashing, she’d have discovered that a substantial portion of the funds collected by the idrf are channelled into parivar-affiliated bodies such as the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, Vanvasi Kalyan Parishad, Vivekananda Kendra, Vanvasi Seva Sangh, Sewa Bharati and Ekal Vidyalayas which are working towards the education and uplift of Dalits and adivasis.
Sandeep Shete, Vadodara
Your cover story The Flip-Flop PM (December 2) was a very candid evaluation of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. Gandhiji had once said, "Nehru is a thinker, and Patel a doer". We have yet to have another combine like Nehru and Patel and Vajpayee and Advani have way to go before they could fit in their shoes. I recall the time when Patel pleaded with the mobs not to kill the Muslims leaving for Pakistan saying that "unharmed" Muslims reaching Pakistan would become a liability for that country and history has proved him right.
R.R. Vaswani, mumbai
I beg to differ from your assessment of Vajpayee being inconsistent. On the contrary, the PM is a very dynamic and charismatic leader and his government is the first non-Congress one to survive for such a long time. Both in national and international affairs, he has lived up to the requirements. He is indeed a statesman who has risen above personal and party considerations.
Santoshi Bhadra, Cuttack
If Vajpayee was indeed motivated by Nehru, he’d have sacked Narendra Modi immediately rather than share the dais with him in the lead-up to the Gujarat elections.
Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee, Faridabad
The endless greed of builders and anti-social elements resulting in the destruction of the mangrove cover in Mumbai will prove disastrous and catastrophic (The Cement Coast, December 9). We cannot afford to endlessly fiddle with nature, it has a way of getting back at us which will be detrimental to the interest of the present and future generations.
S. Lakshmi, on e-mail
Kudos to Kerala CM A.K. Antony for attempting to free the state police force from political interference (State Gazette, December 9). No prizes for guessing why no other state has so far even tried anything to this effect. The politician’s arbitrary power of transfers or demotions has systematically destroyed the career of many an honest cop. To be fair to them, who amongst us would lay down our lives for Rs 2,000-Rs 3,000 a month? It’s easy to poke fun at them but if only we put ourselves in their tattered shoes and then judge them, we’d be amazed at how some of them still manage to do a decent job. Not because of the politicians, but despite them.
Bharatram Gaba, Mumbai
The rape of an mbbs student of the Maulana Azad Medical College is really horrifying (Clinical Trial, December 2). Delhi has now become an even more unsafe place for its women. The fear in every woman’s mind is, who’ll be next? Lack of sex education, I think, is the reason why all this is happening.
Sweta Mishra, Orissa
It’s a matter of shame that even a reputed magazine like yours can make such a major mistake. I refer to Poison in the Salve (December 9) in which you carried a photograph of a securityman killed by the militants in the attack on the Raghunath temple, Jammu. It was distressing to see the accompanying caption describe the martyr as a militant.
Manuraj Singh, on e-mail
We regret the error, caused by a last-minute photo change.—Editor
True to the secular credentials of sections of our media and political leadership, something of serious consequence has gone unnoticed. Even as the pogrom in Gujarat drew justified revulsion, the Amnesty report of December 5, 2001, has gone almost unnoticed. The reason for what I think is wilful neglect is clear—the very name of the report: "Bangladesh: Hindu minority must be protected". According to this report, lakhs of minorities
in Bangladesh, especially Hindus, have been raped, killed, forcibly converted or driven out to India. As a consequence, the population of Hindus has been reduced from 22 per cent in 1971 to 9 per cent today. That the current bjp-led government has a ‘fascist Hindutva’ agenda may or may not be true, but this government, which is at the receiving end of international reprobation for its handling of the minorities has done virtually nothing to highlight this tragedy at international levels, especially in the UN and with the US, a country which has not hesitated in showing concern for the plight of minorities in India. The media, I am afraid, has been taking an ostrich-like stance presumably because of the mistaken and disastrous notion in our country that to take up any cause that appears to be in favour of Hindus is to "tear the secular fabric" of our country.
K.R. Ravi, Mumbai
The story of a gangster abducting a married woman in broad daylight in Patna and forcing her to have nikaah with him reads like the amorous exploits of a villain in a Bollywood flick. That a state minister and the officer-in-charge of the local police station came to bless the criminal makes me wonder if we are really living in a civilised world.
Tarlok Singh, Delhi