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Published in the 1-15 Apr 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition


Letters: Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3

Jassi is better
"We respect Atalji and what he stands for...we believe in BJP`s ideology (as if that ideology is really something to be proud of) and its potential to lead us to progress..." These are the remarks that we hear everyday now, from filmstars and television personalities who have joined the party or even the "Muslim" leaders who have recently shown great "courage", shunned all criticism and taken the plunge for the "welfare" of the Muslim community joining hands with the BJP! I don`t think Atalji has even remotely proved to be the tall, respectable leader of leaders that he is being marketed as by the BJP advertising agencies. In fact Sonia Gandhi comes out more honest and courageous in comparison. Atalji has not been able to actually spell out what his party stands today`s scenario BJP and its allies seem far more confused and all of them speak in different tones. The Congress is in fact much more transparent in its working and if its workers are loyal to the Gandhis, there`s no reason for others to complain...after all there must be something good about the Gandhis that they can attract such undying loyalty from so many people.

Any person with just average common sense knows what the BJP or even the NDA stands for. They have their hands oozing with the blood of innocent victims of Gujarat carnage, their souls and conscience (if they still have these) are severely scarred with the guilt of numerous scams which are enough to make any forthright person hang his head in shame. It is indeed shocking to see seemingly intelligent and thoughtful ethically and artistically inclined people endorsing the ideology of cold blooded crimes against humanity. One must not forget that if a small wrong is not corrected in time it might become too big later on and consume its own supporters too...and the crimes of the present anti minority government are by no measure small. If I have to choose from television and movie stars I`ll better vote for Jassi...anyday!! 
Zohra Javed, Allahabad 

Indo-Israel relations
The BJP government at the Centre has been showing extraordinary interest in stabilising, developing and promoting relationship with Israel, the tiny desert nation. From the actions of our government, it appears that it wants to go to any extent for shaking hands with Israel even the cost of old, loyal Arab friends. The friendship with Israel seems obviously not only to win over US through the ladder of Israel but to know all important aeronautical and other sophisticated modern technology-based information. As a free nation, India has her own rights and choices of making new friends and developing relationship. However, in the case of Israel, it seems that we have not showed much maturity and carefulness which many not be good for us in the future since Israel is the nation which cannot be trusted as a favourite and fair friend forever.
Faheemuddin, Dutt Nagar, Nagpur 

Do you have courage, Vajpayeeji?
Advani cannot think of anything more than a Rath to advance his divisive thoughts. He is obsessed with it. He thinks that he can gauge the emotions and exploit it for electoral benefit. I think in that case all the candidates should take out a Rath Yatra each to follow our Dy PM. He is nowadays attacking Sonia because her birth was in Italy. May we ask where the revered DPM was born? 
Ever since election is announced political parties are vying with each other to rope in film actors to increase the number of people attending the rallies. BJP has been of late trying to bring to their fold Muslims and other minorities. BJP cannot and should not try these before they make an apology for their open support to communal elements and for calling Gujarat an aberration. How can it be an aberration when it had openly supported erring CM Modi and justified his complicity in the pogrom against the Muslims. Hardnews has brought out the report of Gujarat Sangharsh Manch that the fire emanated from the vestibules of the train, which is a routine safety hazard in the Railways, and it was a lie on the part of BJP to say that some Muslims had burnt Hindus. 
It is high time that those responsible for spreading such canards to apologise to Muslims if they want their confidence and their votes. Muslims have no objection to vote for any party provided they distance from communalist propagandist like Togadia and tender apology for their onslaughts on the minority. Come on Vajpayee, change yourself from a RSS hero to Secular hero, if you dare!
Aboobakr Thwahir, Mumbai

Muslim clerics and reform
Please refer to Firoz Bakht Ahmed's article on "Muslim Clerics on the Path of Reform?" (MG, 1-15 March, 2004). Seen in the world perspective of US pressure to 'moderate' Islam and purge Madrasa education / syllabi of the elements which, in its view, produce or perpetuate the 'Jihadi mentality' or a negative attitude towards the western civilisation and the constant endeavour of the West to strengthen as well as expand their hold on the Muslim world and its resources, the Muslim community should be ever conscious of the external and politically motivated pressure on the Madrasas in all Muslim societies.

There are reports of the teaching of the Quran and the Hadith being trimmed in several Muslim countries including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to suit the USA. There is pressure everywhere to reduce the relative weightage to religious courses in the curriculum of the Madrasas by adding non-religious subjects to the extent that the Madrasas loses its purpose and is converted into a secondary or higher secondary school, with some courses on Islam! Muslim students should have a free choice at various stages of Madrasa education to change course and shift at terminal points from the Madrasa system to the school system. The reduction in the number of those who aspire to become Aalim, Mufassir, Muhaddis, Faqih, Qari, Hafiz and Qazi may even be useful in the long-run but the immediate dilution of the religious syllabus, beyond marginal changes, will be fatal for the community because the Madrasas will cease to produce Islamic scholars. Therefore, we have to draw a line between revision of the syllabi of the Madrasas to enable their students to shift from the Madrasa stream to the school stream or vice versa or to acquire a broader knowledge of the world and skill, which would make them more employable other than as Madrasa teachers or Muftis or Imams, and distortion of the Madrasa syllabus to the point of virtual end of their religious mission.

Madrasas must remain Islam-centred, if they are to serve the purpose of their existence.
Syed Shahabuddin

Aberration or natural reaction?
Lal Kishenchand Advani said in Ghaziabad last week that the "unfortunate" religious violence in Gujarat in 2002 was an "aberration" and a "blot" on the tenure of the NDA government. Five days later, in Bangalore, he said that he and the Prime Minister and their party believe that violence would not have taken place but for the burning of a Railway carriage in Godhra by a Muslim mob -- from which he concludes that Muslims themselves were responsible for the killing and rape of so many of their number.

Just what were the "riots", then? Were they a "natural reaction" or an "aberration"? They cannot have been both — unless aberrations are what come naturally to Mr. Advani and his kind. Was not the inaction of the then Home Minister, which permitted them to take place, the real blot? Finally, when will he get around to answering the accusation that they were not riots but a systematic and well planned pogrom? Surely he can dig some more out of his inexhaustible supply of the stuff and name the demons who brought the misfortune to our land. Was he not quick to identify the divinity who saved Mr. Chandrababu Naidu's life some while back?
Mukul Dube, Delhi

India shining?
NDA’s much trumpeted slogan "INDIA SHINING" is being cashed in when general election is round the corner. It seems that the leaders of the BJP and its allies have come out from hibernation. The famous "Bharat Uday" yatra started by Deputy PM Mr. L. K. Advani, wants to garner votes through it. All yatras started earlier be it by Congress or BJP are sheerly meant for creating tension and hatred in the country and translating them into votes. NDA Government is leaving no stone unturned in marketing its product but the bitter reality can’t be overlooked. They have coined ‘Feel Good’ factor that has led us to think over it. What does it mean when vast chunk of people are dying, hundreds of farmers committing suicides even as the white-collar persons do not feel safe and secure. Women are being frequently raped at any place. Millions are still unemployed and huge drop outs of children from school before reaching fifth class. Above all the most tragic and ironical is that our Government exported grains to foreign markets at price far lower than our famished people purchased which they were forced to purchase at Rs 6.40 a k.g where as our Government exported rice at Rs 5.45 a k.g. Is this "INDIA SHINING"?. 
Wakeel Ahmad, New Delhi

Madrasas in Pakistan
Recent utterances of British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw after visiting Madrasas in Pakistan may create a cordial and positive thinking regarding Madrasas throughout the world. 

Mr. Straw said, "I understand that Islam stands for peace, love, brotherhood and harmony. Madrasas have been rendering yeoman services for the betterment of the Nation.” He further said, “We are all victims of terrorism."

Needless to say both electronic and print media are leaving no stone unturned to malign Madrasas. Resultantly, bad notions and misconceptions have infused in the minds of a section of people whose minds are already biased about Madrasas.
Obaidur Rahman Nadwi, Nadwa, Lucknow

When Advani chose to call Gujarat a ‘blot’ on the BJP rule, he could have been aware that in history, how the brutality of ‘Black-Hole’ of Calcutta moved Britain, to decide that such an inhuman government is not fit to rule ‘humans’. Later, that one single incident, as detailed in a book written by a survivor, transformed a trader nation to become the conqueror of the land.

Bit by bit, the US and the British are regurgitating the details of the brutality and the complicity of BJP in the horrific genocide of the Muslims. It would not be surprising, that Gujarat would not only be a noose around the Sangh Parivar, but also eventually give the ‘saviours of the world’ the entire pretext they need to have a look at the Achilles heel of Indian ruling class and choose to intervene and the stay put.

Both Advani and Vajpayee should move fast and catagorically, to distance themselves from Gujarat and give out clear signal of their change of heart, by first demoting Modi visibly, so that the signals go out loud and clear of their sincere remorse. 

It is not the fate of Sangh Parivar that is at stake; it is the very fate of India, that is now under a cloud and open for exploitation by the neo-imperialists. We all sink or swim together. Let the BJP leaders not be complacent and arrogant. In the leadership of Vajpayee, they can register their commitment to social justice without loss of face or credibility. The faster they move to restore the unity of the nation and show justice seen to be done to all the ‘oppressed’, the better it would be for all of us to face the dangers from the neo-colonizers.

Letters: Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3

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