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Published in the 16-31 July 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Letters of the Editor 

Letter: Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3

Urban and rural India
Election results have brought to the fore division in development of urban and rural India. While India has got some shine in the metropolis, rural India alongwith small cities has been left far behind on the path of development. Majority of population still strives for basic amenities.

Therefore, it is the prime duty of new government to start working for the welfare of deprived masses. The disparity needs to be  eliminated by uplifting the under developed region. Rural India  needs cottage or small scale industries as per requirement of  specific region. By this way employment will be generated locally checking unnecessary migration to the big cities or different states.
Dr. Salman Sultan, Mr. M.N.Beg, A.A.Abbasi, Shamim Ahmad, Vishal Bharti, Sayedur Rahman, Rehan Rashid, Mohd. Aslam, Sajjad Ahmad - Azamgarh, U.P.

America’s stooges in Iraq
The raid on the Pentagon’s own favourite to head the new US-appointed ruling group, should not be a surprise. It is all a ploy to gift some credibility to Chalabi. By targeting him through a contrived raid, US authorities are trying to hoodwink the people of Iraq and rest of the Arab and Muslim world, that Chalabi is no longer US stooge. 

The change in policy was dutifully laid out by Newsweek editor Fareed Zakaria, in his latest article, where he exhorted: "an interim government ……will need not just power but legitimacy. And legitimacy can come only if it shows Iraqis that it can stand up to the occupying power. Washington should understand and even assist in this dynamic. At least in appearances, we have to lose for Iraqis to win." 

Observers note Fareed Zakaria has always been used by US administration to promote new strategies and get the public debates rolling. His work on a different twist to 'the new shades of democracy' reflected the new ideas in Bush administration to suit their forays in democratising of the Arab and Muslim world. 

So the raid on Chalabi is all part of a contrived effort to build up public image of the CPA as an independent and nationalist authority; though the reins of power will always remain with the US colonists.

Lok Sabha Elections
Here are a few things that one can learn from the 14th Lok Sabha election results ------
1) No issue including that of origin is more important than the basic issues of the people.

2) Never ever go for an election in four and a half years when you have a five year term.

3) Road shows are still more popular with the people of this country than air conditioned rath yatras.

4) Never ever humiliate a lady opponent, such an offender is never spared by the Indians.

5) Invest in GeNext for they are more acceptable than "non-performing" oldies.

6) Never wake up the voter at 3 am to tell him that "India is shining", he will definately make you feel bad when his time comes.

7) Don't look for netas next time in rural areas, bollywood is now the new recruiting centre.

Finally, what amount of polls may be conducted (opinion, exit etc) the mind of an Indian voter will always remain a mystery.
Abdul Monim, Vashi 

Non-issues get priority
It is strange that instead of striving for all round development of our country some people are adept in raising non-issues. While a lot of problems need to be addressed immediately, all are being involved through subtle propaganda to waste energy and time on such non-issues. In our opinion Mrs. Sonia Gandhi is well aware of the suffering of rural masses and knows India better than most of us. She and her children are well entrenched in Indian tradition and look more Indian than most of our ministers on foreign visit.

Further, Mrs. Sonia Gandhi has not only been returned to parliament repeatedly but has been the leader of opposition.

Dr. Salman Sultan, Mr. M.N.Beg, A.A.Abbasi, Shamim Ahmad, Vishal Bharti, Sayedur Rahman, Rehan Rashid, Mohd. Aslam, Sajjad Ahmad - Azamgarh, U.P.

For Bush, is 9/11's 3000 dead more like 'collateral damage' on way to Iraq and Pax Americana?

If there was any doubt in any quarters, that President Bush was acting on behalf of plotters and planners, who had helped him to reach the top spot as a proxy, it was now completely cleared by Bush decision to appear before the 9/11 Commission with his ‘vice-president’ Dick Cheney, the real mastermind, according to some, behind the throne.

The point to be investigated at the moment with the 9/11 Commission was why Bush was more obsessed with Iraq, when the immediate danger of terrorist attack on the homeland America was being projected by intelligence agencies with more and more vehemence and frequency as Bush presidency progressed. Anti-terrorism expert Richard Clarke testifying with 9/11 Commission, focused on the direct one to one interaction with Bush, when the President disregarded his brief on increased terror danger from Al Qaida, and asked him to concentrate on Iraq. He was asked to seek links between Al Qaida and Iraq, not to tackle Al Qaida, but to invade Iraq. 

The buck too stops with the President when the sole responsibility to attend to the nations security is his and his alone; to account. Still his decision not to face the 9/11 Commission alone, but have his Vice-President with him to face the music, reconfirms Cheney role in diverting the administration’s priorities towards Iraq, totally discounting any danger from Al Qaida terrorism, which was the overwhelming brief of the intelligence that was presented to Bush and his National Security Advisor, Condi Rice.

The more facts come out about the role of ‘Iraq’ in the overall advent of New American Century strategy as the first of many victims of Pax Americana, the more the 3000 American deaths in 9/11 appear to Bush and company as ‘collateral damage’, a price worth having paid, for the larger designs of ruling the world in the best interest of the US. After all Bush and his defense advisers, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz have already budgeted for much larger army casualties, each step of the way. You lose some to gain some. Pure arithmetic. No big deal. It remains to be seen if the people of United States are consulted in the fullest possible term of consultation and whether they back their President and his handlers, with the fullest possible awareness of where the neo-con plotters are leading the nation to.

Punish Criminals of Godhra and Gujarat
Justice demands that the criminals who burnt the train at Godhra and those who participated in communal frenzy in Gujarat must be punished. Gujrat’s opposition leaders including Congress leader S.S. Vaghela had blamed Modi government for stage-managing Godhra incident to justify its pre-planned state-sponsored genocide. Forensic report says that the train’s bogie was not burnt from outside. A commission of sitting judges of the supreme court should probe the Godhra incident and the Gujarat riots 2002. Modi govt. should be dismissed and president’s rule imposed in Gujarat. A nine-member tribunal of retired supreme court judges, senior advocates and eminent persons had indicted Modi & company for the genocide in Gujarat.
G. Hasnain Kaif

Kashmir's new rulers 
Mahbooba Mufti, the daughter of Kashmir’s Chief Minister and herself a minister in her father’s cabinet had established most condemnable precedent by uncovering the face of a Pardanashin voter, on national TV, even if the victim was suspected of being a bogus voter. There are time-honoured security practices to tackle such incidents. Mehbooba’s act to take the law into her own hand has set a bad example for police to follow her example in blatantly and openly compromising with the honour and dignity of a woman, whoever she may be. As it is Kashmiri women are the worst sufferers of security authorities and even molestations and rapes are not uncommon. 

The worst part was that the wronged woman did turn out to be a genuine voter. 

Mahbooba’s agitated womanhandling on camera of a Muslim lady’s most cherished possession of her honour, the niqab of a practicing Muslim, has exposed that power had completely changed her and robbed her of her liberal aura of a woman activist fighting for the rights of a women. 
To the Kashmiri people, she even appeared harboring a distinct derision and contempt for traditional Islamic purdah dressing that is the hallmark of Kashmiri society. 

This will not endear PDP as the preferred political party, if Mahbooba’s image being against religious tradition is registered with the voters, by her indiscretion in becoming physical to tackle a suspected woman bogus voter. 

Common sense in high places: 52 UK ambassadors spoke up
Bush and Blair implemented the New World Order
When leaders go mad
The people are confused But not the UK ambassadors
Kaj Krinsmoe

Railaways under Laloo
Railways Ministry deserves appreciation for enforcing the Cigarettes and other Tobacco products (Prohibition of advertisement and Regulation of trade and Commerce, production supply and distribution) Act 2003.

Smoking in trains and railway premises including railways ministry has been banned. It is quite a timely step of Railways ministry. Smoking indeed is injurious to smoker himself as well as for those who are around him. Above all, it is an abhorrent act for all. Needless to add it causes so may diseases.

In this context, it would be apt to mention that such restrictions have been enforced in the past but they did not work. Now equipped with this act things are expected to improve.
Obaidur Rahman Nadwi, Lucknow (U.P.)

Communal tensions
I am an Indian American, and I was doing research on communal tensions in India. Like most secular Indo-American teens I put the blame on the Hindu right's rise in politics. But after reading your newspaper, the Muslim community must accept much of the blame for that. You all complain the world doesn't understand the roots of Islamic frustration in the world, and then you go ahead and generalize the entire ideology of Hindutva. How can you ever expect anyone to understand where you're coming from if you are never willing to consider the other side. Let's be honest, if Muslims were always so kind and considerate to their Hindu neighbors, then there wouldn't be the kind of tension as there is now. Find me one important pilgrimage site in the Gangetic plains where the original temple wasn't destroyed. Even if there was no Ram temple in Ayodhya, every historian in the world with some dignity concedes Banaras Kasi temple was destroyed by Aurangzeb. Is it ok if Hindus destroy
that mosque since there is historical evidence. 

I'm not saying Hindus have no blame for communal problems (the BJP has screwed up in a lot of ways), but your publication makes all Hindus seem violent and like terrorists. You invoke the laws of Manu all the time to justify how evil our religion is, but then you complain that people don't interpret horrible Quranic texts in the proper time period, and that some hadiths are perversions of Islam. I would argue that the Laws of Manu are no more important today than the hadiths of Islam which have equally barbaric ideas within them. We Hindus are incredibly racist too according to your magazine, but don't even try to tell it would be fine see if an African American Muslim wanted to marry a Pakistani girl here...she'd probably be dis-owned in a second. 

Try some objective journalism for a change....or keeping fanning the communal fires and then wonder why the Hindu right is gaining. They say Bush's dumb middle east policies create recruits for Al-Qaeeda, and publications like yours help the RSS strengthen their support. Thank you so much for doing your part in contributing to the terrible communal tensions in India. 
Suraj S..... M.....
Editor: It is unjust for you to say that we paint all Hindus with the same brush. We are conscious of the fact that the vast majority of Hindus are good and nice people who care about others. We always refer to the lunatic fringe as Hindutva and Hindutvites and we know that the strength of these people in the country is in single digit and even their naive supporters for a myriad of reasons are below 30 percent of the voters. We have no stake in fanning communal fires but we do have a duty and right to bring out the good and bad times of the Muslim community in their homeland.

We need another way of looking at things
This is in response to the letter of Mr. RV Anand in the MG dated 1-15th May no.9 regarding M.F. Hussain.I understand his sentiments of hurt as many of us undergo such a feeling of injured sensibilities at one time or the other.In fact most communities have felt it at one time or the other.I would take the liberty however of clarifying a few issues that come up in his letter; (1) Why was it that the reaction of outrage took place so long after the painting was done? The painting in question, of Goddess Saraswati, that was eventually destroyed by the mob which attacked the well-known art gallery in Mumbai, had been done almost 15 years ago and thousands must have viewed it during this time. (2) Hinduism is a religion that celebrates life in all it's richness, it endorses and celebrates human passions: love, romance, beauty,the female form in all it's mystic splendour, as well as envy, lust, jealousy, anger.It therefore attracts the artist, the painter, the sculptor and the story-teller who delve into it's rich treasure for themes.MF Hussain is not the only artist who has painted subjects from Hindu Mythology, there is a long line of renowned artists who have done so.And there are the lesser known ones whose calenders and posters adorn poorer homes. Perhaps Hussain is the only Muslim artist to have done so, and as an artist he meant no disrespect, for him his medium is sacred. (3)On the subject of religious sentiment it may perhaps be proper to point out to Mr. Anand that Islam is a very austere religion,starkly simple as well as intellectual in it's nature. And in spreading the message of Islam the last and most beloved Prophet of God suffered untold privation and hardships.There is no place for physicality or emotion in it.It seeks to refine the animal passions in man and teaches him to overcome them.The verses of the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet therefore cannot be used in the business of entertainment( as a film) without a proper context . If Mr. Hussain reacted swiftly he probably knew the ramifications of his actions would be worldwide, as of the other two mentioned who survive today as outcastes of the community. In this context it appears hardly proper to harbour feelings of injustice towards the govt., or the secularists. It is more necessary perhaps to change the manner in which we see things, perhaps they appear darker than they really are ?? 
N. A. Hussaini 
Gulbarka, Karnataka

Letter: Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3


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