Rejoinders / Letters to the Editor


BJP’s faulty role as an opposition The concept of opposition of BJP is flawed, the party thinks to condemn and criticize the government whenever and wherever be it any issue. There does not end its responsibility. She was in power for six years earlier. She should guide the government, where ever it was erring. Was there any fault in formulating the policies and its implementation? Where are the loopholes? What is the mode of curbing corruption? Instead of doing all this she makes sweeping remarks and levels charges on prime minister and ministers of cabinet and give media shots. This is not at all the obligation of the party towards the nation. She may get some political mileage out of this. What I perceive the government spends thousands of crores on defence, purchases and arms haphazardly unmindful of the actual need. Also the government have outside pressure for making purchases, crores of rupees are being spent on missile industry the purpose is nothing but to impress the neighbouring countries. Our policy needs a drastic change we are cautiously reeling under threat of certain neighbouring countries. We are not serious about talks with Pakistan and China. We are not updated with the friendly relations between China and Pakistan. Our relations with China and Pakistan are static. We do not understand the game plan of US. The US has taken us for granted and mould us according to his own interest. Our policy towards Iran and Afghanistan needs thorough revision. We are being pressed as sandwiched between the two super powers China and US. The UPA government is not competent enough to counter the actions taken against our country. We have the talent of playing down with Pakistan and feel we have won the world war. Unless we change the mindset we cannot do the real service to the nation. The famous poet Iqbal had once said: “ Waye nakami mataye karwan jata raha. Karwan ke dil se ehsase ziyan jata raha” Dr. Abdul Hameed Maqdoomi, Gulbarga   Oh! The pious inheritors of the world Rise like a tempest with unbreakable force; To uproot from the surface of this beautiful earth, The hatred, injustice, tyranny, and their every source. The height of Everest will come to your feet, To your fingers, the fathomless oceans will dance, The mighty Universe will show the signs of tremor, You have unbounded prowess in your determined glance. Look around for the omens with faithful eyes, Mehdi is preparing to emerge from his hidden place; Christ, endowed with power from his Guardian Lord, Is coming down to our planet with his Miracles and Grace. Under their banner in the predicted war on Evil, Your virtues must be unshakable : you may be frail ; Their divine aura and the fragrance of the righteous men, Will make all the dreaded man-made weapons fall and fail. Oh! The pious inheritors of the world, Rise like a storm against the vices of your soul; Purge yourself of the terror and finish the terror of others, You are the masters of your destiny and the world as a whole. You have received a sacred lesson and command, “Killing one innocent is murdering the human race”; But “persecution is worse than death”, is also a truth, Bury the reign of oppression with its each visible trace. Mustafa Kamal Sherwani, Lucknow   When will caste system get abolished? Caste, alas, is a demon that refuses to go away, and remains perhaps the single biggest hurdle to the evolution of India as one nation, one people. Each time we fill a form that seeks caste details, be it in education, employment, and elsewhere, the notion of equality celebrated in our Constitution takes a beating. Caste being a sensitive issue, the proposition of caste-based census naturally needs a proper thought out plan. However, it is the biggest blow for caste has been struck with the UPA’s government including ‘caste’ as a criterion in the ongoing census, the first time since 1931 that India will do a headcount of the Other Backward Class communities. They contend that even assuming that caste data are relevant, enumeration of the population on the basis of caste is bound to be vitiated by vote-bank and reservation politics, leading to the inflation of population figures and the suppression or distortion of vital information on employment, education and economic status, among other things. There can be no justification for breathing life into and conferring legitimacy on caste. Indeed we as responsible citizen should treat caste as a monster that should be eliminated, and seek all like-minded people to join the war against this menace. Let us do our bit for abolishing caste from our midst! Mohd Ziyaullah Khan, Nagpur II People making hue and cry over the caste based census are genuine in many ways. The main question raised by the prospect of a caste-based census is not whether to collect census data based on caste but how to do it in a way that does not trap citizens in caste identities. We need data based on caste to address inequalities based on caste. Not everyone agrees. Some argue the best solution to the problem of inequality is to target `economically disadvantaged’ populations the poor or the landless or the jobless without classifying them by caste. If those from subordinate caste groups are more likely to suffer from economic disadvantages, the argument goes, and then they will also automatically be the likely beneficiaries of such policies. Farzana Z Khan, Nagpur   Shiv Sena and Shanties The Shiv Sena’s changed attitude towards the cut-off dates for slums is laudable. For whatever reasons and with whatever excuses the Shiv Sena’ may be demanding the cut-off date to be extended to 2000 it is still a step well taken. In fact, they should insist that there is no cut-off date at all. The right of these shanties to stand where they are should have nothing to do with when they were erected. If they were allowed to spring up yesterday they have a right to exist today. If the administration does not want to legalise a slum tomorrow it is its own responsibility to prevent it from coming up today. The proliferation of slums to such a large extent is the proof of the connivance of the authorities or a testimonial of the dereliction of their duty. It is the scandalous failure of the successive government’s of Maharashtra and the Brihad-mumbai Mahanagar Palika to forestall the encroachment on public places. It was the obligation of the administration to freeze the number of existing hutments at some point of time; to make determined effort to prevent the new ones from springing up again and then go about rehabilitating the existing ones. It is a tragic reality that after six decades of nation building the rural India has no means of livelihood to offer to its villager. He is obliged to walk into the filth of the cities’ slums to earn his bread. He finances this journey by selling his valuables or by borrowing. On his way to this el dorado he is exploited by so many government, quasi government and non-government "agencies". As long as our villagers have to wobble to cities for livelihood, they have to be tolerated. Let there be no cut-off dates. The powers that be have been getting away with murder. Let not the poor villager pay for their sins. Dr.Mookhi Amir Ali, Santacruz West, Mumbai   Israel’s inhuman attack on humanitarian aid Where is the hope? Where is the love in the midst of such suffering and injustice? The international community has all but failed in its duty of care and seems unwilling or unable to take a stand against Israeli brutality in Gaza. Gaza’s people have suffered an Israeli occupation for over 40 years and even though Israel withdrew from Gaza in August 2005 it has continued to control every aspect of life in the tiny coastal strip. Hamas was democratically elected to power in the 2006 Palestinian elections and has governed the Gaza strip since the summer of 2007. It was at this time in 2007 that Israel commenced its devastating blockade of the strip. Essentially the blockade represents a draconian policy by Israel. A minimum amount of basic subsistence goods are allowed to enter the strip with the intention of holding a malnourished population just short of outright starvation. Coupled to the severe food shortages are the restrictions / ban on basic essentials such a medicine and desperately needed reconstruction materials. This blockade constitutes “Collective Punishment” of a civilian population an act illegal under Article 33 of the fourth Geneva Convention. But the Culture of impunity, under which Israel operates, means Israel continues to ignore international law with many of the world’s governments and international bodies’ remaining silent. Perhaps nobody knows, how much longer would be this silence. Farzana Z Khan, Nagpur II Before, we condemn Israel for the attack on aid boats coming to Gaza, we, as Muslims, should have to condemn the silent of Arab nations, their inertia towards end of Gaza seize and their idleness to support the “freedom fleet”. Now, we come to the point. Today’s morning inhuman strike by Zionist State on the freedom aid boats, living among of them many dead and wounded, shows the dangerousness of this illegal Zionist State, which is a threat for all who speak about freedom, democracy and humanity. This aggression on aid boats and subject to killing and wounding of convey which is coming to help the people of Palestine and to end the blockade of Gaza, shows that this Zionist State can cross all borders for its illegal dominance in the region. The condemnation of various countries for this inhuman tragedy caused by a Zionist State which believes only one violence and war is not the solution. Because what happened with this freedom fleet today morning and the tragedy is facing by the people of Gaza for long times is not possible without their internal and external support to Israel. Any justification of this nonsense attack by Zionist forces and the reaction of European and Western countries by words only are unacceptable. If they think that this war type action against the activists who were going to Gaza for humanitarian purpose, is a war crime, then they first come up to end the blockade of Gaza. Moreover, cooperate in bringing these Zionist leaders, who always take the part in massacre of Palestine and now are ruling on this Zionist State, before the International Criminal Court. After all, Zionist State did what it is doing since its illegal existence on the map of the world. The activists and the organisations are calling world community to stand up against this Zionist State, they should have to know that they could meet to all world leaders who speak about freedom, democracy, ex-pression of freedom, atrocities, and they could find the leaders speak against racism; truth is that their hearts have been rotten. They just only speak, on ground level; we can see what is happening with humanitarian activists in and outside Gaza. Today’s morning invasion is just an example. Abdul Hannan Siwani Nadvi, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia III The barbaric attack by Israeli commandos on the flotilla carrying food and relief material to the Gaza residents is highly reprehensible. It is apparent, by blockading naval and land routes to the Gaza strip, the Jewish government wants the 1.5 million Gazans to die of starvation. What is more baffling is the failure of the United Nations which did nothing so far, beyond the rhetoric of “condemnation”. The so called civilised international community too remained a mute spectator, even as the entire Gaza strip was converted into a large open-air jail by Israel for months on end. The tacit endorsement to the Israeli terror by the United States also explains, as to why it is the most hated nation in the Muslim world. Syed Sultan Mohiddin, Kadapa (AP) IV When President Barrack Obama was declared the winner of the Noble Prize for Peace 2009, there were mixed responses from the International and US communities. The black were ecstatic, the whites sighed, and the browns like me only hoped that the Nobel laureate Obama would usher in change in a world where his country is seen more of a tormentor than anything else. Unfortunately nothing changed. More American soldiers were commissioned in Afghanistan; more drones killed innocent civilians than Al Qaida members in the tribal areas of Pakistan; more “development” work was sanctioned to American companies in Iraq and even more hysteria was generated against the weapons of mass destruction with Iran. It appeared that the Noble Prize for Peace to Barrack Obama was as much a waste as it was a hoax in those six years when the real champion of peace, Mahatma Gandhi was denied its bestowment (We were told that Gandhi was nominated six times for the prize). The Israeli attack on the Turkish boats carrying humanitarian aid to the caged people of Gaza is an opportunity thrown by history towards President Barrack Obama to earn his Noble Peace Prize. The merciless killing of nineteen innocent humanitarian aid victims by Israeli forces aboard the Freedom Flotilla is not new. Israel is known for similar brutalities in the past. Who can forget the killing of innocent Muhhamad Al Durrah, the little boy who hid behind his father to avoid the Israeli bullets at a sleepy Gaza junction? Or for that matter can we ever forget the thousands murdered at the Sabra-Shatila camps in Beirut? So what is so big if Israel has committed murder again? To an ordinary citizen of the world like me, it is the audacity with which Israeli authorities perpetrated these crimes, right in front of world attention, knowing the consequences! It was murder planned and executed in broad daylight, right in our drawing rooms. The iron cold savagery of Israeli authorities has even taken its allies by surprise. Never have we seen such a global outcry over an Israeli atrocity. In the opening remarks of his Noble lecture, President Obama had said, “It is an award that speaks to our highest aspirations – that for all the cruelty and hardship of our world, we are not mere prisoners of fate. Our actions matter and can bend history in the direction of justice”. President Barak Obama, we will wait to see if you are just one of them or are you a rare breed. Dr. Shah Alam Khan, AIIMS, New Delhi V Israel could not have justified its terror attack on aid flotilla if it had not been under the US umbrella. The Jewish State has been spewing venom to its innocent neighbours for the last four decades – which most of the time goes unreported. Daily dozens of poor Palestinian fall pray to the Israeli bullets, which gets little condemnation globally as no one terms this act of violence as a terror attack. In November 2004, a United Nations report described terror as “an act intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non-combatants with the purpose of intimidating a population or compelling a government or an international organisation to do or abstain from doing any act.” Peace loving countries, including India, must come together not only to condemn and term the deplorable and mendacious activities of Israel a terror attack but also rethink their growing financial and military ties with the Jewish State. Shafaque Alam, New Delhi VI The Flotilla aid convoy was in international waters and as such was not doing anything illegal when it was stormed by the Israeli military. If indeed some people on board the ship attempted to defend themselves or to fend off the Israeli attack by firing weapons, in my view they were justified as the Israeli´s had no right to board the ships. It´s about time the international community stand up to the cowardly and murderous Israeli regime that seems intent on perpetuating the conflict and spreading hate. Unfortunately, too many politicians around the world live in fear of the pro-Israeli lobbies (or more to the point, they fear losing the cash these lobbyists pay in exchange for being soft on Israel). Shame on Israel and shame on the so-called leaders in the US and the UN for letting them get away with murder. How can the Americans continue to say that they have no greater friend than Israel? Sandeep Ghiya, Mumbai   VII The attack carried out by the Israeli specialist forces against the “Freedom Flotilla” is nothing but a criminal attack. The Flotilla was bringing humanitarian aid to the Gaza strip. Almost 20 people died and more than 30 were injured among civilians and crew members. It is not enough to demand, an investigation of the attacks or the diplomatic explanations that the different European governments and the American pretended to give about the abusive use of force. There is no justification for attacking civilians nor blocking and occupying a territory. It is not possible to talk about an abusive use of force, or understand a measurable or reasonable usage of it within this context of occupation and overused of power existing in this area since previous times. Israel has been breaking systematically the different provisions of the United Nations specially the 1860’s provision that required to end the blocking in the Gaza Strip and allowed the free circulation of humanitarian aid. There is no way to explain this crime as an error, or excess of control. It is already illegal and arbitrary the existing situation of extreme abuse and violence that the Palestinian population live in now. Farzana Z Khan, Nagpur   Obama’s mind That America is the founder of terrorism is known to the whole world. American society’s shamelessness, nudity and devilish use of gun is also before the eyes of the people of the world.No country except Iran has challenged America. North Korea and China also refuse to toe the USA line blindly. How long the coward world countries will continue to flatter the big Satan who requires time to fully understand why Israel bombed the ships taking relief materials for the oppressed Palestinians who have been made refugees in their own land?! Sultan A. Patel,Khanpur Deh – 392150   UN anti-terror Court’ to save the democratic world It is no exaggeration to say that the complete breakdown of the State (of largest democracy of 1.2 billion people) of India, while handling 26/11 (latest is the verdict of Supreme Court of Pakistan in upholding the judgment of its High Court to release Hafiz Saeed, the alleged mastermind of 26/11 and the head of JuD, the organization which was one of those proscribed by UN, in view of 26/11) , poses bigger threat to democratic world than even the complete failure of USA and its ‘western’ allies in financial matters which has caused the present economical crises word over. The democratic USA & Allies (including EU nations, Australia etc.) will neglect only at their peril, the crucial importance of 26/11 and ‘ongoing global economical crises’ for the survival of democracy as ‘THE IDEOLOGY’ all over the world. Post 9/11, USA & Allies have used UN for being in Afghanistan and Iraq for ‘global war against terrorism’ through UN resolution of October 2001. Therefore USA & Allies have every moral and legal obligation to keep UN in the loop over the matters of terrorism which has global ramifications. All terror activities should be brought under the jurisdiction of UN by installing a mechanism of “UN anti-terror Court” (with proper and competent agency for enforcing its orders) which will adjudicate over such matters of terrorism which involves the States of more than one country. Therefore USA & Allies ought to work for the launching of ‘UN anti-terror Court’, not only in the interest of ‘global war against terrorism’ but also in the interest of ‘democracy and rule of law’ world over. Hem Raj Jain, Greater NOIDA