Letters to the Editor: Righting Historical “Wrongs”?

Righting historical “wrongs”?

As soon as the long-smoldering specter of Babri Masjid was laid to rest, the Hindutva Brigade released a new list of masjids which it claimed were built after the demolition of mandirs. The Hindutva warriors want them all to be turned back into mandirs. So now we have controversy generated around Gyanvapi Mosque in Benaras and Shahi Eidgah in Mathura. A brilliant BJP guy in Delhi wants the names of all roads and places named after Muslims changed. He and his ilk want to erase all signs of “ghulami” (slavery). Well, in this case why only change the names, let’s shave all these structures. Let’s start with the capital’s Lal Qila and the Viceroy’s House (now named Rashtrapati Bhavan) and all the Lutyan bungalows where the colonial masters lived and ruled over the Indians. Let’s roll the bulldozers. Simultaneously, the reader can be extended to other “slavery era” structures in other states where the BJP is in power, such as in Uttar Pradesh where the Taj Mahal is located. Either the BJPwallahs do it immediately or they shut up. –Atif A. Kazmi, Delhi

Lessons from Sri Lanka

Many experts draw parallels between the situation in Sri Lanka and that which is developing in India. They warn that if the Modi government does not make amends, India could also find itself in a similar mess before long. In Sri Lanka, hungry people are on the streets. They burned down the houses of the president and the deputies. These are the same people who were divided on ethnic criteria. Mahinda Rajapaksa further fueled these divisions to strengthen his power and he succeeded. Meanwhile, with absolute power in their hands, the Rajapaksas made arbitrary decisions like the sudden switch to organic farming that proved devastating to their economy. Of course, such decisions were not supported by empirical data. Just the sovereign’s whims. In our country too, we face growing communal divisions and sporadic violence. Below, a storm of massive unemployment, shrinking jobs, growing disparities, mounting public debts, runaway inflation and an overall faltering economy are unleashed. But in the midst of this, all the government seems to do is launch a blitz. Everyone can understand where we are going. –Pooja Bhardwaj, Bombay

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Welcoming SC ruling on sedition law

We welcome the Supreme Court’s decision to suspend the colonial-era sedition law for the time being. It is evident that the law has been misused in recent years by BJP governments largely to silence their critics. Government criticism cannot be construed as sedition or treason. Every Indian citizen who criticizes a peacefully elected government is as much a patriot as the person who elected that government to power. British rulers introduced such laws because they were afraid of the people they ruled over. But what makes an elected government afraid of the people of its own country? Perhaps governments’ own incompetence. –Sanjay Srivastav, Allahabad

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