Does The Govt Have Any Answers

Updated: Apr 23 2002, 05:30am hrs
I have a contrived connection with Narendra Modi. Through the name. If this Narendra is infamous, there was a famous Narendra. Specifically, Narendranath. Or Swami Vivekananda. Just outside Kolkata, the Ramakrishna Mission runs a school named after Swami Vivekananda. Known as Narendrapur. I had an unusual schooling. For the first half, I was in a western missionary school where we recited the Lords prayer every day. And for the second half, I was catapulted into Narendrapur. An Indian missionary school, if that is the word to use.

This early exposure to Hinduism, through Ramakrishna and Vivekanandas teachings and confirmed later by reading the texts (especially the Upanishads), led to the conviction that Hinduism is the most tolerant of religions. All religions are tolerant, if not in what they practice, at least in what they preach. But even in what they preach, Hinduism is more tolerant. Contrast parts of the Rig Veda or the Upanishads in general with the Old Testament. Not the New Testament.

There is no better enunciation than in Swami Vivekanandas addresses to the Worlds Parliament of Religions at Chicago in 1893. The Sanskrit word dharma is also superior in its nuance of holding up the world than the English word religion.

Why bring this up Because I find an advertisement issued by the Gujarat government, with Narendra Modis picture. This states, Enough is enough. Stop rubbing salt into wounds. All the malicious propaganda and untruths tarnishing Gujarats image cannot face up to the truth. What is the truth, where are the wounds and who is rubbing the salt in

Since early March, Ten Hindu Commandments have freely circulated via e-mail and snail mail. This is what they say.

The anti-national elements use the money earned from the Hindus to destroy us! They buy arms! They molest our sisters and daughters! The way to break the backbone of these elements is: An economic non-cooperation movement. Let us resolve:

1. From now on I will not buy anything from a Muslim shopkeeper!

2. I will not sell anything from my shop to such elements!

3. Neither shall I use the hotels of these anti-nationals, nor their garages!

4. I shall give my vehicles only to Hindu garages! From a needle to gold, I shall not buy anything made by Muslims, neither shall we sell them things made by us!

5. Boycott wholeheartedly, films in which Muslim hero-heroines act! Throw out films produced by these anti-nationals!

6. Never work in offices of Muslims! Do not hire them!

7. Do not let them buy offices in our business premises, nor sell or rent out houses to them in our housing societies, colonies or communities.

8. I shall certainly vote, but only for him who will protect the Hindu nation.

9. I shall be alert to ensure that our sisters/daughters do not fall into the love-trap of Muslim boys at school/college/workplace.

10 .I shall not receive any education or training from a Muslim teacher.

Surely this is malicious. George Fernandes cannot argue this is negative reporting by media, although his status as a tomato in any vegetable curry makes a clear position difficult. Since this has freely circulated, the argument of ignorance will not wash. I am sure Pravin Togadia will be happy to part with copies.

As an Indian citizen, I have still not heard from some of the dramatis personae (Atal Bihari Vajpayee, L K Advani, Narendra Modi, Mamata Banerjee, Chandrababu Naidu) what their positions are on commandments like these. Do they accept this definition of the Hindu nation Do they accept the principles of boycott Do they agree with Pravin Togadia that Muslims will have to prove their credentials if they want to live in peace Do they agree that the party that was supposed to be different should have the objective of making India no different from Pakistan With the Prime Ministers physical and mental balance controversial, it is no longer clear what he said in Goa.

Here is version two. I had drawn attention to two contradictory statements in Islam. I had said, Islam has two forms. One is that which tolerates others, which teaches its adherents to follow the path of Truth, which preaches compassion and sensitivity. But these days, militancy in the name of Islam leaves no room for tolerance. It has raised the slogan of jihad. It is dreaming of recasting the entire world in its mould.

True in so far as it goes. However, if you replace Islam by Hinduism, the proposition is equally valid. In singling out Islam, the PM is indulging in suppressio veri and suggestio falsi. Is this not malicious

Thanks to Narendra Modi, every Indian has been taught Newtons third law of motion. This cause-effect justification means that most criminals can now be freed. After all, for most crimes, there is provocation. The second justification makes it easier still. Law, morals, ethics dont matter. As long as the majority of voters support you, law is irrelevant.

Consequently, we can scrap the legal system and have referendums on whether murderers should be punished. Democracy is more often about protecting rights of minorities rather than majorities. But let that pass. To get back to Newton, there are two other laws of motion also. The first says, the momentum of an object is constant unless an outside force acts on it. The second says, the rate of change of momentum is proportional to the external force acting on the object. What caused the momentum in Gujarat to change Godhra alone Read Harsh Mander. There is also Newtons law of gravitation. The attraction between two particles is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely to the square of the distance between them Who increased the distance between us and them

The magazine Outlook carried a story by Manu Joseph on trying to rent a flat in Mumbai. Pretending to be a Muslim. The conclusion was that Muslims neednt apply. Our Muslim maid has been constrained to change her name from Osama (!) to Seema. We have not turned the clock back to 1992, but to 1947.

The current issue of Newsweek has a story titled, Can India Handle Its Muslim Minority This is not malicious or negative reporting and raises serious questions. Does the government have any answers