What is the Point, Janaab?

SIDDHARTHV at delphi.com SIDDHARTHV at delphi.com
Thu Dec 2 01:12:27 UTC 1993

What is the Point?

An innocuous announcement on the Indology net about a
series of programmes to mark the passage of one year
since the demolition of the Babri Masjid seems to have
provoked a peculiar response.

Shri Karanth is only to be commisserated with.
I plowed through Shri Arun Shourie's tawdry scholarship and
kept thinking to myself, "What is the Point?" In which India
do people like Shourie live? It surely cannot be the India of
900 million people that we all know so well. An India of 900
million people beset by poverty, exploitation, violence and
oppression. An India whose scholars and academics and
intellectuals and philosophers cannot afford to waste their time
in idle chatter and futile and diversionary controversies.

The Babri Masjid controversy was a diversionary issue from the
start and no matter how heroic the attempt to marshall historical,
religious or archaelogical evidence, this fact cannot be obscured.
The Congress (I) and BJP used the issue, each after their own
fashion, in order to make political gains. Whether it is the problem
of communal violence, human rights, Kashmir, Punjab, Nagaland,
livelihood, etc., both of these parties cannot function without
resorting to diversions, violence, criminal acts and large-scale
corruption. It is high time they were prevented from participating in
the politics of the country. The latest U.P. election results are a
salutary antidote to the propaganda that India cannot do
without these two parties.

	"A king who does not do justice daily
	 Will daily find himself losing more of his land..."
	(Tirukurral, 553)

The AIPSG Conference on December 4 is intended to shed some
 light on the nature of the political crisis in India. The theme of the
conference is "Perspectives on Democratic Renewal."

The irony is someone called our office to say that we should
accomodate Shri Arun Shourie on our panel! What can such a man
have to say about democratic renewal?  It is hard to believe the
democratic credentials of men and women who are so incensed
about historical wrongs (whether actual or  perceived) that they
ignore the crimes which are happening in India today.

One of these crimes is the murder and rape of Indians in incidents of
what are called "communal riots". These "riots" are not "riots" at all
but massacres of people, almost always with the active collusion of
the police, civil administration and elected officialdom.

To demand that the Indian government take action - as mandated
by its own laws - against those who incite and organise such killings
is the least that every patriotic Indian and friend of India can do.

There should be open trials and those found guilty should be punished
regardless of their political affiliation or official post. The victims of
Delhi (1984), Meerut (1987), Nellie (1983), Bombay (1993) and countless
other incidents are still waiting for justice while those responsible are
still sitting pretty. They must be brought to justice. That should be made
the starting point for the democratic renewal of India's polity. This must
go hand in hand with the complete isolation of Congress (I) and BJP.

This is what is needed in India one year after the demolition of the Babri

Let the "experts" of sharia, medieval travelogues, Mughal firmans and
archaeology not waste our time with irrelevant arguments.

- V. Siddharth
(siddharthv at delphi.com)

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