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Acknowledging Jallianwala

Editor,

As India marks the 100th  anniversary of Jallianwala Bagh massacre, dreams of getting an apology from Britain has fallen short. The tragedy cannot be reversed. An unconditional apology from the British Government is long overdue and would demonstrate its recognition and remorse for this dastardly attack.  As Shashi Tharoor rightly proclaimed  in his now famous speech at Oxford Union, reparations or an official apology from Britain should not be viewed as a tool for empowering Indians. Instead, it offers Britons a chance to atone for the wrongs that should never  have been committed or celebrated in the first place. The massacre had all the trappings of a crime against humanity. It is  one of the worst atrocities of British colonial rule . It is the defining moment of British rule and made people realise that imperial rule was neither enlightened nor benevolent but brutalising dehumanising and murderous .

Yours etc.,

Adv. Mominul Haque,

Shillong-6

One should not be judgmental  

Editor,

Apropos the letter, “Meghalaya is home not just for tribals” (ST April 13, 2019) by AK Singh I have much to say but not everything in this rejoinder.  At the outset, how dare Mr Singh say that I am a  supporter the saffron party? But even if I am a supporter, what is the big deal about it? Here my pointed question to him is, why does he support those parties and those “forces” whose “integrity” is doubtful? If espousing the “truth” and human “values” is equated with supporting the saffron party of India then I will not mind the whole world calling me a leader of that party. Why should one deviate from the pathway of truth only because of the fear of being labelled as one thing or other?

Please watch out, if the same principle is applied, the leaders and country heads of UAE, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Palestine, South Korea, Japan are fast becoming followers of the saffron party. They all have applauded the activities of the supreme head of the saffron party – Mr. Narendra Modi and awarded him with the states’ highest honours. What is disquieting here is that the president of Russia – Vladimir Putin has also jumped on the bandwagon. His government has just announced that it would honour Narendra Modi with the country’s highest award – Order of St. Andrew the Apostle. According to AK Singh, this would be objectionable. Well, barring a few, all world leaders have established a personal relationship with the saffron head.  Is my friend AK Singh aware that Tulsi Gabbard, who is now running for the President of America, is a passionate follower of Narendra Modi? One wonders what Mr. Singh and his ilk will do if the US Congress’ leaders will cry at the top their lungs –“America Mata Jai” in case Ms. Tulsi wins the elections in 2020? Her name itself is so off-putting, isn’t it?

Further, I guess, the writer must not have completely read my letter, and therefore he is conveniently misinterpreting it to create confusion among the readers. His intention is seemingly not very clear. Almost all my letters and also articles, starting from 1992 have  invariably sought to bring about the harmony, peace, and co-existence among all peoples and the welfare of the entire humanity. I personally have never compromised on the misconceived ideas and principles against human values; nor have I knowingly ever set out to cause division, hostility, acrimony and hatred through my write-ups.  And, despite that, if anyone draws negative meanings from my writings then I am totally helpless. Of course, people usually understand a subject which is based on already programmed and conditioned mind. The acquired information and impressions in the past only help them form the ideas and conclusions. We usually become “victims” of wrong propaganda and misinformation and start to believe them as being right. One has to be extra alert in this age of digital media as there are many wrong propagandists around.

                     Please re-read the last lines of my letter ‘Do not lay the country to waste’ – “Let’s not waste our precious life by struggling to call the untruth as truth and vice versa. This exercise only contributes to polluting our mindset and the country becomes less peaceful and more vulnerable.” Are not my intentions clear? Mr AK Singh should note that I can clearly differentiate between right and wrong, and virtue and evil. Hence I will not call “aluminum” as “gold” and bet my money on the former.

Yours etc.,

Salil Gewali,

Via email

 

Voting the only tool of the oppressed

Editor,

Dr BR  Ambedkar was born on April 14, 1891. This year his birthday brought a special message. The message tells every adult Indian citizen to vote as his birthday this year was timed to coincide with the parliamentary election. Indeed, the people’s aspiration through ballot and peaceful movements make some countries score high in human development and become truly welfare states. For example, the people of Nordic countries make their government take an amalgamated path of socialist equality and capitalist liberty and become happy and human developed countries. They have achieved it in a peaceful and democratic process.

I have a great admiration for BR Ambedkar and for his efforts at giving us Universal Adult Suffrage. India has a democratic set up with all citizens having equal rights. Article 326 of the Indian Constitution says, “The elections to the House of the People and to the Legislative Assembly of every State shall be on the basis of adult suffrage…” Every person who is a citizen of India and who is not less than 18 years of age is entitled to get registered as a voter if not otherwise disqualified by law on grounds of “non-residence, unsoundness of mind, crime or corrupt or illegal practice”. In 1928, Dr B.R. Ambedkar appeared before the Simon Commission and insisted on incorporating universal adult franchise in the Constitution of India. He said that vote was “a weapon in the hands of the most oppressed sections of society”. The Indian National Congress took a stand in favour of political equality at the 1931 Karachi session.

India has made great strides towards democracy and political equality by accepting the modern concept of giving equal value for every vote. Election is the most peaceful way to bring change. We need to vote after thinking about who should be our representatives in the Parliament for the next five years. Come rain or shine, vote we must because vote is “a weapon in the hands of the most oppressed sections of society.”

Yours etc.,

Sujit De,

Via email

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