August 16th, a day after india celebrated yet another Independance day,while as Kashmiri Pandits continued to live as refugees in this great country, Vir Sanghvi in his editorial, Think The Unthinkable’, for Hindustan times wrote the following in his controversial article
………The exception to this trend has been Kashmir. Contrary to what many Kashmiris claim, we have tried everything. Even today, the state enjoys a special status. Under Article 370 of our Constitution, with the exception of defence, foreign policy, and communication, no law enacted by parliament has any legitimacy in Kashmir unless the state government gives its consent. The state is the only one in India to have its own Constitution and the President of India cannot issue directions to the state government in exercise of the executive power of the Union as he can in every other state. Kashmiri are Indian citizens but Indians are not necessarily Kashmiri citizens. We cannot vote for elections to their assembly or own any property in Kashmir. ……..
In the above para Vir Sanghvi writes what every other Indian thinks,but is hesitant to demand a change to overcome this. Vir Sanghvi as a ‘sickular’ writer is also from the same bloc, which is no surprise. He continues with statements and writes further..
Then, there is the money. Bihar gets per capita central assistance of Rs 876 per year. Kashmir gets over ten times more: Rs 9,754 per year. While in Bihar and other states, this assistance is mainly in the forms of loans to the state, in Kashmir 90 per cent is an outright grant. Kashmir’s entire Five Year Plan expenditure is met by the Indian taxpayer. In addition, New Delhi keeps throwing more and more money at the state: in 2004, the Prime Minister gave Kashmir another $ 5 billion for development. ……
Given that Kashmir has the best deal of any Indian state, is there anything more we can do? Kashmiris talk about more autonomy. But I don’t see a) what more we can give them and b) how much difference it will make. …..
The write up of Vir Sanghvi was almost a surrender to the people who have a nonsense value. People who use violence to make a state surrender to their idiotic demands which are backed by Islamic fanatics . Vir Sanghvi seemed to be saying, lets give up Kashmir and buy peace.
It discouraged me and many like me who eagerly wait every Sunday to read Virs editorial. I hated Vir & Hindustan times, i hated it for indirectly supporting those people who made me homeless.
And then i read todays Hindustan times ,six months later,and reluctantly opened the editorial . It reads “Stand up to the Mullahs“……It was a strange heading coming from a ‘sickular’ editor who are not supposed to write against Islamic might and mullahism , else they risk being called ‘hindu communalist’.
As i read the artcile i wondered where the hell is Vir going to run ? Is he going to be another Salman Rushdie or Tasleema Nasreen ? How has he dared to take on mullahs ? How has he rebuked even the moderate muslims ?
Just read the following excerpts from the article by Vir Sanghvi
The rioters said they were offended by a passage in the article where Hari referred to the Prophet’s marriage to a much younger woman and his directive to burn Jewish villages. (In all fairness, he was as critical of other religions and of the Israeli assault on the West Bank.)
The rioters say that nobody can criticise any aspect of the Prophet’s life.
There’s no shortage of books and articles criticising Jesus, suggesting that he might have been secretly married (as in The DaVinci Code), arguing that the resurrection was a hoax or that Mary was never a virgin.
Vir Sanghvi questions the might of fanatics and gets even bolder and writes
And yet, it is an article of faith with Muslims — even moderate ones — that the Prophet’s life is beyond reproach.
Does this make any sense?
Vir continues with much more reasonable arguments and makes a quick comparison of how tolerant Islami fanatics and moderates are , he writes
It is now clear that the liberal society has been suckered into relaxing its standards for free speech by militant Islamists.
Let’s take the most obvious example. Every liberal I know is outraged by the attacks on MF Husain. Why shouldn’t he paint nude Saraswatis? That’s his right. If people are offended by the paintings, they shouldn’t see them.
So far, so good. But now imagine that Husain had painted an extremely reverential portrait of the Prophet. (Never mind cartoons, nude pictures etc.)
There would have been riots. And even secular liberals would not have supported him.
We would have said: Islam prohibits any visual representation of the Prophet so Husain has committed a great crime.
But so what if Muslims cannot visually represent their Prophet? Why should non-Muslims be bound by their religious edicts? Why should non-believing Muslims be forced by liberal society to obey the restrictions of their religion?
Believers should follow what the Holy Book and the mullahs say. But why should the rest of us? Why should we abandon our right to free expression?
Nobody I know has ever explained why the double standards are justified.
In his concluding argument Vir Sanghvi accepts that we surrender to islamic fanatics …just read what he writes…
The real reason we give in to Islamic fanatics is the desire for a peaceful life or, to put it another way, cowardice.
Every one of their objections is always framed in terms of violence. Ban The Satanic Verses or we will kill Salman Rushdie. Apologise for the Danish cartoons or we will offer a reward for the head of the cartoonist. Arrest the editor of the Statesman or we will shut Calcutta down by rioting in the streets.
Faced with these threats, we abandon our principles and say things like, “Come on, is a single article worth the death of so many people?” or “Let’s just ban the book, otherwise these guys will keep rioting.”
The fanatics know this. They have identified the cowardice at the heart of our liberalism. So every demand is a) pitched in terms of protecting the religious sentiments of the Muslim community or b) facing murder, mayhem and more.
Almost every single time, we cave in.
Either we say that Islam is a peaceful religion
Or we get death threats.
…. Isn’t it time to finally stand up to these thugs and blackmailers?
It is good that Vir Sanghvi has finally spoken what is truth, spoken about being blacmailed by Islamic hardliners.
It wont be late when taliban , which are already knocking our doors, would be trying to rule us. Making our life miserable.
Today is it only the Kashmiri Hindus which have suffered and non speaks about them . Tommorow rest of Indians are likely to suffer from the same fate and that would perhaps make some ‘sickulars’ speak….
Perhaps it would be late then……..Its time Pronoy Roy, Barkha , Karan Thapar, Rajdeep , Sagarika and the rest wake up.
Wake up , speak the truth to save our India.