Secular introspection

B Raman does the nation service by some timely plain talking

If there is one article you should read (and there will be many more) on Godhra five years on, it is this one.

The fears one had in 2002 that the anger in the Muslim community over the perceived sufferings of their co-religionists in Gujarat might result in a wave of acts of reprisal terrorism have not come true. We saw more instances of reprisal terrorism by the jihadis after the demolition of the Babri Masjid than after the Gujarat riots…

There have been many incidents of jihadi terrorism in different parts of India since the Gujarat riots. Of these, only one—the attack on the Aksherdam Temple in Ahmedabad in September, 2002— could be attributed to this anger. The rest of the incidents in Mumbai, Delhi, Varanasi, Ayodhya and Bangalore were not committed in a moment of uncontrollable anger. These were coolly and carefully prepared and executed acts of terrorism by some members of our Muslim community, who have joined hands with the pan-Islamic jihadis from Pakistan and its ISI. Their target is not just Gujarat. Their target is India and its economic prosperity. Their anger is not just against the Gujarat government. It is against India and its people for refusing to let themselves be intimidated by the terrorists and for continuing to make rapid economic progress and showing signs of emerging as a major power despite their acts of depredation, sponsored by the ISI. Nothing less. I am not commenting on the latest incident at Deewana, near Panipat, because all the facts are not yet in.

We owe it to our Muslim co-citizens to see that their lives and property are protected, that they have the same opportunity for economic advance as the members of the majority community, that there is no discrimination against them—political, economic or social, that they are able to observe their religious practices as they wish so long as they observe the law of the land. At the same time, in our necessary attempts to win the hearts and minds of our Muslim community and redress their grievances, we should not under-emphasise the need to root out jihadi terrorism and the mind-set behind it from our territory. We should not project Pakistan as a born-again saint. It is not. [Outlook/Alerted by INI Signal]

35 thoughts on “Secular introspection”

  1. What I dont understand is that why is Raman being politically correct calling pseudo-seculars as secular elite. In this country there are only pseudo-secularists and pseudo-nationalists.
    And about what Raman wrote in the last paragraph, will the Congress and BJP let that happen?

  2. RS,

    If they are pseudo-secularists, then they aren’t about to listen to Raman, are they?

    As for your question — will our political class let introspection happen? No, not on their own. But if sufficient number of people do, then they’ll be forced to.

  3. This will not do. Plain talking in India is against the law. Or at least that is how it appears. As law abiding citizens, we must not allow plain talking. It is a slippery slope. What next, freedom of speech? There be monsters.

  4. Over-all I think Raman makes the right points although the whole “Their target is India and its economic prosperity” strikes me as similar to American rhetoric that the Middle-Eastern jihadis are against “freedom” — which, I’ve always thought, is counter-productive and also not very conducive to American interests and security. I may be wrong, but I think the idea of jihadis being against something as abstract as “freedom” is a little, uh, abstract; who rises up in arms against “freedom”? And what do they — the jihadis — propose to do about it? It seems to me more probable that jihadis have their own little grieviances, which pile up on top of each other but which are rooted in the real world of people and not the abstract world of ideas, although they may often choose to express them that way. I’ve always thought that the Ayodhya episode was less about the specific historical aspects of it — whether a temple had existed at the site or not — but more an expression of Hindu anger (which accreted, step-by-step) against what they saw as the dominant mode of Muslim politics in post-independence India: a politics of separatism. The rhetoric that it was built around however was the collective memory of historical injustice that was always simmering under the surface, in this case, the demolition of Hindu temples by Islamic invaders, a few hundred years ago.

    That’s why I’m not quite convinced that the few Indian jihadis are against our “rapid economic progress” (btw I’m not saying we haven’t made rapid economic progress :), just that it strikes me as a little too abstract for someone to be opposed to). It seems more probable that it was a step-by-step radicalization (lack of opportunities, general frustration, suspicion, exposure to insidious ideology, …) to which the Gujarat riots added the final straw. At the same time, it strikes me that it is counter-productive for us, the Indian State, to paint the jihadis as against our “economic prosperity” just as it is counter-productive for the US to paint the global jihad as “against freedom”. After all, if someone is against freedom, there’s really no other way but to exterminate them, is there? On the other hand, local real-world greviances, howsoever deep, (perceived, or existing or whatever) can be tackled, even if not solved. How is one supposed to tackle home-grown jihadis who are against our economic progress? Painting the jihadis as against freedom or progress will always be perceived, by defensive moderates, as painting Islam against freedom or progress: never a good point if one wants to win moderates to our side (again, I’m not trying to defend Islam, just pointing out that it is fine for us, to debate different aspects of Islam but that as a pragmatic point, it will simply not do for the State to do so. Secular states have to pay lip-service to the sanctity of religion, even while passing secular laws that go against most religious practices: this is simply a matter of pragmatism).

    But really, Muslim jihadi terrorism in India doesn’t worry me. Yes, jihadis are capable of bombing a train or two (I’m not minimizing it but still …). And there is the ever-present specter of jihadis provoking riots, which is by now almost a legitimate form of political expression in India (I’m saying “is”, not “ought”). But overall the Muslim community in India is economically and demographically weak, and it is aware of these weaknesses — riots in India today are almost always harder on the Muslim community. Indeed, that may precisely be the problem. The Indian state has always failed to protect Muslims during riots because of a variety of reasons: the police force is communalized and politicized, the political parties in power play politics, and we seem to have an almost philosophically stoic acceptance of riots. And this insecurity and concern with safety combined with economic underdevelopment, it seems to me, is bound to create more and more jihadis and discontented young men, particularly now that the global jihad is so prominently on display for all to see (I’ve always thought that the Iraq war was counter-productive that way; anti-terrorism needs to be done quietly, not with such a splash but I digress..). More jihadis, a few bombings, more riots with most casualties being disproportionately Muslim, more jihadis…well, you get the picture.

    This scenario will almost certainly lead to more suffering for Muslims than it will for Hindus. But what worries me more is that it will also increasingly radicalize the urban middle-class Hindu youth (and indeed this process began at least a few decades ago), who profess more extreme opinions, day by day, because of what they perceive as the secular media’s fondness for Muslims. This is the paradox: by all accounts Muslims are weaker and more vulnerable, suffer the most during riots (which is but natural) yet urban middle-class Hindus will perceive them as stronger, because the secular media champions their causes. And this in turn will lead to even more illiberalism among our urban middle-class, which, since it is the strongest population segment in our country, is disturbing.

    That’s one reason why I found the Sachar Report so infuriating. Because on one hand, it gets things exactly right. The primary cause of Muslim misery in India is their economic underdevelopment as a community. Primarily, this is the Muslim community’s own fault. All through post-independence Muslim politics has been characterized by its own insidious brand of separatism: we are a separate community, so we will make our own laws, we will change our laws, if we want, when we want, only how much ever want, etc. Clearly a politics of this kind does no favors to a pluralistic society. The Indian State for its part, never tried to tackle the problem head-on. We always encouraged obscurantist religious leaders, never passed a uniform civil code, never tried to get Muslims into the mainstream by aggressively promoting education. And all the while, the life of an average Muslim became more and more miserable, while at the same time, fed the average Hindu’s perception that Muslims were a pampered minority. The Hindu youth got radicalized, the State failed to protect Muslims during riots, and now we have a global jihad on!

    But at the same time, any report that paints India’s problem as inequality rather than poverty has gotten things all wrong. India’s problem isn’t that Hindus in India are disproportionately rich at the expense of Muslims but that almost everyone is disproportionately poor. (When Pandit Nehru was asked in the fifties why he hadn’t nationalized India’s industries, he wryly replied that India had nothing to nationalize but its poverty.) And yet, urban India today is so different from what it was 10 years ago: the no. of jobs is by itself amazing. Which is why it strikes me that if there is a time when we can make a concerted effort to push the Muslim community into the mainstream, it is now. And it will only increase Muslim alientation if they see prosperity all around them, but none of it comes their way. But of course, the way to go about it isn’t reservations, which is how the UPA government seems to be talking about it. Not only will this be economically counter-productive, it is bound to incense Hindus further and make them more radical, feeding the endless cycle of distrust.

    The only solution, as I see it, is that we need to integrate the Muslim community into the mainsteam. Because otherwise, Muslims will only get poorer and Hindus more radical. And that’s the most worrying scenario of all.

  5. The article’s patronizing tone bothers me – “We owe it to our Muslim co-citizens to see that their lives and property are protected”. Almost like Muslims (or other minorities) need permission/blessing/patronage from the majority just to live in peace as Indians. Non-Hindu Indians are Hindustanis just as Indian Hindus are. Let’s not create divisions where they don’t need to exist. We the Indian people owe Muslims (or anyone else) nothing. The system needs to ensure a level playing field. If the system is broken, let’s fix it.

  6. liberarian, I fully agree with you that “We the Indian people owe Muslims (or anyone else) nothing.”

    The UPA government of Mrs Sonia Maino Gandhi is playing with fire when it tries to cosy up to the mullahs by getting Dr Manmohan Singh to say that the Muslims have the first claim to resources.

    The other day, a friend and I were about to take a cab in Mumbai. You can clearly distinguish if a cab is “Hindu” or “Muslim” from the fact that “Hindu” cabs have the usual assortment of gods and goddesses on the dashboard. My friend selected a Hindu cab. The reasoning: if the government can hand goodies and discriminate against Hindus in India, there was no reason why he too could not discriminate on the basis of religion.

    The Congress is playing with fire. Indians are not eternally stupid — one of these days the majority of Indians will wake up to the blatant discrimination against them and respond rationally by discriminating against the average “minority” person. The sins of the “secular” government will be visited on the beneficiaries of vote-bank politics.

  7. Things have come to such a sorry pass that many hindus and muslims (simultaneously) have began to believe that the Indian state discrimnates against them in favour of the other.

  8. Do not agree with the drive of this post.

    1. It is possible that Muslims elsewhere in India, esp. those who did not lose kith or kin in Gujarat 2002, did assign some culpability to Gujarati Muslims for the Godhra incident, and that might explain this lack of reprisals. But I think that the shocking way the Modi govt handled the aftermath would go into the background of stoking communal anger and makes it easier for ISI and others rooting around to pick up recruits.

    Light-hearted dismissals of this sort: “hey they didnt hit back” dont help esp. when Modi is in power and they seem to be doing all they can to subvert judicial processes there.

    2. Re. patronizing,
    Given the context of Gujarat 2002 and what the Modi govt was upto, that statement was pretty OK.

    If one picks up one part of a sentence, and skips the rest about equal opportunities, no discrimination etc. one gives the impression of looking very hard to find something that one has determined is already there.

    regards,
    Jai

  9. Indians are not eternally stupid — one of these days the majority of Indians will wake up to the blatant discrimination against them and respond rationally by discriminating against the average “minority” person.

    Are we talking about real tangible discrimination against Hindus by the state or just a perception of it? Because by all counts, the Hindu majority in India is so much better off than the Muslim community. Which basically means that they’ve found the keys to succeeding in the new Indian economy: getting into a good school, studying hard, landing a good job, entering the middle-class, etc etc. Muslims, in contrast, because of their subservience to the dominant strain in Muslim politics — we are a separate community, so we will make our own laws, we will change our laws, if we want, when we want, only how much ever want, etc — have completely failed to break into the main-stream (by which I mean the economically productive middle-class). And of course our so-called secular parties never tried and played their own brand of vote-bank politics.

    As for the “rational discrimination” you speak of, this is routine all over India — professors/teachers grading muslim students poorly, muslims being discriminated against in certain kinds of jobs, etc — and has been for years. I don’t think it’s a result of the “discrimination” of the Indian state (although I can’t speak for your friend) but simply the result of the distrust that has built between the communities over centuries. And of course, its always Muslims who will come off badly in this “rational discrimination” scenario because the Hindu community is so much more better-off: financially, socially, demographically.

  10. Shreeharsh, doesn’t perception matter? In fact it’s more significant because it’s harder to see and measure.

    As for the “rational discrimination” you speak of, this is routine all over India…

    Really? What is the basis for a such a sweeping statement? Surely not Sachar committee report? I have been in school too and I can tell you some of smartest kids were Muslims and they did very well in grades and some of the dumbest Muslims did poorly along other dumb Hindus.

    I agree with Atanu (and Raman) that the dangers of splitting the population, based on apparent perception, are getting real.

  11. Shreeharsh, doesn’t perception matter? In fact it’s more significant because it’s harder to see and measure.

    Oh, but I totally agree with you. Perception matters!

    The thing is: it matters from both sides. Does it matter if Muslims perceive that they’re being discriminated against? Yes. How is Gujarat perceived by most Muslims in India? They think the state failed them in their hour of need, failed to safe-guard their lives. Add to that the wide-spread economic under-development, and of course, the always-simmering Hindu-Muslim distrust, insidious madarassa ideology — and bam! — we have consequences, even an occasional jihadi.

    For the record, I don’t think Muslims were ever discriminated against in India. Not in the sense in which the word discrimination is generally used. Blacks in the US were discriminated against by the State till about 40 years ago, Dalits in India have been discriminated longer (and are suffering for it). In contrast, Muslims came to India as conquerors (the arrival of Islam settled the tone of Hindu-Muslim relations for generations to come), settled there, and lived uneasily side-by-side with Hindus. Even during British rule, it must be said, the English made sure that it was never disadvantageous to be a Muslim, in order to keep alive India’s already-existing sectarian divisions.

    All that said, there is the perception of discrimination and there are the facts on the ground: as a community, Muslims are more backward and poor, and just haven’t managed to crack into India’s mainstream (again, I attribute this to the insidious route Muslim politics has followed, even in post-independence India), and they bear the disproportionate brunt of casualties during riots (again this is natural — Muslims being the weaker community will always get the worst of it during riots).

    The feeling of discrimination among Hindus is just that: a feeling. It doesn’t really agree with the facts on the ground. After all, as a community, Hindus, or at least the ones in the urban middle-class, are doing well for themselves (I’m generalizing but you get the picture), they’ve managed to “work” the economy — and yet, they feel discriminated against by the state! Still, I think the feeling among Hindus is important if only because it makes them more right-wing and more susceptible to Sangh Parivar rhetoric. And since, as a community, they’re much stronger, which means that when more Hindus turn right-ward, there are more chances of something like Gujarat happening again, leading to more alienation….and so on it goes (Hindu-Muslim relations in India have pretty much followed this path).

    Hindu-Muslim relations in India are complicated and so much water has flown under the bridge that it is difficult to know where to start. But at a basic minimum, the State must guarantee that Gujarat doesn’t happen again — this is important since it’s always the Muslim community which is going to be worst-hit. And ironically, the best way of ensuring that Gujarat doesn’t repeat himself is to work on removing this perception that most Hindus have that the state “pampers” minorities. And certainly, the UPA government’s idiotic talk of reservations for Muslims is not going to do that trick. But the only way of working this out is to integrate the Muslim community into our mainstream. This means that getting that UCC passed as soon as possible, and not coddling up to mullahs and somehow helping the community figure out how to work the economy.

    If the Sachar report helps us do these things — and note, we need to do these things without reinforcing the dominant Hindu perception that they are being discrimianted against — then I’ll be happy, although I’m not very hopeful, considering what a hash the UPA has made of it so far.

    btw, I don’t have any statistics to prove my assertion that “rational discrimination” is routine. My parents live in a small-town in Maharashtra and it seems to be pretty routine there. Oh well, maybe I’m wrong. Are we also disputing the statistics of the Sachar report? Because I found their findings — that Muslims are under-represented in most jobs — pretty intuitive. It’s just the UPA government’s remedies that make me mad…

  12. Shreeharsh, you like to write, don’t you? 🙂

    Are we also disputing the statistics of the Sachar report?

    Yes, I am. I am no expert on sociological data, but I know a thing or two about statistics. The way to collect the data is not by taking notes from people in each state, and making up number based on their testimony, but by either actually sampling data of Muslims based on set of criteria or by collating existing sociological data from researchers in universities, government statistical organizations, and the like and seeing if the data says anything significant – questions such as are the Muslims significantly under represented in jobs, both private and public; are Muslims businesses significantly worse off than other groups; are Muslims significantly poorer than other groups (Indian government’s own statistical data says otherwise) and so on.

    Without a well designed study, nothing is pretty intuitive – not the problems, not the solutions.

    What is pretty intuitive to me – because of the city I used to live and continue visit, most business I shop at, from shoes to groceries, are owned by Muslims, all perfect gentlemen who do great business – is pretty opposite of your intuition. Close knit families doing rather well.

    Sachar Study is what one would call a political tamasha. And the irony is, as B. Raman quotes, Muslims leaders warned Congress ministers of more jihadi terror attacks (does that mean they control the terror apparatus) if the recommendations made, based data collected from this tamasha, are not implemented.

  13. Are Muslims really under-performing? The magic ratio is 6:13 (6% of GDP from 13% of the population). The general logic of Muslim under-performance assumes – quite wrongly – that they are uniformly distributed in India’s geography. If the ratio of GDP per capita of UP and Bihar to the rest of India is close to the magic 6:13 (which is quite possible) – and if a reasonable majority of Muslims live in these 2 states – then, they are NOT such a dramatic statistical anomaly. And all the commentary “explaining” their under-performance is baseless hot air.

    Anomaly or not – agree with Atanu that Sonia and Manmohan are leading us down a very slippery slope.

  14. Shreeharsh asked in #16 above: “Are we talking about real tangible discrimination against Hindus by the state or just a perception of it?”

    Yes, the government of India exercises tangible discrimination against Hindus and therefore perceived discrimination and hence the perception. Perhaps you have not observed it but others have.

    Here’s an example. Hindus in Kashmir are ethnically cleansed out of their home. Response from the government: Nothing. Earthquake in Pakistan. Response from the Indian government: Rs 125,00,00,000 to Pakistan. Which they promptly use to kill more kuffars. Pilgrims to Mecca are given a subsidy which amounts to thousands of crores of rupees over the decades it has been going on. Why? I thought jizya (the tax that non-Muslims have to pay to be allowed to live under Islamic rule) was over. Why does the government of India take the donations of Hindu temples and give it as a subsidy to send Muslims to Saudi Arabia? Why is it that a Muslim can paint Hindu icons fornicating and everyone and his brother calls it protected expression but when Muslim sensibililites are likely to be hurt, the government falls all over itself banning books and cartoons? Why is it that a Muslim minister of a political party can announce a reward for the murder of cartoonists in Denmark and nobody bats an eyelid? Shabana Azmi, Arundhati Roy, Engineer and the whole “secular” gang would have had an orgy of fits if a Bajrang Dal guy had asked for the murder of MF Hussain.

    Wake up and smell the stink.

  15. “The feeling of discrimination among Hindus is just that: a feeling. It doesn’t really agree with the facts on the ground.”

    Agree broadly with you Shreeharsh, especially the above. I think eye-catching gimmickry like the “first claim on resources” statement helps that perception. Hope to see more from you on this blog comment space.

    I dont quite know what you mean by “Muslims must integrate into the mainstream” and how you propose they should go about it.

    – UCC makes sense to me, as long as its not some kind of HCC pretending to be a UCC just by sheer weight of numbers of Hindus.

    – Absolutely agree that secular parties have coddled mullahs and played vote-bank politics.

    – Can the mainstream you posit allow pluralism and multiple overlapping sub-identities… ie. respect differences in identity and not feel threatened by that. Is there really a well defined mainstream? I think even the Muslim “sub-stream” has divisions.

    – Agree on helping muslims work the economy though again, how is the question.

    regards,
    Jai

  16. @ Atanu #21:

    Earthquake aid to Pakistan and Mecca subsidy have high visibility and perhaps vote potential but isnt helping Muslims here with the situation on the ground. These are exactly the wrong things to do, they build resentment among the Hindus and dont really help the Muslims.

    Re. Haj subsidies, while there is a difference I recognize (direct payment to or on behalf of the beneficiaries) there is also a similarity in the expense incurred by Govt in running Kumbh Melas and various other Hindu festivals. The pilgrims do buy their own tickets, but maybe the Govt has better things to do with that money?

    I dont have much to say about the rest but I respect Shabana Azmi as the sole Muslim luminary that forthrightly asked the Shahi Imam to shut up and requested for him to be airdropped to Kandahar post 9/11.

    regards,
    Jai

  17. Jai Choorakkot, I don’t know where you got the idea that as long as the subsidies don’t help the Muslim, the subsidies are alright. Should the fact that they are useless actually argue against their continuance?

    Let me spell our my argument once more. Giving subsidies for hajj is blatant discrimination against non-Muslims. No government which calls itself “secular” should be in the business of subsidizing religious travel. I don’t know how you can equate expenses on the Kumbh Mela with hajj subsidies. Kumbh Mela is a local event, an event that takes place within the boundaries of India. When a million people gather for whatever purpose within India, India has to provide for public law, order, safety and other needs. Are you seriously advancing the proposition that that civic expense is the same as sending a selected bunch of people on vacation in a foreign land?

    Let me spell it out a bit more. The Kumbh Mela is a public event. You, a Muslim, can go there as much as me, a Hindu. Everyone can go there in theory, even though in practice I may not wish to do so. Nobody is excluded. Public event in India attended by Indians by the millions. The government of India has an interest in how the mela works because Indians congregate there.

    The hajj on the other hand is exclusively for Muslims. Non-muslims are not allowed. Therefore public monies cannot be used for supporting a sectarian endeavor. I am not against Muslims doing whatever they wish to do with their money, allowing or not allowing whomever they wish to in whichever territory they own. But I am fundamentally against the government of India taking my money to send someone on a holiday in a foreign land. If the government of India made the same offer to send any Indian on a vacation who so wishes to go, then I am not against it.

    Yes, the Muslims of India are under-performing. That is as surprising as the fact that bears go to potty in the woods. Did anyone ask why before blaming the nonMuslims for it? Are the Jains underperforming? The Christians? The Parsis? The Sikhs? The Buddhists? Why are we not asking why? What is so special about being a Muslim that they have to under-perform in India? Or for that matter, why are the Muslims under-performing around the globe? It is certainly not an Indian phenomenon. Should the global community now sit up and say that “The Muslims have a first claim to resources”?

    There are Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, and Muslims from the Indian subcontinent in Britain. Why is it that of these the Muslims under-perform in Britain while the non-Muslims don’t?

    Let’s get into the habit of asking why. It is instructive.

  18. Atanu
    No mention of the hundreds of Wakf Properties which have been occupied by the Government (Both Centre & State) ? See Appendix 11 of Sachar Report.

  19. Jai in #23 writes: “I dont have much to say about the rest but I respect Shabana Azmi as the sole Muslim luminary that forthrightly asked the Shahi Imam to shut up and requested for him to be airdropped to Kandahar post 9/11.”

    Yeah, yeah, awfully magnanimous of her to have asked that a vile SOB be dispatched to Kandahar. I suppose she did not even need that because she is a secular icon anyway given that she is anti-Hindu. Now I wonder why I am not considered a paragon of secularism even though I have publicly declared that the hoodlums who destroyed the Babri mosque must be punished? I suppose one answer is that I refuse to give the followers of Islam special considerations merely because they believe in what they believe in.

  20. The government of India occupying private property? Shirley you jest. Naah, taking private stuff is way out of the question.

    Seriously though, I suppose this Wakf property (whatever they be) are private property and the government is illegally occupying them. If so, I suppose the obvious remedy is to get the government out of private property — regardless of the religious affiliations of the owner of the property.

    Now I am guessing that the government is occupying property owned by Muslims. If so, I am a bit mystified why the discrimination against non-Muslims by the government is made any less unpalatable by another of the government’s many illegal actions.

    Inquiring minds would like to know.

  21. Shreeharsh writes in #18: “Hindu-Muslim relations in India are complicated and so much water has flown under the bridge that it is difficult to know where to start. But at a basic minimum, the State must guarantee that Gujarat doesn’t happen again — this is important since it’s always the Muslim community which is going to be worst-hit. And ironically, the best way of ensuring that Gujarat doesn’t repeat himself is to work on removing this perception that most Hindus have that the state “pampers” minorities. And certainly, the UPA government’s idiotic talk of reservations for Muslims is not going to do that trick. But the only way of working this out is to integrate the Muslim community into our mainstream.”

    That last statement provokes the “why” question. Why isn’t it the job of the Muslims to integrate into the mainstream? Is it the non-Muslims who insist that they are special and therefore will not accord the same rights to Muslims, or is it that Muslims insist that they are special and therefore cannot integrate with non-Muslims?

    Inquiring minds would like to know.

    Here’s a piece by KPS Gill which may be of interest http://www.indianexpress.com/story/24438.html

  22. History,

    re.Hajj subsidy.

    I went thru the links you provided. I liked the one at CC but not quite the one at IM. I wish you wouldnt try to dress it up as “a discount on overpriced tickets”. It is a subsidy. My point here was about implicit or explicit govt. spending on Hindu events too. I’m with Nikhil Wagle on this.

    I was disappointed when even as learned a personage as Mushirul Hasan once wrote, rather petulantly I thought, something on the lines of: “okay, okay, take away the subsidy! now, are you satisfied?” (from memory, not exact quote, but approx. the way it went). I hope you agree that is not the attitude to go about “surrendering a subsidy” its probably better to retain it.

    Atanu,

    1. I am a Hindu.

    2. Agree on logistic expense for Kumbh but would like to see equal consideration for other religious events then (maybe there is, I dont know). However, State govts (Gujarat, Rajasthan?) offer actual subsidies to Kumbh/Manasarovar pilgrims?

    3. W.r.t your question on integration, I (and probably SreeHarsh) hold that non-muslims do practice discrimination against Muslims and the effect of this can be more detrimental (given the numbers) than the self-imposed exclusion assuredly practised by some sections of the muslim community.

    regards,
    Jai

  23. re 2. above, logistic expense should purely be about the conduct of the Kumbh, law & order etc. If it entails direct support for transporting/ feeding/ housing the pilgrims, I dont see how that differs from the Hajj subsidy (which is purely a partial transport-fee subsidy).

    regards,
    Jai

  24. Handouts are a proven means of keeping people unproductive. Of course, we can all go blue in the face jockeying for even more handouts along even finer distinctions. Fact is, its a giant step backward.

    While I agree with the message Atanu sends, the messenger’s delivery does leave me uncomfortable … (no I’m not a “candle-kisser”) 🙂

  25. Libertarian,

    I agree with what you say in #32 — the one thing I found dissonant in Raman’s piece is the patronising tone. But we need not condone that in order to agree with the message.

  26. libertarian, what is a candle-kisser? Please let me know how the delivery can be improved — by email if you don’t wish to express it publicly to atanudey at gmail.

  27. Atanu, candle-kisser is a term coined by Cynical Nerd (he says he’s trademarked it too!). My interpretation of the term is its a left-wing, tree-hugging, hippocritical person with a penchant for moral grand-standing. Of course for such folks anyone remotely right-of-center is an example of some sub-human species 🙂

    Nitin: agree with you (and agree with Raman’s main message) that the patronising tone can be separated from his message.

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