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|July 3, 1998||
How Readers reacted to Amberish K Diwanji's recent columns
Date sent: Thu, 28 May 1998 18:50:00 -0400
I strongly agree with Mr Diwanji's view that the testing of nuclear weapons by India (and now Pakistan) in no way addresses our fundamental problems. Pride, national or chauvinistic, is not the antidote for poverty. And to put the lives of millions of people on the table for some sense of foolish jingoistic pride (really hatred) is a crime against the people.
India and Pakistan should be friends. Those who think otherwise are joining hands with the imperialists who want to keep the region divided (remember Iran-Iraq?)
The three major defects that characterise the degeneration of man/woman, according to the Buddhist way, are lobha (greed), dosha (hatred) and moha (delusion about self). Now what kind of respect do the warmongers accord to Gautam Buddha by carrying out the tests on Buddha Purnima, and using the code phrase 'the Buddha has smiled'? Buddha would have condemned such an act. Self- glorification, egoistic pride and hatred are all connected; we cannot have peace anywhere unless we are at peace with ourselves.
Keep up the good work of exposing the lies, even if that means you express the minority opinion (which probably is not 'minority' anyway, since 'opinion' collected through telephones, in middle class, upper caste contexts, is a foolish exercise in fabrication).
A peace-loving Indian
Date sent: Thu, 28 May 1998 17:49:53 -0400
A sane article. When passions are running high, it is good to see a report that looks at things in proper perspective.
Date sent: Thu, 28 May 1998 14:28:07 -0700
I was surprised to read this article. Is there a doubt that these nuclear tests were long overdue? Is there a doubt that India is sorrounded by hostile nations? And not only were there politico-strategic reasons, there were technical reasons too. We had done our earlier tests 24 years ago. There had to be another test to be sure that our nuclear deterrent has not deteriorated with time.
The views expressed in the article seem more political than intellectual. I see no reason for our relations with China getting worse just because of these tests. In my opinion it is not China that is a threat, but its support to Pakistan's military programme.
Similarly, the point about economic wherewithal of a nation is too obvious if not hackneyed. Of course, you need tonnes of money to equip your armies with nuclear weapons, but you got to be sure that that damn thing will work if you have to assemble it in a hurry.
The BJP government may be accused of not handling the situation arising out of these tests very well, but there can be no question as far as the rightness of this step is concerned.
Date sent: Thu, 28 May 1998 17:06:10 -0400
This is a great column. We need more rational thinking among educated Indians and friends of India. This article provides much-needed pragmatism.
Unfortunately, right now there is too much sabre-rattling. For the first time in many years, India was growing at 7% real terms (for three consecutive years). Most of the country's external problems were quiet and even the Kashmir situation seemed to be settling down as the locals were tired of the inflitration from Pakistan. With the East Asian crisis, India looked increasingly as the best place to invest as its external debt was low. With an expected restructuring of the power sector, large investments there were likely. To me it looked like finally India was ready to take off if it could get the infrastructure investments rolling.
And now where is India? Locked in an crazy nuclear arms race with Pakistan. With terrible relations with most countries after the nuclear testing and the ridiculous statements by Advani and Mahajan that have created the impression that India does not even have a nuclear policy after the blast. The recent economic survey presented by the government shows that industrial growth is down, the deficit is up and only 18% of the revenue goes for education, water supply etc.
To do nuclear tests, to win greater support among the populace is one of the most irresponsible things a party can do, especially when it has failed to understand the implications of its actions. Even in the discussion in Parliament, the BJP failed to articulate why these tests were necessary.
So where do we go now? Maybe, our great friends in the Big Jingoistic Party will build a temple at Ayodhya and inflame the country further. They have shown their intentions already by making Husain apologise for a painting he did 20 years ago and disrupting a Ghulam Ali concert.
It increasingly looks like a Sonia Gandhi administration is better than the current one, however, corrupt it may be.
Date sent: Thu, 28 May 1998 16:27:30 -0400
The author has done an injustice by not mentioning the other side of the picture. All though he has shown only one view, leading us to believe that this article is not an objective status evaluation.
A party's duration at the office does not have anything to do with the justification of its actions. So what if the BJP wanted to go nuclear during its earlier 13-day rule? Why does a party have to be in office for 'n' number of years before it can make policy decisions?
Maybe the author is correct in his suspicion about the population sample used for the snap polls. But, maybe, he is NOT.
Diwanji says: But there is one major hitch: in building up a nuclear stockpile, India will also provoke China, a close ally of Islamabad.
But it does not take much to provoke China anyway. Ask Dalai Lama or the Indian soldiers who fought against the Chinese.
As suggested by the author, the BJP can do a lot of good things, and I hope they do. But that has nothing to do with exercising the nuclear option. It need not be this or that; it can be this and that.
On the whole, the contents of the article look like the views put forth by a debate participant rather than an experienced political analyst. The author could have done better.
Date sent: Thu, 28 May 1998 14:40:39 -0400
If u don't do it now, I bet u are not going to get another chance. Already the US senators are saying we missed the bus (nuclear) by some 20 years. Still we have time, we can catch the bus at the next stop...
By the way, don't underestimate the middle-class. The US knows India because of its large middle-class.
Date sent: Thu, 28 May 1998 11:12:58 -0500
The article is biased and absurd. It does not deserve any rebuttal. Please stop publishing such rubbish!!
Satnam P Mathur
Date sent: Thu, 28 May 1998 09:52:09 -0500
Mr Diwanji should be given a month's vacation during which he can go to a secluded place and read all about India's history and the various developments in her dangerous neighbourhood. Then he may fully understand the implications of the nuclear explosions.
To put forth an argument about starving people is most deplorable. He perhaps is not aware that no country on this earth is free of all problems. But we all know that there are at least 5 nuclear powers (?) who have a huge arsenal. Maybe they were lucky to not have someone like Mr Diwanji to constantly irritate the right-thinking people.
I usually don't read his articles since he believes in only one form of intelligentsia, one that opposes everything. Having made the mistake of reading his article, I cannot resist from responding. Rediff is welcome to carry his articles but I will not read any more of his articles for sure.
Sanjay N Gattani
Date sent: Thu, 28 May 1998 09:29:40 -0400
The points you have brought to limelight are very good and resonable. Unfortunately, in our country in the last 50 years no government has done anything of note.
The Congress has ruined the country completely starting from our first prime minister. It is a corrupt party. At least the BJP is doing something which makes a small percentage of the people feel proud. It is our fate that we need to live under such politicians. Of course, now if every Indian takes this opportunity and works hard and makes the country prosperous we can expect a better tommorow.
The BJP, if it sheds it bramhinism and religion-oriented policies, would be great for the country. Vajpayee is a great leader, a man who is not tainted. The tests have already been conducted -- instead of finding fault, if our press publishes things like how we can make a better India by working hard and nipping all corrupt practices in the bud, I think we would really grow economically. The press should play an important role in making each and every Indian understand the importance of hard work.
Keep up the good work.
Date sent: Thu, 28 May 1998 15:19:26 +0400
Oh, how boring this man has become!
Instead of writing in Rediff, Mr Diwanji should channelise his efforts to take a megaphone and walk down the lanes of villages in India and trumpet his views against the nuke tests. Go to that poor peasant who is on the verge of suicide, go to that beggar who is seated outside your favorite restaurant, go to that cobbler who would perhaps share your anti-everything views. That way, at least we will escape your rotten articles!
Date sent: Thu, 28 May 1998 11:30:35 +0300
Mr Diwanji seems to believe that by referring to helpless women, beggars etc everyone will think he is greatly concerned about the poor in India. However, the cat was out of the bag when he sarcastically referred to the plight of the Kashmiri Pandits being close to the BJP's heart!
Are the Pandits not human beings? Are they not Indian citizens? So how come the systematic ethnic cleansing and massacre do not evoke any response in Diwanji's heart?
Mr Diwanji, why don't you go and camp in Udhampur for a few days to get your warped perspectives right? Better still, why don't you go and live in China or Pakistan and spare us from the trash that you churn out in the name of journalism?
Mr Diwanji, you speak of liars and damned liars. Just go and stand before the mirror and you will find the biggest hypocrite and liar!
N R Shankar
Date sent: Thu, 28 May 1998 11:43:54 +0530
This is the sort of article that one can expect from a citizen of a country which has been a subject to abject slavery for such a long time. While physical slavery is pardonable, mental slavery is not. This slave attitude seems to have eaten into our vitals.
Can't we stop thinking about the consequences, stop behaving selfishly and be prepared to face the circumstances resulting out of self-assertion with courage? Because China can bomb us easily, does it mean we have to sit back and watch the game helplessly? Shouldn't we at least try and avoid this hopeless situation in future?
Manjunath K V
Date sent: Wed, 27 May 1998 21:31:38 -0700
I tend to agree with most of what Amberish is saying but for his statement that to be a military power, or even to be in the defence race, any country has to be an economic superpower or at least have a modern economy.
India is definitely amongst the most poor nations in the world and therefore should do the obvious -- drop import duties to lower inflation for most of the basic goods required to build infrastructure (eg, telecom equipment, steel, office products). The US has low inflation (close to zero) even though its economy is growing at over 3% solely because it has been importing cheap consumer goods from China. Lessons need to be learnt from USA, it is a great nation indeed.
I tend to also believe that the nuclear test was needed since this dangerous axis of China-Pakistan-Iran-North Korea has been able to achieve substantial progress in technology and is playing a game that seems to be more interested in display power thru discrete and secret deals. China's culture only respects power. But in India's case it should be economic first, then military.
The Clinton administration has forced itself into a very embarassing situation by pushing India into one corner. The congress (led by Republicans) are voting to curb technology imports of dual nature to China. Even the Israeli-Palestinian talks are in a bad shape. That points to a leadership problem in the Clinton administration, nothing more. The timing of the nuclear blast couldn't have been more perfect, this is one event that government of India has timed beautifully.
Date sent: Thu, 21 May 1998 13:02:49 -0500
"A pathetic BJP government that lacks the guts to silence Jayalalitha" says Mr. Diwanji. How does he suggest Jayalalitha be silenced? The people have voted her to be part of the ruling class and nobody can 'silence' her. Also no other political formation has come forward to take up the responsibilty of ruling.
The collective wisdom of our earlier leaders has brought our country to a standstill. A large part of Kashmir is now part of Pakistan, thousands of people are killed by Pakistan-supported militants, minorities have been forced to migrate out and the earlier governments have been just watching.
Japan and Germany do not have nuclear weapons because they are not allowed to, after their defeat in the world war. With the only superpower being soft to China and Pakistan, it is in India's interest to strengthen its security. The forces against nuclear tests would become more powerful in the future. An India which is a nuclear power can afford to sign CTBT.
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