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Mr.PM, Who should be Ashamed of Whom?

Mr.PM, Who should be Ashamed of Whom?

Author: Venkataraman S. Ammangudi
Publication: iVarta.com
Date: April 8, 2009
URL: http://www.blogs.ivarta.com/Who-should-be-Ashamed-Whom-MrPM/blog-267.htm

(About the author: An engineer by profession, Venkataraman Ammangudi is committed to understanding Hindu Dharma, and the similarities and differences between major religions. In addition, he is deeply interested in understanding the impact of colonization on the Indian psyche. Symptoms displayed by educated Hindus such as lack of healthy pride about one"s traditions, passivity and other-religion appeasement are subjects he likes to explore, understand and find effective antidotes for.)

On August 23, 2008, Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, along with several other residents of an ashram, including women, in Orissa"s Kandhamal district, were murdered. Christian missionaries have long been operating here and have had "difficulty converting Hindus". It was widely known that it was Christian missionaries that engineered this gruesome act. Angered by the killings, the Hindus retaliated.

About a month later, on September 29, 2008, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh addressed the EU-India summit in Marseille. In response to President Sarkozy"s raising the topic of "Violence on Christians in Kandhamal" in a private conversation, Dr. Singh mentioned that these incidents had brought shame to the country.

Shame. Shame to whom? By what?

When Pundits in Kashmir are routinely targeted and massacred by Islamic terrorists, nobody has to date been quoted as saying that those events brought shame to the country. The murder of scientists at the IISc campus by terrorists has not brought shame to the country. The death of innocent children in a school in Tamil Nadu that collapsed due to poor construction did not bring shame to the country. The death of 6000 people in Bhopal due to the gas leak from a Union Carbide Plant did not bring shame to the country. The murder of policemen routinely by naxalites in the eastern parts of India did not bring shame to the country. When Hindu gods are routinely targeted by media and by Government for denigration, it did not bring shame to the country. So why, according to Dr. Singh, did "these events" bring shame to the country? This question has been in my mind and continues to be.

A few years ago, the Christian Church all over the US was implicated in horrifying cases of child abuse. When George Bush spoke about this, he did not say that he was "ashamed" of the Church or its leaders. He allowed the law to take its course. He continued to display pride in his country and his religion. George W. Bush continues to be a proud Christian.

Since the appointment of Dr. Singh as Prime Minister, reports suggest that there have been more than 70 terrorist attacks in India, almost all of them attributed to Islamic outfits. Nevertheless, he did not label them as "Islamic" terror, nor did Dr. Singh express "shame" as a result. Perhaps rightly so. Yet, after the blasts in Melagaon in Maharashtra in October 2008 where some Hindus were allegedly involved, Dr. Singh allowed his government to coin the phrase "Hindu Terror". The PM allowed the media to act as a jury, parading those allegedly involved and playing the jury without letting the law takes its legal course.

Antonia Albina Maino Sonia Gandhi is an Italian citizen. Indian law prohibits individuals born outside India to hold positions in the government. Yet, today, it is Ms. Sonia Gandhi who calls all the shots. Is there another country where a non-citizen is allowed to be the de-facto leader? If this does not bring shame to the country, why should a regional incident that is purely an internal matter bring shame to the country?

Terrorists attacked Mumbai in November 2008. Evidence indicates that the Indian government had been fully aware of the threats weeks before the attack. Yet no preventive measures were taken. After the attacks, the PM responded that "not a single culprit will be spared." Evidence since then has indicated that the source of the attack lies is Pakistan. Even US President Barack Obama had mentioned that ""India has the right to go after terrorists". Now, it has been 4 months since the attack and the Indian Government that thrives on loss of memory and public apathy sits happily not having arrested a single culprit. Can anything be more shameful than such passivity? Who in this world can take India seriously?

After Dr. Singh took over the reigns of the country in 2004, there was a flood of e-mails circulating Dr. Singh"s curriculum vitae, which boasted of degrees in Oxford and Cambridge, and awards of excellence in finance. Now, it has been amply demonstrated that no amount of foreign education can compensate for a lack of rootedness in one"s culture, pride in one"s country and its people, and assertiveness in maintaining security and sovereignty.

So why should the Kandhamal violence bring shame to the country? What aspect of this incident brings shame to the country? Is it that Hindus retaliated against Christians? Is it because Dr. Singh, afraid of calling himself a Hindu or a Sikh, feels subconsciously responsible for the violence? Is it that Dr. Singh feels that he is obligated to protect the lives of Christians more than that of people from another religion? Should not the murder of a revered Swami that precipitated the ensuing violence bring shame to the country? Why did Dr. Singh not publicly express shock at the killing of a revered Hindu Swami? If he did so, does he fear being branded as a "Hindu", or worse yet, a "Hindu fundamentalist"? If he did so, does he think that it would automatically imply persecution of minorities? Was Dr. Singh covering up his incapacity to tell that the friction was a result of systematic and aggressive attempt by Christian missionaries to proselytize Indians over the years? Why does Dr. Singh fell obligated to respond on a domestic matter to Mr. Sarkozy?

Why is the killing of Swami Laxmanananda forgotten and all attention is on events following the primary incident? Shouldn"t all types of violence be under the radar irrespective of the religion? Should not both the murder of the Swami and the ensuing violence be equally investigated by the government?

Who must be ashamed of whom? What do you call a person who is ashamed of his citizens - a leader or a loser? Shame binds and we do not want a Prime Minister - himself ashamed - to rub off that shame on the rest of the country. I am tempted to say that Indian citizens should be ashamed of the Prime Minister. On second thoughts, let us get to work. Elections are fast approaching. Let all those who value leadership and who respect equality of all religions and people under the law elect Dr. Singh out.

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