An Eye Opener from a Christian Professor – Open letter to Ms Seema Mustafa

published on August 28, 2008

From: Hilda raja
Subject: Open letterto Ms Seema Mustafa
Date: Tuesday, August 26, 2008, 9:03 PM
Dear Seema Mustafa,
Allow me to introduce myself-I have been a professor in one of the elite colleges in Madras and after retirement was a Development Consultant for both National and International organizations. I have reached the biblical age of three scores and ten on the day your article was published.
Your article ‘When callousness rules’ (NIE 25th Aug) was partly good and did expose the callousness that we in India have to live with day in and day out but unlike the NRIs whom you mentioned, cannot leave this land of callousness because this is the only land we have and the only home we have. Your examples of this callousness from the peeing on the road to ‘the soulless class which has no time for sovereignty, democracy, secularism, stability, poverty alleviation” , did echo what the ordinary citizen like me agonizes about.
But when it came to terrorism your bias surfaced. The moment police and the investigation agencies try to do their jobs the media and  journalists bring out ‘the other side of terror’. Is it possible for the police to straight away walk and with one look pick up the culprits? Is there any country in the world, which is as soft to terrorists than India? Even the Islamic countries there is hardly any investigation- a terrorist is simply done away with. Even hardcore terrorists have not been brought to justice in India. Thanks to the politicians’ vote bank mentality. It is true that in the process innocent people will be put to hardships. But how will one eliminate the innocent without going through the procedures of investigation of the suspects, which will have both the innocent and the culprits?
The Muslim community is well knit and they live in aggregate communities. The community usually closes up and walls all investigation.

Tell me Ms Seema how will you react if across the country thousands of temples gave a call to the Hindus to congregate at a particular area. But this is  exactly what happened in Kashmir when a call given was by more than a thousand mosques in Kashmir through the public address system (which is meant to proclaim the prayers) to congregate on the roads in a specific place for rallies to shout anti-Indian slogans. And pro-Pakistan slogans holding Pakistan flags. Only this country will see such scenes of betrayal by its own people. So in the whole frame- work of callousness you did not mention the treason and the betrayal of this nation.
Your article appeared on the 25th Aug and just the previous day a revered Swamiji Laksmnananda Saraswathi and his five disciples were brutally murdered in Orissa. Had they belonged to the minority community the media would have splashed the news across its front pages and the electronic media would have imaged it poignantly at the prime time as these did when a Christian nun was alleged burned by the VHP in Bargha in Orissa, but as you rightly stated the ” dilution of  journalistic ethics”, operated to allowed the latter incident to be blurred and passed over as just another one of those killing to be forgotten.

Was it sheer callousness and ‘dilution of journalistic ethics which allowed the ethnic cleansing in Kashmir to be systematically carried out with the nation and its impotent government to be just silent spectators? And look at how even you as a journalist has rushed to the defense of Shabana Azmi. With her stature and her financial power she is finding it impossible to get a house .Is she then living on the streets of Mumbai?
Why is it that when all the Muslim actors can possess posh bungalows only Shabana Azmi finds it impossible to buy a house. And you fault that no government official has tried to find out the reason and no remedial action was taken- this another example of the ‘callousness’ ; which you cited in your article? What about the lakhs who are sleeping by the roadside and a few who get mowed by the reckless driving of powerful persons? Should we not cite the community of the victims and the reckless drivers? That will be news. What  about those who have no shelter above their heads for generations- should the government not find out the reason and take remedial action? How deftly you have come to the defense of Shaban Azmi and even accused the communal forces demanding an apology from her. This reveals your own biased mindset.

Please bear with me if I narrate to you my own experience. I have lived for 50 years in Chennai-Mahalingapuram- It was a predominately a Brahmin locality (I am a Catholic) The area today has a large number of Muslim families who have bought the houses-some have constructed flats; this was possible because the owners did not look into the religion of the buyers. But now not a single Muslim will rent out his flat/ house to a non-Muslim. One Muslim who owns 12 flats when I approached for my niece told me point blank  ‘we take only our people as tenants”. The media usually brings out how the Muslims are denied houses- employment by non Muslims. My experience is just the opposite. Why does the media not report facts and base their articles on ground reality?
I myself had rented out a portion of upstairs to a Muslim-. After having lived for two years and when I had to dispose of my house he refused to vacate though I had given him a three months notice. He  asked me to go to court. Do you think I would recommend him to prospective house owners? It would be easy for a biased journalist to report, ‘Poor ‘X’ nobody is prepared to take him as a tenant’. And one must read this as part of the discrimination the Muslims by and large face in India.
‘Poor Shabana Azmi a five times national awardee-if this is what happens to her then one can imagine what the ordinary Muslims go through’ is the message. No country in the world treats its minorities as they are treated in India-with respect and equality. It is grossly unfair for the pseudo- secularists then to heap such unwarranted accusations.
Indian history records that the massacre perpetuated by the Muslims in India is unparallel, bigger than the holocaust of the Jews. If that was history then today we have the biggest number of terror victims in the world.
All religions profess that theirs is a religion of love and brotherhood. But this cannot remain  as hollow proclamations by the religious leaders and so called secularists. It has to be experienced. It is in the name of  religions that our country is not just a nation where “callousness rules’ but where disharmony, distrust and disunity rules. Religious fundamentalist is shredding the fabric of the country. Any action has its reaction. You would agree with me that the criteria to etch the contours of a religion as fundamental are its dogmas, its tight control over its adherents and its intolerance of other religions.
I believe that it is in love and goodness of heart that one will be judged not by the religion to which one belongs.
Dr Mrs Hilda Raja,

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