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Re: Freedom and Welfare or Bharat Maata?



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[Topics under debate]: GOOD GOVERNANCE
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Dear Chirag,
        I will attempt to answer all the points that you have raised.

1] Kashmir - You are right when you say that I do not even consider that
we
are fighting for the freedom of the Kashmiri people. There are two
reasons
for this: firstly, even with the Kargil conflict sorted out, I can still
see
bombs exploding in Kashmir, curfews imposed - basically the same thing
that
has been happening there since the 1980s. So, even with the intruders
driven
out, they would still not be enjoying too many individual freedoms. The
second reason has to do with much the same point that you have made -
whether or not the indigenous population wants to remain in India. Not
having had talked to a Kashmiri for more than a decade, I would not
presume
to speak for them. But from what my friends in the army and the BSF tell
me
of their experiences, I have stopped holding my breath waiting for a
happy
conclusion to the whole mess. And, that sir, is the reason I do not say
that
the army is fighting for the freedom of the Kashmiri people. Frankly,
sir,
even the army doesn't quite believe that.
        The point you make about welfare of the same people is indeed a
very
positive thought, though one that I find hard to hold on to. If we could
not
win the confidence of the Kashmiri people in the decades before
terrorism
became such a big problem, I wonder how we will manage that now. Still,
I
hope that you are right in this instance and that I am wrong.
        Before I answer any other point that you have made, there is one
thing I'd
like to mention. The letter of mine that has prompted these questions of

yours was written as a reply to Vamsi's missive. In particular, the
relevant
statements [to this topic that is] made by Vamsi were,
"Indians who stand up for the freedom of other Indians is what is
happening
at Kargil.  Let us get over the "jai bharath matha" syndrome and stand
up
for something more precious than blind nationalism -individual freedoms
of
all Indians.  India is made up of Indians and standing up for the
freedoms
of the citizens will invariably serve the interests of India as a
country."
        Now, in responding to these statements I have used examples at
times,
rhetoric at others. So, maybe it serves me right that I have to explain
what
I meant in detail. Nowhere have I claimed that one ought to have a blind

allegiance to Bhaarat maata, nor that the end is [or should be]Bhaarat
maata. I have merely attempted to point out that blind patriotism has
its
place and ought not to be dismissed in haste - a point with which you
concur. The second point had to do with the argument of national
interest
vs. individual freedoms. The example of FDR was not given to confound
the
economists [they may go on debating to their heart's content if it was
FDR
or the war or the economic cycle or whatever that ended the depression].
It
was just used to make the point that even in a country like the US,
where
individual liberties are sacrosanct, individual rights have been
curtailed
if the administration thinks that national interest requires it.
        Having said this, let me also state that I am not advocating a
blind
surrender to 'national interests' [Good heavens, NO!]. All I am doing is

pointing out that such situations may arise [and have arisen]. Any
abrogation of individual rights is potentially dangerous, and the
decision
to do so cannot be taken lightly. I thank you for your word of caution,
but
believe me, it was really not necessary.
        This brings me to the next sub-topic , what are the interests of
the nation
other than the freedom and welfare of its citizens? None, really. The
point
is that there have been situations where individual liberties have been
suspended to ensure the long term freedom and welfare of the citizens -
the
emergencies imposed on the nation during the wars of '62 and '71 come to

mind.
You said,
        "Loving your country is very different from worshipping it and
being
uncritical of what is being done in its name."
I know, I agree. I do love my country but I am anything but uncritical
of
all that is done in its name.
        You also wanted to know if I would despise those who migrate for
personal
interest. It is their decision, based on their situations - it is not
for me
to approve or disapprove. I do wonder, though, what made you ask this.
        I hope that I have answered all the points that you raised. If
there is
anything else that needs clarification, please let me know.
                                                               Regards,
                                                                   Ritu





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