October - November 2007
From: Arati Chatterjea
St Georges Road
I write to express appreciation of your special issue on the60th anniversary of India’s Independence (Aug-Sept 07). I particularly liked Sri Sashanka Banerjee’s article (page 10). I have met the author and know that he has years of experience regarding the Indian subcontinent. To ‘add’ to his analysis - I am tempted to add the problematic legacy of Indian gurus and pandits. While some gurus/pandits are worthy of respect, many are also livinga life of greed & adharma.Our gurus have liberaed us and also chained us. They have become so addicted to adulation that there is no room for any critical debate. At least the politicians have had to put up with some kind of ‘another’ point of views & a formal opposition in parliament and the media.
Ms Anju Prashar’s article on page 35 is also very interesting. It should be noted that the Judaic people did not invade India. If only the christian and Islamic people could learn from the Jews the way of living in a pluralistic society, there will be less violence and terrorism. Jewish people pass on their religion through respect for the mother! Hindus have much to learn about the role of mother inspite of all the worship of magnificent goddesses....
From: Kurt Metzer
Lower High Street
The latest issue of ‘Time Magazine’ has a special report on India, which is very favourable. But my main interest in the home of my boyhood is its degee of civilisation and tolerance. For example, respect for the old (I am now 75) is far better than among the English; and anti-semitism does not exist. My synagogue monthly has published Richard Littlejohn’s ‘The War on Britain’s Jews’ in full - but in Harrow the presence of a large Hindu community acts an an antidote to anti-semitism!There are also other factors. Richard Dawkings new book is aggressively atheist, but in India the debate as to the existence of a personal God or Gods went on peacefully for centuries, as is described in Radha Krishnan’s Indian Philosophy. The emperor Akbar looked favourably on the Sikhs, while his successors became increasingly fanatic. In Spain, the Cordova Caliphet was tolerant, but when fanaticism came in from Africa it was the christian kings who conquered Toledo and Seville because of their tolerance - which, however, rapidly deteriorated due to an influx of French cluniac monks. The course of religion during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic period deserves full sudy. In India respect for and understanding of Islam means that Salman Rushdie (born in Bombay, now Mumbai) has no honours from his native land!
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