A well written letter that meant to communicate a point of view was unfairly carried away by inordinate language by Gian Aggarwal. Unduly designing a parallel between the current political leaders with that of the former maharajas was not in good taste. One cannot camouflage fiction as facts. To call someone "so-called maharajas" is inappropriate. These maharajas were not so called, they were real. Then to say, "Sardar Patel single handedly forced these maharajas to merge their kingdoms into new united India” would imply force would be used, if there was any resistance, but there was none. Not a single shot was fired on behalf of the princes of India in resistance to the new order.

As regards the current situation, in a democracy, we get the kind of government that we deserve as we elect our leaders. So, why blame anyone else? The answer lies in educating the people of their civic duties. We vote for them, and then we complain! 

Well-wishers of India and democracy everywhere should work on that endeavor. There is an acute need for one to inform himself of the authentic political history of contemporary India.

The criticism we hear of the former princes is from people who have never lived in those princely states. The people of those states have retained enormous goodwill and respect for their former rulers. That must be in return for what the rulers have done for their people. Respect is not a one-way street. Not too long ago, when Maharaja Ranjit Singhji of Baroda passed away, the entire city of Baroda and the neighboring districts gathered in large numbers to pay their respects to their former ruler.

All said and done, not a single former ruler has ever been defeated in any election, be it local or parliamentary. This speaks volumes for the popularity of the former princes.

If one cannot offer common courtesy, certainly, the former maharajas do not deserve unjustifiable disdain.

Mandhatasinh Chauhan

Porter Ranch, Calif.

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