Mike Ghouse makes outrageous observations about the state of democracy in India in his letter, “India Awakened, Democracy Restored,” without providing any evidence for any of his observations or opinions. In his opening paragraph, he suggests that the defeat of the BJP in three recent state elections was an amazing result and the winner is Indian democracy. He implies that there is democracy in India if the BJP loses and no democracy if the BJP wins.

The very fact that political parties could contest elections, that no political or media activist was arrested, that elections did take place, and that opposition parties could win and form a government means that India was a functioning democracy before these state elections and remained so after the elections. There was also nothing amazing about the results. BJP was the governing party in these states since 2003 and so it is not an amazing result if after 15 years another party comes to power.

Throughout his letter, he insinuates that the BJP in India and BJP supporters in North America want to deny freedoms to other Indians, without providing any proof. All political parties have been functioning freely in India, the press is free and very voluble, no one has been jailed for opposing the BJP. Minorities are able to practice their beliefs and, in fact, over the last several years, the number of Muslims and Christians in India has been increasing and not decreasing. Neither the BJP nor its Indian American supporters have ever deliberately pursued policies to hurt minorities. So, his insinuations are not based on any factual evidence but are primarily his personal opinion expressed as a political fact.

Ghouse makes another questionable statement that “No one is anti-national or anti-Hindu and it is the wild imagination of fanatics among the BJP to sow the seeds of discords.” Common sense suggests that if any person acts against the interests of India then that person can be considered as anti-national, and if anyone attempts to hurt the interests of Hindus, then that person can be assumed to be anti-Hindu. Ghouse is not aware that there are numerous examples in Indian history where Indians collaborated with foreign powers to act against the interests of India. Similarly, there are many examples even in recent Indian history wherein people acted in ways that prevented Hindus from practicing their faith. It is not a stretch to call such individuals anti-Hindu.

Finally, he calls Jawaharlal Nehru a giant leader. While Nehru certainly did some good things for India during his 17-year rule, he is also responsible for the continuing problem of Kashmir. Nehru’s decision to stop the advance of the Indian Army and taking the issue to the United Nations has left India bleeding for the last 70 years. It is hard to consider a leader who left so many problems for India to be a giant.

Hemendra Acharya

Via E-mail

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