Dr. Subramanian Swamy’s Right to Speak Defense
Against Islamic Terrorism in India
Dr. Seshachalam Dutta
Dr. Subramanian Swamy was one of the youngest recipients of doctorate in economics at Harvard University who later became a professor of Economics. He turned to politics in India and did yeoman service to his native country during the notorious “emergency” imposed upon India by Indira Gandhi. He later served as the Minister of Law at the Central Government of India. His article in an Indian newspaper, “Daily News and Analysis” (DNA), caused an uncalled for storm at Harvard.
To use the characterization of Hindu Nationalists, some Muslim fanatics and Hindu degenerate renegades who have lost their self-respect have called for his ouster from Harvard. His distracters characterized his essay as bigotry. Leaving all the invective aside,Swamy is not a bigot. Right to speak and write was defended as early as in 1643 by John Milton in his famous Areopagitica wherein he said, “Give me the liberty to know, to utter and argue freely according to my conscience, above all liberties.” He was summarizing the fight for this freedom for which so many in the West sacrificed their lives beginning with Socrates which became the hallmark of democratic freedom in the civilized western world. Any Harvard student who did not know this doesn’t deserve to be at Harvard.
What did Swamy say that caused such an outrage? What he said is not much different from the position of George Will and Patrick Buchanan, who expressed strong position on the creeping multiculturalism in the U.S. George Will, a few years ago addressing Duke University convocation, pleaded that multiculturalism is acceptable only so far but no further. New immigrants have to accept the core values of the Founding Fathers of this country. Buchanan has the similar position that the core American values have to be accepted and multiculturalism is a threat to the National identity of America.
Swamy’s position is very similar in the face of aggressive worldwide Islamization and accompanying intolerance. The reaction of French people to the exhibiting of Muslim attire in public schools as distinct from others as not to integrate with the community has been a volatile issue. Demand that Sharia be accepted as a separate law Governing Muslim community in England and the activities of Muslim Immigrants in Germany have raised the question of how much multiculturalism can be accepted by the communities when such immigrants refuse to integrate into the National life. The issue is reverberating in Australia and even in China and Russia.
After a long lull, Muslim terrorism has reached India recently with full force and Swamy was addressing this issue. It should be remembered that India was already divided on the basis of religion as Muslim Country and Hindu country. Muslims argued that they could not live with Hindus and they created Pakistan, a Muslim country. Hindus could choose to be a Hindu Nation (though nobody would know what it means, as there are several interpretations as to what Hindu means-a foreign designation), but the leaders at that time opted for a secular pluralistic country. If the leadership was different like that of Swamy’s persuasion, it could have been a sort of Hindu Nation just as much as Muslim Pakistan. India is secular by choice and not by any compulsion. By its very nature even a “Hindu Nation” would have been secular at any rate as Hindus are as diverse as monotheists, polytheists, and even atheists and some even worshipping the tombs of Muslim holy men like that of Sai Baba! All world bodies have accepted Nations with exclusive cultural and religious identities; Israel is a case in point.
I would like to represent Swamy’s position without necessarily endorsing his view. Muslims living in India cannot and should not demand Sharia and they cannot and should not practice polygamy, nor should they be allowed to increase their population by abandoning birth control which is advocated by the Government of India which can be legally forced on Hindus only and thus upsetting the demographics. Muslims are now already getting away with insisting on living in India with no regard to Uniform Civil code, enjoying the right only for themselves to have four wives, no restrictions such as birth control, no restrictions on obeying the city ordinances in limiting the noise level emanating from their Mosques, and in fact practicing Sharia law which in conflict with Indian penal code and Civil law. Any part of India which has majority of Muslim population cannot and should not have special privileges as in Kashmir, no more than African Americans and Hispanics in America can demand separate political redistricting and special privileges based on their ethnic count. Muslims and Hindus can live in harmony once they accept that they are from the same genetic stock and same primary cultural ancestry as Hindus and not Arabic, Persian or Mongolian! The greatest Muslim intellectual of 20th century who advocated creation of Pakistan, Md. Iqbal was of third generation Kashmiri Brahmin descent. If the Indian Muslims accept that they belongs to the same land and have the same ancestry regardless of their faith, they would not resort to terrorism against their own brothers. No self-respecting Mexican would claim that he is of Spanish decent. Spanish conquerors ravaged their country, killed their men, outraged their women and converted them forcefully to Christianity. Indian Muslim should feel the same way. How else a Pakistani missile is named after Ghory who was the worst invader of India? This is the line argument of Swamy. He may not witness progress of India in this direction in his life time; but let it go on record that he was the one who was bold enough to say it.
Indians who are given to semi-monarchical idolatry, ruled by sycophants have very little appreciation for a free expression of such bold ideas in their country. India is largest democracy in the world, but a fragile one weakened by loyalties to dynasties at the Center and States. Loyalty to dynasties, as noted by Octavio Paz, Nobel Laureate and former ambassador to India referring to Indian politics, is anti-democratic. Democracy should guarantee opportunity to leadership regardless of class or birth. Reaction in India for Swamy’s article, therefore, is patently expected, but I commend Harvard to stand by their faculty member.