Inter-Religious Dialogues

M.L. Sondhi

Parlance, March 1990

I would first like to suggest some measures for resolving the problem. The appointment of Mr. Mufti as the Home Minister has been a matter of great speculation. But the fact remains that to solve a conflict a third party is needed. A concerned party cannot resolve the conflict. If this fact holds true then why was Buta Singh used to resolve conflicts in Punjab where he was a concerned party? And the same question holds true for Mr. Mufti too? Therefore the first step towards a solution would be to remove Mr. Mufti as soon as possible. Secondly, if Mr. V.P. Singh means business then resorting to war with Pakistan will not ease the problem in any way.

I have just come back from Czechoslovakia and Eastern Europe. There the Soviet ideology has been completely rejected by the people. This has lead to a considerable decrease in Soviet Union’s importance as a super-power. And because of this lowering of importance the Russians are not going to issue any public statement in favour of the Indian Government. Therefore what Mr. V.P. Singh can do is to set up a group of eminent luminaries to evaluate the present situation and find an appropriate solution for it.

Human Rights

Finally, my prescription would be to set up a South Asian Human Rights Forum which will provide a common platform for both the Governments to evaluate and solve problems with a mutual consent.

Dual Legacies

Neither can we undermine the importance of the legacy of Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah, of which Farookh Abdullah is a representative. Nor can we undermine the importance of the legacy left behind by Shyama Prasad Mukherjee who was suspected to be liquidated by the intelligence services. The interaction of both these legacies is important for bringing about peace and harmony in the state.

But the truth remains that the problem does not arise from Pakistan or from the Muslims of Kashmir. The problem rears its ugly head from time to time because of corruption at the grassroots level.

Inter-Religious Dialogue

I think to restore sanity today, the Indian Government has to bring together the Hindu ethos and the Muslim ethos. But not by the false word called “secularism”. The Indian government has to start a dialogue, something like what Vaclav Havel is doing in Prague. This sort of inter-religious dialogue might even solve the explosive Ram Janmabhoomi – Babri Masjid issue. For suppressing a problem by force and pressure is like putting a lid on a volcano. And its eruption will be equally violent. Therefore we have to enter an area of discussions and dialogues for solving the issue.
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