The Indian Weekly magazine Outlook, has a regular feature that publishes some letters to the editors From the the foreign press. This column is called “Par Avion” and this week has this letter in the Daily Telegraph featured;
On Meghnad Desai’s call for donations to erect a Gandhi statue in Parliament Square, as Christopher Hitchens pointed out, one of the main reasons for Pakistan splitting from India was Gandhi’s well-advertised portrayal of a sleepy, rural future for India after independence. This cultish ideal alienated Muslims who, understandably, wanted to enjoy the benefits of progress and did not want to be dominated by a spinning wheel-toting Hindu holy man who rejected modernity. Gandhi’s insensitivity led to the split…. There are more than three times as many Muslims in Britain as there are Hindus, two-fifths of them of Pakistani descent. Against this background, what greater provocation could we dream up than to immortalise Gandhi outside the Palace of Westminster?
~ DAMIEN McCRYSTAL.
I am not a great fan of Gandhi and am not bothered one way or the other about a statue for him in London. In fact the one already at Tavistock Square featured above is quite a nice one. We have enough problems with Indian politicos spending fortunes of statues for their heroes. Here are just two samples; One in Gujarat and the other in my home state Maharashtra. At least the proposed statue in London will be paid for by private donations and not taxpayers’ funds.
I just want to point out something to Mr. McCrystal and hopefully, his hero Mr. Hitchens, wherever he may be now. He claims that the Muslims went to Pakistan to enjoy the benefits of progress. If they did why are there more Pakistani Muslims in the UK than Indian Hindus? And most of those Hindus are either immigrants or descendants of the Ugandan Indians or the highly educated and prosperous Indian professionals. And Mr. McCrystal, you will do well to study how much progress the UK Muslims have made in the UK and compare it to the progress made by the UK Hindus there.
No, Mr. McCrystal, by all means object to the money being spent on a statue for Gandhi, I will heartily support you, even if it is privately raised, as it could surely be put to better use elsewhere, but use some logic for the reason for objecting. And just to make it a little more interesting for this debate, do you think that the Hindus in the UK will object to a statue of Jinnah being put up in London? And do you think that the Muslims there will be able to raise the funds if they wanted to?
And Mr. McCrystal, between the two countries, which do you think has rejected modernity?