Praveen Swami's analysis “Growing irrelevance of the Indian ayatollah” (Feb. 2) of the losing trend of god's armies can also be called the withering away of the armies, thanks to progressive political struggles for equity. The latest episode — cancellation of Tasleema Nasreen's official book release — did not deter the publishers from separately releasing the book without any upsurge of any kind. Does it not show the decline of communal frenzy, notwithstanding the efforts by the vested political interests to exploit religious bigotry?
Mr. Swami's article is unfair. No one is quarrelling over the importance of freedom of speech and expression, but there are legitimate limits to its exercise. I cannot and should not be allowed to ‘abuse' the President, the Prime Minister, the Constitution or anyone for that matter. A serious intellectual debate is welcome but abuses are not. The Satanic Verses is not an artistic or critical work but only an abusive enterprise.
The article seemed to be more than an attack on religious extremism of the likes of Maulana Masood Azhar. The concluding paragraph that praises capitalism ignores the fact that the largest amount of blood in the last two centuries has been shed in the name of modern ideologies such as capitalism, communism, nationalism and national socialism.
Equating mainstream Muslim institutions with terrorist organisations will do a great harm to the fight against extremism.
Syed Mohd. Ahmar,