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'Don't persecute Kanhaiyas Mr President. Use them for nation building'

Krishna Sobti | Updated on: 14 February 2017, 6:00 IST

Krishna Sobti, a nonagenarian litterateur, wrote to India's First Citizen to express her concern about disturbing divisive traits in the current atmosphere. Here, Catch reproduces the letter:

Your Excellency,

You are the pioneer of billions of sons and daughters of this sovereign nation. You are the custodian of our ideology, democracy and culture.

We, the citizens of India who have faith in the democratic values, urge you to seriously address the current crisis confronting this nation. The echoes of every fracas polarising the country reaches your doorsteps. We take the privilege of bringing to your kind notice the factors that are causing tensions in the society.

You are constantly apprised of the social and political events around the country. You are also aware of the political endorsement as well as denouncement of the constitutional and ethical norms.

Your excellency, the painful episode of the suicide of Hyderabad Central University (HCU) scholar Rohith Vemula and several terrorising incidents of student repression have posed a challenge to our 'Lok Dharma', the public duty.

If 'Lok Dharma' is be violated in the name of democracy, it will weaken the faith of the civil society

We, the common people of India, want freedom from centuries-old malpractices and inequalities. At the same time, we wish to be touched by the blessings of democracy bestowed by our constitutionally governed democratic way of living. We want to establish equality and respect for human dignity as enshrined in our constitution.

The plight of backward segments, Dalits and various Dalit groups in educational campuses has been exposed today.

The history of these cruel circumstances is long.

Mr. President, every citizen yearns for the highest ideal of fraternity as guaranteed by our Constitution.

The Constitution has given equal rights to every Indian.

Every citizen is committed to the Constitution and believes in its principles.

Your excellency, the rich and poor of India are indebted to BR Ambedkar, who blessed us with a Constitution entwined in democratic sacraments.

We entreat you to give a political solution to the increasing disaffection and inhumane aberrations in the society.

Mr. President, you are the foremost authority in the power structure of this nation. You are witnessing the direction that the ideology of our nation seems to be taking.

Our legacy lies not in persecuting youngsters like Kanhaiya, but in using them for nation-building

The history as well as geography of this country is weaved in the unity of its citizens. We are extremely worried that the nation is headed towards despotic nationalism.

The Indian wisdom has sought unity in diversity since ages. The whole world takes inspiration from this concept.

Every common and distinguished Indian wants to relish the warmth of this human bonding as an independent citizen.

We, the common citizens, fail to understand why a student leader of a university of JNU's repute was beaten in the police custody without proof of guilt. Which ideology inspired the lawyers who attacked him at the Patiala House Courts premises?

Your excellency, the national legacy of our democracy lies not in persecuting youngsters like Kanhaiya, but in using their potential for nation-building.

The ideologies flourishing in JNU and other such universities prove that our young generation invigorates its conscience through self-evaluation. It is far above narrow narcissism. The present generation excels in public life by the virtue of discipline, confidence and capability.

It is not possible to append the dignity of multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-caste societies to the parochial notion of 'cultural nationalism'. Any attempt in this regard cannot be a sign of a healthy concern for the society.

Such nefarious efforts are aimed at controlling the minds of the people. It is against the democratic ethos of our emerging generations.

If 'Lok Dharma' will be violated in universities in the name of democracy, then it will weaken the faith of the civil society in democracy. It will be inimical to the intellectual talent and energy of this nation.

Sir, the things that we are reading and hearing these days are totally against democratic values. We are concerned for the future of our billions of citizens.

Yours sincerely,

an old member of Indian civil society

Krishna Sobti

(All citizens appalled by the cacophony of nationalism and anti-nationalism should join our prayer)

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First published: 21 March 2016, 1:31 IST