The BJP and Jaswant Singh

The BJP and Jaswant Singh

The media has been quite harsh on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for its decision to expel Jaswant Singh. While some have condemned the process (the decision was conveyed on telephone), others have criticized the timing (on the same day the national convention began). The debate does not centre around Singh’s contribution to the party. He has been one of the undisputed leaders of the party. It is unfortunate that the party has been faced with a situation of continuing without him. Let us, however, note that Singh seemed to have asked the party for a reprimand by raking up this controversial issue and timing his book to hit the stands just before the chintan baithak or brainstorming session. So, the party organization had no choice but to expel him.

— K.V. Rao

People want to know why Jaswant Singh was not even given a chance to clarify and has been summarily expelled from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Meanwhile, for something similar, L.K. Advani was only warned.

The expulsion of Singh is a knee-jerk reaction because the day before his expulsion, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) supremo Mohan Bhagwat’s criticism of the BJP’s internal function might have worried the party. The reason is not hard to decipher. The party does not want to face the wrath of the RSS and other pro-Hindu groups such as the Shiv Sena.

— Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee

The expulsion of veteran political leader Jaswant Singh for his controversial book Jinnah: India-Partition-Independence was totally unwarranted.

We are a democratic country, which gives us the freedom of speech and expression. It is the cardinal principle enunciated in article 19(1) of our Constitution.

Of course, the government can impose “reasonable restrictions"on it, if it is of the opinion that it is a threat to the integrity and sovereignty of our nation. But here, it is only an opinion of a political leader that has been conveyed through his book. It may be right or wrong for others. Nobody is compelled to read it.

A ban on a book means a ban on free thinking, which is a dangerous proposition in a democratic country.

— Salil Kumar

It happens probably too often in our country that we —or our system—has become immune to situations such as students burning a train in Bihar (“The burning train", Mint, 20 August).

It is not the first time that public property has been destroyed. But there are only words of tough action —no real action takes place; that is the irony of it. And this has occurred not only in Bihar, but throughout the country.

The police do not book the culprits, or if they book them at all, they are let free soon. So, at the back of their minds they know that regardless of the damage they cause, they will not be punished.

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has the golden opportunity of changing this mindset and punishing all the students who were behind this act.

— Bal Govind

It was interesting to read Salil Tripathi’s column, (“Veil and woman in France", Mint, 20 August). While the existentialist dilemma that you have tried to underline has been contextualized more in the European context, there are writers in India—more so Muslim writers—who have started questioning its efficacy.

Hans, the Hindi literary magazine, in its August issue has brought out two such stories in poignant detail. In one of the stories, a mother chats with a friend sitting up late. Her 10-year-old son questions her wisdom in doing so, and the story ends with the mother wondering “whether her son is now forcing a veil on her", or trying to curb the freedom that a cyber world is offering.

— Nalin Rai