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Mainstream, VOL LX No 1, New Delhi, December 18/December 25, 2021 (double issue)

Letter to the readers, Mainstream, Dec 18/Dec 25, 2021

Friday 17 December 2021

Letter to the Readers, Mainstream, December 18, December 25 2021 (double issue)

Varanasi is the Prime Minister’s parliamentary constituency and that he should take personal interest in a huge multi-million development project to beautify or de-congest the city is normal but for him to turn this into a mega religious show with him personally participating beamed live on national TV is a pretty jarring? On December 13, 2021 we saw the Prime Minister Modi in Varanasi on live TV performing religious ritual at a temple; later we saw him all dressed in saffron clothing worn by Hindu devotees (giving Yogi Adiyanath the saffron robed Chief Minister of UP state a run for his money) standing in the waters of the Ganges river and taking a total dip with only his hands remaining out of the water. Good to see that our leader is physically fit and can plunge into river and come out safely. As a private individual with a belief in particular religious rituals he could be performing these ten-times a day if he wishes but why subject the whole country to his private fantasies in a live broadcast. And doing this at public expense in a secular state should be totally unacceptable. What is going on, are we beginning to take the cue from non-secular states like Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan.

India has been long admired as a multicultural society co-existing with many faiths, languages and foods etc. India’s anti-colonial movement had been open to people of all backgrounds and so naturally as an independent country it chose to be a secular state. But in the recent years the separation between religion and state affairs and politics has been breaking down. Overt favouring of religious interests of particular community is becoming all too visible under the BJP ruled India.

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Tributes:

Comrade N Ramakrishnan, the communist activist associated with CPI(M) passed away on December 12, 2021. Comrade NR from Tamil Nadu worked at the Party’s Parliamentary office at 4 Ashoka road in New Delhi from 1969 onwards.

The very influential American feminist writer Bell Hooks passed away on December 15, 2021

We pay our tributes to the above figures

December 18, 2021 – HK

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