Weekly Letter to President Obama
Copyright © 2010
ofthisandthat.org. All rights
INAUGURATION, January 20, 2009
Drunk in its stale air
For two hundred years.
Fettered in mind and body,
The soul, the safe escape
To let me breathe the cries
Of my heart singing
Tears of mel-an-choly.
The tears flow free today
Washing the stains of blood
And sweat in brotherhood.
Raise the curtain then an'
Let the world look in
On this promised land --
We breathe free today.... almost.
--- Arshad M. Khan
We will be known forever by the tracks we leave.
--- Native American proverb
June 10, 2016 (posted June 15, 2016)
Mr. President: Sadvi Prachi is the leader of the Vishva Hindu Parishad (World Hindu
Council). In Roorkee, where there has been a communal clash injuring 32 people
(over the forcible evacuation of a scrap dealer's shop), Ms. Prachi was not trying to
reduce tensions when she stated "... it is time to make India Muslim-free." Her VHP's
extreme views against Hindu Muslim marriages, Christian conversion and cow
slaughter are well known. The latter fanning the flames of communal violence and
resulting in the lynching of a Mohammad Akhlaq at Dadri on September 28, 2015.
Narendra Modi, a fellow traveler in the Hindu supremacy Hindutva movement, and his
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were among the instigators and organizers of the
attacks and eventual destruction of the Babri (meaning Babur's) mosque in December
6, 1992 when BJP and VHP leaders gathered at the site. A supreme irony, for it was
built upon a Hindu holy site in a spirit of reconciliation. Babur started the Mughal
dynasty in India by defeating the Muslim pathan Sultan Ibrahim Lodhi. Babur was
wary of the Muslim feudal rulers and cultivated the Hindu rajas as a foil, all of course
now owing allegiance to him. His assessment was correct for shortly after his death,
the pathans under Sher Shah Suri rebelled and defeated his son Humayun who
escaped into exile. He did return many years later after the untimely death of Sher
The tolerant and open-minded Babur has had the eponymous mosque - a mosque
known for its remarkable acoustics -- destroyed by an ignorant mob instigated by the
VHP and BJP. It also inevitably provoked riots across the country for several months
resulting in over 2000 deaths, mostly Muslim.
A decade later it also caused indirectly the riots in Gujarat. Up to 2500 Muslims were
killed and much Muslim property destroyed in organized rampages. Scholars such
as Indian sociologist Dipandkar Gupta and U. of Chicago Law and Ethics professor
Martha Nussbaum have stated clearly there was a high level of state complicity. Maya
Kodnani, who became a cabinet member of Modi's provincial government was
convicted of having orchestrated the pogrom and given a 26-year jail sentence.
While Modi himself was cleared of complicity due to lack of evidence, the then
Congress Party General Secretary pointedly noted the difference, " ... but lack of
evidence and guilt are two different aspects."
Mr. Modi was a persona non grata in the U.S. which continued to deny him a visa until
he became Prime Minister. "As head of government, Mr. Modi would be eligible for an
A-1 visa," said U.S. State Department spokesperson Jen Paski in May 2014. Two
years later he has addressed a joint session of the U.S. Congress as the U.S.
cultivates India in an effort to cordon China. Politics make strange bedfellows ... a
Nobel Peace Laureate U.S. President and Narendra Modi.
And so it is in our strange presidential elections. The Democratic party's presumptive
nominee, aided and abetted by a far from independent media, can talk about helping
classes of people eviscerated by her husband's NAFTA and welfare reform policies
without irony or questioning by the media, which also continues to ignore her
miraculous cattle futures trading netting $100,000 from a $1000 initial investment
when her husband was earning about $32,000 as Arkansas Attorney General, or her
numerous brushes with the law from sham sales contracts, through Whitewater to the
current email problem. What is appalling in the latter is for her to select what will be in
the historical record.
Many of Bernie's supporters state they would rather vote for Trump. Strange