India Today – 1984 riots could have been avoided, if Narasimha Rao had listened to I K Gujaral: Manmohan Singh

Manmohan Singh on Wednesday said that if then Home Minister Narasimha Rao had paid heed to IK Gujaral’s suggestion to call in the army, the 1984 Sikh riots could have been avoided.

Anand Patel

New Delhi – India, 04 December 2019. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said that the Sikh massacre of 1984 in Delhi could have been avoided had the then Home Minister Narsimha Rao acted upon the advice of Inder Kumar Gujral. He was speaking at a ceremony to mark the 100th birth anniversary of former prime minister Gujral in the capital on Wednesday.

“Gujral Ji was so concerned that he went to the then Home Minister Narsimha Rao that very evening. The situation is so grave that it is necessary for the government to call the army at the earliest. If that advice would have been heeded perhaps the 1984 massacre could have been avoided,” Manmohan Singh said.

The 1984 Sikh massacre, which followed the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi at the hands of her four Sikh security personnel, had left over 3,000 Sikhs dead across the nation.

Also speaking at the event, Former President Dr Pranab Mukherjee regretted the then Congress high command’s decision to withdraw support from I K Gujral-led United Front government in 1998. He said that the decision allowed BJP to come to power.

“Many architects of the United front government are here, Sitaram Yechuri is here, he has to face angry crowd, calling him responsible for the mischief of bringing down the coalition government, short point I am trying to make is that these decisions perhaps we could have deferred the BJP from coming to power in 1998 and the government could have continued with our support for full term,” Pranab Mukherjee said.

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/1984-sikh-riots-could-have-been-avoided-if-narasimha-rao-listened-to-ik-gujaral-manmohan-singh-1625242-2019-12-04

The Hindu – ‘Kartarpur model’ may help resolve future conflicts: Manmohan Singh

“Peace and harmony is the only way forward to ensure a prosperous future. The Kartarpur model may be replicated in future too for lasting resolution of conflicts,” says the former Prime Minister.

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 06 November 2019. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday hoped the “Kartarpur model” might help in resolving future conflicts, as he and Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu addressed a special session of the Punjab Assembly to commemorate the 550th birth anniversary of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev.

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu too said a new world of peace and sustainable development could be founded if teachings of the Sikh Guru were integrated in daily lives.

“Peace and harmony is the only way forward to ensure a prosperous future. The Kartarpur model may be replicated in future too for lasting resolution of conflicts,” the former PM said.

The Kartarpur corridor, scheduled to be opened on November 9, links the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan, the final resting place of Guru Nanak Dev, with Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur of Indian Punjab.

The former PM also appealed to take forward the message of mutual love and respect propagated by the Sikhism founder to ensure an equitable society.

“Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s eternal message of oneness of god, religious tolerance and peace can pave the way to end sectarian violence”, Mr Singh said, adding that it was the biggest challenge faced by the world.

“Punjab is Guru Nanak Devji’s karmabhoomi. How will we keep Guru Nanak Devji’s legacy alive if its youth is wasted with drugs, water is becoming poisonous and women are being disrespected. It is the most crucial question on his 550th birth anniversary,” Mr Singh added.

Addressing the session, the Vice-President described Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev as one of India’s most democratic spiritual leaders. Mr Naidu said his vision was timeless and “had as much relevance today as it was when it was expounded five centuries ago”.

Mr Naidu, who started his address in Punjabi, said, “It is quite appropriate that this temple of democracy is dedicating a special session to one of India’s most democratic spiritual leaders.”

“Guru Nanak ji belongs to the long illustrious tradition of India’s visionary spiritual leaders who have illumined human existence and greatly enriched the country’s cultural capital,” said Mr. Naidu, adding that the Guru saw what ordinary people could not.

“They enrich people’s lives through their insights and ideas. In fact, that is the meaning of the word ‘guru’ A guru is one who provides illumination, dispels doubts and shows the path,” he said, adding that for the first Sikh Guru, differences and multiple identities based on caste, creed, religion and language were irrelevant.

“Our world view has been continually broadened by timeless messages of enlightened pathfinders like Guru Nanakji. We, as democratic political leaders, and even as common citizens, have so much to learn from the teachings of this great personality,” Mr. Naidu said.

The vice president further said, “If we can internalise and integrate these messages in our daily lives and reshape our thinking and actions, we can certainly discover a new world of peace and sustainable development,”.

He said the respect for women and gender equality was another important lesson to be learnt from Guru Nanak Dev’s life.

“This spirit of equality began with Guru Nanak Dev’s clear recognition that there is no distinction between a Hindu and Muslim. For him, no country was foreign and no people were alien,” said the Vice-President.

He said it was worth noting that Guru Nanak initiated an inter-faith dialogue way back in the 16th century AD.

“The world needs such spiritual leaders, who can engage in a meaningful dialogue to exchange ideas in order to promote peace, stability and cooperation,” said Mr Naidu. Mr Naidu also said Guru Nanak Dev insisted on earning one’s livelihood by hard work.

“Work, worship and share (kirt karo, naam japo and vand chhako) was the motto he placed before his disciples. Earn by honest labour and share the earnings with the needy,” said Mr Naidu.

Underlining the message of Guru Nanak Dev, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh too stressed the need to protect nature so that future generations do not suffer from environmental pollution.

Recalling the Guru’s thought “pavan guru, pani pita, mata dharat mahat” (air is the guru, water the father, and earth the mother), the Chief Minister underlined the intrinsic bond between the nature and mankind.

This ideology needed to be preserved in letter and spirit to ensure that future generations did not suffer from environmental pollution, as evident from the prevailing air pollution in the entire northern region, including the national capital, said Mr. Singh.

He appealed to everyone to preserve the nature and natural resources to make Punjab clean, green and pollution free in line with the Guru’s philosophy by making the optimal use of groundwater, diversifying into less water-intensive crops and stop burning paddy straw besides checking the use of chemical fertilisers.

Earlier, the session started with MLAs and MPs from Punjab and Haryana taking part in it.

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala, Punjab and Haryana Governors, VP Singh Badnore and Satyadev Narayan Arya, also attended the special session.

It is for the first time after the carving of Haryana out of Punjab in 1966 that legislators of both states sat together in the Punjab assembly for this special event.

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kartarpur-model-may-help-resolve-future-conflicts-manmohan-singh/article29900646.ece

The Statesman – ‘Hindutva a way of life judgement’ made political discourse lopsided: Manmohan Singh

He said no constitutional arrangement can be protected and preserved only by the judiciary, however, vigilant or enlightened the judges may be.

New Delhi – India, 25 September 2018. Faulting the “famous but controversial” ‘Hindutva is a way of life’ judgement of late Justice J S Verma of the Supreme Court in the 1990s, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said the judiciary as an institution should never lose sight of its primary duty to protect the secular spirit of the Constitution.

This task, he said, has become much more demanding than before because the political disputes and electoral battles were increasingly getting overlaced with religious overtones, symbols, myths and prejudices.

Singh was delivering the 2nd memorial lecture of the late Communist leader A B Bardhan on “Defence of Secularism and Constitution”.

The former Prime Minister criticised Verma’s judgment suggesting it virtually disturbed “a kind of constitutional sanity” that was restored in the country’s political discourse through the Bommai judgment in which a nine-judge bench of Supreme Court found an opportunity to reaffirm that secularism was a basic structure of the Constitution.

He said Justice Verma’s verdict had a “decisive impact” on the ongoing debate among political parties about the principles and practices of secularism in the Republic.

“The judgment ended up making our political discourse somewhat lopsided; and, many believe that ‘there can be no doubt that the decision requires to be overruled’,” Singh said.

He said no constitutional arrangement can be protected and preserved only by the judiciary, however, vigilant or enlightened the judges may be.

“Ultimately, it comes down to the political leadership, civil society, religious leaders and intelligentsia to defend the Constitution and its secular commitments. It is necessary to remind ourselves that the framers of the Constitution in their wisdom had conceived this secular order as part of a larger, greater egalitarian polity.”

Describing the demolition of the Babri Masjid as a traumatic event bringing into disrepute India’s secular commitments, Singh said the entire political leadership too came in for criticism for failing to protect a place of worship.

“In particular, concerned citizens were deeply disappointed at the judiciary’s stance in the events leading upto the demolition,” he said.

The former Prime Minister said the country should unambiguously clear that any attempt to weaken the secular fabric of the Republic would be an attempt to dismantle the larger egalitarian project, a secular, progressive democratic polity.

The judiciary needs to arrive at its own enlightened view of its custodianship of the Constitution irrespective of the irresponsible and selfish politicians who have no qualms in injecting communal virus in the body politic, he said.

The same expectation must also be voiced in regard to the armed forces which are a splendid embodiment of the secular project.

“Our armed forces have a glorious record of keeping away from the politicians’ manipulations and intrigues. It is vitally important that the armed forces remain uncontaminated from any sectarian appeal.”

Stressing on the role of Election Commission in preserving the secular fabric, Singh said it was incumbent upon the poll panel to see that the religion and religious sentiments and prejudices do not get overworked into the election discourse.

He said the media as a democratic institution was an equal partner in upholding secularism both in letter and spirit.

CPI General Secretary S Sudhakar Reddy said the very idea of a secular and pluralist India tolerant of all sex and religion was under severe threat under the Modi government.

He said there has been serious attacks targeted at turning the secular India into a Hindu Rashtra, tearing off the statutes of the Constitution that oppose the moves or changing the Constitution itself.

https://www.thestatesman.com/india/hindutva-a-way-of-life-judgement-made-political-discourse-lopsided-manmohan-1502689259.html