An activist Indian journalist J. Sri Raman reports:
Like every humble scribe forced to speak up now and then against fascists, I am used to hate mail. But this was different. In my last article of October 13 on the earthquake and its aftermath in South Asia, I hardly mentioned my otherwise favorite subject of the subcontinent's far right. Even the title, "Disaster Finds India, Pakistan Divided Still," I thought, testified to an even-handedness.
The mere suggestion that India had not exactly rushed relief to Pakistan-administered Kashmir, which bore the brunt of the tragedy, however, sufficed to elicit a hate-dripping e-mail. At the end of a diatribe, the Indian reader declared: "Not a penny from my pocket for the terrorists."
I try to answer my critics, and have convinced some of them that talking peace is not necessarily traitorous. I tried telling the present reader that not all quake-hit Kashmiris could be "terrorists." My persuasive powers were no match to a provoked "patriotism" in this case. The next e-mail only asked me to go and settle in Muzaffarabad, capital of the Pakistan-controlled Kashmir. I politely informed the detractor that fascists here had not yet acquired the power to dispatch anyone to any place, and closedthe correspondence.
This, however, was not the only response of the kind to an appeal for a greater relief effort by India. And, more importantly, I was not the only one to receive a response of this kind.
For the sake of our millions of poor uneducated masses we can only hope that the fundamentalists on both sides of the border get a grip on their sanity. Let us forget this Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Jewish, etc. divide - when humans suffer such a profound tragedy it is time to focus on the issue of humanity instead.