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Advani's resignation

The resignation of L.K. Advani as BJP president should not be seen as a move triggered by pressure from the VHP and the RSS. According to reports, he took the decision before leaving Pakistan, which means he wanted to ensure that his visit remained one of goodwill and an attempt to further the India-Pakistan peace process.

By saying that December 6, 1992 was the saddest day of his life and that Mohammed Ali Jinnah espoused the cause of secular Pakistan, and standing by his statements after his return to India, Mr. Advani has proved that even hawks can play the role of doves when it matters.

Barun Kumar Mahapatro,
Berhampur, Orissa

With the VHP, the RSS and the Shiv Sena hounding him for his utterances in Pakistan, Mr. Advani had no choice. But it is very unlikely that a leader of Mr. Advani's stature will fade away as the unseen, unheard, and unsung hero of the BJP.

Col. (retd.) Ram Gulrajani,
Chennai

There was no need for Mr. Advani to resign. He has succumbed to the provocative statements of the Sangh Parivar. As expected, the country is being treated to the all-too-familiar drama of partymen pleading with him to take back his resignation.

A. Ashok Kumar,
Udupi, Karnataka

Mr. Advani's resignation comes as a surprise because no one in the BJP demanded it. The demand came only from the VHP, endorsed by the RSS. Why should the leader of a national political party be affected by outfits that are supposed to be cultural? Mr. Advani's move reveals the hypocrisy of those who have been criticising Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as weak and as being dictated to by extra-constitutional authorities.

J.M. Manchanda,
New Delhi

It is time the BJP stopped toeing the RSS-VHP line and established itself as a party based on secular doctrines. Hindutva and Hindu nation are obsolete concepts. Mr. Advani has done well in accepting the reality and by a single intelligent stroke of statesmanship, won the hearts of the minorities by his free and frank remarks. He has, in fact, given the green signal for an ideological change in the BJP.

Suresh Kumar,
Chennai

Mr. Advani's resignation is a manifestation of the growing contradictions within the Sangh Parivar. The RSS has been calling the shots in the BJP even to the extent of advising a leadership change. But the BJP has not called for Mr. Advani's resignation. Some external cohorts of the party called for it and Mr. Advani promptly obliged. This is not good for democratic polity in the long run.

P. Venkatesh,

Salem, T.N.

While there is no denying that Mr. Advani's latest utterances and moves are totally out of sync with his true persona, one wonders whether they have been caused by an environment of a shipboard romance or something similar to the Stockholm Syndrome.

P. Jaya,
Chennai

What is praiseworthy is Mr. Advani's resolute stand in the face of strong protests from the RSS and the VHP. Looks like he was aware of the import of his statements.

K. Govinda Bhat,
Aluva, Kerala

Mr. Advani's visit to Pakistan wiped out longstanding animosity and several misconceptions the people had of the BJP. He won the hearts and minds of peace-loving Indians and Pakistanis. There is no substitute for peace and patience in resolving issues. His views on Jinnah should be taken in the real spirit of Hinduism — do not decry the dead or their deeds.

Tamil Isai,
Chennai

Jinnah is still considered by many Indians as a staunch follower of the two-nation theory and the architect of the Bengal riots of 1946. Partition was a blot on Indian history. It is time statements and incidents leading to it were condemned by all. For the present, Mr. Advani should go ahead with the rest he is seeking to take.

N. Nagaraja Rao,
Secunderabad

By no consideration can Jinnah be called a communal bigot. The Congress had no idea how to deal with his demand for an equitable share for Muslims in independent India. Jinnah's 1947 speech in the Pakistan Constituent Assembly did reveal the true secularist in him.

T. Santhanam,
Chennai

There is no way Jinnah can be called secular. Pakistan was demanded by and created for Muslims by Jinnah and that is a reality none can deny. For persons like me, born after 1947, Pakistan is just one among the many countries around us. We have no past hatred. Yet the description of Jinnah as a secular person is unacceptable.

V. Govindarajan,
Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia

The hue and cry over Mr. Advani's statement seems to have been caused by the fact that he chose Pakistan to air his views. His act is being perceived as the negation of his beliefs and contrary to the ideas of the school of thought to which he belongs.

N.S. Sankararaman,
Chennai

Mr. Advani was solely responsible for the Hindu-Muslim riots that followed the Babri Masjid demolition. He never regretted the demolition in India, but did so in a foreign Muslim country. This clearly shows that his utterances were a gimmick.

Cynthia Jane G.,
Chennai

Mr. Advani has only strengthened the peace process. He has made an appeal and signalled his willingness to let bygones be bygones. I salute the leader for exploding the long-held myths about Jinnah and himself.

K. Hasan Ali,
Chennai

I was ashamed when the Babri Masjid was demolished; my dharma tells me that a place of worship is made holy not because god is there, but because people gather there with purity of thought. Mr. Advani echoed these very sentiments in Pakistan. Better late than never.

S.V. Krishna,
Visakhapatnam, A.P.

In his address to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on August 11, 1947, Jinnah said: "You are free, you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or other places of worship in the state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed ... that has nothing to do with the business of state ...We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one state ... In course of time Hindus will cease to be Hindus and Muslims will cease to be Muslims ... " Obviously, Jinnah espoused the cause of secular Pakistan.

S.A. Pasha,
Bangalore

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