"Values and traditions, built and nurtured over nearly seven decades, are today threatened as never before".
Admiral Ramdas with wife Lalita
Even as he recuperates from a heart attack, the former chief of the Indian Navy, Admiral L Ramdas has today released an ‘Open Letter’ to the President of India, Ram Nath Kovindji expressing his anguish over growing assaults on “values and traditions that have been built and nurtured over nearly seven decades” in secular democratic India.
The letter appeals to the President who is also the Supreme Commander of India’s armed forces, “to outline and chart a totally new direction for our people and to advice the Prime Minister and his cabinet accordingly.”
“The increased intolerance at all levels, the shocking assault and treatment of our minority communities – especially Muslims, the growing tendency to take the law in their own hands by lynch mobs and gau rakshaks -- and the continuing impunity with which your own community, Dalits, as also OBCs, adivasis and women are targets of physical, sexual and verbal abuse and attacks bring no credit to our proud heritage and tradition”, says the letter to the President.
It draws the President’s attention to “the hydra headed monster of religious intolerance [that] is causing permanent damage to our plural, syncretic and secular democracy”.
The letter goes on to note: “We are inhabiting an India where there is growing discrimination, and also growing alienation of our youth and unrest in the temples of learning – our universities…”
“It would be tragic if we all the struggles of our freedom fighters to undertake this unique task of building a secular, plural and rainbow nation of faiths, creeds, communities, languages and gender, to end up in an undemocratic, intolerant Hindu Rashtra kind of structure…”
The letter calls upon the President to “use this historic mandate and extraordinary opportunity of being the second Dalit to occupy the highest office in the land, to steer this nation away from the narrow path of violent hyper nationalism towards the concept of Dharma and Righteousness in the grand tradition of all our saints, sufis and gurus”.
Read the full letter.