Raja Raghunath's letter of Oct. 24 titled "Racial divisions clearly exist in India" merits some response. He states: "The majority of Hindus don't think of Muslims when they say `Indian.'"
Alas, I cannot even think of a suitably indignant response to this statement. Is this the result of a survey?
"Mixing the two, as in the case of Indian-Pakistani cricket matches, is an assured riot." Indeed! And how many riots does Raghunath know of that occurred due to cricket matches? India-Pakistan cricket matches are certainly tensely fought contests, and India has also had more than its share of religious riots, but this correlation is simply ludicrous.
Raghunath continues: "Indian Muslims are highly disenchanted and they often root for Pakistan." As a matter of fact, the captain of the Indian cricket team is Muslim. Not to say that "one swallow does a summer make," but there is no shortage of patriotic Muslims in India. "Hindus resent the government's concessions to the Muslims, such as the affirmative-action system which governs the workplace and college selection process." The affirmative-action system in India is directed towards people from the lower castes in the traditional caste system in India. The conflict there is primarily between the traditionally upper and lower caste Hindus and it's not really a Hindu-Muslim conflict.
There is certainly religious conflict in parts of India, as there are conflicts based on caste, language, economic status, etc. There are certainly some militant Hindus who are anti-Muslim and there are also some disgruntled Muslims, but the simplistic blanket statements of Raghunath are out-rightly misleading! India is too big for such generalizations. At best, Raghunath's choice of words is terrible.
Finally, I must point out that a Hindu-Muslim division should be called a "religious" division and not a "racial" one, since in India, Hindus and Muslims are racially indistinguishable.
Department of Materials Science