Dictator Schaefer?Gov. William Donald Schaefer's gag order...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

July 27, 1992

Dictator Schaefer?

Gov. William Donald Schaefer's gag order promulgates a very important question, namely, is he the governor of the state of Maryland or dictator of this jurisdiction?

Freedom of speech has always been a constitutional right guaranteed by the Constitution to all the people, including the employees of the state. By what authority is he abrogating this liberty?

Is it not time that he think before he puts his foot in his mouth?

Norton B. Schwartz

Baltimore

Arrogant India

Usha Nellore's June 27 criticism of your endorsement of the Bush administration's China policy makes an unfair and rather irrelevant comparison between India and China.

Support for democracy abroad is no doubt a cornerstone of American foreign policy, but that is necessarily not the only criterion in choosing friends or foes.

The United States has strategic interests to safeguard, and foremost among these is restricting flow of arms to belligerent parties in a conflict and curtailing nuclear proliferation.

China no doubt fails the litmus tests of democracy and respect for human rights, but it is unfair to compare today's China with the China of the past. Today's China's is a kinder, gentler China, despite Tiananmen Square.

India's love-hate relationship with the United States has dimensions which Ms. Nellore did not delve into. U.S. policy-makers believe that India has been a major instigator of 44TC conventional and nuclear arms race in the South Asian sub-continent.

In 1974 India detonated its first nuclear device for "peaceful purposes" but since has stockpiled numerous nuclear warheads in its arsenal.

Ms. Nellore's contention that India intended to use rocket technology obtained from the Soviet Union for telecommunication- and weather-related projects holds no water. The U.S. government is fully aware of an ambitious Indian project to develop an inter-continental missile.

Since its independence, India has fought four wars with neighboring China and Pakistan. In each instance India had the dubious distinction of firing the first shot.

India's self-inflicted sense of insecurity has prompted it to arm itself to teeth at the expense of millions of poverty stricken citizens of India.

India has its own closet full of human-rights violations in troubled Kashmir and Punjab. If China can be accused of repression in Tibet, why not scrutinize India over its repression of the freedom movement in Kashmir or Punjab?

What Ms. Nellore refers to as the great, proud India is actually an arrogant India which expects the world to live by its standards of peace and human rights. The key to the peace in South Asia is with India. At this time when a new era of peace is dawning on the world, Indian leadership should show sympathy for its poor, hard-working masses and renounce dreams of making India a regional policeman at their expense.

Shahid Mahmud

Freeland

The writer is president of the Pakistan Cultural Forum.

Hindu Tolerance

Reading about the proposed Hindu temple in Baltimore County and the unhappiness of some at having to look at something foreign like that prompted a few thoughts. Coming from a rather special part of India -- known in ancient days as Malabar, now called the state of Kerala -- makes me think that these thoughts are worth sharing.

From ancient days, Malabar, the most tropical part of India, had trade with the Middle East. There was a great demand for Malabar spices and precious stones all over the Middle East and in ancient Rome.

That brought traders, both Arabs and Jews, to Malabar, some of whom settled down there. More Jews came to live there after the Romans destroyed the Temple and Jerusalem in 70 A.D. and scattered the Jews. It was with the traders and settlers that Christianity came to Malabar, probably as early as the First Century.

The Malabar society was (and still is) very tolerant, and the local rulers were exceptionally tolerant. So Arabs and Jews and Christians could live and prosper among a Hindu majority without the fear of being slaughtered, a tolerance not matched by the Christian West until recent years.

Today in that predominantly Hindu area, temples, mosques and a large number of churches exist side by side as they have for nearly 2,000 years.

To me, the real test of a religion is its tolerance, not theology, dogma or doctrine, which across the years have caused much cruel persecution and horrible deaths. The healing always came with religious tolerance.

Hinduism is the one major religion that has consistently nurtured that spirit of tolerance across the centuries.

Coming from someone whose Christian heritage in India dates back to the First century, this perhaps is one way of saying thank you for that great tradition of religious tolerance.

Sara Olcott

Pikesville

Cost Containment and Medical Necessity

The July 19 Sunday Sun published an extremely important article about the insurance companies' new approach to childbirth and motherhood.

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