Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Note on the Swamy Case

After posting my brief thoughts on the censure of Professor Subramanian Swamy by the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences, I received the following email message from a reader:
There's another point that I would add to the analysis. Few people know Dr. Swamy's role in the case of, what came to be known as, the Hashimpura Massacre. While you may read about it at leisure, in brief, Dr. Swamy was the only man standing FOR the massacred muslims at the time, amidst "lip-service" secularists, who spoke against it and did whatever could be done, albeit with partial success, at best, to bring to justice the master-minds of the crime. So, if at all, the muslim students at Harvard should feel protected by his presence in the Faculty, in fact the muslim student community should honor him for it, 'coz an action is worth a million words, and his action was as decisive as an act of goodness can ever be, whereupon Dr. Swamy put his life for the cause of restoring the right to life and dignity of Muslims in India.
Sitting before my computer in Louisiana, I am not able to pass judgment on the morality of Dr. Swamy's various public actions and positions in India. On the basis of the links sent by this reader, it does look to me like he has acted in some decidedly virtuous and courageous ways.  The information in the links also suggests that whatever his views on the desirability of India becoming an officially Hindu state, he is far from bigoted against Muslims.
Ultimately, though, it is not my place to say whether India should become Hindustan or whether Saudi Arabia should continue to be a Muslim nation.  While I am entitled to my opinions about how people in other countries should govern themselves, I am not a citizen of those sovereign nations. The Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences, as a body, is also alien to India and Saudi Arabia. From its lofty moral position, though, the Harvard professoriate seems to believe that it can decide what everyone everywhere in the world may be allowed to think and say.
Now, I argue that Harvard or representative bodies within Harvard should not even be telling individual faculty members or students what views are proper on issues in Massachusetts.  But in trying to enforce political conformity on citizens of other nations on the internal matters of those nations the Harvard A&S displays a smug moral tyranny that literally knows no boundaries.

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