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By Staff
Dear Sham,

Thanks for publishing my letter in response to Mr.M.S.Natarajas original column. I also read his rejoinder to my response.

First of all I extend my apologies to him on the following counts -

1. I thought the comments about American leadership and alphabets of secularism belonged to him. He clarifies that it is not his but belonged to the editor.
2. I thought he was a medical doctor. Apparently he is not.

Other than that, I stand by my initial response in full. I have no desire to rehash my arguments once again (especially considering that Mr.Nataraja has chosen not to respond to some of my arguments in my previous letter), but let me answer some of his questions.

I do not know Mr.M.S.Nataraja personally, so, I have nothing against him outside of this column. If he construes my response as a "personal attack" against him, I cant help it.

He calls my argument "baseless". I am not sure why. Each one of my arguments refers to some thing or the other written in his column. He may disagree with my arguments, but calling them "baseless" does not make any sense at all.

Regarding Alabama and its people, Mr.Nataraja responds "... history can not be changed". Very true. But if its Mr.Natarajas contention that somehow the present day Alabamians are somehow tainted by Gov.George Wallace of the 1960s, I have to disagree with him. By the way, George Wallace himself had a change of heart before his death. One may not change the past history, but one definitely can try to change the present and the future course of it.

Mr.Nataraja thanks me for illuminating on why US had to go to Afghanistan. I will accept his "thanks" even if they are not sincere. I wrote about Afghanistan because in his column he called it "Artha-maadikollalaagada vaichithrya".

As far as other foreign policy questions that he directs at me, please note that he is the columnist here. I am only a humble reader. Besides that, none of these questions are really germane to the argument we are having.

He seems to be upset about the words "misinformation", "inability to understand", "clueless" and "careless". Let me substantiate each one of these -

"Misinformation": It is my opinion that Mr.Nataraja has provided wrong information about Alabama, President Bush, Jews, Palestinian conflict to name just a few. I know he disputes my assertion.

"Inability to understand" and "clueless": I used these words because Mr.Nataraja professed that it was "un-understandable" why US had to attack Afghanistan (and Iraq).

"Careless": Some of the charges Mr.Nataraja throws against Jewish people and President Bush are really beyond the pale. I thought that he was not making these charges deliberately. Hence I called them "careless". If he truly believes that President Bush is "creating his own band of terrorists" and that Jews are committing "genocide" and they are establishing a "dictatorial regime" in Israel, then I have to withdraw the word "careless" even while strongly disagreeing with his beliefs.

Mr.Nataraja does not accept my view that the Palestinian dispute at its heart is not a religious one. I do not have to go and talk to Palestinians or Israelis to know that not all disputes involving two religious groups are religious conflicts.

What I found sad -- actually disappointing would be the apt word -- about his column was that even though he has a good and novel frame work -- Rules of God Vs. Rules of Men --, he squanders it.

I am sure he will call it a "lecture" or even a "personal attack". But, I find it really hard to believe that a regular columnist for a major web portal is so thin-skinned. Criticism and even harsh criticism are parts of the game of being a member of the Commentaries. It amuses me to see him so riled by my comments especially considering the charges he hurls against President Bush and Jews.

After reading his column and especially his rejoinder, I have realized one thing: I expected too much from his column. It is not his fault that I expect a column to be based on facts and offer some new analysis and a new way to look at things. Mea culpa!


- Seshadri
South Brunswick, New Jersey, USA.

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