Ni Sa Bula,
Today, I have chosen to repost a letter found in today's Fiji Times. It's a reply by Dr. Brij. Lal, who condemns the 2006 coup, and is now, ironically, accused by Mahendra Chaudry and others as being anti-Indian. Actually, to correct that perception, he is anti-coup, the same as yours truly.
A coup is the worst thing that can happen to a nation. It reminds me of the proverb saying " Like clouds and wind without rain is a man who boasts of gifts he does not give." (Proverbs 25:14). That is exactly what a coup is...it promises much and delivers absolutly nothing. And for that reason, it must be resisted to the utmost, because it is, in reality, the political version of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow at a national scale.
Anyway, this is what the learned Doctor had to say.
I REFER to letters by Mahendra Chaudhry and Mosmi Bhim (FT 24/10).
It appears that these two respondents are reacting to an item in this paper referring to an article by me on the immediate aftermath of the Fiji coup which was published in the journal Fijian Studies.
I would urge both these correspondents to read that 12,000 word article in its entirety and not judge me on the basis of a brief newspaper report, which I did not authorise and have not actually seen.
They will then see how completely they have misread my piece and attributed to me views I do not share, did not express.
There can be no excuse for their ignorance in this instance, especially when they are casting aspersions on the motives and integrity of another person.
I wish to reassure Ms Bhim that I do not seek nor need publicity. I have no political or any other ambition. Nor do I need a lecture from a novice on my understanding of, and sensitivity to, the feelings and aspirations of the Indo-Fijian community.
My published record speaks for itself.
I am called many things these days but being accused of aiding and abetting the victimisation of my own people is new, and, well, actually laughable.
Coming from an aspiring scholar of sorts, this kind of knee-jerk, sophomoric response is regrettable, but in the broader context of things, not altogether surprising.
Mr Chaudhry is, of course, entitled to his views, however self-serving and indignantly self-righteous they might be, but my full article cannot by any stretch of the imagination be construed to be a personal attack on him or on anyone else.
Indeed, only one section of the article is devoted to the appointment of the interim administration.
I said that Mr Chaudhry was the dominant Indo-Fijian leader in Fiji, and easily the most experienced politician in the interim administration.
His presence there, as then head of four ministries (Finance, Sugar, National Planning and Public Enterprises), led many nationalist Fijians to see the interim administration as his handmaiden.
That is all.
I have never said that the December 2006 coup was an "Indian coup".
On the contrary, in an article published in this paper several months ago, "Whose coup was it anyway", I argued to the contrary. These two responses demonstrate the tenor of political discourse in today's Fiji.
Just because Mr Chaudhry and Ms Bhim do not approve of something I have said, I have all of a sudden become "anti-Indian", full of malice and blind prejudice, vindictive, a mouthpiece of the Qarase regime, downright dishonest, an academic of impaired credibility.
The list of pejorative epithets is impressive.
They have set themselves as the guardians of Indian interest and anyone who dares to disagree with them must, by definition, be all these nasty things.
Oh well. In 1987 and again in 2000, I was viciously attacked for being anti-Fijian because of my staunch opposition to those two coups.
Now, I am being called anti-Indian for criticising the latest coup.
One can never win.
I began my coup paper by quoting the words of Mahatma Gandhi, and I stand by them: "However much I may sympathise with and admire worthy motives, I am an uncompromising opponent of violent methods even to serve the noblest of causes".
Brij v. Lal