The elaboration given by MJ Akbar in his opinion published by The Jakarta Post on 16 February 2006 (The Answer is Mahatma Gandhi) was illuminating. It gave some profound ideas on how the tolerant behavior has been an inseparable part of the Indian society.
In his book, The Argumentative Indian, Nobel Prize holder Prof. Amartya Sen also gave a very good insight on the nature of the Indian society. Way back during the reign of Ashoka or Akbar, tolerance has been respected and practiced with some wonderful zeal.
Back to the opinion by MJ Akbar, I felt rather perplexed when after some reasonable and convincing explanation on the necessity to boycott Danish goods as a retribution for the irresponsible behavior of its press over the publication of Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) caricatures, he came to a statement, to quote:
“It is not too difficult to live without Danish cheese, or even Bang and Olufsen. One would, in fact, like to extend the logic. If you have to buy a European product, buy British. That would be a nice way of saying thank you.”
From his statement, it seemed that he was somewhat lost or diluted by the current sensibility shown by the British press for not being tempted to publish the same caricature as its Continental counterparts did.
In his best-seller book, Shadows of Sword, MJ Akbar has described the atrocities of the British government, the Blair’s government, in Iraq. Now he has suggested us to buy British products as a nice way of saying thank you.
Isn’t there any ambiguity in his statement? If he decided to suggest the boycott of Danish goods, why then at the same time he suggested us to buy British product?
In my view, the guilt of the Blair’s government for its support on Iraq invasion in 2003 led by the US is of the same amount of the indecision by the Danish Prime Minister to prevent the cartoon conflict from spreading world wide in the pretext of press freedom.
The British government under Tony Blair is responsible for the crime against humanity in Iraq in the pretext of spreading democracy.
If MJ Akbar has suggested boycotting any Danish product, he should have done the same on British product and not doing the otherwise.
Published in The Jakarta Post on 3 March 2006