What lies tucked behind the clutch of sobriquets used to describe Union defence minister A.K. Antony, currently in a bitter battle with his army chief? “Hamlet of Kerala” is one of the first, when he unwillingly donned the Kerala chief minister’s mantle in 1977 at the age of 37, after K. Karunakaran was forced to step down in the wake of the Rajan murder case. This “image-conscious” politician, observers say, is often shackled by his “Mr White” image, something he has taken great pains to keep spotless—literally and metaphorically—through the ups and downs of his political career.
Yet, this clean image is besmirched, not because of any wrongdoing, but by Antony’s style of decision-making. Or the lack of it. During his three tenures as CM of Kerala, the only oft-heard criticism about Antony was the absence of purposive decision-making. “Everybody knows Antony is clean, but as Kerala CM he was not effective. He did not take any tough decision as he did not believe anybody, not even his cabinet ministers,” says former Kerala Press Academy chairman S.R. Shakthidharan.
A man of few but carefully chosen words, Antony continues to have mass appeal in Kerala, though not the kind enjoyed by Karunakaran. At the same time, he is also known to be a ‘loner’, who takes decisions without consulting party members. Has Antony been misunderstood? Perhaps. But there’s no denying his image remains that of a man who is cautious to a fault. Having stepped down on moral grounds several times, will Antony once again feel the need to display “moral courage” as defence minister?
Apropos A Hamlet for Delhi, it’s amazing to see people go on and on about A.K. Antony’s honesty. What does it really amount to when he couldn’t decide on acting on the army chief’s alarmed cry that he was offered a bribe?
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
The minister's personality and character may have been just what was needed to keep this face off from taking a very sad turn.
“The way Government has been taken on ransom, no wonder, tomorrow, for the first time in the history of the world, the FIRST CITIZEN OF A COUNTRY is held captive by the person deputed for his safety.”
We at Outlookindia.com welcome feedback and your comments, including scathing criticism
1. Scathing, passionate, even angry critiques are welcome, but please do not indulge in abuse and invective. Our Primary concern is to keep the debate civil. We urge our users to try and express their disagreements without being disagreeable. Personal attacks are not welcome. No ad hominem please.
2. Please do not post the same message again and again in the same or different threads
3. Please keep your responses confined to the subject matter of the article you are responding to. Please note that our comments section is not a general free-for-all but for feedback to articles/blogs posted on the site
4. Our endeavour is to keep these forums unmoderated and unexpurgated. But if any of the above three conditions are violated, we reserve the right to delete any comment that we deem objectionable and also to withdraw posting privileges from the abuser. Please also note that hate-speech is punishable by law and in extreme circumstances, we may be forced to take legal action by tracing the IP addresses of the poster.
5. If someone is being abusive or personal, or generally being a troll or a flame-baiter, please do not descend to their level. The best response to such posters is to ignore them and send us a message at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT
6. Please do not copy and paste copyrighted material. If you do think that an article elsewhere has relevance to the point you wish to make, please only quote what is considered fair-use and provide a link to the article under question.
7. There is no particular outlookindia.com line on any subject. The views expressed in our opinion section are those of the author concerned and not that of all of outlookindia.com or all its authors.
8. Please also note that you are solely responsible for the comments posted by you on the site. The comments could be deleted or edited entirely at our discretion if we find them objectionable. However, the mere fact of their existence on our site does not mean that we necessarily approve of their contents. In short, the onus of responsibility for the comments remains solely with the authors thereof. Outlookindia.com or any of its group publications, may, however, retains the right to publish any of these comments, with or without editing, in any medium whatsoever. It is therefore in your own interest to be careful before posting.
9.Outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for how any search engine -- such as Google, Bing etc -- caches or displays these comments. Please note that you are solely responsible for posting these comments and it is a privilege being granted to our registered users which can be withdrawn in case of abuse. To reiterate:
a. Comments once posted can only be deleted at the discretion of outlookindia.com
b. The comments reflect the views of the authors and not of outlookindia.com
c. outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for the way search engines cache or display these comments
d. Please therefore take due caution before you post any comments as your words could potentially be used against you
10. We have an online thread for our comments policy:
You are welcome to post your suggestions here or in case you have a specific issue, to directly email us at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT