Terming as historic and significant the Indian Muslims Thursday hailed the
Harvard action against Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy for
his outrageous article published in a Mumbai English daily last
"Subramanian Swamy is known for his
anti-Islamic and anti-minority hate campaigns. But he always
evaded action thanks to the sympathetic Indian establishment.
Harvard action against him is significant in that sense", Taalib
Mehdi, a Mumbai resident who is a businessman by profession said
to ummid.com on phone.
Stating that Swamy seems to be
hating everything which is Islamic, Tabrez Ahmed, a student of
Sociology said, "Swamy is the one who went to the court against
Kerala Government when it decided to establish Islamic Finance
Corporation in the state. Though the High court quashed his
petition, his move is enough to understand what is Swamy and his
campaign are all about."
Stating that the Indian government
should learn a lesson from Harvard, Naved A Khan, an activist
said, "The controversial article by Swamy is not the only one by
him. There are numerous other articles in which he has expressed
his hatred towards minorities. The Harvard action is a guideline
for the Indian government to take action against him."
"In India, double standard is
maintained vis-à-vis freedom of speech. On one hand, it provides
safe heaven to people like Salman Rushdie and Taslima Nasreen, and
decline action against likes of Swamy, it remains mute spectator
when people like MF Husain are forced to leave the country", said
Dr. Rashid Siddiqui, a urologist.
Swamy received significant criticism
for his op-ed article last summer in the Daily News and Analysis
calling for the destruction of mosques, the disenfranchisement of
non-Hindus in India who do not acknowledge Hindu ancestry, and a
ban on conversion from Hinduism. Later, after National Commission
for Minorities hinted taking action against Swamy, Delhi Police
filed a criminal case against him for spreading enmity between
Ever since the publication of the article, pressure was built on
Harvard to take action against Swamy. But Harvard chose to stand by
him in August in an effort to
affirm its declared commitment to free speech, faculty members
shot down his two courses, effectively removing him from Harvard's
teaching roster, the campus paper said.
Many faculty members determined Swamy's article was not a product
of free speech but of hate speech.
"[Swamy's position on disenfranchisement] is like saying Jewish
Americans and African Americans should not be allowed to vote
unless they acknowledge the supremacy of white Anglo Saxon
Protestants," said History professor Sugata Bose.
Meanwhile, Swamy on his part, retorted
saying that the move
"stifles personal opinion".
"It is a dangerous principle that stifles personal opinion," Swamy
told reporters in New Delhi Thursday.
In a message on micro-blogging site Twitter, Swamy added: "I have
been held accountable at Harvard for what I write in India. This
means India studies' Witzel and Eck are accountable in India.
Michael Witzel and Diana L. Eck are professors at Harvard.