Letís look within, says one MP who didnít join the mob


National Conference MP from Baramulla Sharifuddin Shariq was the lone dissenting voice in the Lok Sabha today where MPs closed ranks demanding the removal of cartoons of politicians in NCERT textbooks for political science. Not surprisingly, his voice was drowned out. Ironically, not one MP attacked the vandalisation of political scientist Suhas Palshikar's office in Pune University on Saturday. Palshikar was one of the advisors for the Class XI textbook that contained the 1949 cartoon of Nehru and Ambedkar over which the MPs created an uproar last Friday.

When Shariq urged MPs against going overboard in their criticism of cartoons, his speech was disrupted by MPs from SP and Congress sitting next to him.

"We have ourselves given cartoonists the chance to make cartoons on us. Instead of criticising the cartoons, we should do some introspection. It is a reflection of what we have done and a reaction to it," Shariq said. "Is it not a reality that when one becomes an MP or an MLA for the second time, they become richer? Their assets (submitted to Election Commission before elections) show considerable increase?"

"It was unfortunate that I was disrupted. It is because of the lack of tolerance that I was not heard. But democracy requires tolerance to hear all voices," Shariq later told The Indian Express.

Shariq added that he did not favour removing the cartoons from textbooks except in rare cases like the cartoon on Ambedkar which could be seen as denigrating national heroes.

"Some MPs mentioned a cartoon which remarked that 'you already have so much money. Why do you want to contest elections?' to a candidate declaring Rs 50 crore of assets while filing nomination. This is good humour," Shariq said.

"It is now fast becoming a fact that politics has become a trade, money-minting machine. You can find instances where persons get rich after having been an MP or an MLA . Rather than getting angry at these kind of cartoons, we should introspect. If this impression has gone out, we should try to rectify it rather than getting the cartoons removed," Shariq said.

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