“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

“Guns”, thunders National Rifle Association (NRA) president Charlton Heston while speaking at a NRA meeting and adding that the only way his gun can be parted from him is if it is taken from his cold dead hands.

Guns have always been part of american culture being ingrained in the constitution as a fundamental right. The NRA promotes the use of guns and their intense lobbying has resulted with guns being commonly available rivalling the afghan-pakistan border. As an often unfortunate result, people like the Virginia Tech shooter have an unusually easy access to buying guns.

In 2004 there were 16,907 gun related suicides in America with thousands more dying from other gun related incidents much much more than what happened during 9/11 (Ref: wikipedia).

Unfortunately even after having these statistics being repeated every year, I’m really surprised on the lack of debate on banning individual gun ownership and tackling the problem of the ease in obtaining a gun. The time of Westerns and fighting ‘indians’ are long gone, maybe a 200 year old constitution now needs a change.

Minority no more

Through centuries, India has always struggled to find a common ground amongst its myriad of religions and castes. Inspite of the ‘Unity in Diversity’ theme propounded by some of the earlier congress governments, the various religions have not seen eye to eye on most issues.

In one of the apparent attempts to bridge the gap and treat everyone on the same scale; one of the courts in Uttar Pradesh (the most populous state) passed a judgement to remove muslims as a minority group – based on the 2001 census. Minorities have significant benefits and also have a tendency to vote en bloc in elections. Sensing losing an important vote bank, the state government challenged the ruling in the High Court and have the original ruling suspended.

The minority status ruling now looks to be heading the same way as the Uniform Civil Code – a quick and painless death. We will always be United in Diversity, as long as the important issues are swept under the carpet.