Palestinian struggle

Published : Nov 11, 2000 00:00 IST

Israel's show of might against unarmed Palestinian civilians should lead to its isolation in the international community ("West Asia: Violent backlash", November 10).

The United States' stand on the issue is, however, not surprising. After the Balfour Declaration that legitimised Zionism, the Western powers, especially the U.S. and the United Kingdom, gave tacit support to the Zionist ideology, which eventually result ed in the creation of Israel. The U.S. is reluctant to reprimand Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak for the excessive use of force against Palestinians. Hence it would be foolish to expect any solace for Palestinians from U.S. mediation.

By not condemning Israeli atrocities in open terms, India has taken an opportunistic position.

Justin Jayaraj Kozhikode, KeralaRSS and minorities

The utterances of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief on Christians and the Church could have been ignored but for the fact that he enjoys the status of being the patron-saint of the Sangh Parivar and, by implication, the leader of the ruling coalition at the Centre ("An agenda of Indianisation", November 10).

The assertions and demands of the RSS supremo are against the spirit of the Indian Constitution, but this is not much of a surprise as the Parivar has no respect for the Constitution and, in fact, wants to rewrite it on religious lines. His statements vi olate the religious freedom guaranteed by the Constitution as a fundamental right of all citizens, including people belonging to the minority community. They also run counter to the social norms that are based on the principle of respect for all religion s. It is not only Christians who owe allegiance to holy places and religious institutions outside their country; millions of Hindus living abroad are affiliated to ashrams and gurus located in India while being loyal citizens of the countries where they have settled.

The RSS chief's observations also attempt to undermine the contributions of missionaries to the development and welfare of Indian society.

We urge the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance to dissociate itself from these statements of the RSS chief and allay the anxieties of secular-democratic citizens and the minorities.

Dr. Ram Puniyani (Secretary, EKTA, Committee for Communal Amity) Dr. Jalinder Adsule (Director, Salokha) Dr. Uday Mehta (Committee for Rights for Housing) C.J. Leeks (St. Blaise Action Committee) Dolphy D'Souza (Voice of The Exploited) Anand Patwardhan Asad Bin Saif Dr. Jesudas M. Athyl Dilip D'Souza

* * *Sandip K. Dasverma California, U.S.Law and justice

The dilatoriness of judicial processes has been meticulously documented in "The law and its potency" (November 10).

The convictions secured in the well-publicised cases of P.V. Narasimha Rao and Jayalalitha may not yet be the end of the story. We have to wait for the decisions of the courts on their appeals. A layperson like me does not understand all the nuances of t he law; he is interested in knowing whether the administration of law and justice strikes fear in the minds of erring public servants and act as a strong deterrent. I doubt whether this has happened. Maybe more judicial activism is called for.

Kangayam R. Rangaswamy Wisconsin, U.S.GM foods

The interview with Arpad Pusztai ("GM foods and denial of rights and choices", November 10) will make people aware of the ground realities. The most vital part of the interview is the revelation that a major publishing house has contracted Pusztai to wri te a chapter on health effects, reviewing all that we know about GM.

R. Ashok Kumar MumbaiVultures

The decline in the population of vultures in India ("Vanishing vultures", November 10) is indeed alarming. The writer has done a good job of elucidating the causes of the tragedy. The crisis must also be attributed to our neglect of these birds.

Abhijeet D. More Nashik, MaharashtraWater

This has reference to "Water power" (November 10). There is a fear that the world is headed for water shortages. Hence not only China but every country has to plan for the future.

What India needs is a good water policy. It is not clear what is holding back India from linking its major rivers.

A. Jacob Sahayam Karigiri, Tamil NaduIndia and Russia

The article on India's ties with Russia ("A strategic partnership", October 27) was most appropriate at a time when Indians seem to be forgetting their historic and ever-reliable ties with Russia. The contrast between the visits of the Presidents of the United States and Russia was striking. There was no hoopla over Putin's visit.

Indians are blindly after the mirage created by the United States and Clinton. U.S. policymakers are sheer professionals. The interests of U.S. and the rest of the West are their only concern. It does not matter to them whether India is the largest democ racy in the world or not; even an autocratic or theocratic regime is all right for them as long as they help them realise their goals. This is evident from the U.S. support to some countries in West Asia and Latin America.

B. Suresh Mumbai* * *

The cover feature brought out Russia's interest in renewing its half-a-century-old relationship with India. The agreement between the two countries on setting up a Joint Working Group on Afghanistan assumes significance in the context of terrorist threat s against India. Putin's attempt to establish friendship with Pakistan should be seen only from this angle. If Putin can encourage Pakistan to keep away from Afghanistan, it will be good for India as well.

C.P. Velayudhan Nair ThiruvananthapuramIndian diaspora

"The true worth of the Indian diaspora" (October 27) presented a true picture. Dual citizenship can be granted to non-resident Indians (NRIs) but giving them representation in Parliament may not be technically correct.

A country like India should formulate its foreign policy keeping in mind its own needs and problems. It should concentrate on settling border disputes with its neighbours. Instead of making trips to the United States and other distant countries, we shoul d try to solve problems such as illiteracy, poverty and brain drain.

Neeraj Kumar Jha Madhubhani, BiharFloods

"Deluge in West Bengal" (October 27) brought out our lack of preparedness to face floods that ravage different parts of the country year after year. Governments rush relief supplies to affected areas only after the damage is done. If only a small fractio n of the resources expended on relief is allotted to flood control measures, the crisis can be mitigated. There is a lack of coordination among the various agencies supposed to handle floods.

Aerial survey by politicians has become a ritual. Surely, our engineers, working in coordination with experts in other fields, can find a permanent solution to the problem. Measures such as afforestation in the catchment areas, desilting of tanks and dam s, strengthening of bunds and construction of check-dams can minimise the impact of floods. Rescue squads with equipment should stand by during the monsoon months to provide speedy assistance to flood victims.

D.B.N. Murthy BangaloreMedicine and ethics

Reports in the media do not make it clear what really happened in the case of the treatment given to P. Rangarajan Kumaramangalam (Update: "The experts' verdict", October 27). The best traditions of medical ethics might have come in the way of the expert s' committee finding fault with one hospital. The most disturbing fact in the report is that the patient did not receive appropriate medical advice even after three months of his illness.

G. Ramachandran PuneCompensation and crime

This has reference to the article "Compensation and crime" (October 13). It is rightly said that the killing of 19-year-old Shiv Kumari, a war widow, by her in-laws is more than a case of crime. The matter should be studied in its socio-economic context. In our society, the loss of a son who happens to be the breadwinner deals a blow to the parents in economic terms, besides causing trauma. This is not to suggest that because our society is male-dominated criminal offences should be condoned. On the con trary, the government should play the role of a caretaker and provide the compensation amount to young widows in a phased manner. The parents of the deceased can be offered pensions.

S. Wani Pimpri, MaharashtraTwo-child norm

I agree with the argument of your story on the Maharashtra government's two-child norm ("The poor as a problem", October 13). Poor government servants with more than two children need liberal help from the government by way of medical benefits and so on. Denying them these facilities is like indirectly telling them to go to ruthless moneylenders and quacks.

India's granaries are overflowing; it is the largest producer of milk and fruits and the fifth largest producer of eggs in the world. How can we justify the denial of foodgrains to poor people? Can we be complacent when hundreds of thousands of people go to sleep each night (mostly on railway platforms, footpaths, garbage dumps, roadsides and so on) without having had a morsel of food?

Robin Rajan MumbaiAruna Roy

The article on Magsaysay Award-winner Aruna Roy was thought-provoking (September 29). Aruna Roy, after joining the Indian Administrative Service, decided that her skills should be dedicated to the uplift of rural women, who are deprived of their rights. A country progresses only when women are empowered and treated on a par with men.

Aruna Roy should extend her work to a State like Kerala where despite many achievements in literacy and democratic decentralisation, violence against women remains unchecked.

Abdul Latheef Kanjirappally, KeralaMarket realities

I support the views expressed in "The other side of Canada" (September 29). The fact that marketisation has brought the Canadian economy under strain is not surprising. The market is governed by its own laws and conventions. Where 'profit' is the motivat ing force, it is utopian to think of welfare and social justice. And these facts are applicable as much to Canada as to India or Russia or even the United States itself, which is directing the world to the arena of the market. In the light of the Canadia n experience, it is time the Third World thought twice before taking the plunge into the market economy.

The facts about the growing inequalities, social injustice and insecurity in Canada are interesting in the context of the status of Canada, which has been ranked first in the Human Development Index of the United Nations and ninth among the least poor co untries. A major problem is that the authorities try to reduce poverty merely by 'defining it away' instead of taking concrete steps to reduce it in reality.

The way in which poverty is increasing in absolute terms and among specific groups is alarming. Marketisation has created highly vulnerable groups, the most affected being women and children. The reason for their vulnerability is the low level of socio-e conomic empowerment. Despite considerable improvement in the condition of women in the past century, the 'space' for women in the social sphere is diminishing fast. A major share of the blame must go to the market where women are reduced to commodities - a means to sell other commodities.

The last decade of the 20th century has been a sort of 'watershed'. After the collapse of the Soviet bloc the market took over the world. Welfare regimes have been dismantled. The propagandists of the market accuse the Nehruvian model of being non-practi cal and against economic growth. In the euphoria over the market, the gains the country had made during the years of planning and regulation were washed away.

The present leadership in India does not seem to be conscious of the disastrous implications of the market economy package. Much more disheartening is the fact that except for the opposition from a small section of the intelligentsia and political activi sts, there is no mass movement against the process of marketisation.

Lokesh Pathak New Delhi
Sign in to Unlock member-only benefits!
  • Bookmark stories to read later.
  • Comment on stories to start conversations.
  • Subscribe to our newsletters.
  • Get notified about discounts and offers to our products.
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide to our community guidelines for posting your comment