Commemorative issue

Published : Jan 29, 2010 00:00 IST

KUDOS to Frontline (Commemorative issue, January 15, 2010).

In these 25 years, it has stood taller than any magazine of its genre.

Syed Sultan Mohiddin Kadapa, Andhra Pradesh

THE special issue made for interesting reading and can be preserved for future reference.

The interview with Prabhat Patnaik could serve as an eye-opener to present-day political parties, which are in the habit of manipulating facts and figures to show that the economy is growing fast when the reality is different.

K.R. Srinivasan Secunderabad

THE special issue is worth keeping as a collectors item.

The exercise undertaken to select representative articles covering almost all important areas has paid readers rich dividends.

V.K. Sathyavan Nair Kottayam, Kerala

CONGRATS to Frontline. I enjoyed reading all the articles dealing with major issues of the past 25 years.

I am deeply impressed by the essay on politics by N. Ram and the essay on world affairs by John Cherian. It is surprising to note that EMS was a Master at handling history on the wing.

I am also surprised to note that the EMS column always arrived early, invariably on time and never strayed beyond a self-judged readability limit.

B. Jambulingam Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu

THIS commemorative issue took me down memory lane, reminding me of some of the previous ones, and I looked up the issues from which the excerpts had been taken.

However, taking readers interest into consideration, it would have been better if the Best of Frontline had also included letters to the editor.

S. Balakrishnan Jamshedpur, Jharkhand

THE special issue carries the pick of the best covers, which at once brought back memories of their contextual relevance and significance. The editorial introduction summed up the spirit of the magazine.

The task of going back to old issues and bringing out an acceptable representation of the past record could not have been simple, but the finished product must have inspired both readers and the editorial team alike.

S.V. Venugopalan Chennai

AS an ardent follower of the magazine from 2006, I would like to thank The Hindu group for coming up with such a nice edition. Hats off to the Frontline team for putting in the extra effort and coming up with such a knowledge-sharing issue.

M. Devender Singh New Delhi

THE article What makes for political stability? draws attention to five challenges that have to be responded to in imaginative ways. The most important one may be the intensified exploitation and the mass of economic and social deprivations.

A. Jacob Sahayam Thiruvananthapuram

THE five socio-political phenomena outlined in the article What makes for political stability? should be studied by our politicians and acted on by them.

H.C. Pandey Delhi

THANK you for presenting the commemorative issue in such a lucid and simple manner. I am a regular reader of the magazine, and what I like best are its in-depth reports of all recent important news in a limited space and without wasting precious pages on the advertisements and trivial issues.

Pratim Kumar Ranchi, Jharkhand

THIS has reference to the article Looking back, which mentioned the Cover Story of the October 13, 2000, issue on Harappan seals. As one of the principal targets, if not the principal target, I would like to add a few points.

This No horse at Harappa cry has been fully discredited both by archaeology and by literature. There was a detailed debate on these points in the pages of The Hindu in which Michael Witzels ignorance and shoddy scholarship were fully exposed.

I was interviewed in Frontline itself and was able to show that the seal used for the cover of the issue carrying the Witzel-Farmer tirade contained an object identifiable as the head of a horse.

This was followed by the fiasco of his interference in the California school curriculum, which led to the California Department of Education having to settle out of court and pay damages.

Then Witzel made a hurried trip to India last summer, following the cancellation of his summer courses, during which his ignorance of Sanskrit and the Vedas was exposed before scholars and schoolchildren alike.

Parvathi Menon and Witzel and his followers seem to among the last holdouts of a colonial-racist Aryan-Dravidian (Vedic-Harappan) division.

The National Museum in New Delhi accepts our identification of the Harappan as an Indus-Sarasvati civilisation. Recently, the UPA government acknowledged in Parliament that science has established that the Sarasvati did flow along a course more or less as described in the Vedas. DNA-based genetic analysis has also demolished all the old theories of Witzel and his tribe.

Just for the record, I reproduce below a letter that appeared in The Hindu in response to Witzels outrageous public statement following my rejection of the nomination to the Indian Council of Historical Research. (This is the version in my files. The Hindu did publish it, perhaps with minor changes.)

N.S. Rajaram

Ever since the publication of the book The Deciphered Indus Script by N. Jha and N.S. Rajaram, Michael Witzel of Harvard University has been waging a relentless propaganda campaign against us mainly in the Indian media.

His main charge of fabricating the Harappan horse is both baseless and irrelevant: baseless because we have rebutted his charge with the help of the original photograph (Frontline, November 24, 2000) and irrelevant because his claim of No horse at Harappa has been shown to be false.

More fundamentally, he fails to note that our book is about the decipherment and not the horse. In a book running to nearly 300 large-sized pages, there are just two partial footnotes referring to the Harappan horse, which also makes it trivial. So, literally and figuratively, Witzel is beating a dead horse.

Readers can judge for themselves when the second volume of our book, containing the decipherment of a thousand more seals with explanations, is published. It is for history to judge the value of our contribution.

I would like to point out other anomalies in his campaign.

In his recent article Horses, logic and evidence (The Hindu, May 21, 2002), Witzel justifies his attacks on me on the grounds that I was appointed a member of the Indian Council of Historical Research, which I declined. His claim that I declined to serve because of strong media pressure is presumptuous to say the least, for he has no way of knowing my mind.

As I made clear in my letter to the Human Resource Development Minister, my present commitments, which include foreign travel, lecture tours and other commitments, do not allow me to accept such positions.

I also turned down a comparable position in another department more than two years ago, and for the same reasons.

More fundamentally, it is not Witzels place to tell the Indian government or me what we should or should not do.

In the final analysis, the very fact that Witzel and his colleagues are so obsessed with our work, and have found it necessary to carry on this unremitting campaign for nearly two years, suggests that they realise that our solution is correct and that their own model of Vedic and Harappan India, which they have inherited from the colonial era, has collapsed. It is entirely natural that they should be engaged in a last-ditch struggle to save what they can.

But they will be no more successful than King Canute, who ordered the sea to turn back.


Letters, whether by surface mail or e-mail, must carry the full postal address and the full name, or the name with initials.

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