Published : Apr 10, 2009 00:00 IST

THE Cover Story (Sinking state, March 27) confirms that Talibanism has reached the heart of Pakistan.

The terrorist attack on Sri Lankan cricketers in Lahore shows how flawed policies have made the security scenario in South Asia precarious. The civilian government in Islamabad is powerless as it has lost the battle against the Islamists. It has no courage to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure on its territory.

It is for Pakistan to decide what it wants. It should understand that any bid to aid fundamentalist elements covertly or overtly will only aggravate its problems. Restraint and alertness, besides patience and trust, may be the only way out.

Dilbag Rai Chandigrah

IN the wake of the recent political crisis, increased terrorist activities, the Talibans resurgence, all-round anarchy and, above all, U.S. President Barack Obamas plan to expand the covert U.S. war in Pakistan far beyond the tribal areas near the border with Afghanistan, the power-hungry military is likely to take over the country in the near future.

K.P. Rajan Mumbai

IT is clear that there is no governance of any sort in Pakistan. Jehadi terror is the main issue to be addressed there. The government in Pakistan is very weak and has no control over the Army; the Army, in turn, has no control over the ISI. This is the real tragedy of Pakistan. The jehadists are under nobodys control. As a result some sort of anarchy prevails in that country.

The Pakistan government must restore rule of law and promote good governance.

Dr. K.K. Ammannaya Udupi, Karnataka

ASSURED of security reserved for VVIPs, Sri Lanka chose to play in Pakistan when the rest of the cricketing world remained wary. Pakistan-based militants have no reasons to bear a grudge against Sri Lanka, let alone its cricketers.

Hence, there is reason to suspect that the attack was carried out by internal or external elements who either wish to destabilise the Pakistan government or to isolate it further internationally. It needs to be probed whose agenda this attack was.

K.S. Jaytheertha Bangalore

THE harsh reality is that the democratically elected Pakistan government runs the risk of being overrun by the Taliban or the military.

The political leadership appears too weak to put up any significant resistance to the formidable Taliban in the absence of any active cooperation from the armed forces. Even a militarily less powerful Sri Lanka did not yield to the decades-long armed struggle of the LTTE to change its constitutional framework. The real loser is the hapless citizens of the country who are caught between the merciless jehadis and a powerless state.

For the West, which has been blindly supporting Pakistan and pumping in millions of dollars as aid, the writing on the wall should be clear.

Bichu Muttathara Khadki, PuneDharavi and Slumdog

I AGREE with Mitu Senguptas views on Dharavi, but not with her views on Slumdog Millionaire (Hollow message, March 27).

The film is about the life experiences of a few individuals and has a powerful and convincing storyline. It should not be interpreted as a portrayal of life in Dharavi in general. There are films made on heinous crimes committed in cities but they do not necessarily portray all cities as dens of criminals.

I think it would be wrong to look at the portrayal of a few isolated characters from a slum as being representative of an entire locality or population. The cinematic treatment of Slumdog Millionaire is undeniably outstanding.

Biman Basu New DelhiElections

IT looks like the coming general elections will, in all likelihood, throw up a hung Parliament (Alliance route, March 27). Once again, the flow of money and liquor to woo voters as well as muscle power will play a dominant role. Independents could turn out to be the kingmakers in the end.

K.R. Srinivasan SecunderabadEducation

THE article Report card (March 27) provided a glimpse into the state of education in the country. What has been found in the case of certain North Indian States may prove to be true for the rest of the country. The PROBE survey deserves appreciation for the magnitude of the field work, the intensity of the analysis and the quality of its results.

Great thinkers have equated opening of a school to the closing down of a hundred prisons. Inspiring teaching practices and promising educational standards would bring about invaluable results. Activity-based learning and due space for sports would create generations that would be strong physically and mentally.

S. V. Venugopalan ChennaiLawyers vs police

LAWYERS of Tamil Nadu seek action against the police while expecting their own acts of violence to be overlooked (Courting trouble, March 27). As it is, hapless litigants have been held to ransom by these lawless lawyers. Tax payers funds are being wasted by their continuous disruption of court functioning.

A. Mehra MumbaiThe Oscars

IT was enlightening to read the two articles on the Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire (March 27). We salute A.R. Rahman for his inherent talent and for winning the prestigious Academy awards. Sure, Slumdog Millionaire has given us moments of joy amidst economic crisis and terrorism, but it is not correct to compare it with other great Indian films.

Dr. Sanjiv Gupta Perth, Australia

IN her article Hollow message Mitu Sengupta has unfairly criticised Slumdog Millionaire for failing to portray the positive dynamism of slums. First, the movie is not about slums. It is the story about a boy who spent his childhood in one. In fact, the slums are not central to the storyline at all; there are many Bollywood movies that have portrayed slums in a worse light.

Secondly, who says every Hollywood movie made with an Indian theme has to be committed to elevating the status of India internationally? What is wrong with bureaucrats trying to improve the quality of housing in these slums? The real issue is that whenever the government succeeds in substituting slums with improved housing, slum dwellers, instead of enjoying their new homes, prefer to sell or rent them out and then set up slums elsewhere. Now which Hollywood director can make a movie to address that problem appropriately while not damaging the image of India?

Vidya Chinoy New Delhi

THE 81st annual Academy Awards will remain etched in the Indian memory for years to come. This is not because a film based on India swept the Oscars but because the world witnessed so many talents from India, namely A.R. Rahman, Gulzar and Resul Pookutty. A.R. Rahman has made the world sit up and take note of popular Hindi film music. That he bagged the Oscar for the composition of Jai Ho, which is in Hindi, is testimony to the global acceptance of Indias film music. Just like the protagonist in Slumdog Millionaire, Rahman too had to overcome numerous odds in his life before he achieved success. Also, the success of Slumdog Millionaire and Smile Pinky at the Oscars shows that it is not merely a glamorous cast or the millions spent on making a movie that appeals to the international jury but the content of a film.

S. Balakrishnan Jamshedpur, JharkhandAdditional D.A.

IT is highly disappointing that Jayati Ghosh has criticised the Central governments proposal to release additional Dearness Allowance amounting to Rs.5,000 crore to its employees (Exercise in inertia, March 27).

Additional D.A. is a hard-won right of the employees. Several lakhs of employees and pensioners as also the employees of State governments and Central and State government undertakings will be paid this D.A. to compensate for the erosion of their wages owing to price rise. Therefore, it does not defy any logic as contended by the writer. The consequential increase in the purchasing power of these employees would certainly result in increased sales of goods, which in turn would rise the manufacturing capacity of producers and generate more employment.

Jayati Ghosh asks why this amount could not be spent on Centrally-sponsored schemes that will directly benefit ordinary people. She attempts to create an artificial cleavage between high wage-earning Central government employees and ordinary people. In the meeting of the Joint Consultative Mechanism that was set up at the time of the Third Central Pay Commission, Central government representatives contended that any increase in the wages of government employees would be only at the cost of ordinary poor people. K.G. Bose, the then president of the National Federation of P&T Employees, countered this argument by saying that if the total sum of increased wages to be paid to the Central government was to be spent on schemes to generate employment to the ordinary people, the employees were ready to forego their increased wages.

Danies Jesuraja ChennaiNeighbours

INDIA shares its borders with small and large countries. But the fact remains that none of its neighbours loves it despite its helpful and peace-loving nature (Staying alert, March 27).

For instance, India sent the Indian Peace Keeping Force to Sri Lanka as a goodwill gesture but it did not yield any positive result. Rather it led to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam assassinating former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi who brokered the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord.

Initiatives such as the Non-Aligned Movement, South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation and other cooperation-building efforts have unfortunately not yielded the desired results. Let us rely upon our defence might and use it as a deterrent, should any of our neighbours confront us. This will also help in mitigating cross-border terrorism effectively.

Subramanya Chandrashekar BangaloreKabir Das

KABIR was a legendary spiritual figure who provided sustenance for diverse contemporary ideas (In search of Kabir, March 27). He was a disciple of Ramananda. The Arabic term Kabir means great. It is one of the 99 names of Allah in Islamic theology.

Kabir believed in secularism. His identification of Ram with Rahim paved the way for a unique religious experience. His monotheism reveals Nirguna Brahma. He was a Muwahhid, a believer in the unity of God. His concept of Shunya reveals the idea that an individual is attached to the supreme one, the ultimate reality. Through his two-line verses, he revealed love, mysticism and his unbending love for the supreme.

T.V. Jayaprakash Palakkad, KeralaPartition

THE review of Joya Chatterjis Spoils of Partition by A.G. Noorani (March 13) throws light on aspects that the Bengali elite and intelligentsia would feel embarrassed to expose, much less admit candidly. The dreadful experiences and sufferings of vast sections of people, particularly in East Bengal in 1905-1911, culminated in the partition of Bengal in 1947. The administrative reason for the partition was most justified because it was aimed at developing the most populous and large geographical areas falling under East Bengal. A vast majority of people, comprising the Muslims in particular and the lower social strata of Hindus, saw in the anti-partition agitation a resolve of the upper strata to block their advancement.

Though Sir Surendranath Banerjee, who was the unquestioned leader of Swadeshi Movement [1905-1911], did not take long to show his narrow-mindedness when the British government urged Indians to join the armed forces to fight for the Empire in the First World War, he appealed to boys from well-off sections to heed the call and some 5,000 people joined the army. Until 1911 he vigorously campaigned against the partition of Bengal on grounds of common language, culture, common attitude to life, brotherhood and communal harmony.

K. Biswas Muzaffarpur, BiharRecession

THE global financial meltdown has had an adverse effect on India (Vanishing jobs, March 13). The service sector is facing setbacks and its magnitude is not less than that in the U.S. In such circumstances a balanced approach needs to be taken by our policymakers to arrest the financial mayhem.

Atul Thakur Ghaziabad, U.P.ANNOUNCEMENT:

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