THE barbaric ritual of whipping women to drive away evil spirits is being touted as a holy practice (Chasing spirits, November 6). It is unfortunate that the Tamil Nadu government is unable to contain this atrocity.
In parts of the Telangana district of Andhra Pradesh, some people believe that witches or sorcerers practising black magic are responsible for the mysterious illnesses and sudden deaths of their close relatives. The unfortunate men and women who are thought to be responsible are belaboured to death or burnt alive or have their front teeth knocked out in the belief they will not be able to chant the mumbo jumbo that caused the illness or death. Here, too, the State government does nothing except make sporadic arrests when the news is published.
Why can the governments in power not deal firmly in such cases by handing down deterrent punishment?R. Ramachandra Rao HyderabadMaoists
I WONDER why the government is showing such reluctance to make India a naxalite-free nation despite the loss of police and civilian lives (Cover Story, November 6). Naxalism will remain a strong internal threat as long as the sluggish Home Ministry has a soft corner for naxalites.Ippili Santhosh Kumar Srikakulam, A.P.
ANY movement inspired by the ideology of violence is anathema to democracy. Unless the Maoists abjure violence, no dialogue will yield fruitful results. It is not a peoples war but a war against the people.V.K. Sathyavan Nair Kottayam, Kerala
THE genesis of naxalism is not understood by many Indians. The general response is to criticise the violence unleashed by the Maoists. There is a sociological dimension to the problem. It is the destruction of the tribal way of living in several States because of big industrial projects. This has resulted in the loss of common ownership of resources, and the people affected face tremendous hardships. The notion that development is a panacea to all their problems hides the real issue.
It is not a question of development but one of peoples rights. The naxalites have adopted aggressive tactics because of the injustice suffered by generations of their families. No doubt the violence factor is helping those with vested interests. To reach a workable solution to naxalism, the sociological factors need to be kept in mind.Surya Rakesh Moudgil Hisar, Haryana
WHILE there can be no doubt that the Maoist movement must be contained, the governments approach is unidirectional and lacks vision. Confrontation to the exclusion of all other avenues betrays the narrow vision of the mainstream political parties. The proposed confrontation is going to cause untold misery to the poorest among the poor. One hopes that better sense will prevail.T.V. Unnikrishnan BangaloreTourism
THIS refers to the interview with V. Irai Anbu, Secretary, Department of Tourism, Tamil Nadu, (Destination for all, November 6). The Tranquebar area is an excellent tourist spot but has not been developed. The hotel is beyond the budget of middle-class tourists. The Tamil Nadu Hotel cannot accommodate the many tourists who throng the spot.
There is no one to conduct guided tours. The beach is not maintained properly. The power supply is poor. The train service from Mayiladuthurai to Tranquebar beach must be revived. Thirukkadaiyur is a great historical centre, but there is no government guest house, so one is at the mercy of private lodges.
The Secretary for Tourism must take bold steps to improve board and lodging facilities in these two places.Thomas Edmunds ChennaiPeace prize
BARACK OBAMA is one of worlds exceptional leaders, who are rare in history and who inspire not only their own nations but the whole world with their vision and humility (Award for promises, November 6).
We can certainly be optimistic and hope that he will live up to his promises to bring new hope and change in the world for peace.Syed Khaja New Delhi
AS the supreme commander of the U.S. armed forces, Obama said he accepted the prize on behalf of a nation that ended a war (the Second World War) and is fighting a new war (war on terror). The last world war ended in 1945 because his nation vaporised millions of innocent people on a peaceful morning without warning, while the war on terror unleashed by his predecessor continues to maim and kill in Afghanistan and Iraq (directly) and Palestine and Pakistan (indirectly). His nation sows a thousand seeds of resentment and anger across the globe, converting peace into a non-viable entity.Aniruddha Dam Kolkata
THE point that was overlooked in the article was that the closing date for nominations for the Peace prize ended within days of Obamas taking the oath of office.
And the rules stress that the prize is to be awarded to one who had done the most or the best. What great things did he do in those few days?V.N. Ramaswamy Secunderabad
OBAMA deserves praise for framing peaceful dialogues and making efforts to take international relations to a new level. Nonetheless, he should not have got the award with such a short tenure. Was there no other person worthy of the award?Nikita Bothra PuneTemple rituals
FLOGGING or witch-hunting is prevalent not only in Tamil Nadu but also in the rural areas of many States including Assam (Chasing spirits, November 6).
Reports of women being killed on the pretext of their being witches often appear in local newspapers. These must be cases of mental illness and require treatment and care, not mauling. It is definitely the fault of the law that these inhumane practices continue.Panchalee Tamulee Guwahati
EVEN though there is a ban on the age-old evil practice of whipping and an awareness mechanism is in place, it is unfortunate that it continues. No action is taken against these so-called priests by the authorities. It is time to do away with such practices, which not only violate the law but act against the basic tenets of humanity.K.R. Srinivasan Secunderabad
IT is a mystery why the local police and other government authorities do not take action to save the victims of whipping. If their consideration is vote-bank politics, they are cheating those who are not aware that these actions are illegal under sections of the Indian Penal Code.
At least some NGOs should take steps to eradicate this nonsensical practice.B.P. Pereira Madurai, Tamil NaduChoosing a judge
THIS is with reference to Controversial choice (November 6). In order to keep tainted judges out of the judiciary, Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily has rightly mooted a Bill ensuring judges accountability and mandating their appointment on the basis of merit.
However, before putting judges in the dock, we need to insulate our legislatures from tainted lawmakers. It would be appropriate to introduce a similar Bill for politicians as most political parties today have tainted people.Mahesh Kumar New Delhi
THE article brings out the fallibility of the Supreme Courts collegium in elevating judges from High Courts to the apex court. The Forum for Judicial Accountability has rendered a signal service by gathering evidence against Justice P.D. Dinakaran. The Indian judiciary has won international accolades; appointees like Dinakaran will diminish its image.
While the Supreme Court laid down in 1997 a code of procedure to deal with the conduct of judges, there is no statute to enforce it. The need of the hour is for the Judges Standards and Accountability Bill to replace the Judges Inquiry Bill, which deals with the impeachment process, and for its early passage.H. Syed Madani Tiruchy, Tamil NaduMigration
THE U.N.s Human Development Report states that migration is the prerequisite for development (For a better life, November 6). Migrants leave their homeland because of its state of underdevelopment and are forced to live in horrible conditions at their workplace.
Then, how can migration be hailed as a sign of development?E.A. Ibrahim Vyttila, KeralaManna Dey
WHAT stands out in the interview given by Manna Dey is his modesty (November 6). He paid respect to the directors with whom he worked and his fellow singers.A.K. Dasgupta HyderabadTuition
EXTRACURRICULAR activities for most children in urban areas appear to centre around extra classes on the very same subjects they are supposed to be taught in school (Tuition culture, November 6). The tuition concept is nothing new, but even up to the 1970s and 1980s, it was by and large meant for those who scored low marks or felt uncomfortable with the load in the classroom. But now things have changed completely, with children operating in cycles between school and tuition centres. Not at all the road to real learning.S.V. Venugopalan Chennai
THERE was a major misunderstanding in the article. Coaching for professional entrance examinations is totally different from tuitions for school board examinations. In the former, coaching becomes necessary since the syllabus and the type of questions asked are quite different from those in school examinations.
On the other hand, tuitions taken by teachers who teach the subject in the classroom are mainly to ensure that students pass school examinations without much effort. Tuitions at the primary level are really harmful as they prevent students from learning how to learn on ones own.
In one way, tuitions are the revenge of the teaching community on a society that refuses to give it the necessary respect and remuneration it deserves.S. Sundaram Jamnagar, GujaratChidambaram
THE article Unholy row (October 23) points out the role of the Sangh Parivar in trying to create trouble at Chidambaram in the name of safeguarding Hindus but is biased towards the role of the key groups fighting against the hatred of Tamil and the casteist hegemony of the Dikshitars.
Ironically, both the Sangh Parivar and the CPI(M) (which the article praises for its moderate stand) like to call these organisations fringe groups. The Human Rights Protection Council, a so-called fringe group, has been fighting the various tactics of the Dikshitars from the lower courts to the High Court since 2001.Arasu balraj ChennaiIslamic banking
THE article Inclusive banking (October 23) gave one a clear perspective of where things stand today with respect to Islamic banking in India. The phrase Islamic banking, I feel, should be replaced with ethical banking so as to avoid any unnecessary bias in perception amongst the general population and to avoid its exploitation for vote-bank politics.Ammar Ahmed Dubai, UAE
CONTRARY to popular belief, Islamic banking is beneficial to people of all faiths because it is safe, ethical, accountable and ensures a fair rotation of money, which results in an equitable distribution of wealth.
Our current banking system is fraught with the dangers of sub-prime lending. Islamic banking addresses this issue in an efficient manner and so has the potential to lift the world from the current economic crisis.
As far as the Indian economy is concerned, Islamic banking could result in a substantial inflow of cash from rich Muslim nations.Doulath Khan M. Mohamed ChennaiScience history
I TAKE strong exception to Geert Somsens remark that cognitive science is not objective and hence is ideological (Interview: Geert Somsen, October 23). Somsen has not understood what cognitive science is.
Today, cognitive science or cognitive neuroscience is more global than he seems to think. Science crosses the barriers of culture, nation, caste, creeds, and so on, and above all, ideologies.A. Kanthamani Kozhikode, KeralaIndia & China
KEEPING in mind their huge responsibilities, India and China need to behave responsibly and resolve border issues by adopting a pragmatic approach (China bogey, October 23).
The sections of media in both countries that engaged in unnecessary propaganda should be dealt with firmly.Neeraj Kumar Jha Madhubani, BiharWilliam Safire
I HAVE been a regular reader of Frontline, particularly Safires The English Language. His writings are a treasure trove of witty, humorous and sometimes eccentric phrases.
He fearlessly used words to attack solecisms, euphemisms, gaffes and the like, making a potpourri of delectable words that satiated a linguists hunger for unabated analysis of modern-day language.Roopashi Khatri BangaloreEncounter deaths
INJUSTICE, fake encounters and corruption have become the bane of our nation (Getting away with murder, October 9). Our judicial system is so complicated that the only outcome is injustice. In this state of affairs, is anyone safe?M.M. Haque West Bengal
I DISAGREE with the article Anger in uniform ( October 9). Without giving any valid reason, it states that encounters are the birth pangs of a worsening public order situation and the inadequacies of the Indian criminal justice system and that third-degree methods come naturally to some police officers.
One may ask why their superiors did not train them to restrain their anger and allow jurisprudence to prevail.M.R.A. Xavier Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu
I HAVE been a keen reader of Frontline for the past 17 years. But I would request you not to blow isolated incidents out of proportion. The Ishrat Jahan case is important, more so if it indicates a trend in the way the police work. But India has much larger issues to worry about such as poverty and malnutrition.
Sriram Bajrang Bulusu Champaign, Illinois, United StatesArunachal
I WOULD like to congratulate the writer of the article Prisoners of geography (October 9) for introducing readers to the living conditions of the people of Vijaynagar, Arunachal Pradesh. It should be an eye-opener for the State and the nation at large that while we bother so much about maintaining our territorial geography, we are perhaps less concerned about the plight of those who reside within its forgotten peripheries.They surely deserve a bit more attention.Gorky Chakraborty Dibrugarh, AssamANNOUNCEMENT
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