The living dead

Published : Apr 20, 2007 00:00 IST

AS a freedom fighter and a food scientist, I spent a sleepless night at the age of 85 after reading the courageous article "The living dead" (April 6). The slow death of competent and skilled weavers and their children has received little attention. Creativity in rural Uttar Pradesh is dying. Yet this receives little media attention while cricket controversies take up most of the space in print media and air time in electronic media. At one time, the National Democratic Alliance shouted itself hoarse about "India shining". The situation under the United Progressive Alliance is not much better. The time has come to start a new 'freedom struggle' to save India. Ugly politics over language controversies and caste and religion seem to have overshadowed the real problems.

H.A.B. Parpia MysoreU.S. hegemony

WHEN Aijaz Ahmad asks if it is the beginning of an "imperial sunset", he is echoing the perception, and even wish, of a very large percentage of the people across the globe (Cover Story, April 6). Imperialism, as practised by the British and the European powers during the 18th and 19th centuries, was bad enough, and has been criticised for causing so many of today's banes. But the current American world hegemony is even worse, having contributed to wars, deaths, destructions, espionage and terror. As long as the Soviet Union was there to counter its sole authority, there was some semblance of order. With its crumbling collapsed the international balance of power, paving the way for complete anarchy.

Luckily for the world, Russia under Vladimir Putin is asserting itself, as are many other nations such as Germany and France. However, the self-destructive policies of the United States are its own worst enemy.

Amitabh Thakur Lucknow

AIJAZ AHMAD has highlighted the military alliance between Russia and Iran and the energy alliance between them speeding up the process of the decline of U.S. hegemony.

The U.S. is likely to accept Iran's security concerns in return for concessions in the energy sector and, after the Iraqi experience, its "multipolar" relations with the "Euro-American Bloc", along with China and Russia. Russia and China have emerged as economic giants. The U.S. must take note of the emerging unity among Latin American nations, which might affect the U.S.-sponsored free trade agreements in the region and the influence of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Latin America.

The U.S. must work out a new architecture for the macro-management of the world economy. It has an important role to play through the United Nations. For the U.S.'s own good, an "imperial sunset" is necessary. After that, the whole world can live in peace.

Thomas Edmunds Chennai

IT is said that you can never appreciate the bad unless you have experienced the worst. Many people celebrated the end of the Cold War when the Soviet Union broke up. A world without the friction between the two superpowers was supposed to be a better and a safer place. Little did they know that the U.S. would make it the `worst'.

With no one to pose a challenge to its hegemony, the U.S. keeps finding "live" test-firing ranges for its weapons.

Now, when the lone superpower faces the heat from various quarters, a resurgent Russia is raising its head again. Openly criticising the U.S.' moves, it is not only being defiant but also being aggressive. With a major chunk of global energy resources under its control and the sale of its arms rising at a rate of over 100 per cent in the last few years, Russia has every reason to flex its muscles.

Harshdeep Singh Rapal Patiala, Punjab

IN the context of the growing opposition to U.S. hegemony across the globe, the Cover Story raised the right question - "Imperial sunset?" Whoever takes over from President George W. Bush will have a tough time tackling the problems related to the U.S. economy and foreign policy. It appears that the decline of the Empire has started. The emergence of new centres of power, such as the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries, may strengthen multipolarity.

Jacob Sahayam ThiruvananthapuramPakistan crisis

THE article "Justice in battle" (April 6) shows in its true light the bizarre crisis in Pakistan following the sacking of Chief Justice Iftikar Chaudhary It is no surprise that President Pervez Musharraf wants to sack those who refuse to toe his line, whether they are Prime Ministers or Chief Justices. Purging the judiciary of dissent is a blatant attack on its independence. Musharraf may be able to overcome the present crisis tactically, but the spontaneous protests throughout Pakistan indicate the decline of the authority and credibility of his regime.

V.K. Sathyavan Nair Kottyam, KeralaIdentity crisis?

THE article "Blurring identities" (April 6) raised concerns about the adoption of orphaned tribal children in Chhattisgarh by Hindu organisations. I do not recollect reading any article in the magazine about the widespread activities of the more organised and better financed Christian missionaries in tribal areas and their impact on tribal religion, identity and culture.

Aravind Balajee New YorkVaranasi weavers

THE article on the plight of Dalit families around Varanasi (April 6) is a stark reminder of the appalling conditions in which so many people live despite the advances made by the country in science and technology. The benefits of the growing economy have not percolated down to the poor. The situation is not much different in most of the other States. We have all developed a way of not seeing beyond what is happening at the macro-economic level. The welfare measures of governments have not reached the poorest and the marginalised sections of society.

Jeevan Kuruvilla Vellore, Tamil Nadu

THE articles "Beware of dogs" and "The living dead" reveal the pathetic extremes that exist in India. On one hand, so many people sleep on empty stomachs every night whereas, on the other, animal rights groups make a big issue about the killing of stray dogs. It would be exemplary if the same enthusiasm were shown to lessen the pains of over 300 million Indians who live in miserable conditions.

Savio Falleiro Margao, GoaStray dogs

THE callous approach of the Bangalore Municipal Corporation to the menace of street dogs needs to be condemned in strong terms by animal lovers ("Beware of dogs", April 6). Stray dogs do pose a menace, as shown by the death of the little boy. But was the large-scale slaughter of stray dogs the only way to handle the problem? Can the same methods be used to bring down the crime rate in the world?

Arvind K. Pandey Allahabad

THE garbage dumped on the streets by eateries is the main reason for the increase in dog population in cities. There should be a law penalising eateries that throw out garbage on the streets.

A. Ibrahim North Parur, KeralaU.P. elections

THE election process now under way in Uttar Pradesh shows how far the idealism professed by political parties is removed from reality ("Winning formula", April 6). Each of them is shamelessly in pursuit of power.

Nutan Thakur LucknowNandigram

BOTH the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Trinamool Congress should be held responsible for the recent bloodshed in Nandigram ("Political battle", April 20). Their competition for political supremacy culminated in lawlessness.

After three decades of unchallenged rule in West Bengal, the CPI(M) seems to have realised the need for industrialisation. The changed politico-administrative system under which it works has made this shift possible.

Unfortunately, poor peasants have not understood these dynamics.

Sambi Reddy Enreddy Guntur, A. P.

LEFT Front chairman Biman Bose's responses in the interview were full of unsubstantiated claims such as the "conspiracy" hatched by some industrial houses against West Bengal's industrialisation drive.

Prasanna Kannan Toronto, CanadaSchool education

JAYATI GHOSH's column, "Short shrift to school education" does not mention the poor work ethics of teachers of government schools in rural areas. On given any day, more than 20 per cent of schoolteachers are absent across India. Work ethics and accountability have deteriorated over the decades owing to job security.

K.R. Athiyaman ChennaiGlobal warming

THE rich and powerful nations have now become conscious of the need to preserve nature after causing massive deforestation and killing birds and animals for many centuries (Cover Story, "The heat is on", March 9). They had taken the lead in endangering the ecosystem and in the emission of greenhouse gases.

As Mahatma Gandhi said, the earth has enough for every man's need but not for every man's greed. The world may emulate the example of China, which claims to have planted one billion trees every year since 1982.

Kaushik Dutta KolkataPutin's outburst

Russian President Vladimir Putin's bold speech at the Munich Security Conference, accusing the U.S. of overstepping its borders in its bid to establish global hegemony, is a clear indication that he is now ready to stand up to the Global Bully ("Cold peace", March 9). Putin's move will help rebuild a healthy multi-polar world.


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