The Cover Story offered a critical analysis of India-Pakistan relations and their impact on world politics ("A new momentum", April 22). Cricket diplomacy has again provided a rare opportunity to the leaders of both nations to sort out differences on thorny issues. After 57 years of hostility it is hoped that the leaders of both countries will sit together and realise what they have achieved and lost in a period marred by wars and terrorism.Akhil Kumar Delhi* * *
The successful bus service between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad is a direct step to heal the wounds of Partition on both sides of the border. If the bus journey was successful in spite of terrorists' attacks, it is a reflection of the will of the people of both countries. If this attitude prevails, terrorism in Kashmir and elsewhere can be curbed. Those who travelled on this bus are the real heroes of the peace journey.Mahesh Kumar New Delhi* * *
The bus journey was wholly a Muslim affair despite talk about secularism, plurality and minority welfare. Muslims from one side of the Line of Control met their relatives on the other side after crossing the Aman Setu. Are there no Hindus left on either side of the LoC now?K.G. Acharya Mumbai* * *
The India-Pakistan ties strike a harmonious note, as the progress towards peace and friendship between the two countries gains momentum. General Pervez Musharraf's visit to India to witness the one-day cricket match in Delhi testifies to what the truth is at the ground level.R.R. Sami Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu* * *
The article "Of planes and plans" has adroitly focussed on the pressures behind the proposed U.S. armament sale. It would be unrealistic to discuss aid without taking cognisance of the influence the U.S. armament lobby has over diplomacy. Arms trafficking is a lucrative business that thrives on rivalry. It is not surprising to see that the offer comes at the precise moment when India and Pakistan are taking cautious steps towards peace. It may not be presumptuous to say that U.S. diplomacy may even try to exacerbate rivalries between India and Pakistan in the future. After all, that makes good business sense.C. Gopal Delhi* * *
India should not reject any offer from any country that can help us to bolster our security. Of course we have to be wise and not fall into any traps. I would not be averse to the idea of India buying F-16s from the U.S. or making them under licence, because we can learn new technology and apply it to planes we may be building ourselves. This is applicable to nuclear and space technology too.Parthiban Krishnaswamy Minneapolis, U.S.* * *
There is apparent bonhomie and affection, and the bus journey, cricket and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's visit are visible testimony to the improving bilateral relations. Is this for real? As long as the real problem of Kashmir is not taken up, these confidence-building measures will remain mere gestures.Nutan Thakur Lucknow* * *
Efforts to control greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to global warming, will require the use of all energy sources - hydel, solar, wind, geothermal and nuclear power. India is now seriously engaged in the task of achieving `energy security' and in the context of fossil fuels getting fast depleted, nuclear energy is no longer an option that can be ignored.
In his article "Changing equations", R. Ramachandran speaks about the cooperation the U.S. is likely to extend to India in "civil, nuclear and nuclear safety issues", as indicated by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during her visit to India. It will be a win-win situation if India and the U.S. join hands.
Kangayam R. Rangaswamy Madison, Wisconsin, U.S.Science research
The country's basic science research is in the doldrums ("Whither science research?", April 22). Despite the presence of many science administrators, no integrated or coordinated research and development activities take place. Each administrator is a power unto himself.A.S. Raj Received on e-mailJohn Paul II
This is with reference to your article "A popular conservative" (April 22). It is a known fact that the Pope's idea of justice for the oppressed and the poor did not envisage active participation of the Church in alleviating their misery. In fact, he was strongly opposed to liberation theology practiced by some of his clergy in Latin America to the extent that he refused to canonise Archbishop Oscar Romero, the champion of the poor, who was gunned down by soldiers while holding a Mass.
The Vatican's record under John Paul in Africa was miserable. The role of the Church in condoning and fostering the Hutu extremism in Rwanda, a Catholic nation, which climaxed in genocide, was shameful. The Pope has also been criticised for his steadfast refusal to condone birth control and the use of condoms, which has had a negative impact on the battle against AIDS.Dr. Amir Cassam Received on e-mail* * *
The world has lost a true religious icon and a great leader who was deeply moved by the suffering of the common man, and who was extraordinarily gentle. I saw him very briefly when he visited Thiruvananthapuram and I felt like writing to him. I was surprised when I got a reply from the Vatican conveying his good wishes.P.P. Ramachandran Mumbai* * *
The passing away of the pontiff has not only saddened the Christian community but has also left the entire world mourning for him. It is a colossal loss for mankind.S. Balakrishnan Received on e-mailA battle and some reverses
I was glad to read your report on the recent meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women held in New York ("A battle and some reverses", April 8). While I appreciate the meticulous coverage of the meeting, I would like to bring to your attention that Wangari Mathai was not the Secretary-General of the Third World Conference in Nairobi. It was Dr. Gertrude Mongella, a former Minister of Education in the Nyerere Government of Tanzania who was the Secretary-General and is currently the president of the Pan African Parliament.
Also, the focus of the article was on how far countries have reached the goals set by previous meetings. While it may be important at one level, it does not reflect the real value of these meetings. In fact, this gathering, being smaller than the usual and having been organised to have more round-table dialogues and conversations on very specific themes such as macroeconomies, U.N. reform, the need to reconsider the national machineries, and so on, became a learning and unity building place.
The basic question was how to engage with the major changes in the global economical and political scenario, on how not to have a mismatch between an internationally established women's movement and the actual condition of women on the ground.Devaki Jain BangaloreBeyond Jharkhand
The decision of the Supreme Court in Jharkhand was commendable ("Beyond Jharkhand", April 8). The mistake that Governor Syed Sibte Razi made was to give the United Progressive Alliance so much time to prove its majority.Shakti Prakash Sitamarhi, BiharThe Kanishka outrage
R.K. Raghavan writes that at the end of marathon sittings the judgment found "no one accountable" ("The Kanishka outrage", April 8). The case, as I understand, was to find the two accused guilty or otherwise, the remit did not extend beyond that.Raghuram Ekambaram New Delhi* * *Savarkar
I am inclined to regard Savarkar as a spoilt genius on the one hand and as a blend of opposites on the other ("Savarkar's mercy petition", April 8). One fails to understand why and how the so-called political heirs of Savarkar - the Sangh Parivar - regard him as a great man and a national hero. One can only hope that as the present generation of historians is judging Savarkar and his personality, future historians will judge his political heirs.T.N. Tandon Lucknow* * *
Veer Savarkar's mercy petition should not take away from the fact that he did a lot for the people. His services to Indian languages, Marathi in particular, must not be forgotten.Sriram Bajrang Bulusu BangaloreAdvantage China
The federal system, the lack of a long-term vision and slow implementation of policies are the major shortcomings of India in its race against China ("Advantage China", March 25). China's strategy is systematic as against India's opportunistic strategy.Himadri Maity Rourkela* * *
The story was an enlightening report on India's bubble-gum "knowledge economy" vis-a-vis China's rock-solid, sustainable "manufacturing-based" economy. India's growth, dependent on the Information Technology, business process outsourcing and the Information Technology Enabled Services sectors, is fragile.K.P. Rajan MumbaiThe wages of disunity
The analysis of the Assembly elections by Venkitesh Ramakrishnan was objective ("The wages of disunity", March 25). One fails to understand why the Congress contested the Bihar Assembly elections under the banner of the United Progressive Alliance? The Congress being the biggest partner in the UPA, should have bridged the differences between the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Lok Janshakti Party. If both parties can remain in the UPA at the Centre, why can't they do so in the State?Sudesh Kumar Sharma Kapurthala, PunjabMaligning the Left
This is with reference to "Maligning the Left" (March 25). Last year, after the general election, politicians took a soft stand on reforms and said that they would take reforms forward by giving them a human face. If the reforms do good things for the people they can be put forward as they are, without any need for a human face as a mask. Since the Left continuously opposes anti-people policies, their present position in parliament has irked the media and business.Muthuramalingam Pudukkottai, Tamil NaduPunjab and Pakistan
A.G. Noorani has commendably analysed the events leading up to Partition ("Punjab and Pakistan", March 25). The article takes a fresh look at the long-standing conflict between India and Pakistan. Social scientists seldom dwell on the consequences of Partition, almost as if it was the destiny of the subcontinent to be divided. The resources of both countries have been depleted because of the conflict.
Partition meant constant rivalry and hatred, which exists even today. Mohammad Ali Jinnah was probably too busy with his political manoeuvring to even think of these disastrous consequences. Partition should serve as a lesson to political decision makers that sacrificing the common well-being of all for personal interests will have explosive consequences.Vikram Ramakrishnan ChennaiTerry Schiavo
I am a non-resident Indian living in the United States and I can tell you for sure that this talk about the U.S. society's general disdain for the disabled is far from real ("Matters of life and death", March 25). Disabled persons in the U.S. have better access to buildings, job opportunities, education and special care compared to any place else in the world, especially India. This indicates the U.S. society's genuine concern and care for disabled citizens.Arvind Kidambi Edenton, North CarolinaCombating terrorism
R.K. Raghavan says that a counter-terrorist strategy will succeed only if it tries to exploit the apparent divisions among Muslims; that is between a minority that believes in violence against infidels and those who abjure the use of sword ("Getting at terrorism's underbelly", March 25). The views are fascinating but lack objectivity.
The series of bomb blasts in Mumbai in 1993 and the killing in the Akshardham temple in 2002 following the State-sponsored genocide in Gujarat are glaring instances of violence that was committed not by those who believe in violence against infidels but by some misguided elements seeking revenge for the wrongs that were done to them. A counter-terrorist strategy will be a futile exercise if the factors that breed terrorism are overlooked.Kamaluddin Ahmed Karimganj, Assam
It is good to know that Kerala has everything that is essential for the explosive growth of the Information Technology industry (Special Feature: Opportunity@Kerala, March 25).Uday Kumar Bhubaneshwar