The Cover Story on India's vote on Iran ("India's volte-face", November 18) was thought-provoking. If you dance to the United States' tune, you are democratic. I do not understand why India should keep trying to get this `certificate' from the U.S. for all its actions. We should also remember that the U.S. still provides hundreds of tactical nuclear bombs to its allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation such as Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey. The so-called nuclear non-proliferation is only meant for those who defy the U.S.
HariVirudhunagar, Tamil NaduFloods
The heavy rains in Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore have resulted in losses running into crores ("Flooded out", November 18). The travel industry is also suffering. The government must take appropriate steps to minimise the impact of natural calamities, investing, for instance, in an efficient drainage system.
Mahesh KapasiNew Delhi
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The country spends crores on flood relief every time it rains heavily. To minimise the extensive damage to roads, bridges, tanks and irrigation systems and to standing crops in Tamil Nadu, the water resource management authorities should consider increasing the height of the Mettur reservoir.
S. PrakashMutharasanallur, Tamil NaduJammu and Kashmir
The Congress leadership, which was in two minds on the issue of taking over the reins of government in Jammu and Kashmir, had earlier proposed a short extension of tenure to Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, but he refused saying he would not like to be seen as a lame duck Chief Minister ("A turning point", November 18).
He wanted a full term, which the Congress was not prepared to give and that, it seems, settled the issue in Ghulam Nabi Azad's favour. Azad has not won an election from the State and was never considered a Kashmiri leader. He won his first Lok Sabha election from Maharashtra and later survived in politics through his Rajya Sabha membership.
J. AkshaySecunderabadDeath penalty
It is indisputable that the President can exercise his powers under the Constitution to decide on mercy petitions ("A presidential dilemma", November 18). However, the gravity of the offences should outweigh humanist considerations.
R.R. SamiTiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu
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Murderers, traitors and rapists should be tried, convicted and done away with expeditiously so that the punishment acts as a deterrent. When a hardcore criminal facing capital punishment is given a life-term after a presidential reprieve under Article 72, he is taken care of in jail at the tax-payer's expense.
K.P. RajanMumbaiSaddam trial
It was sad that the United Nations remained unperturbed when a member-nation invaded another. If the U.N. continues to behave in a partial manner, member-nations will lose confidence in the institution. Saddam Hussein is accused of killing 143 Shia Muslims and is being tried in an Iraqi court, which is obviously influenced and controlled by the occupying country, the United States. ("A farcial trial", November 18). President Bush could be accused of killing Iraqis many times that number. The U.S. is also responsible for many deaths in Vietnam, Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
In a State which is educationally and economically advanced and which was in the forefront of the movement for social transformation led by reformers such as EVR, Dalits still suffer oppression ("Tamil Nadu's Dalit saga" November 18). However, the coming together of Dr.S. Ramdoss of the Pattali Makkal Katchi and Thol. Thirumavalavan of the Dalit Panthers of India is a welcome development. If the Thevars and Dalits of South Tamil Nadu come together, it could prove to be a great blessing for the State.
A. Jacob SahayamThiruvananthapuramCinema
Adoor Gopalakrishnan has created his own cinematic idiom in Indian cinema ("A constant process of discovery", October 7). It would be nice to see an article on Ritwik Ghatak on his 80th birth anniversary this year. Each of Ghatak's films remains a landmark in Indian cinema. A visionary way ahead of his times, Ghatak had to overcome insurmountable odds to make his films.
Niamul Hossain MallickBurdwan, West BengalEpigraphia Carnatica
The review of the Epigraphia Carnatica on cd-rom was informative ("Preserving inscriptions digitally", November 18). Professor Settar and the Southern Regional Centre under Dr. S.K. Aruni's direction certainly deserve wide recognition and deep appreciation for this outstanding new contribution from the Indian Council of Historical Research.
However, I was particularly struck by the reviewer's remark that Benjamin Lewis Rice, the compiler of Epigraphia Carnatica, continued to make valuable contributions to Mysore history "after his return to England in 1907". Rice was born in Bangalore and he lived and worked most of his life in the city. His early education was in England but Bangalore was unquestionably his native place.
R. Barry LewisDepartment of AnthropologyUniversity of IllinoisUnited StatesEpilepsy
The interview with Dr. Mecheri B. Sundaram ("Surgery can cure epilepsy", November 4) was interesting. People with epilepsy suffer not only because of clinical complications, but also on account of the stigma attached to the disease. This is especially true of women with epilepsy. In India, women suffering from epilepsy generally have lower literacy rates and are more likely to remain unemployed. They also find it difficult to get married and are likely to be ill-treated by family and society. I hope this article will go a long way in helping people with epilepsy lead a normal life. In the interview, however, the word "grandmom" should have been replaced by "grand mal".
Dr. Sudhir KumarHyderabadReservation
The policy of reservation in the private sector would lead to inefficiency and deal a serious blow to the country's progress ("On reservations in the private sector", November 4).
Buddhadev NandiBishnupur, West Bengal