Published : Jun 16, 2006 00:00 IST

THE United States is only about 400 years old. The extent of discrimination among its citizens (whites and blacks) and the resultant discontent were taken seriously in the past century and corrective steps taken immediately (Affirmative Action). In our country oppression of the majority by the so-called upper-castes has been is going on for over 2,000 years. The founding fathers of the nation realised this and took corrective action by ensuring preferential treatment for the backward classes through the Constitution. Failure to address of social grievances of any section in any society would provoke extreme reactions. The United Progressive Alliance government is only trying to correct the situation by implementing the recommendations of the Mandal Commission, at least partially. The government is sympathetically considering the grievances of those likely to be affected. Even then a few people are agitating vigorously against this and a large section of media is giving undue prominence to their actions. I appreciate the impartial stand you have taken on this issue. ('Examining reservation', Cover Story, May 5)


THE "Left landslide" in West Bengal and a "Clear choice in Kerala", have put the "Left in government" (Cover Story, June 2) in the two States. Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and V.S. Achuthanandan are the men of the year. In Kerala the poor, the farmers, and the workers in traditional industries have great expectations from the new Left Democratic Front government. Kerala is industrially backward and faces water problems and health care is said to be in a "low mortality, high morbidity syndrome".

Will the new government deliver? The success will take the Left to greater heights.

A. Jacob Sahayam Thiruvananthapuram* * *

HATS off to Prabhat Patnaik for his beautiful, jargon-free article "Left in government". He depicts how agricultural production, which fell gradually during colonial rule and could not improve even after Independence, picked up after the introduction of land reforms and empowerment of the panchayats. Today, under changed circumstances and new socio-economic conditions, new contradictions are emerging.

It remains to be seen how the Left governments in West Bengal and Kerala are going to solve these contradictions.

B.D. Dhyani New Delhi* * *

THE landslide victory of the Left Front in West Bengal is the result of the teamwork of the Left leaders and the Opposition's failure to rally forces. The Left parties have proved that they are much ahead of the other political forces in the parliamentary and electoral arena.

The CPI(M)'s recent decisions seem to be rooted in the belief that society can be developed naturally and peacefully out of liberal capitalism.

P.B. Prakash Burdwan, West Bengal* * *

LOOKS like the voters in Tamil Nadu have chosen M. Karunanidhi's free colour TVs over Jayalalithaa's free personal computers ("Promises to keep"). Even after all those promises, the winning party is short of an outright majority. However, the alternating pattern of voter preference in Tamil Nadu is well known. This democratically reasonable behaviour of the people is in contrast to the politicians' penchant for melodrama.

J.S. Acharya HYDERABADBottling livelihoods

The article "Bottling livelihood" (June 2) is an incisive analysis of depleting ground water levels. There has to be some control over indiscriminate drawing of water. Some of our agricultural crops are being grown in the wrong place. The classic case is of sugar crop in some drought-prone districts of Maharashtra.

Punjab had a serious problem of waterlogging when India become independent, but in 58 years the ground water levels have plummeted to abjectly low level. Ground water in the southwestern districts of Punjab is by and large brackish and not fit for irrigation. In some areas a thin layer of sweet water floats over saline water. All the multinationals have access to modern technology and all bottling plants must be located on the coast and use seawater. Cola companies must install desalination or Reverse Osmosis (RO) plants so that they do not depend on ground water for their water requirements. When Tirupur can install RO plants to treat effluents from dyeing and processing plants and Chennai can set up desalination plants to tide over its drinking water problem, why should cola companies have any problem.

M.M. Gurbaxani BangaloreRight step

THE hue and cry by the upper-castes with the support of the corporate media reminds one of what Napoleon had said: "Ten people who speak make much noise than the 10,000 people who are silent." It is surprising that when socially and educationally backward classes are provided reservation in the other government institutions why higher education institutions under the Central government were exempted for 16 years?

Why are those who raise the issue of merit silent on the system of capitation, which assures education for those with money? We should be thankful for the reservation policy, which has defused the resentment of a majority of the population that has suffered at the hands of a minority under the caste system.

Deepak Yadav Jaunpur, U.P.Budhia

THIS has reference to the article "A step too far" (June 2). I think those who talk about child rights and abuse in India are not aware of the ground realities. If his coach Biranchi Das had not rescued Budhia and motivated him to run to glory, he would have ended up as a child labourer in a forgotten corner of India. Budhia has exceptional talent and stamina. If we want to nurture and cultivate his talent it has to be done in a scientific way.

Dr. Vitull K. GuptaBhatinda, PunjabAnti-naxal movement

THIS has reference to your article "The backlash" (June 2). The backlash is the result of the Central government's inability to address the grievances of people who have fallen prey to the Maoist propaganda and practices.

Home Minister Shivraj Patil now cannot argue that there are not enough reasons to worry about the growth of the naxal movement. The Union government is utterly devoid of comprehensive plans to combat the menace.

Arvind K. Pandey Allahabad, U.P.Across Kutch

I HAVE recently become an avid reader of Frontline because of the serious journalism that you pursue with so much dedication.

It is quite a difficult task to remain dedicated to long-form journalism when most news magazines carry frivolous articles aimed at the affluent middle-class.

I live in the district of Kutch in Gujarat and was delighted by the article by Dionne Bunsha (May 5). Kutch has been a much neglected part of Gujarat.

There have been intermittent demands by the political leaders for a separate statehood for Kutch because of the linguistic differences between the people of Kutch with the rest of the Gujaratis.

There has been no response from successive governments. There has been very little investment compared with the rest of Gujarat and not much attention has been given to development.

Nikolai Tannen Bhuj, KutchPlagiarised

KAAVYA Viswanathan's impudent plagiarism from Megan McCafferty's novels in her maiden novel How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life not only deserves strong condemnation but also is a matter of grave concern as her short-cuts to earn fame and fortune may entice young upstarts to follow her footprints (May 19).

Buddhadev NandiBishnupur West BengalNepal

THE Cover Story on Nepal ("Nepal Rising", May 19) was informative. There is a silent majority who are against this turmoil caused by the Maoists. Why did the constituents of the Seven Party Alliance not work together to resolve the Maoist insurgency when they were in power?

Sher Bahadur Deuba failed in his second term as Prime Minister to bring peace or organise new elections. If an honest democratic government is desired then let the election be held after a period of peace to neutralise the Maoist menace. Swami Yog-Anand Bharati Le Barcares, France

THE unstable situation in Nepal affects India also. Being a close friend, India has to keep watch on its neighbours. Some years ago, India was fully supporting autocracy.

Now there is a drastic change in New Delhi's stand in that it supports the common people's struggle towards democracy.

Rakesh Sharma Pathankot, Punjab
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