External Affair Minister Yashwant Sinha said in Parliament that India would send troops to Iraq only if there was an explicit United Nations resolution on the subject ("Looking for the U.N. label", August 15). The Iraqi quagmire is the creation of an arrogant, self-willed man, George Bush, and his allies who acted in disregard of the U.N. and the will of the people across the world. In fact, the U.N. should categorically tell the United States that it would not do a wee bit in Iraq now, for in the first place the U.S. did not care to get a U.N. mandate for attacking Iraq. The U.S. should be forced to face the music alone in Iraq.
In view of the unilateral nature of the U.S. aggression, which India had opposed in no uncertain terms; the U.S. troops' unwillingness to serve under the U.N.; and the decision of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation not to station its troops in Iraq, it is illogical and preposterous to send Indian troops to Iraq even if there is a misplaced U.N. mandate now.
The attack on the People's Campaign for Decentralised Planning ("Derailing decentralisation", August 15) may not be in the interest of Kerala. The decentralisation experiment has ushered in real panchayati raj and led to involvement of people at the grassroots level in planning and implementation. Perhaps it could serve as a model for the rest of the country with modifications to suit regional requirements. CPI(M) leader Dr. T.M. Thomas Isaac has explained how the `People's Plan' is different from the World Bank programme. However, it should not be viewed as a campaign against foreign investment or free trade. They should be used to complement each other for faster development and growth. The Chinese experience should be an eye-opener.
A. Jacob SahayamKarigiri, Tamil Nadu
Congratulations to Rajendra Keshavlal Shah on winning the Bharatiya Jnanpith Award. The article "In love with the world" (August 15) highlighted his achievements. Shah enriched Gujarati literature with his memorable works. His poems reflect the pain and agony of the poor tribal people.
Abhijeet. D. MoreNashik
Just to let you know that I consider Frontline an excellent magazine.
Amir HassanpourAssistant ProfessorDepartment of Near & Middle Eastern CivilisationsUniversity of Toronto, Canada
In the interview with Air Chief Marshal S. Krishnaswamy (August 1), his reply to the question on the procurement of spares for the Russian-made MiGs, was vague. He did not mention the name of the country from which the Indian Air Force had bought the spares. As a matter of fact when the series of MiG crashes started, Russia issued a statement saying that India had refused its offer to sell new spares of good quality and had opted to buy second-hand spares of mediocre quality from some Arabian countries. This specific decision taken by the Indian government may well have been a possible cause for the series of MiG crashes. But now when the matter is running out of control, it may be that the IAF is trying to cover up the whole issue regarding the spares to escape public censure.
Thank you for a series of good articles on ISRO ("Special Feature: ISRO", August 15). It is good to know ISRO is planning an unmanned mission to the moon. But we must keep in mind what the results will actually mean.
For one, nothing tangible can come from analysing the surface of the moon or from a chemical analysis of its soil. This, however, does not mean such a mission is worthless. When the United States launched a manned moon mission, it inspired an entire generation of young Americans to take courses in microelectronics and other engineering fields. This laid the basis for the technology revolution in the U.S.
For India, a moon mission would also inspire scores of students to take high-tech courses. Secondly, it will raise the status of India in the world and help attract more foreign investment in our technology sector. Thirdly, it will help in developing ICBMs (Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles), which will add to our military capacity.
Malolan CadambiAustin, Texas
The Dalit cause
Frontline deserves full praise for consistently highlighting the plight of Dalits and other downtrodden sections ("A temple car and caste tensions", August 15). The Dalits and their leaders, especially S. Thirumavalavan, the leader of the Dalit Panthers of India, and Dr. K. Krishnaswamy of the Puthiya Thamizhagam, should concentrate on larger issues. Their organisations should think of campaigns that would emancipate and elevate the status of Dalits such as conducting mass awareness programmes about the educational rights of Dalits. Illiteracy and unemployment are major problems among Dalits, contributing to their backwardness to a greater extent.
Another problem is that Dalits are poor and this leads them into the debt trap. Recent studies have revealed that Dalits in urban areas pledge their ration cards. Most of the sanitary workers of the Coimbatore Municipal Corporation have apparently pledged their ration cards to moneylenders.
This being the case Dalits' leaders should take steps to educate them, free them from economic exploitation, and improve their socio-economic condition.
Correction: In "Excavating Truth" (August 1), the inference from available archaeological data at Ayodhya that "no structural remains below the floor level of the mosque have been found", was attributed to a group of scholars and experts. We regret that the attribution was incorrect in the case of two of the scholars mentioned, Dr. Supriya Varma and Dr. Jaya Menon. Neither has endorsed such a conclusion.
In the article on NCERT textbooks ("Distorted lessons", August 1), Prof. Himansu Patnaik has been erroneously described as "Professor in Ancient Indian History at Utkal University". He is a faculty member of the University's Post-Graduate Department of History which has been accorded the status of a Department of Special Assistance by the University Grants Commission.