World Social Forum

Published : Feb 27, 2004 00:00 IST

The time has come to strike at the heart of pro-rich capitalism and neo-conservatism and struggle against the mind-boggling exploitation of the South by the North, the illegal occupation of Iraq, multinational resource-guzzlers, and so on ("Globalised struggle", February 13). The fourth World Social Forum (WSF) provided a forum to discuss the grievances of the common people, including Adivasis, women and children, and issues such as terrorism and ecology. But this movement needs to go forward on the basis of Gandhian principles. Otherwise, it will lead to anarchy. I hope the leaders of the WSF will keep this in mind while mobilising people for struggles to get rid of problems such as poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, population explosion, environment degeneration, racism, terrorism, corruption and crimes against women and children. The message of the WSF needs to reach every village, town and city in the world.

Akhil KumarDelhiKrishna Raj

In the demise of Krishna Raj the world of Indian sociology has lost a brilliant editor, a prescient thinker and a great gentleman ("A committed journalist", February 13). He was the editor of Economic and Political Weekly (EPW) for almost 34 years and `EPW' and `Krishna Raj' were interchangeable. He was the life and soul of this highly respected journal, which had among its esteemed contributors Amartya Sen, M.N. Srinivas, Ashok Mitra, A.G. Chandavarkar, Kanta Ranadive and a galaxy of other eminent thinkers, Indian and foreign.

When he was accorded the B.D. Goenka Award for Excellence in journalism in 1997 he tried his best to have the award issued to EPW. He perceived the award to be a recognition of the role played by EPW. This was an eloquent testimony to his modesty.

He was hand-picked as Assistant Editor by the world-renowned Development Economist Dr. K.N. Raj in 1965 and within a short period adorned the post of Editor. The weekly itself was born in 1949, then known as Economic Weekly. It was edited by Sachin Chaudhuri who, with the help of the Sameeksha Trust, ran the journal. EPW's competitors - Commerce, Capital, Eastern Economist and Indian Finance - have all withered away. EPW survived simply owing to its high quality. Scholars the world over vied with one another to get space in its pages. It is well known that EPW offered through its pages a forum for economic gurus, senior bank executives and government officials to vent their grievances anonymously against official policies.

On January 16, Krishna Raj went to Strand Book stall and purchased a copy of Paul Krugman's Great Unravelling. He asked for a copy of the latest book of Joseph Stiglitz - Roaring Nineties. As it was not readily available, Krishna Raj requested the salesman to get a copy and inform him. The genial salesman promptly obtained a copy and rang up the Raj residence the next morning, only to learn to his shock that the great man had passed away within hours of placing the order.

P.P. Ramachandranreceived on e-mail

The Gorshkov deal

This has reference to India's purchase of `Admiral Gorshkov' aircraft carrier from Russia for $1.5 billion ("The Gorshkov deal", February 13).

It is reported that when Gorshkov formally enters the Indian Navy it would be 20 years old and that there was a major fire when it was used by the Soviet Navy.

The Chief of the Naval Staff says that once it is refurbished it would help achieve India's naval aspirations. The cost of refurbishment is not known. This warrants a thorough inspection by experts. Why should we purchase a second-hand carrier from Russia when we could get a new one from Britain, a reliable and much-experienced manufacturer of aircraft carriers?

G.E.M. ManoharanCoimbatore

Education in Kerala

This has reference to the article "A government in the dock" (February 13). The allegations of corruption and nepotism against Kerala Education Minister Nalakathu Soopy should be read with former Director of Higher Education Alphonse Kannanthanam's charges against the Minister in the entrance examination episode and Transport Minister R. Balakrishna Pillai's snide remarks against him.

These incidents underscore the demand from a section of society that the Education Ministry should be taken away from the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML).

The Congress(I)-led government in Kerala will fulfil any wish of the IUML because of the latter's political influence in the Malabar region.

Self-financing educational institutions in Kerala should be called educational enterprises for they are run with a profit motive.

S. Raghunatha PrabhuAlappuzha, Kerala.

Shining India

In his column, K. Natwar Singh says: "There is much shallow talk about `shining India' and the `feel good factor'. Which shining India are we talking about? Over 250 million people in our country live in abject poverty. Who is talking about the feel good factor - a hedonistic 10 per cent" ("A simple man and a great leader", February 13).

But, unfortunately, he forgets that most of the problems we are facing today are the result of four decades of misrule by the Congress(I). What the BJP is doing is nothing but completing the unfinished agenda of Rajiv Gandhi and P.V. Narasimha Rao. The Congress(I) should now try to come up with an alternative development plan to counter the "India Shining" campaign.

Ravindra Nath TripathiDundaseoni, Madhya Pradesh.

CAS confusion

This has reference to "CAS confusion in Delhi" (January 30). There is a simple solution to the CAS problem: Do not force it on consumers. Those who are happy with the present system should be allowed to continue with it.

The government has decided that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) would also regulate the broadcasting sector. TRAI should fix rates for cable connections and individual pay channels on an all-India basis. TRAI should be accessible to all consumers through e-mail or telephone.

Mahesh KapasiNew Delhi

`Vedic science'

This letter refers to "Postmodernism, Hindu nationalism and Vedic science" (January 2 and January 16).

Struck by the amazing logical structure of Sanskrit, European scholars translated the Vedas into English and German. One of the translators was a scholar from Oxford. After this there were seminars on the Vedas in every faculty of the Oxford University. It was only half a century after the Vedas were discussed that the industrial revolution took place. One of the stanzas from the Rig Veda reads: "Agni (the fire god) who drives the horses." American Indians called the locomotive the iron horse. If Meera Nanda reads the Vedas instead of relying on critics she will be amazed at the extent to which modernism and the industrial revolution were anticipated in the Vedas.

A.K. PuriDelhi

Advani and Ayodhya

In his fair analysis of the Babri Masjid demolition case, A.G. Noorani exposes the flaws in our criminal justice system ("How Advani went scot-free", January 30). It is fundamental that the maxim in dubio pro reo (no conviction on doubt) can be applied only on merits after trial and not at the stage of considering the question whether to frame charges or not. At that stage the court is only concerned whether a prima facie case is made out or not.

V.K. Sathyavan NairKottayam, Kerala


I wholeheartedly welcome the resolutions passed at the 64th session of the Indian History Congress held in Mysore ("Concerns of history", January 30).

History is a powerful element in forming the mental make-up of students. Therefore, the historians ought to prevent the interference of the Central government in the work of historians.

R.V. BhandariHonnavar, Karnataka

Bhandarkar Institute

It is highly deplorable that the Sambhaji Brigade has ransacked the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, a veritable treasure-house storing ancient manuscripts and artefacts of priceless value ("Politics of vandalism", January 30). It is unfortunate that such a prestigious institution is caught in a controversy over what is apparently a non-issue.

R.R. SamiTiruvannamalai

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