Letters to the Editor

Print edition : September 28, 2018



THE Cover Story (September 14) was truly heart-rending and conveyed the magnitude of the devastation in Kerala. Natural disasters cannot be avoided, but their enormity can be minimised by adopting eco-friendly measures. Natural calamities are nothing but nature’s reactions to human actions. The unprecedented rains in Kerala caught the government unawares, thereby exposing its lack of preparedness and the lack of an adequate disaster management plan for floods. What was heartening to see was how both the State and Central governments, civil society and many people from voluntary organisations rose to the occasion to provide relief and carry out rescue work.

The crisis was waiting to happen given that the far-sighted Madhav Gadgil report on the Western Ghats was consigned to the dustbin by successive State governments. This is yet another case of a faulty and myopic view of “growth” and “development” achieved through rampant overexploitation of nature with little care for the environment.

B. Suresh Kumar

Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu

Kerala is making international headlines because its people are battling their worst-ever trauma after suffering floods and landslides. The moving pictures in newspapers and on TV shocked me. Human beings should never take nature lightly and they should protect and utilise its numerous gifts in an eco-friendly manner. Any attempt to exploit nature always has a negative effect. Kerala’s technology and infrastructure should be improved so that it can tackle natural disasters like this. The human spirit and the helping hand that has been extended to Kerala from all directions are inspiring and have sent positive vibes across the world. Asian countries with coastal areas and Himalayan countries should learn lessons from the Kerala disaster.

P. Senthil Saravana Durai


THE great deluge in Kerala was the result of a combination of factors, natural and human. Although there is a debate about the actual causes of the floods, the State government should study the calamity seriously without any preconceived notions. It should take the help of the United Nations and countries with experience in flood control. In the age of high technology, the government needs to learn what action to take to mitigate nature’s fury.

N.C. Sreedharan

Kannur, Kerala

Kerala faced many problems because of the heavy downpour, landslips and flooding. It is good to note that the Central government declared this a calamity of severe nature and that financial and other support is pouring in from all parts of the country. The disaster has proved that disaster mitigation programmes need to be set up in the State. The events that took place after the havoc show that happiness lies in giving to others and that is the best way to share joy, love and gratitude in life.

A.J. Rangarajan


Somnath Chatterjee

Somnath Chatterjee was a politician with a difference, and his uncompromising decision not to step down following the diktats of the CPI(M) leadership made him a true champion of democracy in the eyes of leaders cutting across party lines and people alike (“People’s Speaker”, September 14). His expulsion from the party, which he termed “one of the saddest days in his life”, did not deter him from discharging his duties and maintaining a neutral stand during his entire stint as a Lok Sabha Speaker. His successors have acknowledged that they learnt the art of discharging the unbiased role of Speaker from Somnath Chatterjee.

Two large industrial investments were made to West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation Ltd during his tenure as Chairman. His efforts to revive industry in the State were unmatched. He was equally at home with literary pursuits as in politics, and his successful autobiography stands as a testimony to this.

Jayant Mukherjee




A.B. Vajpayee


IN the eyes of the aam aadmi, A.B. Vajpayee was not only a great politician but a versatile orator, a good poet, a gentle human being and, as everyone knows, loyal to the nation (“Beyond the mask”, September 14).

In a tweet, former Home and Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said: “While we know Vajpayee had a lot of friends, what we don’t know is he had no enemies.” Maybe he forgot Subramanian Swamy, who disliked Vajpayee. As per Hindu culture, when hundreds of tributes were pouring in for Vajpayee, maybe it was felt that it was not a good moment to mention the former Prime Minister’s faults—that the door to today’s political climate of communalism, hypernationalism and fear was opened by him when he indirectly encouraged the demolition of the Babri Masjid and with his doublespeak after the 2002 Gujarat pogrom.

After his death, many people said he was the best Prime Minister of India. Then, why did he lose the 2004 election?

Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee

Faridabad, Haryana


AFTER the uninterrupted, long rule of President Robert Mugabe, his successor Emmerson Mnangawa has won a five-year term in Zimbabwe (“Mugabe’s man wins”, September 14). The new President faces many challenges, from uniting the people to boosting the economy, which is in poor shape. I was in Zimbabwe before the elections and could see that citizens could draw only a limited amount of money from their accounts as the government was short of cash. It reminded me of India after demonetisation. Zimbabwe is a poor country but is rich in natural resources that are waiting to be developed sustainably. People are friendly and peace-loving and are waiting patiently for living conditions to improve.

D.B.N. Murthy


M. Karunanidhi

IT is very difficult to bring M. Karunanidhi into a single frame. He was a multifaceted personality who made a lasting impression on the minds and hearts of his well-wishers. He was an extraordinary artist-politician, and it is difficult to compare him with others.

Kudos to Frontline for bringing out a special issue with such care and interest. It is a mini book on the life and achievements of Karunanidhi with rare photographs and information and has to be preserved.

B. Jambulingam

Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu

THE excerpt from S. Narayan’s book “The Dravidian Years: Politics and Welfare in Tamil Nadu” in the Cover Story was a convincing analysis of the rule of Dravidian Chief Ministers (“Foundations of justice”, August 31). It stated that to lay the foundation of justice it was imperative to first get rid of the centuries-old foundation of injustices in society ingrained through the caste system.

M.N. Bhartiya

Alto-Porvorim, Goa