Letters to the Editor

Print edition : July 05, 2019

Jammu & Kashmir

THE BJP’s overambitious project to bring Jammu and Kashmir under its spell is going to be a dream turned sour (“Operation Kashmir”, June 21). By failing, or rather refusing, to learn lessons from the ground realities, the BJP is playing a dangerous game with devastating consequences for the whole country. Home Minister Amit Shah’s words that there is no question of entering into a dialogue with “separatists” sound like a war cry.

Ayyasseri Raveendranath, Aranmula, Kerala

The Congress

THE re-election of Sonia Gandhi as chairperson of the Congress Parliamentary Party underlines the fact that the party adamantly refuses to learn lessons from the past (“Time to introspect”, June 21). The blow dealt to the Congress in the general election can be attributed to its total disconnect from the needs/aspirations of the common man. The party’s over-reliance on dynastic politics, which has failed time and again and led to sycophancy and nepotism, has relegated it to the fringes of the political spectrum.

The Congress needs to look beyond the charisma of the Nehru-Gandhi family, strengthen its grass roots and bring in fresh blood and reinvent itself through a left-of-centre programme that can help it reconnect with the masses.

B. Suresh Kumar, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu

Akeel Bilgrami

THE interview with Akeel Bilgrami (June 21), though lengthy, was enlightening. Sanders and Corbyn will be losers for a very long time to come unless the poor and the middle classes understand that restrictions on property and inheritance rights are of the utmost importance. They have neither time nor the wherewithal to understand the intricacies and complexities of the present-day capitalist structures that enhance the wealth of the wealthy in myriad ways. Trump, Erdogan, Modi, Marine Le Pen and the like are only fronts for the wealthy to utilise political vectors such as religion, language, ethnicity and race for a speedier accumulation of wealth. Throughout the history of civilisations, the wealthy utilised every opportunity as a political vector to retain and enhance their privilege.

While reforms such as restrictions on property and inheritance rights are not a panacea, they will, over a few generations, give ordinary human beings a chance for a dignified life with access to better education and health care.

All political parties across the world, including the Left ones, ensure that funds flow to the party—and in the process to influential individuals—from the wealthy who would be rewarded suitably overtly or covertly. It is well known that the poor and the middle classes make negligible monetary contributions to political parties.

The poor and the middle classes know the consequences of dissent, not only in the Third World countries but in the U.S. too, especially when the dissenters are in penury. Can Sanders come out with a statement for restrictions on property and inheritance rights or for a ban on patents? The poor and the middle classes can be made to understand not by political parties, which compete for power, but by a movement for the elimination of capitalism as we know it today.

Chidananda B., Bengaluru

IT was cathartic to read Akeel Bilgrami say that it is not populism but liberalism that has failed to gauge a world that might be nearing its end, while the end of capitalism is not in sight. Cathartic because in the brazen bluff of our times (aptly delineated by Harsh Mander in “A Summary of Fears & Possibilities”, The Hindu, June 13), it serves no purpose to diagnose mere surfaces while forgetting the deep-rooted maladies in whose spread we were complicit. Even as he was speaking of examples from across the globe, Bilgrami's concerns resonate in the India of the here and now. As Gyorgy Lukacs famously said: “We need, in these our sullied times, the genius of a Michael Angelo to come up with an ordinary table, round which we could sit and converse.”

H. Pattabhirama Somayaji, Mangaluru, Karnataka

Election 2019

KUDOS to Frontline for consistently and boldly exposing the hollow and venomous campaign of the BJP that catapulted it back to power (Cover Story, June 7). The Editor’s Note brought out the deliberate obfuscations being spread by Narendra Modi about social realities such as caste, poverty and secularism. Modi has even tried to discard secularism as a sham.

Given the kind of general discontentment that prevailed until the Pulwama and Balakot events, there is no way one can explain the enormous swing in favour of the BJP and its allies. Modi’s presidential-style campaign with mammoth publicity and a weak and disorganised opposition helped, but it was the shrewd projection of the Pulwama attack and the Balakot achievements that seemed to have had a significant impact on the collective psyche of voters. One can recall the way Modi used the tragic Godhra and post-Godhra riots in 2002 for electoral gains in Gujarat.

Having sensed the general dissatisfaction that was brewing against the uninspiring economic performance of his government, Modi had no hesitation in launching a kind of overt “political surgical strike” glorifying Pulwama and Balakot. His victory can be attributed to communal consolidation and demagoguery.

H.S. Shylendra, Anand, Gujarat