fl27 letters

Print edition : December 27, 2013

Sardar Patel

THE Cover Story (December 13) was a real account of what Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was like when he was in the first Congress Ministry after Independence. The conspiracy behind the murder of Mahatma Gandhi and negligence of the Home Ministry in taking appropriate steps to abort the conspiracy were shocking. From the article it is evident why communal forces in contemporary politics are trying to project Patel as a national icon.

It is ironical to erect a statue of Patel in Gandhi’s birthplace. After reading this cover story one can see how the seeds of communalism and hatred against Muslims were sown at the time of the freedom struggle.

Rajeevan A.K

Deodhara, Madhya Pradesh

THE Cover Story by A.G. Noorani gave a clear picture of the “Iron Man of India”. It is not strange for the BJP to have as its role model a man who was known for his open communal outlook. This truth should be made known to the present generation, who may not be unaware of the facts.

Riaz Ahamed

Eruvadi, Tamil Nadu

THE Cover Story was a well done and incisive piece of research in history and should act as an eye-opener to the nation.

H. Pattabhirama Somayaji

Mangalore, Karnataka

IT would be a sheer waste of resources if Rs.2,500 crore is spent on a statue (“A statue and its cost”, December 13). There are better ways of spending the money that would lead to the development of the nation. But the question is, Can somebody stop NaMo?

Srinath Mahesh

Roorkee, Uttarakhand

SPENDING thousands of crores of rupees to build a statue of a past leader (and the political career of a would-be prime ministerial candidate) is a sheer waste of money. This money should instead be spent on building public toilets as Narendra Modi himself has said that shauchalayas (toilets) are needed instead of devalayas. Now after Mayawati, it is his turn to go in for statues to build his image.

There is no information in the public domain on whether all the necessary clearances, especially environmental ones, have been obtained for the statue. The idea should be dropped.

Deendayal M. Lulla


IT is sad that a noted historian like Noorani should take it as his mission to malign Sardar Patel, a great soul of India who stood like a rock on the side of Indian nationhood. Patel showed grit and determination and sometimes ruthlessness in his bid to protect the interests of Indian nationhood, which was indeed a pragmatic thing to do during those testing days. He does not need anyone’s seal of approval to be viewed as secular by posterity. His close and long association with Mahatma Gandhi and his being chosen as Deputy Prime Minister prove his credentials.

C.T. Muthanna


IF Sardar Patel can be labelled communal just because he attended a private function meant exclusively for Hindus, I am sure Nehru can be considered more communal because he invited the RSS to participate in the official Republic Day parade in 1963. There is documentary proof of the official invitation sent by the Nehru government and of the RSS cadre participating in the parade, along with Indian military forces, in their khaki shorts, white shirts and black caps and with their own band. I do not think that the writer was not aware of this fact but ignored it because Nehruvian pseudo-secularism suited Muslim communal politics.

Just because one does not like Modi’s politics and just because Modi has chosen to build a statue of Patel, one cannot write articles using facts selectively. It was Patel who banned the RSS and jailed M.S. Golwalkar, its chief, in the context of the Mahatma’s murder and it was Nehru who invited the RSS to the parade and sent an official letter to Golwalkar. So readers of Frontline can judge for themselves who was secular and who was communal.

Duggaraju Srinivasa Rao

Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh

NEHRU was made the head of government in deference to the British as he was more cooperative with them. Patel was not. The biggest thing for which Patel is known is the unification of India, but Noorani showed that the English were working for the unification of India and Patel was not. Yes, the RSS is communal like other communal organisations of other religions, but it is the RSS which helps the nation during natural calamities.

Subhash Chandra Gahlawat

Rohtak, Haryana

Age of marriage

THE demand of some organisations to reduce the age of marriage for girls to 16 is not a fit one for a modern society (“Age and marriage”, December 13). Child marriages occur mainly because girl children are considered a burden. The government should give every unmarried girl child below the poverty line a stipend, and then the number of child marriages will fall. Both the father and husband of a minor girl who is married off should be given deterrent punishment.

S. Raghunatha Prabhu

Alappuzha, Kerala

Health care

THE interview with David Sanders (December 13) was illuminating. His book “Questioning the Solution: The Politics of Primary Health Care and Child Survival” largely influenced my thinking on health. His views are relevant to India.

Sanders is right about investment in sanitation. The lack of sanitation costs India an amount that is equivalent to 6.4 per cent of the GDP and causes about 7,80,000 deaths annually. India spends just 1.2 per cent of the GDP as its public component on health. Universal health care (UHC) is just jargon, and for India it means universal medical care. UHC requires universal provision of food, shelter, water, sanitation, hygiene, and free rational medical care.

Dr Araveeti Rama Yogaiah


Sachin Tendulkar

SACHIN TENDULKAR’S emotional farewell at the Wankhede Stadium at the end of his last innings was moving (“A life for cricket”, December 13). He has been the quintessence of sporting brilliance and grace under pressure. His exit represents the end of an era in Indian cricket. He was a special player and a true role model.

K.R. Srinivasan

Secunderabad, Andhra Pradesh

THERE is no doubt that Sachin is a national icon who literally shouldered the Indian cricket team’s huge responsibility whenever he came on the field to bat. More than his stature on the field, what differentiates him from others is his down-to-earth nature.

Bal Govind

Noida, Uttar Pradesh

SACHIN has left a lasting imprint on Indian cricket and put India on the map of sports world. The popularity and strong base of cricket in India today is undoubtedly due to the contributions of many of the country’s past cricket stalwarts, but Sachin’s surpasses those of others. It is sad that Sachin fell short of a century in his last game by 26 runs. Post retirement, one hopes he will devote time to train budding cricketers and work for sports such as football and hockey, which are largely neglected in India.

Jayant Mukherjee


THE article “The icon” (December 13), a comparative objective analysis of the careers of Pele, Diego Maradona and Sachin, was unputdownable. Their influence on culture is awesome and rightly so.

K.R. Deshpande



THE Sangh Parivar’s attempts to polarise society along communal lines in the run-up to the general election are ominous for the country (Cover Story, November 29). The fact that the RSS had its way in projecting Narendra Modi as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate is ample evidence of its real intentions. Modi has thus far lived up to expectations with his overt and covert communal posturing in his campaign trail. Be it the honour bestowed upon the MLAs of Uttar Pradesh accused of having been involved in instigating riots or the ill-advised “Asthi Kalash Yatra” in Patna, the message from the BJP is loud and clear. The deep divide in the secular camp is another worrying factor aiding the aggressive campaign of the BJP. Its top leadership, particularly Modi, should realise that the communal agenda will boomerang on the party.

J. Anantha Padmanabhan

Tiruchi, Tamil Nadu

THE article “Wahhabi impact” (November 29) effectively dealt with the canker of communalism that Wahhabism has unleashed among Muslim youth. Wahhabism preaches intolerance towards other religions and even towards more tolerant Muslims. Wahhabism promotes hatred, and those who adhere to its principles firmly believe that they alone are the sole protectors and defenders of the Islamic Ummah. India’s pluralistic society with secularism and democracy as its basic tenets can never be accepted and approved in Wahhabism. It is imperative that this extremist view is outlawed forthwith to safeguard the country.

G. Azeemoddin

Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh

YOUR Cover Story on divisive politics was an excellent contribution to the discussion on the efforts by various groups to profit from sectarianism and communal divisions. But, sadly, the article on Wahhabism was marred by subjective observations presented as facts and repeated, ad nauseum, clichéd allegations. The writer used a very broad brush to tarnish many organisations that have nothing to do with Wahhabism.

Wahhabism is a strict, rather literal, interpretation of the concept of monotheism in Islam. Americans, of course, call anybody who opposes them a Wahhabi. But the modern followers of Muhammed Ibn Abdul Wahhab call themselves Salafis because they claim that they truthfully imitate the Muslims of the first century of Islam. They also do not agree with other schools of thought and stridently oppose other views. It would be scandalous for Tabligh Jamaat or the Indian Union Muslim League to be called Wahhabis, or, for that matter, the Popular Front of India, which is not a religious organisation even though most of its members are Muslims. It has members belonging to all schools of thought (Madhab, in Islamic parlance), and it would be suicidal for the organisation to follow Wahhabi ideals. The writer has gone by police reports or quoted professional secularists to describe a pan-Indian movement that is mostly involved in the economic and social empowerment of the marginalised.

An incident here or a clash there does not represent an organisation. It is true that some Popular Front activists in Kannur in North Malabar were arrested while they were doing yoga and other exercises as part of the “Healthy People, Healthy Nation” campaign, which is a regular feature in the Popular Front calendar. There was a strong protest when they were arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and against the vilification campaign that accompanied the arrests.

In North Malabar, clashes are common among political groups, especially the CPI(M) and the RSS. In fact, CPI(M) members killed two of our cadres, and in one case the CBI investigated, some prominent CPI(M) members were arrested after the intervention of the Kerala High Court. In the last two months, four CPI(M) members were murdered by RSS men in different parts of Kerala. Strangely, the murders were labelled political, not extremist. Many CPI(M) and RSS workers are serving life imprisonment for murder. No Popular Front activists in Kannur are serving time for murder or rioting.

Another baseless allegation that crops up time and again is the one that states that a certain Rayana R. Kazi from Kasargod sought police protection after she received threats from us for, of all things, wearing jeans and shirt. In Malappuram district, one can see girls and boys merrily attending classes wearing Western clothes. And Ms Kazi is known to be fighting many criminal cases: She is alleged to have become a “victim of moral policing” to avoid further investigation and to get the support of the public. And now she is reportedly leading a peaceful married life in Kozhikode, the nerve centre of all shades of Muslim activism.

The allegation that the Popular Front is an offshoot of SIMI, a Muslim outfit the BJP-led NDA banned in 2001, is false. The National Development Front (NDF), the Popular Front’s predecessor, was started in Kerala in 1993. Such an organisation cannot be an offshoot of any other organisation, by any meaning of the word. The Popular Front does not subscribe to either the Jamaat-e-Islami or SIMI. Its constitution, books, videos, etc., are available in the market.

O.M.A. Salam

General secretary,

Popular Front of India,