There is no magazine that comes anywhere near Frontline in terms of content. The visuals are an added bonus. Kudos to The Hindu Group for keeping its standards aloft.
Prelude to 2024
The upcoming Assembly elections in five States are undoubtedly a touchstone for the BJP’s performance at the Centre (Cover Story, October 20). All recent incidents, such as the widespread use of the ED to intimidate opposition parties, the stifling of the media, the plan to implement “One Nation One election” concept without proper discussion with opposition parties, and the passing of the Women’s Reservation Bill with no immediate possibility of its implementation, will have a bearing on the people’s mandate. However, the moot point is whether the INDIA grouping will be able to live up to the expectations of the people who aspire for a change of guard at the centre.
With elections in the five States of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram and Telangana fast approaching, political parties have begun to woo voters in the right earnest (Cover Story, October 20).
While the upcoming Assembly elections are a virtual referendum of the performance of the incumbent State governments, it would be far-fetched to extrapolate the results of the same to the 2024 general election and dub them “semi-finals”. It would be worthwhile to recall that voters have, time and again, tended to vote differently in a general election as compared to Assembly elections where local issues matters the most. This was typically demonstrated in the 2018 Assembly elections to the said States where the Congress emerged victorious in all, in sharp contrast to the 2019 general elections where the Narendra Modi-led BJP Government secured a thumping victory.
B. Suresh Kumar
Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
Women’s Reservation Bill
Saba Naqvi’s article about the reservation of seats for women in Parliament and the State Assemblies (“Obstacle course”, October 20) was well written and informative. It is sad that both the ruling party and the opposition party have failed to walk the talk, and that though the Bill has become legislation, it will take several years more to be implemented. Thanks to Frontline for bringing out an informative and innovative article about the nation.
Loordu Arul Oli
The article on Sanatana Dharma (“Historical Interpretation and contemporary concerns”, October 20) appears to have wilfully bypassed Sri Aurobindo’s interpretation of the same. Aurobindo said: “Nationalism is not politics but a religion, a creed, a faith. …I say that it is the Sanatana Dharma which for us is nationalism…” He believed that patriotism was thus a national religion. Further, he wrote: “There is a mighty law of life, a great principle of human evolution, a body of spiritual knowledge and experience of which India has always been destined to be guardian, exemplar and missionary. This is Sanatana Dharma, the eternal religion” (Aurobindo, On Nationalism, page 383). At first it seems as if Aurobindo, revolutionary, nationalist, and man of religion, was merely making a case for superiority of faith, but Aurobindo accepted the true etymological meaning of Sanatana as “eternal”, not confined in time and space, and not “’changeless” or orthodox, as is the popular understanding.
Jangipur, West Bengal
India and Canada
The G20 summit marked a bitter standoff between India and Canada (“Not so friendly fire”, October 20). While India calls Hardeep Singh Nijjar, the dead man at the centre of the standoff, a rank terrorist, Canada calls him an “innocent Canadian”. Nijjar was involved not only in the bombing the Shingar cinema in Ludhiana but also in the murder of a Hindu priest in Punjab. Many requests of the Indian government to extradite Nijjar fell on deaf ears. To add insult to injury, Trudeau claims that Indian agents were responsible for Nijjar’s killing.
With the Canadian economy nosediving owing to inflation, Trudeau is desperate to enlist the support of Khalistani politicians in Canada to prop up his tottering government. But Canada cannot normalise its relations with India if it does not reign in the radical Khalistani elements on its soil.
Kangayam R. Narasimhan
The increasing number of student suicides in India point to our deeply diseased educational and social systems (Cover Story, October 6). Parents, in their struggle to secure a good future for their children, forget that the lack of recreation and relaxation can cause intense pressure for students, especially those preparing for competitive examinations. It is the responsibility of not only parents and coaching centres but also the government to ensure that students get proper rest, counselling and guidance.
Alen Joseph George,
Islam, at its core, lacks a caste-based hierarchy. This distinction was articulated by Ambedkar in his seminal essay, “Annihilation of Caste”, where he stated: “In Hinduism, caste has religious consecration, but that is not the case with Islam.” Similarly, in a conference in 1943, Periyar E.V. Ramasamy declared: “Converting to Islam is the solution because it offers social unity and self-respect; all Adi-Dravidas ought to leave Hinduism and join Islam.” However, thanks to the Indianisation of Islam, the caste system and social hierarchies have made their way into the Indian Muslim community as well.
Today, the teachings and philosophies of Periyar and Ambedkar hold equal relevance for Indian Muslims as they do for Hindus, serving as indispensable guidelines in mitigating social hierarchies and fostering an environment of equitable respect within their respective communities (“Periyar’s idea for India” October 6). Udhayanidhi Stalin’s recent comments on Hindutva can be seen as an interpretation of Periyar’s concept of Sanatana Dharma, especially since the BJP has turned it into a political playground ahead of the 2024 election.
India, this side
Ganesh Devy has shown how frustrating it is to cling to a myopic idea of nationalism, when the treasures of diversity lie all around us in India (“The elusive India”, October 6). A common-sense awareness of the Indian reality might reassure us that the constitutional vision of unity can indeed be expanded and deepened.