The ongoing protest in Ladakh for statehood is a good example of people’s awareness of the need to preserve their distinctive identity and legacy (Cover story, September 22). As noted in the article, Ladakh lost much after becoming a Union Territory, including power, local identity, culture, Sixth Schedule status, and privileges. The purpose of Article 370 was to provide Jammu and Kashmir a unique status. It may now be considered a complete failure.
The success of the lunar mission also heralds the emergence of a new era in Indian space research. As India joins the comity of nations such as the US, Russia and China owing to this spectacular achievement, it has also proven its capability to design, develop and deploy lunar lander modules. When we view this against the background of a similar yet failed lunar mission by Russia a few weeks ago, the achievement of India assumes added significance. My hearty congratulations to the whole ISRO team led by S. Somanath for making the nation proud.
Anosh Malekar’s glowing and rich tribute to Gail Omvedt on the second anniversary of her passing is sure to motivate social activists and empathetic citizens [“Gail Omvedt and her revolution” September 22, 2023]. Living and working as she did in Kasegaon, Maharashtra, Gail proved that the world is a global village. She was an ambassador of the remarkable convictions of Jyotirao Phule and B.R.Ambedkar, a true practitioner of applied sociology and a trailblazer for the emancipation of the oppressed in all aspects. She would often quote the Marathi poet Vaman Kardak: “Search the sky, the moon and the stars/ The light is in you/ The light is in you/ Be tomorrow’s Sun”.
Indeed, Indian society is indebted to Gail for her scholarly revolution.
It was interesting to read about how Saudi Arabia has emerged as a global sporting hub (“The great game”, September 22). While countries like Qatar, China, and Russia have gone through hell and high water even after spending exorbitantly on sports, Saudi Arabia has been successful in bringing the most sought-after football stars to its clubs.
Ministers in the dock
If the corruption cases against key Ministers of the DMK government were handled with gross illegality by the special courts, then the suo motu cognition of the cases by the Madras High Court has become necessary to establish the majesty of the rule of law (“Bolt from the blue”, September 22). It is shocking that Senthil Balaji still continues as Minister in the DMK government despite the charge sheet issued against him.
The revision orders of Justice Anand Venkatesh cannot be faulted because they embarrass the powers that be. Justice Anand’s famous judgments listed in the article show that he has never been known to have buckled under pressure. The comments of R.S Bharathi of the DMK that the judge was using a “pick and choose policy” that smacked of discrimination is lamentable. One can only hope that the cases will not be transferred to some other court to defeat the ends of justice.
Kangayam R. Narasimhan
I’m delighted to see that Frontline magazine has brought up the matter of violence in Manipur yet again (Cover story, September 8). Countless lives and livelihoods have been lost in the prolonged inter-ethnic strife in Manipur and it seems that only the Supreme Court, which has persistently opposed the violence and raised urgent demands that the rule of law be restored, represents the only ray of hope for us as a nation.
Anvil Mascarenhas S.J.
THE demand raised by the RJD MP Manoj Kumar Jha (“Constitutional machinery has fallen apart in Manipur”, September 8) to hold an all-party peace march in the hills and the valley in Manipur under the Prime Minister’s leadership would be a welcome step.
The much-touted model of women’s power in Meira Paibis has bared its true colours as a movement not for the cause of women although being a movement of women. The saving grace for the whole scenario, so far, is the Supreme Court’s positive “judicial activism”.
NO law is perfect because it depends on how it is implemented and the Goa civil code is no exception (“How uniform is Goa’s uniform civil code?” September 8, 2023).What needs to be done is to evolve the Goa Code for family law with discussions using the marginalised groups and their stakeholders for the succession issue and all other issues. The profiling of Muslims and their women will only make the uniform civil code partial and ruin it. It must not be passed undemocratically without the opposition being present in Parliament; even after it is passed, the necessary changes must be made from time to time to make it relevant.
THE following are my views germane to the interview (“Vivekananda is the ideological nemesis of the Sangh Parivar”, September 8, 2023). .
Swami Vivekananda lived during an age when the once incandescent cultural spirit of India was practically eclipsed by the British, who drove deep schisms into the socio-political milieu of that time. The Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb, i.e. the ethics of mutual coexistence and tolerance, were dealt death blows by the revivalist proclivities aided surreptitiously by the British.
At such a juncture, he proved instrumental in facilitating a conducive environment for the future growth of an Indian brand of nationalism in the fertile soil of religious universalism that he had tilled through his tireless efforts. These principles of oneness, cohesion and fraternity, which permeated the political discourse back then, have not run out of currency and hold a significant position in today’s communally charged social setting. The extremism today, in the name of religion, has begun to insidiously infest all of our spaces, even our schools. The recent incidents of children being rebuked and traumatised in school classrooms at Muzaffarnagar and Kathua, merely because of their affiliations to particular religions, are heart-wrenching.
In a letter dated June, 10, 1898, he wrote, “For our own motherland a junction of two great systems, Hinduism and Islam—Vedanta brain and Islam body—is the only hope” (The Discovery of India by Jawaharlal Nehru, pages 336-339). These prophetic words calling for religious unity need to be heeded now more than ever before.
SWAMI Vivekananda famously said that not only do we believe in universal tolerance but also that we accept all religions as true. (“Vivekananda is the ideological nemesis of the Sangh Parivar”, September 8, 2023). At a time when sectarianism, bigotry, and fanaticism have long possessed our beautiful nation and drenched it with bloodshed and violence, it is heartening to see Frontline promoting Vivekananda’s ideals. While history cannot be changed, it is the past and present that together make the future. At least we can be motivated by such philosophers of yore.
T. V. Jayaprakash
THIS is regarding Frontline’s special issue on Mrinal Sen (August 25, 2023). As an executive in Film Finance Corporation, which financed Sen’s Bhuvan Shome, I have watched closely and admired his long and exacting shooting spells in the arid and hot expanses of Gujarat. His talented cast and technicians, which included Suhasini Mulay, Utpal Dutt, and cameraman K.K. Mahajan, enjoyed the experience with immense fortitude. I stayed in occasional touch with Sen and reviewed his unusually formatted book My Chaplin for the national Marathi daily Loksatta. What got my attention was his desire to make a film on nuclear energy. He intended to cast Naseeruddin Shah and Soumitra Chatterjee, but unfortunately it was not made. Politically and artistically humane and unique, that was the filmmaker and intellectual thinker Mrinal Sen for me.
In the article “The Sino-Indian face-off in Ladakh” in the issue dated September 22, 2003, the name of Konchok Stanzin was wrongly spelt as Phuntsok Stanzin. The relevant sentence on page 23 should read: “In a recent interview with this writer, Konchok Stanzin, the outspoken and articulate former Executive Councillor, who still represents Chusul in the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council of Leh, said that he had pleaded, without response from the powers that be, that among the problems of the civilians in the Changthang is an absence of transparency in fund allocation and disbursement for the nomadic and the settled communities of the Changthang.” The inadvertent error is regretted.