Readers respond

Letters to the Editor

Print edition : July 25, 2014

Targeting NGOs

TARGETING an NGO like Green Peace, which has impeccable credentials across the world for its contribution to human welfare, and individuals like Suman Sahai of Gene Campaign is nothing but a farce (“Targeting NGOs”, Cover Story, July 11).

That Narendra Modi’s style of functioning is akin to post-Emergency Indira Gandhi’s should be noted with concern. Agitations against controversial industrial projects such as Posco and Vedanta have been characterised as anti-development. The NGOs are agitating against the neoliberal policies of the “Modi-fied” NDA, which in effect are the same as that of the UPA government. The saving grace is that the judiciary has questioned some of the policy decisions relating to some controversial projects.

S. Murali

Vellore, Tamil Nadu



THE Cover Story is an attempt by Frontline to give a communal colour to what was essentially an issue of national interest. The authors have tried to attribute motives to Narendra Modi, while the fact is that the report on the functioning of NGOs was ordered by the Manmohan Singh regime in the wake of allegations of involvement of foreigners in the Kudankulam agitation and the deportation of a German national for suspicious activities. It just happened that a regime change had occurred by the time the I.B. completed its investigation and filed the report. The article states on the one hand that there is “nothing illegitimate about the funding of NGOs”, but on the other it questions the funding received by the RSS. The RSS is not above the law, and any anti-national activity by any organisation has to be checked. Unfortunately, you relied on the activists of one NGO to damn the RSS. By quoting the report of one NGO, you cannot run down another NGO.

Duggaraju Srinivasa Rao

Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh



Modi as PM

IF the Prime Minister has the final say on policy matters, it does not amount to reducing Ministers to ciphers or subverting the Constitution (“Modifying democracy”, July 11). The memories of a Council of Ministers who decided on matters while the Prime Minister remained a mute witness are still fresh in people’s minds. There were also many Group of Ministers and Empowered Group of Ministers, but they had no time to decide on anything.

After a long time we have a stable government with a single party in power. We have a Prime Minister who has not yet been accused of corruption, and one hopes he will wield the stick where needed and go by consensus otherwise.

G. Venkataraman

Mumbai

I BEG to differ with A.G. Noorani. It is too early to conclude that the Prime Minister is usurping the powers of the Cabinet and giving precedence to the bureaucracy.

Secondly, if the PMO acts as an umpire between the Cabinet and the administration, it augurs well for intra- and inter-ministerial coordination and smooth implementation of policies. The mushrooming of umpteen committees during the UPA rule led to a policy paralysis that hampered the investment climate. A strong PMO is the need of the hour. The prime ministerial form of government is what keeps the Ministries on their toes. It is not about downsizing the government, it is about right-sizing.



Vishnu Gunneri

Srikalahasti, Andhra Pradesh

Labour laws

IT is high time consumers got an equal importance in labour laws, which are archaic (“Warning signals”, July 11). Whenever workers go on strike, the ultimate sufferers are the consumers, be it in the case of banks, hospitals, or municipal corporations. Only those who are employed with a company should become members of its union, or head it, and that too, on rotation. There is also a dynasty culture in trade unions—after the father, the son heads the union. Trade unions should be brought under the RTI. Let alone the public, even union members are kept in the dark about the correspondence exchanged between the union and the management.

The argument that contract labour impacts quality is not true; the same thing can be said of permanent employees as they can become lethargic since they know that they will not be sacked.



Deendayal M. Lulla

Mumbai

Pune murder

THE brutal murder of the techie Mohsin Sheikh in Pune by a group men owing allegiance to the Hindu Rashtra Sena shows the intolerance of fanatic fringe elements of Hindutva groups (“Stoking the fire”, July 11).

The Modi goverment must act swiftly against the killers and send a positive signal to society that any kind of crime in the name of religion or caste is unacceptable and will be dealt with sternly.

K.R. Srinivasan

Secunderabad, Telangana

Infosys

LAST year, when Narayana Murthy re-joined Infosys, everyone hoped that he would succeed in his mission to put the company back at the top of the IT industry (“Rebooting Infosys”, July 11). Unfortunately, things got worse. Now that he has handed over the reins to a non-founder member, things should start falling in place. With the kind of credentials Vishal Sikka has, he should be able to help Infosys sail in the right direction and regain lost ground.

The biggest advantage of having a non-core or non-founder member at the helm is that he will not be influenced by any biases. The next two quarters will give us an idea whether this move has helped Infosys.

Bal Govind

Noida



Kerala’s orphanages

THE detention of 579 children being taken to orphanages in Kerala illegally is a matter of grave concern (“Unpleasant journey”, July 11). It is appalling to think that the children travelled 2,700-kilometres by train under extremely vulnerable conditions. Whether or not the children were being trafficked is a matter that needs to be investigated.



If the orphanage authorities intended to provide food and education to the poverty-stricken children, why were they transported in an inhuman way without food or water for hours during their long journey? Why were some of the kids taken back by their parents after hearing the news? The authorities of the orphanages should be questioned to find out whether there is any nexus between them and the agents. It is disheartening that the Kerala Chief Minister refers to the incident as a procedural lapse.

Buddhadev Nandi

Bishnupur, West Bengal





Fishermen



MEERA SRINIVASAN in her well-reasoned analysis of the problem of fishermen in India and Sri Lanka has identified the use of trawlers as the genesis of the conflict (“Double disadvantage”, July 11). Vested interests have politicised the issue. The Tamil Nadu government thinks that the return of Katchathivu to India will bring the problem to an end. As trawlers go far beyond Katchathivu, the problem will persist. The farther you go into the sea, the larger will be the catch. Restrictions on the use of trawlers will bring some relief.

S.S. Rajagopalan

Chennai

World Cup

IT is an irony that while flags of small nations like Cameroon, Costa Rica and Ivory Coast flutter in the FIFA World Cup arena, the Indian tricolour is conspicuous by its absence (“The greatest spectacle on earth”, June 27). It is an utter shame that a team from India, the world’s second most populous country, could not qualify for the World Cup! The only consolation, perhaps, is that China, the world’s most populous nation and a superpower in the making, is sailing in the same boat!

K.P. Rajan

Mumbai



Sharia

SEVERAL points are not clear in Noorani’s essay (“Impossible agenda”, June 27). 1) He writes, “….Sharia, Islamic Law, which fully recognises the rights of women; …..” The question is not merely “the rights of women” but equal rights of men and women. Does Sharia recognise such rights? 2) The presumption that Muslim women are interested in their religious identity may be wrong. They may be more interested in their identity as free human beings or as free women rather than as Muslims. 3) From the essay, the Sharia Law appears to be very good for Muslims. If it is good for Muslims, then it should be equally good for Hindus and Christians.



Dhrubajyoti Bora

Mora Bhoroli, Tezpur, Assam

General election

THE article “Social counter-revolution” (June 13) by Prabhat Patnaik gives an excellent analysis of the factors that contributed to the victory of the extreme Right in the recent general elections. He has underlined the caste-class interplay that was cleverly manipulated by the BJP, aided by the corporate sector and the media.

However, there are, regrettably, two important omissions in this essay. First, there is no mention of the role of the Indian communist parties in the victory of the far Right, and absolutely none on their own catastrophic defeat in the election. Secondly, the writer completely left aside the role of the German Communist Party in the rise and victory of the German National Socialist party when he writes: “…the Berlin region where the German working class was concentrated had still overwhelmingly elected Communists and Social Democrats. Such was the strength and resilience of class-based organisations”.

The victory of the Nazis occurred in a period that was qualified by the Russian and the Comintern leaderships as the “third period of the general crisis of capitalism”, a new epoch of class struggles and civil wars favourable to the proletarian revolution. The Sixth Congress of the Comintern (1928) laid down the tasks corresponding to the new situation, epitomised by the “Class against Class” formula. In this “maturing revolutionary situation”, it was emphasised, the Social Democrats were the “principal enemy” of the working class. Bukharin opposed this, warning against what he considered as “sectarian” line. In the same congress, Palmiro Togliatti, opposing Ernst Thalmann, secretary of the German Communist Party, held that social democracy was a movement based on workers and the petty bourgeoisie and drew its main force from the labouring masses. In 1929, Togliatti had to follow the party line and abandoned his earlier critical position. In the July 1928 plenum of the Central Committee of the CPUSSR, the majority, including Stalin, thought that the advanced capitalist countries were on the eve of a proletarian revolution, refusing all collaboration with the Social Democrats. Opposing this, Bukharin held that the European Social Democratic parties and their trade unions had with them the immense majority of workers, and that it would be a grave error to dismiss them as “social fascists” and denouncing them as the main enemy. (In 1930, Trotsky, already exiled, to his great credit, spoke of the “absurd idea”, according to which fascism could not be defeated without first defeating social democracy. And addressing the social democratic workers, he urged them to tell their party to engage in a real struggle for a social democratic state. “We will be by your side. We will pledge not to undertake revolutionary actions which go beyond the limits of democracy”.)

In 1929, the 10th plenum of the Central Executive Committee of the Comintern qualified the Social Democrats as “social fascists”, and declared that the “aims of the fascists and those of the social democrats were identical”. In 1931, the German Communist Party voted together with the Nazis against the Social Democratic government of Prussia in a referendum, and the fall of this government was hailed by the Pravda of August 13 as a victory of the working class. All the actions undertaken by the Nazis against the Social Democratic trade unions one year before Hitler came to power were supported by the Communist Party whose general secretary Thalmann spoke of a “single class front with the Nazi proletarians”. Even two days before Hitler’s coronation, Thalmann wrote that the “recent events signified a turning point in favour of the proletarian revolution”, and three months later, the party still declared, “the proletariat has not lost any battle, suffered any defeat”.

Paresh Chattopadhyay

University of Quebec in Montreal, Canada

A letter from the Editor


Dear reader,

The COVID-19-induced lockdown and the absolute necessity for human beings to maintain a physical distance from one another in order to contain the pandemic has changed our lives in unimaginable ways. The print medium all over the world is no exception.

As the distribution of printed copies is unlikely to resume any time soon, Frontline will come to you only through the digital platform until the return of normality. The resources needed to keep up the good work that Frontline has been doing for the past 35 years and more are immense. It is a long journey indeed. Readers who have been part of this journey are our source of strength.

Subscribing to the online edition, I am confident, will make it mutually beneficial.

Sincerely,

R. Vijaya Sankar

Editor, Frontline

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