Letters to the Editor

Published : Jul 23, 2014 12:30 IST

West Asia


Militant Islamist fighters wave flags as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province June 30, 2014. The fighters held the parade to celebrate their declaration of an Islamic "caliphate" after the group captured territory in neighbouring Iraq, a monitoring service said. The Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot previously known as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), posted pictures online on Sunday of people waving black flags from cars and holding guns in the air, the SITE monitoring service said. Picture taken June 30, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer (SYRIA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT)

IT is unfortunate that Iraq is in a deep and complex crisis because of the ongoing war between the jehadis led by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the Sunni minority and the government led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (“The mother of all battles”, July 25). The fact is that U.S. interventions in West Asia and Afghanistan, backed by other Western nations, have so far proved disastrous and made citizens of every country, including India, vulnerable to attacks.

As the turbulence continues to rage the Iraq issue has the potential to derail the economy at the regional and global level. India is in the cross hairs of the jehadi group and needs to evolve a strategy to settle problems amicably in its own interest. At the same time, the U.S. cannot shirk from its responsibility to set right the current mess in Iraq and Syria.

K.R. Srinivasan

Secunderabad, Telangana

THE emergence of the ISIS and its rapidly increasing strength could have repercussions for West Asia. The division of Iraq could lead to the division of other Islamic states. The ISIS has already said that Pakistan is its next target. Pakistan is already engaged in combating the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). If ISIS terrorists join hands with the TTP, this would exacerbate the situation.

The need of the hour is for leading Muslim countries such as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar to adopt a joint strategy against the storm.

Santhosh Mathew Veranani


IN order to get the label of superpower, the U.S. has destroyed many countries, divided nations and abused human rights, and in the name of democracy, it has propped up dictators and destabilised many countries. Instead of leading countries to democracy, it uses undemocratic methods to destroy and divide people and uses capitalism as an effective tool to build barriers and interfere in every nation’s march to progress. In the name of “strategic cooperation”, the U.S. exports arms and builds an atmosphere of war. If superpowers keep quiet, global peace can be achieved.

S.A. Srinivasa Sarma



THE sentencing of three Al Jazeera journalists and others by the Egyptian judiciary on June 23 is a serious blow to free speech in Egypt under the dispensation of President Abdel Fateh al-Sisi (“Targeting the media”, July 25). Rightly, there has been international condemnation and protests against the crackdown on Al Jazeera. The U.S. and other Western powers need to review their support to the Egyptian government.

Journalists carrying out their official duties are not supposed to be handmaidens of governments or vested interests but must continue to report the ground realities.

Parthasarathy Sen

New Delhi


THE unsavoury and threatening remarks Trinamool Congress MP Tapas Paul made stunned civilised society (“This fortnight”, “Rape threat, filmy style”, July 25). It is our misfortune that compared with the high values, strict discipline and sacrificing nature of the leaders of old, who considered politics the noblest calling of all, the majority of today’s leaders have vitiated politics with disruptive acts. One wonders, when it will end.

Jayant Mukherjee


Mahatma Gandhi


Chennai: 15/03/2014: The Hindu: oeb: Book Review Column:
Title: Annihilation of Caste. The Annotated Critical Edition B.R. Ambedkar.
Author: The Doctor and the Saint an introduction by Arundhati Rao.

THE review of B.R. Ambedkar’s book “Annihilation of Caste” showed the Mahatma in an unflattering light (“Ambedkar and Gandhi”, July 25). However, it is worth remembering that even saints have their limitations. Further, we all are culturally conditioned. We may unconsciously harbour prejudices against people of an alien culture that are difficult to overcome. This may explain to some extent Gandhi’s attitude to Africans. However, this happened at an earlier phase in his life, and later on Gandhi did modify his opinions when he saw the extent of the exploitation of Africans by imperialist nations.

As regards the Tatas and the Birlas and other capitalists, Gandhi believed in the conciliatory approach of carrying all classes of society together, with the rich voluntarily acting as trustees for the poor. This was in consonance with his firm belief in non-violence and in gradual change as against the communist theory of violent class war. He did not believe in industrialisation as he thought that machines took jobs away from people.

Also, he believed in making villages self-sufficient and therefore wanted to develop cottage industries. His religious beliefs were of course coloured by Hindu orthodoxy.

B.P. Nailwal



AFTER holding out the promise of good governance, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government showed that it was no different from the United Progressive Alliance regime when it excluded Gopal Subramanium’s name from the Supreme Court collegium’s list of recommendations for judges (“Collision course?”, July 25). By not standing its ground, the judiciary failed to assert its independence. Power struggles between the executive and the judiciary were also witnessed in the previous dispensation, which called some court rulings as transgressions into the executive domain, but the way the Modi sarkar went about the business of selecting judges has ruffled many feathers.

The collegium is supposed to have the last word in judicial appointments and the government is supposed to comply with its recommendations. The government’s refusal to give its nod to the names forwarded to it by the collegium raises questions about independence of constitutional entities.

R. Prabhu Raj


Fact & fiction

IN his article “The fact of fiction” (July 25), Sashi Kumar touched upon the current advances in brain computer interface (BCI) research that the human mind had already imagined. However, researchers’ advances in the area of disease did not find mention. Disruption in the normal functioning of the human brain has resulted in a variety of conditions that have eluded diagnosis or treatment and frustrated humankind for a long time.

BCI has opened up the possibility of seeing the working of the brain in real time and understanding its dysfunction and the consequent debilitating symptoms. Conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are being treated with this new knowledge.

An electroencephalogram (EEG) is the primary input for any BCI process. The technology for the measurement of EEG, both hardware and software, is expensive as it is proprietary in nature. In the interest of humanity and brain/mind research, this technology should be made available at an affordable cost. The advent of open-source EEG hardware and software is exciting and has opened up many possibilities, including crowd-sourced applications in the area of social entrepreneurship.

Subramanian Sankar


FOR a person as interested in issues like telepathy and telekinesis as I am, Prof. Michio Kaku’s research provides valuable insights. It was very interesting to relate the current research to certain films (some of which I have seen). Compliments for the wonderful piece.

M.V.S. Prasad



THE phenomenal contribution of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and social workers towards redressing the situation of the downtrodden and the underprivileged should not be forgotten (“Targeting NGOs”, July 11). Brutal economic development has crushed the livelihoods of many and destroyed nature and is unethical and self-defeating.

To ensure peace for all along with economic security, what is needed is harmony between the various sections of society.

B.B.C. Chandrasekar

Madurai, Tamil Nadu

IT is the poor who suffer the most because of human greed hidden under the cloak of development. The “development” dream that the government is chasing is nowhere near the sustainable development models of Amartya Sen or Jean Dreze.

Unfortunately, the government is anguished over NGOs and activists fighting for the rights of the poor, as is reflected through the infamous, manipulated Intelligence Bureau report. The “leak” of the report raises questions.

Rahul Bhowmik

Siliguri, West Bengal

THE subject of NGOs and their functioning will always be controversial for this or that political party as it is a double-edged weapon that can be used selectively. The article failed to bring out the various facets of these NGOs, most of which have vested interests.

The first step of development/progress includes inconvenience for or displacement of someone or the other. This is primarily why every move by the government is opposed by people. Nowhere in the article did it answer the all-important question why all governments since the days of Jawaharlal Nehru have faced resistance from the people for whom the projects were being done.

H.C. Pandey

New Delhi

I HAVE been in Central government service for 21 years, seven of which I served in the north-eastern region of India. I can say with certainty that there are hundreds of NGOs floated by churches and other organisations that are directly involved in anti-national activities under the directions of their foreign masters. It is only the RSS that is able to counter this anti-national activity to a certain extent through its Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram.

Kiran Kumar



PAKISTAN is not only an enemy country but is also the epicentre of terrorism in the world (“Taking new routes”, July 11). India is a victim of Pakistan’s mindless terrorism. Although Pakistan occasionally suffers because of the terrorism of its own creation, it continues to sponsor terrorism and use it as a tool of foreign policy. India should emulate Israel and give Pakistan tit for tat instead of making statements of platitude.

And as for the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), it cannot exist without looking upon India as an enemy. It is an extension of the Pakistan Army and is the only spy agency in the world to have as its head the No. 2 in the Army. The ISI created the Taliban and helped Al Qaeda flourish.

S. Raghunatha Prabhu

Alappuzha, Kerala

TERRORISM, now a global problem, has become purely a business. There is huge money involved in it. The authorities and the public alike must work together to minimise its spread.

M. Kumar

New Delhi

SETTING up National Security Guards hubs in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata is commendable in the context of terror attacks in the country. The government’s keenness to raise the level of preparedness to respond swiftly to any terror threat is a positive sign.

P. Senthil Saravana Durai

Vazhavallan, Tamil Nadu

Narendra Modi

THE essay “Modifying democracy” (July 11) covered in detail the steps Prime Minister Modi has taken to create a bureaucratic set-up similar to the one he had in Gujarat. Direct contact between bureaucrats and the Prime Minister, short-circuiting Ministers, is fraught with great danger.

It is now possible for a bureaucrat to inform Modi directly of some grand idea that his Minister does not exactly agree with and obtain his approval. And if an MP asks the Minister in Parliament why a particular action was taken, the Minister will have to plead ignorance. It will not be easy to stop this trend now.

R. Krishnan


Cover design

THE cover of the Frontline issue dated June 27 with the words “black money” against a black background and the words “grey areas” against a grey background was a masterpiece in design.

S. Murali

Vellore, Tamil Nadu

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