Shooting the messenger
Those who have created a controversy over the issue are only deflecting people’s attention from the real issue—the patriarchal values of our society.
THE government has failed miserably to make society safe for women. It has failed to curb incidents of rape. So, banning of the documentary is not going to solve the problem.
Dynasty in democracy
THIS has reference to “Dynasty in Democracy” (April 3) It says that Sirimavo Bandaranaike established an autocracy with a new Constitution in Sri Lanka. It is true that the Constitution of 1972 was unfair by the minorities in significant ways and extended the life of Parliament by two years. But it was far from autocratic. Significantly, the author of the Constitution was Dr Colvin R. de Silva, a Trotskyite and founder member of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP), the oldest political party in the country.
Sirimavo Bandaranayake faced an attempted military coup in 1962, an armed insurrection in 1971 and growing militancy in the North since around 1974. She also had to deal with a food crisis in 1974-75, and mischief by the opposition United National Party (UNP) and a section of the media to sabotage the food drive undertaken to meet food shortages. Anyone who knows the dirty politics of the Lake House Newspapers would understand why the government of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP)-LSSP sought to nationalise it in 1964 —to break the UNP monopoly over the print media.
The Lake House hit back by forcing a split in the SLFP, which led to the fall of the government. The harsh treatment of the Lake House and, later, the Sun-Davasa group of newspapers seemed the only option before the government to deal with the mischief of powerful media. Despite these failings, Sri Lanka suffered nothing like what India did under Indira Gandhi during June 1975-March 1977 or Bangladesh under Mujibur Rahman during December 1974-August 1975. To suffer, the country had to wait until 1978.
Colombo, Sri Lanka
THE killing of the writer and blogger Avijit Roy by Islamists in Bangladesh is not just an attack on free speech (“Freethinker silenced”, April 3). It points to the increasing muscle power of intolerant fringe elements in Bangladesh who are fast moving towards the political centre. The attack has brought back memories of the murders of Rajib Haider (2013) and Humayun Azad (2004).
All three wrote against the rise of religious fanaticism in Bangladesh, were particularly critical of Islamist political parties such as the Jamaat-e-Islami, and demanded judicial action against the 1971 war criminals.
UNION BUDGET 2015 is against those in the middle class because it offers them no major relief on income tax (“Public funds to push neoliberal agenda”, April 3). On the other hand, an increase in the service tax rate from 12.26 per cent to 14 per cent is a big drain on their pockets as every item they consume becomes costlier now.
A VOID has been created by the death of Vinod Mehta, a stalwart of journalism. He was blunt and expressed his views without any fear on any subject, including politics and politicians.
He was a mentor to the tribe of Letters to the Editor writers. Mehta once said that he read all letters and gave maximum space for these as readers’ feedback was the backbone of a successful magazine. But he avoided publishing letters from professional letter writers who write to all and sundry on almost all subjects.
K. SATCHIDANANDAN’S column “Rereading Gandhi” (March 6) was one of the best articles on Gandhi that I have read in recent times. It gave a clear view of many aspects of Gandhian thought. The accompanying black-and-white photographs make the article one that must be preserved