Letters to the editor

Print edition : May 29, 2015

B.R. Ambedkar

INDIA’S freedom struggle produced leaders who sacrificed everything for the sake of its freedom and contributed to its welfare (Cover Story, May 15). Ambedkar’s contribution to the nation is immeasurable. It is an insult to his memory to reduce him to the level of today’s vote-bank politics. He should be liberated from the clutches of caste politics. Let us learn from him the power of knowledge and appreciate his determination to rise above the obstacles he faced. His legacy is not caste politics.

S.A. Srinivasa Sarma, Hyderabad

Red sanders

THOSE responsible for the murder in cold blood of 20 woodcutters in the Seshachalam forest of Andhra Pradesh should be punished without delay (“Murders most foul”, May 15). It is strange that the Andhra Pradesh Police apparently chose to kill the woodcutters even though they posed no threat to the police. Their families are inconsolable as most of them have lost their only breadwinner. The smuggling of red sanders is a flourishing illegal trade. Trade in red sanders should be legalised and thrown open to authorised dealers operating under strict guidelines.

D.B.N. Murthy, Bangalore


IT is good that the U.S. has signed a workable nuclear deal with Iran (“The Iran bogey”, May 15). There are concerns regarding Iran having nuclear weapons. But efforts should be made to free the whole world of nuclear weapons. An apartheid system is in force in which some nations think that only they have the right to arm themselves with nuclear weapons. Even if Iran had nuclear weapons, it would not be so foolhardy as to use them against Israel as the latter has many nuclear weapons and is militarily the most powerful nation in West Asia. Nuclear weapons are used in global politics as a blackmailing tool.

Deendayal M. Lulla, Mumbai

The CPI(M)

NEWLY elected CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury was confidence personified in his interview (“The primary task is to strengthen ourselves”, May 15). The Left is facing one of its worst times in Indian political history, and the party has done well to elect a leader like Yechury, who appears ready to resurrect the party. He sounds pragmatic on the question of forming alliances. With the Modi government bent upon passing the controversial Land Acquisition Act, it is imperative that the opposition parties stand united to fight it. The Left’s trade union base is still strong, and it is unfortunate that the trade union affiliation does not always translate into votes for the movement. Yechury should strive to use this base to improve the party’s strength in Parliament and in the State Assemblies.

J. Anantha Padmanabhan, Tiruchi, Tamil Nadu

THE CPI(M) can take pride in the fact that it is the only party that has never compromised on secularism (“Guarded hope”, May 15). As the leader of the mainstream Left, its every move draws the attention of the bourgeois parties. The CPI(M) should take a leaf out the book of the Latin American countries whose Left-centric agenda has given the U.S. the shivers.

The party needs to introspect about why it could not reach out to the voters in Delhi and how the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was able to usurp the Left platform. After the Modi-led government assumed charge, minorities live in constant fear because of attacks by the Sangh Parivar. The activities of the Sangh Parivar should be stymied, otherwise the pluralistic traditions of India will be destroyed. The CPI(M) should unite with secular and democratic parties to combat communalism. The party extended outside support to the United Progressive Alliance government to protect secularism. Its subsequent withdrawal of that support over the U.S.-India nuclear deal shows that it never compromises on issues involving the national interest.

S. Murali, Vellore, Tamil Nadu

Liquor policy

THE Kerala government’s attempt to restrict liquor sales to five-star hotels will only increase the consumption of spurious liquor among the middle class and the poor (Cover Story, May 1). When arrack replaced toddy as the drink of choice of the middle class and the poor, addiction to liquor engulfed Keralites in a big way and liquor barons began to thrive and make huge profits. Politicians of all hues and successive governments began to toe their line. However, those in power are oblivious to the woes of families in which the breadwinner is addicted to alcohol. While these families suffer for want of adequate treatment for the addict, problems relating to total prohibition confront the government.

N.C. Sreedharan, Kannur, Kerala

Vallabhbhai Patel

IN his essay “Patel the non-Bismarck” (May 1), A.G. Noorani sets the record straight about Vallabhbhai Patel’s role in the unification of the princely states with India. Patel played a supportive, nevertheless stellar, part in the accession of the princely states to the India Union. Lord Mountbatten, by virtue of his position and reputation, was able to use a carrot-and-stick policy with dexterity. V.P. Menon’s yeoman service was underplayed and made Patel’s contribution appear greater than it was.

Ayyasseri Raveendranath, Aranmula, Kerala

JUST because the BJP and Narendra Modi have chosen Patel as their mascot, Noorani cannot wish away historical truth. The essay provided a biased history revolving around the author’s pet theme that Jawaharlal Nehru was the greatest leader of this country.

Duggaraju Srinivasa Rao, Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh


THE rise of the Houthis in Yemen has been dramatic (“Battle for Sana’a”, May 1). Iran’s role against Saudi Arabia will have deep repercussions as it is a Shia majority nation. It is tragic that many Sunni tribes have aligned themselves with Al Qaeda forces. As Saudi Arabia is supported by the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Jordan, Morocco, Sudan and Egypt, it is unlikely that the Houthis will succeed. However, Saudi Arabia and its allies cannot continue their activities against them for long as that will boost the morale of forces siding with Al Qaeda.

The problem can only be settled though under the supervision of the United Nations.

Thomas Edmunds, Chennai


WHILE the squabble within the AAP brought out Arvind Kejriwal’s authoritarianism and led to the expulsion of two founder members, the corruption charges against some of its Ministers show that the AAP is deviating from its declared goal of serving the electorate (“The real Kejriwal”, May 1).

After storming to power for a second time and failing to fulfil even a single electoral promise, the party is showing signs of weariness in administration. It has an uncanny ability to court controversies and has lost its zeal to champion the cause of common man, which is what catapulted it to power.

R. Prabhu Raj, Chennai

THE factional feuds within the AAP at a time when it should have been savouring its emphatic victory in the Delhi Assembly elections came as a huge disappointment to the aam aadmi (“Delhi Durbar”, April 3). The expulsion of two senior party leaders is a sad pointer to the growing authoritarianism and lack of transparency within the AAP and does not augur well for a party that promised to usher in a new political culture.

Although Kejriwal is the architect of the AAP’s victory in Delhi, he needs to be reminded that it came about through the blood and sweat of the party’s founding members, thousands of party volunteers and the general public. It is rightly said that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

B. Suresh Kumar, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu


IT pains me that even 65 years after Independence the country is in a shambles and continues to be mired in power games and politics (Cover Story, April 17). India is crumbling under the draconian Acts being passed by the National Democratic Alliance government. Self-sustaining, independent farms are being commercialised. India is an agrarian country, yet the government wishes to pass a ridiculous Land Acquisition Act that supposedly aims at development and growth. If the very soul of this country is crushed, how can it prosper?

Why are we so set on aping the West? It does not have the kind of bountiful natural resources that India is blessed with and so has to bank on industries for economic growth. India needs a different plan for its economic growth. Its land and farms are its goldmines.

Koshika Krishna, Mumbai

Section 66(A)

IT is said that India has the best Constitution in the world in which people’s words are more powerful than those of the government (“In defence of free speech”, April 17). However, when these people exercise their right to free speech, Section 66(A) of the Information Technology Act was a barrier. One person’s opinion might just be different from another’s and cannot be called wrong. Thanks to Shreya Singhal and others, our right to free speech has been protected.

Vinaya M., Chennai

India’s Daughter

WE as a nation must thank Leslee Udwin for her documentary film “India’s Daughter” (Cover Story, April 3). It takes a serious approach to the scourge of violence against women. One fails to understand why the government banned it. Such documentaries need to be included in school and university curriculums to educate future generations on how to fight this social problem in a positive manner.

Neeraj Kumar Jha, Hariharpur, Bihar

Neutrino project

THE article “Neutrino scare” (March 6) was informative. The hue and cry being raised over the neutrino project in Theni district, Tamil Nadu, is based on unscientific assumptions, is politically motivated and reveals its opponents’ lack of understanding of the subject and the project’s objectives. Although India’s ancient glory has waned over the years, it has many scientific feats to its credit thanks to the unflinching commitment of its scientists. Last year, when India became the first Asian nation to reach the Mars, it was a proud moment for every citizen.

It is worth remembering that the American physicist Frederick Reines won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1995 for neutrino experiments. One wonders why India so blessed with a galaxy of brains and world-class institutions lags behind other nations in fundamental science research.

Shajimon Purushothaman, Cherthala, Kerala

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