THIS is with reference to the interview with S. Parasuraman, Director of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (Cover Story, June 26). At one time in Indian society, there used to be many self-appointed social workers who rendered their services for free. Today, social work could also be a lucrative career option. However, as the Central government is clamping down on non-governmental organisations, social work education runs the risk of losing its popularity.
Madurai, Tamil Nadu
THE world needs to pay immediate attention to the severe humanitarian crisis of the Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar (“Nowhere people”, June 26). It is unfortunate that their own country has denied them citizenship rights. The international community must put pressure on the Myanmar government to rehabilitate these homeless people as bona fide citizens of the country.
Neeraj Kumar Jha
WHATEVER grievance the management of IIT Madras had against a students’ group, derecognising it without allowing its members to be heard amounted to stifling the right to the freedom of speech and expression (“Derecognising dissent”, June 26). In this case, the issue was blown out of proportion by political parties. Vested interests and politicians as usual tried to get political mileage out of the situation. The political interference and the derecognition of the student group are both unfair and unjustified.
ARUNA SHANBAUG was in a pitiable condition for 42 years (“Between life and death”, June 26). She was kept alive artificially and would have been unaware of life as we know it. Her death brought an end to her agony, which she may not have been aware of. In certain illnesses, patients are on their deathbeds for a long time and their near and dear ones suffer more than they do. When they die in spite of all the efforts of a medical team, they in fact get freed from a painful life. Why euthanasia is not allowed in such extreme cases is the big question now.
ARUNA had to live a life without dignity for 42 years because there was no clear law on mercy killing. The apprehension that a law on euthanasia will be misused is far-fetched because all laws are misused and abused by somebody or the other. That has not stopped lawmakers from making new laws for the benefit of the people. Strict enforcement of laws is the best safeguard against their misuse. While progressive nations will enact laws legalising active or passive euthanasia, I am afraid that in India the debate will go on for an eternity.
IT is the duty of the government and the management of private hospitals to ensure that nurses and doctors are safe when they are at work. It is shameful that the ward boy who attacked Aruna was not punished suitably. It exposes the lacunae in the legal system.
One hopes that KEM Hospital names a ward in memory of Aruna.
THE article “Fall of Ramadi” (June 26) critically examined the situation in Iraq. An Islamic caliphate, the dream of the Islamic State, will be bad for all the nations of West Asia. The U.S. and Iran are cooperating to thwart the I.S.’ nefarious plans in Iraq. The U.S. has already spent $22 billion to equip the Iraqi army with weapons. However, the I.S. is better armed and highly motivated.
The U.S. and Iran must see that Syria and Iraq maintain their geographical territory and help the people in these nations elect their own governments and govern themselves without outside interference and, at the same time, annihilate an evil like the I.S.
THE two-part feature on the Ngorongoro crater of Serengeti gave readers an excellent opportunity to learn more about African wildlife (“Endless wonders of Serengeti”, June12, and “Africa’s ark”, June 26).The articles had spectacular photographs. Only in the 20 sq. km of the Ngorongoro crater can one find a microcosm of wildlife in such resplendent state.
Modi’s first year
THIS is with reference to the Editor’s note and the Cover Story “The big let-down” (June 12). The BJP’s victory in the 2014 general election was because of failures of the United Progressive Alliance II (UPA) government and not because of any particular ideology of the BJP. Instead, the BJP was able to win the people’s favour by condemning the Congress party and by selling false hopes. This has been proved by its performance in the past one year.
When Modi said in Seoul that before he took office at the Centre Indians had felt ashamed of being born in India, he lowered the dignity of his position. The Cover Story articles could serve as a timely reminder for the Modi government to pay heed to governance and the real issues facing the nation rather than glorifying itself.
Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee
THE Cover Story was aptly titled “End of euphoria”. The only thing the BJP did during its election campaign was “brand building”. It harped on Modi’s Gujarat model, promising to replicate that at the national level. Now that the facade has been lifted, one sees the kind of hands the country is in. All the promises made remain unfulfilled and forgotten.
Communal attacks are making minorities feel unsafe. International deals are opening the doors of the defence sector to private players, thus weakening national security. Cuts in funding for the social sector and the proposed dilution of labour laws will in the long run lead to myriad human rights issues. All possible methods are being deployed to infringe on the Right to Information Act. Patent laws have been diluted to allow international companies to sell expensive drugs in the Indian market once again. India’s rich biodiversity is at the risk of being lost forever with fast-track clearances by the Environment Ministry.
If the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government does not improve its governance, the very fabric of the country will be ripped beyond repair.
ONE often heard the complaint that the UPA’s land acquisition act of 2013 was an impediment to economic progress. Hence, the NDA came up with a new Bill. It is now obvious that the Modi government is merely repeating the view of the industry lobby.
In reply to a recent RTI query, the Finance Ministry stated that only 8 per cent of some 804 proposed projects were stalled because of land acquisition. The rest were held up for reasons such as unfavourable market conditions, lack of clearances, raw material or fuel supply problems and dwindling promoter interest. Also some of the stalled projects are luxury projects, such as hotels, golf courses and multiplexes, which have nothing to do with improving the lot of the general public.
MODI came to power by making aggressive speeches and many promises. A clean India is one of them and the Swachh Bharat project was launched with this goal in mind. People got carried away and committed a big blunder by voting for him.
To date nothing has changed. Even in Modi’s own constituency, Varanasi, open defecation is rampant. The truth about this government will surface with the results of the Assembly elections in Bihar this year.
Uchila, Udipi district, Karnataka
WHEN a government reaches the 12-month mark, comparisons with the past and pointing fingers at the shortcomings of the previous government begin to matter less.
Much of the Modi government’s first year in office was spent in cleaning up issues left behind by the UPA. Modi has been successful in some areas, but there is still much to be done.
THE signing of the Land Boundary Agreement with Bangladesh will help citizens of both nations living in border areas (“United on border”, June 12). It was long overdue. Trade with Bangladesh needs to be increased, and the bus service between the two neighbours will help increase cultural exchanges. The two nations have a lot of things in common. The bigger challenge for the Indian government is getting a similar agreement with China. This will be a Herculean task.
Deendayal M. Lulla
THE poor country of Yemen is caught up in a great geopolitical game being played out in West Asia (“Terror from the air”, June 12). The players are Sunni Saudi Arabia, which launched a deadly air assault targeting residential areas; the U.S., which has not condemned the Saudi campaign; Shia Houthi rebels; and, finally, Iran, the scapegoat for everything that goes wrong in West Asia. The U.N.’s Food and Agricultural Organisation has described the situation in the country as catastrophic, with the Saudis not even sparing the agricultural sector, which is already in deep crisis.
Subhrangshu Pratim Sarmah
THAT psephologists in the U.K. got the outcome of the recent elections there so wrong highlights the uncertainty of election surveys (“Stunning victory”, May 29). The U.K. electorate rejected coalition politics and plumped for stable one-party rule just as the Indian electorate did in the 2014 Lok Sabha election. The Labour Party needs to “reinvent” itself if it is to be relevant in U.K. politics. Prime Minister David Cameron faces some stiff challenges, including the issues of a referendum to decide whether the U.K. should remain in the E.U. and Scottish nationalism.
READERS were able to get the inside story of red sanders smuggling, thanks to the “Law of the jungle” (May 15).
FIRSTLY, I congratulate Frontline for publishing an informative article on the excavation at 4MSR, Binjor, Ganganagar district of Rajasthan (“Harappan surprise”, April 17). But, at the same time, I would like to let you know that the site was already discovered in the 1950s by A. Ghosh, the then Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India, and I did not mean to say that I had discovered the said site. The proposal for the excavation there I sent to the Directorate, ASI, New Delhi, mentions this fact.
Superintending Archaeologist, ASI
Temple Survey Project (N.R.)