HistoryAT a time when Aurangazeb Road has been renamed A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Road, the Cover Story (September 18) detailing Romila Thapar’s interpretation of history was meaningful. That renaming foretells what is going to happen with our school history textbooks in the days to come. History is given low priority in schools and is the last choice of students who aspire to higher education.
History should be discussed and not taught. Instead of just being a chronology of kings and wars, history should be a story of civilisation, as Prof C.E.M. Joad called a book of his. In Britain, I came across a programme called “Patch-up History” through which school students were encouraged to relive the past and find different interpretations to events. For example, they were asked how different newspapers and magazines would report on the Battle of Waterloo.
It is to Romila Thapar’s credit that she believes in interpreting history on the basis of solid evidence from excavations and artefacts rather than treating it as a subject based on surmises and opinions. Kudos to Frontline for highlighting such a wonderful human being.
THE article “Sanjiv Bhatt sacked” (“This fortnight”, September 18) highlighted the David and Goliath-like fight between Narendra Modi and Sanjiv Bhatt. In the interests of justice and fair play, Modi should allow this fight to reach its logical conclusion.
Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh
THE continuous downfall in the stock market has shown that the middle class stays away from it, preferring to put its hard-earned money in risk-free fixed deposits in banks (“Market mayhem”, September 18). There are uncertainties in the stock market, both shares and mutual funds, and the Chinese economy’s downturn is one of the reasons for this.
Even the global economy is slowing down. The debatable issue is whether the Sensex really reflects the health of the economy. There are foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) in the stock market who pump in money to boost the Sensex. FPIs bring in money but do not create jobs, whereas foreign direct investment helps create jobs. Apart from the price volatility, companies may not declare dividends on shares, which a section of retired people depend on.
Deendayal M. Lulla
I DO not think India should be blamed for the failure of the much-anticipated dialogue with its hostile neighbour to restart (“Back to square one”, September 18). A National Security Adviser-level meet has to cover the issues of security and terror. Pakistan cannot expect everything to go according to its whims and fancies. It cannot dictate terms; it has to be a win-win situation for both countries. Despite the attacks in Gurdaspur and Udhampur, India took the stand that the NSA-level meetings would go forward.
So it should not be accused of playing big brother here. If Pakistan wants to discuss Kashmir, there are other fora for that, and there is no point in asking a third party like the Hurriyat leaders to intervene.
SADLY, India’s policy towards Pakistan seems to be “you continue your unprovoked attacks on our border that result in the deaths of our civilians and we shall continue our peace talks with you!”
Pakistan’s continuous proxy war against India and the regular infiltration of terrorists trained by the Inter-Services Intelligence prove that Pakistan is not interested in peace talks with India. Under these circumstances, how are cordial relations even thinkable?
Pakistan is a proven enemy of India’s. A strong Home Minister who can take serious and bold action is the need of the hour. All political and diplomatic relations must be severed until Pakistan proves that it wants to have meaningful relations with India.
THE Supreme Court’s decision to stay the order of the Rajasthan High Court against the Jain practice of Santhara was welcome (“The Santhara debate”, September 18). The High Court showed poor judgment in stating that a person undertaking the ritual and those assisting him/her could be punished under the Indian Penal Code. Its ruling hurt the sentiments of the Jain community.
THE article “Yakub Memon’s execution” (September18) showed that there was indeed an unmistakable haste in the manner in which the judiciary rejected his efforts to stave off his execution through lawful means. While the Supreme Court has, at least in the recent past, displayed empathy when dealing with many death-row convicts and was instrumental in saving most of them through its sagacious interventions, it is unfortunate that in this case there was no such intervention. It seems that neither Yakub Memon’s 21 years of incarceration nor his medical condition were taken into account.
It is clear from B. Raman’s article and Shantonu Sen’s statements that inducements and promises had been made to goad Yakub Memon into submitting himself to the law. The state did not come forward to his aid even though the lives of the assassins of a former Prime Minister and a serving Chief Minister were saved by the intervention of the State governments concerned. Apart from the constitutional issues, the major question that begs an answer is, why is there one rule for some people in this country and another for others?
J. Anantha Padmanabhan
Tiruchi, Tamil Nadu
THE obituary article on Yoichiro Nambu seemed more about a chemist than a physicist (“A giant of physics”, September 18). Is it that today’s fundamental physics is like physical chemistry and that “physics” has yet to be worked out from scratch?
IT is unfortunate that farmers are committing suicide because they are unable to pay back the money they borrowed(“The spectre of suicide”, September 4). Farmers who depend entirely on the sale of crops to survive incur heavy losses. Repeated crop failures put an unending burden on them. It is not that every farmer faced with crop failure chooses to die by his own hand. However, moneylenders and the banks drive such farmers to extreme crisis and some of them buckle under the pressure. There is no quick-fix solution to this problem as farming is a risky venture.
Another problem is that farmers do not get quick payment after delivery. It should be possible to establish market yards, similar to what is available for some commodities, where payment is through a cash-on-delivery system. Loan recovery is another issue that needs to be looked into. After crop failure, banks must not pressure farmers to repay loans, which should be deferred without any penalty. This humanitarian problem needs to be tackled in all seriousness, keeping politics out of the discussions.
Wherever possible, marginal farmers should be encouraged to practise collective farming, which would reduce risks.
THE tremendous increase in cases of suicides by farmers, the backbone of the rural economy, is distressing and disturbing. It is awful that the government is not able to provide them with basic facilities and support. The case studies mentioned in the Cover Story and the photograph of the girl touching her parents’ photograph were really moving. If the State government does not wake up to the problem, the Central government must take steps immediately before the death toll disrupts society.
Politics & education
POLITICISATION of education spoils the environment in educational institutions (“This fortnight”, September 4). Politically motivated “power games” are played out on campuses, and even vice-chancellors succumb to this “power” for personal gain. This narrows the freedom in education. Many people say that students should concentrate on their studies instead of taking part in political movements, but students in universities are adults with a right to their personal opinions and choices.
Uttam K. Bhowmik
Tamluk, West Bengal
IN a democratic country like India, it is regrettable that activists of the ruling Trinamool Congress party attacked the supporters of Chhatra Parishad (“This fortnight”, “Murder on college campus”, September 4). The ruling parties in India should know that no party has survived so far by physically attacking opposition parties’ supporters.
THE article “End of a chapter” (September 4) crisply evaluated the post-Mullah Omar period in Afghanistan. Now is the time for India to support Pakistan’s efforts to get the moderate Taliban to embark on peace talks with the Afghanistan government . The success of such talks is certain and will strengthen the economic plans for the Central Asian region. The better India’s relations with Afghanistan are, the better its relations with Pakistan will be.
I CANNOT comprehend why anyone would murder another human being simply because they disagree on some ideology (“Endangered blogger”, September 4). No true religion condones murder. This is barbarism.
Being a scientist, he was well aware that in the race of technical development one should not forget the value of humanity. He once remarked: “We have guided missiles but misguided human beings.” I had the opportunity to listen and interact with him in the years 2000, 2003 and 2010 at Vigyan Bhawan, the University of Delhi and the Teen Murti Library respectively. He believed it was our duty to nurture and inculcate in schoolchildren ethical values and technical skills.
THE obituary article was a fitting tribute to the missile man. Considering the versatility of the former President, the magazine could have had more write-ups/articles on him.
WHEN the author of the book “Deconstructing Terrorist Violence” rejects the theory that religion is the reason for terrorist violence, he appears to be an apologist for jehadi terrorism (“History and terror”, August 21). There have been innumerable terrorists who have carried out bombings, not only in India but in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and even Saudi Arabia. All of them carry out these acts for the glory of Islam as they understand it.
THE article “Rivers no more” (August 7) was well researched. Greedy sand barons are exploiting the country’s natural resources uncaring of the consequences of their relentless mining activities. The authorities turn a blind eye to these activities though they are reported in the media from time to time. If the States’ biodiversity is to be preserved, it is imperative that stringent action is taken to stop unauthorised mining.
Mujeeb Rahman N.K.