The fundamental question in the minds of many is whether the government was right in releasing the Census report on religious communities in a secular country like India (Cover Story, October 2). Secondly, the publication of the report just before the Bihar Assembly elections seems sinister. There is every possibility of the BJP trying to infuse a sense of insecurity among Hindu voters by highlighting the supposed “decline” of the Hindu population by 0.7 per cent against the increase in Muslim population by 0.8 per cent to capture the Hindu vote bank. If the Census report is analysed impartially, it can be seen that Muslims have made more progress socially than Hindus in many aspects. The sex ratio among Muslims now stands at 951 females for every 1,000 males, substantially better than the 936 in 2001. Unfortunately, the sex ratio among Hindus is 939 females for every 1,000 males in 2011, a slight improvement over the 2001 value of 931.
Buddhadev Nandi, K.K. Bazar P.O., West Bengal
The Cover Story depicts the hard truth behind the release of Census data on August 25, which is a politically motivated move. When the Census is based on caste, creed and religion, the sense of oneness in the country is lost.
The nation is fast becoming intolerant and impatient of other cultures as the Hindutva card is played to perfection by the BJP. How can the nation ever develop with so many divisions? When will people realise that they are being exploited by their leaders?
Balasubramaniam Pavani, Secunderabad, Telangana
I read with surprise the story on Census data. As long as the data presented are factually correct, I do not see why one should worry about when they are published. You believe it has been timed so that the BJP can gain advantage from Hindutva elements in the Bihar elections. If it is published in 2016, you will say it is to gain electoral advantage in the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections. There is always some election or the other happening in the country. I think the Sachar Committee report was published before the parliamentary elections in 2014, and the 5 per cent reservation mooted only with the Muslim vote bank in mind.
G. Venkataraman, Mumbai
Murder most foul
The gunning down of the rationalist Kannada scholar Prof. M.M. Kalburgi at his home in Dharwad sends a chilling and strong message that freethinkers and intellectuals have very little space in our country (“Murder of reason”, October 2). This is the third such murder of a rationalist within a span of two years by fundamentalists. It is a matter of great concern that no one has been arrested yet for the two earlier murders of Narendra Dabholkar in Pune and Govind Pansare in Kolhapur. More such attacks may follow and our country may turn into a theocratic state if the government is not serious about putting an end to such killings.
K.R. Srinivasan, Secunderabad, Telangana
There is an apartheid system in global migration (“Tipping point”, October 2). While rich migrants are welcome, the poor and jobless migrants are shooed away. The United Kingdom welcomes rich migrants.
Europe is facing the biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War. These migrants come from conflict zones such as Syria and Afghanistan. Europe needs to find a solution to tackle the refugee crisis hovering over the continent. Europe itself is facing an economic crisis, and unemployment is growing. Some migrants are choosy, as they want to live in a rich nation like Germany and not in poor East European nations, which is unfair.
Migration is an age-old phenomenon. Even companies migrate from one nation to another to save taxes. Only time will tell how Europe tackles the crisis.
Deendayal M. Lulla, Mumbai
Refugees, in an unending stream, from Syria, Iraq and North Africa are fleeing their countries in search of a better life and a safe haven. It is no doubt a huge humanitarian crisis, fuelled by war and unrest. It would be interesting to find out whether these migrants are being exploited by agents and middlemen who have promised better living conditions in exchange for money. It may not be possible to stem the outflow of migrants, but Western countries must step in to find means of stopping the exodus by infusing funds for development as well as ensuring peace in the troubled nations. The uneasiness in several European countries about hosting migrants is understandable as it would be a burden on them to look after so many people who have few skills to make a living in their adopted countries. There is a general hostility between the local people and the migrants except in a few countries.
D.B.N. Murthy, Bangalore
The United States, a country of 320 million citizens and the biggest economy in the world, takes fewer refugees than Sweden, a country of less than 10 million citizens.
Santhosh Mathew, Puducherry
Bihar’s electoral battle
The Bihar election has become a hot subject and a prestige issue for the ruling BJP as its national prospects will depend on its victory (“The battle begins”, October 2). Narendra Modi is leading the campaign and has already addressed several rallies in the State. Indications are that there will be a tough fight between the BJP and the Nitish-Lalu alliance comprising the Congress and other parties.
Moreover, Nitish Kumar took the reins of Bihar at a time when it was on shaky ground and is largely credited with the improvement in the law and order situation and praised for the introduction of e-governance, which has facilitated all-round development and the spread of literacy. He has a clean image which people value. Furthermore, he has also announced a plethora of developmental programmes if the alliance is voted to power.
However, the Modi wave during the last parliamentary elections in 2014 changed the political scenario in Bihar. Secondly, election in Bihar is generally caste-oriented, with people voting for leaders on caste lines. The Nitish-Lalu combine claims that Other Backward Classes and minority groups support it. Moreover, it is disappointing to note that even after 15 months, the ruling party at the Centre has done little to fulfil its electoral promises, and the popularity of Modi is on the wane. Communal polarisation and the ongoing OBC reservation issue may be an election issue to woo voters. Now, it has to be seen how the people of Bihar vote.
Jayant Mukherjee, Kolkata
Bihar elections and an India-Pakistan cricket match generate an equal measure of interest and media hype in the country. This year, the election in the State is going to be more interesting as, after a long gap, the two political heavyweights of the State, Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar, have come together. There are several other big and small players too. No one can predict which party or coalition will win the confidence of the people.
Neeraj Kumar Jha, Hariharpur, Bihar
Bank for the poor
“I’m not an economist, I’m not a banker. I learn from my customers.” This statement sums up the vision and mission of Chandra Shekhar Ghosh, CEO of Bandhan Bank (“To bond with the poor”, October 2). In actual terms, it means fulfilling the vision of financial inclusion in which the rich and the poor will have a level playing field.
AYYASSERI RAVEENDRANATH, ARANMULA, KERALA
A.G. Noorani's rigorously argued essay in two parts establishes the fact that an overrated system of justice cannot function normally (“Yakub Memon’s execution”, September 18, and “Supreme Court and Yakub Memon”, October 2). From the beginning, Yakub Memon was fighting a losing battle. The scales of the blindfolded Goddess of Justice seem to have tilted to favour injustice. The Maharashtra government too cannot escape the charge of undue haste in the execution of Yakub Memon’s death sentence.
G. Azeemoddin, Anantapur, Andhra pradesh
The ghastly incident on the night of August 15 in Seshasamudram village in Villupuram district, Tamil Nadu, is deplorable (“Night of terror”, September 18). Political leaders utilising caste wars between Dalits and Vanniyars for their political gains has to be condemned. The country is already divided along caste lines, and this type of misadventures by leaders of political parties will add fuel to the fire.
T.S.N. Rao, Bhimavaram, Andhra Pradesh