PRIME MINISTER Narendra Modi’s salvo on self-styled bovine protectors after a long silence is nothing but skulduggery (Cover Story, September 2). Hundreds of such self-styled vigilante groups are actually indulging in economic terrorism by targeting cattle dealers in Haryana,Gujarat, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan and jeopardising traditional trade in animals and animal products carried on by Dalits and the Muslims. Another crucial question is, where do the cows rescued by the these activists go?
Gau Raksha Dal (GRD) activists are attacking even buffalo, goat and chicken exporters. The Prime Minister has criticised a section of the GRD activists but he is in agreement with the Sangh Parivar’s agenda of cow protection and has tried to appease them by making a distinction between genuine and fake cow protectors. He should have intervened earlier but perhaps did not do so for fear of antagonising the Sangh Parivar. What has made him break the silence is the fear of these incidents affecting the party’s prospects in the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Gujarat. Modi’s intervention is actually a damage control exercise.
Buddhadev Nandi, Bishnupur, West Bengal
IT is sad that atrocities against Dalits continue unabated in various parts of the country. It is ironical that Dalits are subjected to humiliation and insults every day across the country even as the Centre is celebrating the 125th anniversary of Dr B.R. Ambedkar. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh described the Una incident as a “blot on humanity”. Narendra Modi went one step further and asked the gau raksha activists to kill him rather than Dalits. Let us wait and see whether his outburst against the vigilantes has any impact.
Jayant Mukherjee, Kolkata
THE determined but peaceful protests by various Dalit groups across the nation mark the logical culmination of their anger against the increasing instances of atrocitiess perpetrated against them. These protests come as a loud warning that they will not take these atrocities lying down.
The Prime Minister’s stern directives to the cow vigilantes need to be translated into action on the ground. The country’s aspirations to be a superpower will not materialise if vast sections of society are discriminated against and oppressed perennially.
B. Suresh Kumar, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
THE Una incident has wider ramifications for the BJP, especially in Uttar Pradesh, where Assembly elections are due in 2017. The BJP was able to reap a rich harvest in Uttar Pradesh in the 2014 Lok Sabha election mainly because of the consolidation of Dalit votes, and the failure of “Mission Dalit” has come as a shock to the BJP leadership.
S. Murali, Vellore, Tamil Nadu
EVERY story published in Frontline seems to have a single agenda: Lambasting Hindutva outfits. Since 2002, it has been criticising every endeavour of Narendra Modi. Recently, it carried stories of communal violence and crimes against Dalits in Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat. We all know that law and order is a State subject. For these crimes and atrocities, the respective Chief Ministers should have been held responsible.
Sushil Kumar, Bijoi, Aurangabad, Bihar
THE time has come for Saudi Arabia to realise the futility of continuing with its misadventure in Yemen (“Misadventure in Yemen”, September 2). With its economy in bad shape, the misadventure has already cost Saudi Arabia billions of dollars. It has to urge Abd-Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, Yemen’s President-in-exile, to agree to the U.N.-brokered deal that paves the way for a coalition government in Sana’a under a new interim President. Let the Yemenis decide their political future without interference from outside forces.
D.B.N. Murthy, Bengaluru
IT is high time Saudi Arabia got out of Yemen as it is fighting a losing battle in that country. Children are the main victims of the unnecessary war in Yemen, waged mainly to salve the bruised ego of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia’s economy is not in good shape, and expatriate workers are not being paid their salaries. The Saudi-led coalition has imposed an economic blockade with the help of the United States, and the situation is worsening, with even ships carrying humanitarian aid not being allowed to enter Yemen. With oil prices down, this is a costly war for the Saudis both in terms of money and casualties.
Deendayal M. Lulla , Mumbai
Life at 70
IT is a fact that improvement in adult mortality rate was especially marked in the first decade of this century (“Seventy and surviving”, September 2). But it is not correct to say that those who are 70 now are lucky to be alive. It is horrifying to see how the elderly are treated. A survery conducted in 2012 revealed that many elderly persons above 60 were subjected to abuse at the hands of their own family members. As a society, we also need to help the aged confront the reality of loneliness. The disappearance of the joint family system, coupled with the fact that youngsters want to settle down abroad, has left the elderly without societal support. Even though the government has announced many schemes for their benefit, the extent of support, especially financial support, is not adequate. The need of the hour is the introduction of a sound social security system that covers the health, housing and financial requirements of the elderly.
T.S.N. Rao, Bhimavaram, Andhra Pradesh
THE “pelletted” face of a Kashmiri youth and the articles on Kashmir were heart-rending (“Wrath of Kashmir”, August 19). I fail to understand why the Prime Minister has failed to rush to Kashmir and assuage the hurt feelings of the people. I feel we have reached a “point of no return”. Despite almost 70 years of “occupation”, we have not been able to win the confidence of the people or improve their socio-economic backwardness. Jayaprakash Narayan was right in advising Nehru to hold the plebiscite early and pave the way for self-rule by Kashmiris or allow them to go to Pakistan if they so desired. The lesson learnt in Kashmir and the north-eastern States is that prolonged deployment of the Army to control civilian unrest will not yield positive results and will only anger the population.
S.S. Rajagopalan, Chennai
“WRATH of Kashmir” asserts that Kashmiri youths are fighting because they want dignity. However, they have thrown out Kashmiri Pandits from Kashmir.
The Kashmir problem is not about Kasmiriyat; it is an Islamic problem and it shows in their intolerance for other, non-Islamic people.
Ashok Jain , Gurgaon, Haryana
South China Sea
WITH the United States deploying its warships with fighter planes and stationing troops in the South China Sea, there is a strong probability of a major regional war between the U.S. and China which may draw into it Japan, Australia and South Korea (“Troubled waters”, August 19). But the mounting tensions in the South China Sea are of China’s own making. These events do not bode well for the peace and security of the Indo-Pacific region because China is very image conscious and still suffers from the “Middle Kingdom complex”, which has propelled it to adopt novel methods, such as building the latest Silk Road and the Maritime Silk Road, to assert its regional and global hegemony. China must abide by the decision of the Hague Arbitration, and both sides should seek a diplomatic solution with the help of the United Nations.
Sudhanshu Tripathi, Prathapgarh, Uttar Pradesh
THE commercial success of Kabali should come as a relief not only to Rajinikanth but also to his legion of fans after the disappointing reception his two earlier films received (“Kabali da”, August 19). Although this movie disappointed his hardcore supporters, especially after the hype preceding its release, it is a serious attempt to bring out the dormant acting skills of the star and not let him hold sway over the script. It is a departure from the formulaic script that we had got accustomed to in the last two decades of Rajinikanth’s career. He had nurtured his image carefully, holding his fans’ preferences as the most important yardstick for his choice of movies. K. Balachander, who introduced the superstar in 1975, had remarked that no director had fully exploited the actor’s abilities. That observation remains true to this day. Pa. Ranjith, as Rajini’s unusual and bold choice for direction, shows promise as the movie unfolds but lets us down by merely presenting a potpourri of characters, layers and subplots.
Anand Srinivasan, Bengaluru
THE story “Of the three which one” (August 19), written almost a century ago, was very interesting. It portrayed well the comparison between curing through shedding tears (kanniral), sincere prayers (kadavulal) and surgical healers (kathiyal). It is good to see all these old stories being published again so that readers can see the thoughts of the writers and how stories were written then.
A.J. Rangarajan, Chennai
MAHATMA GANDHI said India lived in her villages (“The myth of growth”, August 5). But our reformers think otherwise. While India’s GDP has risen rapidly since 1991, agriculture’s share in GDP has plummeted sharply and the economic miseries of peasants have only increased. The tax cuts doled out to industry at the cost of honest taxpayers are mind-boggling. Their impact on employment has, however, been minimal. While according to the Forbes list the number of dollar billionaires in India has increased from just three in 1996 to 48 in 2011-12, the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative says that eight Indian States account for more poor people than the 26 poorest African nations combined.
Obviously, the benefits of reforms have been trickling up rather than down. While the country’s foreign exchange reserves and exports have gone up substantially since 1991, education and health care have lagged appallingly behind. Amartya Sen rightly pointed out that the “very poor in India get a small and basically indirect share of the cake that information technology (IT) and related development generate”.
Kangayam R. Narasimhan, Chennai
ECONOMIC liberalisation has turned public health care in India into a commercial venture (“Medicine market”, August 5). The government has more or less handed over its public health responsibility to the private sector, which has interpreted the saying “Health is wealth” in a skewed, literal way. Ignoring primary and preventive health care, the private sector focusses on high-cost tertiary curative care.
Ayyasseri Raveendranath, Aranmula, Kerala
WITH the emergence of the IT sector in India, there was a substantial improvement in employment generation and economic development. But what is worrisome is the lack of job security in the IT sector. Also, to increase their profits, many private companies exploit their young employees. I condemn the IT policy of some State governments which prevent employees from getting the minimum wage. This is unconstitutional. The Central government should look into the matter as soon as possible and make a friendly IT policy for the whole country. After all, this sector contributes substantially towards the GDP growth of the country.
N. Aravindaswamy, Tharamangalam, Tamil Nadu
This is with reference to the article “Such a long journey” (July 22). It was so persuasive that I read with great expectation the translation of Ammani Ammal’s story “Expectation and the Event” in the same issue. But I was a little puzzled when confronted by the phrase: “But don’t you want to be tied to a mast of a pretty ship, travel the seas in style, and see...?” The comment addresses a tree, and I wondered how a tree could be tied to a mast. I checked with page 351 of the Tamil source reproduced on page 98 of Frontline. The source should translate as “But don’t you want to be draped in the beautiful sail of the ship and pompously travel in all the seas of the world, and...?”
Sivasegaram, Colombo, Sri Lanka