Letters to the Editor

Print edition : March 17, 2017

Tamil Nadu

AFTER many twists and turns in Tamil Nadu politics, V.K. Sasikala’s proxy E.K. Palaniswami is occupying the Chief Minister’s chair (Cover Story, March 3). Both the ruling party and the opposition exhibited abysmally low behaviour in the Assembly.

The Supreme Court’s landmark judgment against Sasikala in the disproportionate assets case shattered the ambitions she and her coterie had of ruling the State. Governor Ch. Vidyasagar Rao postponing his decision on Sasikala’s request to be installed as Chief Minister proved sagacious as otherwise the people of Tamil Nadu would have had to witness the ignominy of their Chief Minister moving from the Secretariat to prison within a week’s time.

Keeping around 124 MLAs of the AIADMK as captives for 10 days in a resort and herding them straight to the Assembly to cast their votes in favour of Palaniswami was a sorry spectacle.

N.C. Sreedharan, Kannur, Kerala

RIGHT from the day of the death of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, the State has been in crying need of good and strong leadership. Many things have happened in the politics of Tamil Nadu since then. At a time when there are many issues facing the people of Tamil Nadu, which has been hit by drought, it is important for the media and for politicians to concentrate on these issues.

P. Senthil Saravana Durai, Mumbai

Uttar Pradesh

WHILE the political stock of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav within the Samajwadi Party (S.P.) has gone up, it is doubtful whether the “Akhilesh factor” alone will be sufficient to propel the party to power in the Assembly elections (“Advantage Akhilesh”, March 3). With the burden of the anti-incumbency factor on its shoulders largely because of its failure on several fronts, including law and order, it is doubtful whether an electoral campaign banking on the Chief Minister’s image will help the S.P. pull it off at the hustings. The factional feuds witnessed within the S.P. in recent times, with top leaders of the party washing their dirty linen in public, have sullied its image and added to its woes.

The Congress-S.P. tie-up can only be construed as the last-ditch effort of the grand old party to remain politically relevant in the State. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s continued popularity could turn the tide in favour of the BJP, the presence of a strong rival in the form of the Bahujan Samaj Party headed by a resurgent Mayawati could pose a formidable challenge to the ruling dispensation. It is clear that the S.P. needs to make a Herculean effort to retain power.

B. Suresh Kumar, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu

Trump policy

THE days of sending “cheap” Indian IT professionals on H-1B visas to work in U.S. IT and other companies are over with President Donald Trump’s “America first” policy (“Outsourcing worries”, March 3). The Trump administration is likely to issue an executive order soon hiking the minimum wage of H-1B professionals, which means the Indian IT companies will lose their edge in labour wages. They will either have to look for alternative markets or improve their efficiency to stay competitive. Foreign markets such as post-Brexit Britain and the E.U. could be attractive alternatives. Indian-based IT companies could offer their products and services worldwide after some innovation and value addition. This will also give job creation within the country a boost. It is bad policy to keep all one’s eggs in one basket.

D.B.N. Murthy, Bengaluru

Rohith Vemula

WHY is the district administration of Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, being criticised for issuing a notice to the family of Rohith Vemula relating to its Scheduled Caste (S.C.) status (“Casting aspersions”, March 3)? There have been many instances in the past where S.C./Scheduled Tribe certificates obtained by fraudulent means were cancelled after an inquiry. In fact, some elected representatives from Andhra Pradesh lost their seats in the Assembly/Lok Sabha because they had falsified their status. So why is this case being projected as something serious that is happening to Rohith Vemula’s family?

Duggaraju Srinivasa Rao, Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh

Communal attack

THE attack on Sanjay Leela Bhansali is very unfortunate (“Targeting a film-maker”, March 3). It is matter of serious concern that some people want to hijack our freedom of expression. We live in a secular society and cannot allow Hindutva activists to impose their extremist ideology on us. We must oppose acts inspired by Hindutva fanaticism.

Neeraj Kumar Jha, Darbhanga, Bihar

IT is easy to be critical but quite difficult to create a work of art. Film-makers usually carry out extensive research before making films on historical figures. However, some discrepancies might still be found in the movies. If an organisation has any objection to a film, the matter should be sorted out through discussion. Violence cannot be justified under any circumstances. Everyone should condemn the violence on the sets of “Padmavati”.

Mahesh Kumar, New Delhi

Renaissance & Ambedkar

THIS is with reference to the article “Three phases of Indian renaissance” (March 3). The writer tried to analyse his theory with erudition, but I failed to understand why he did not feel it necessary to mention Dr B.R. Ambedkar while discussing the caste system.

I also found it strange that the article mentioned that Gandhi addressed the issue of the caste system. It is well known that Gandhi was a staunch supporter of the caste system. The real crusader against the caste system was Ambedkar, who fought against this evil throughout his life in a manner no other Indian has been able to continue. His “Annihilation of Caste” is a classic piece of literature. It is meaningless to talk about a renaissance in India without mentioning Ambedkar.

Moolchand Sonkar, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

Caste system

“THE making of India” (February 17) was a comprehensive essay on the subject. While referring to the caste system, it mentioned Alberuni. The National Book Trust of India has published the English translation of his memoir with the title “Alberuni’s India”. In it, Alberuni mentions that he found nine castes among Hindus in 1030. The Mandal Commission found some 5,300 castes and sub-castes in 1978. So the number of castes grew from nine in 1030 to 5,300 in 1978. This proliferation possibly took place after 1206 and continued until the 18th century. Will historians throw some light on this?

Gadadhar Narayan Sinha, Lucknow


IN a 2008 paper titled “The Case for Direct Cash Transfers to the Poor”, Arvind Subramanian, the current Chief Economic Adviser to the government, along with other economists suggested replacing Central schemes and subsidies with direct cash distribution to those below the poverty line (“A universal basic income in India?”, February 17). Thus, the objectives of a universal basic income (UBI) would be to eliminate the public distribution system and fuel and fertiliser subsidies. Instead of considering a UBI, to reduce poverty and inequality the government should implement other measures such as increasing the minimum wage and ensuring that funds for the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme are released on time.

Thanveerul Hak, Mudavoor, Kerala

Fidel Castro

WITH the demise of Fidel Castro, the world lost one of the tallest revolutionaries of the 20th century (Cover Feature, December 23). The fact that Castro could stand up to the global bully for half a century and withstand more than 600 assassination attempts is a testament to his steadfastness and courage in the pursuit of his ideological goals and in the defence of his small island nation.

It is also a testament to the weakness of the superpower in dealing with a powerful leader. One must remember that in the Vietnam War the U.S. was defeated by a tiny man, Ho Chi Minh.

K.P. Rajan, Mumbai