Letters to the Editor

Print edition : September 15, 2017

India at 70

THE Special Issue (September 1) was informative. One cannot but agree with B.R. Ambedkar’s observation that democracy in India is only a top dressing on soil that is essentially undemocratic. The voices and preferences of citizens have been disregarded in the pursuit of development models that are widening inequalities in society. Hero worship plays a great part in today’s politics. It will lead to dictatorship.

K.R. Srinivasan, Secunderabad, Telangana

WHILE both Gandhi and Nehru along with other stalwarts of the independence movement were able to ignite the minds of millions of people across the country against imperial rule and achieve freedom for India, the country has not been able to make much headway in bringing about communal harmony.

The present ruling dispensation led by the right-wing BJP and remotely controlled by the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), which had no role in the struggle for freedom, is striving for a Hindu Rashtra closely resembling Hitler’s Nazism. In the name of cow protection, it is unleashing atrocities against Muslims and Dalits. It has started a smear campaign against the leaders of the freedom struggle and is belittling their achievements. All Indians who believe in the secular values enshrined in the Constitution should guard against this disturbing trend.

N.C. Sreedharan, Kannur, Kerala

THE signed editorial poignantly pointed out the transition from freedom to its denial. The Narendra Modi government is particular about erasing all traces of the memory of Nehru. With the Planning Commission having been done away with, States have no say in national planning. The primacy Nehru gave Parliament is no longer there as the current Prime Minister gives scant regard to its proceedings. Nobody, including the Minister for External Affairs, knows what the country’s foreign policy is. The Non-Aligned Movement, one of Nehru’s gifts to the Third World, is defunct. The edifice of secularism is being shattered. States are losing the powers granted to them in the Constitution. It is a sad, sad world.

S.S. Rajagopalan, Chennai

AT a time when neighbouring countries are struggling with democracy, India can stand tall as one of the most vibrant and robust democratic nations of the world. The exemplary roles that the judiciary and the Election Commission have played in upholding the rule of law and ensuring free and fair elections respectively have contributed significantly to deepening people’s faith in democracy.

Although a significant proportion of the population has been lifted from the morass of crippling poverty over the decades, inclusive growth and sustainable economic development have remained only on paper, and socio-economic deprivation continues to be the stark reality for marginalised sections such as tribal people, Dalits and Muslims. The pluralistic character of Indian society is what makes the country unique and should be protected at any cost. The shrinking space for dissent is a cause for great concern. Preserving India’s secular and liberal democratic framework from obscurantist forces that are hell-bent on destroying it is the need of the hour.

M. Jeyaram, Sholavandan, Tamil Nadu

THE Special Issue stated the moral imperative spelt out in the Constitution of India. The editorial and the articles did some plain speaking about the present civilisational predicament into which consumerism and communalism have thrown us.

Vasantha Surya, Noida, Uttar Pradesh

THE article “Dalits: In a state of unfreedom” was directionless. Indian rulers, irrespective of their political hue, have for decades failed to ensure that Dalits get their entitlements. The official data on reservation for S.Cs/S.Ts in government jobs are discouraging. Private firms are spared from the legislative obligation of reserving jobs for these sections. Honour killings; denial of entry into temples, of access to water from common wells and to burial grounds; and the prevalence of manual scavenging—all bear testimony to the atrocities and the prejudices Dalits face. “Beef politics” targets Muslims and Dalits. The Prime Minister’s tough language against cow vigilantes has had little effect. Those in power implement laws that protect Dalits only after there are protests.

C. Chandrasekaran, Madurai, Tamil Nadu

THE people of India and Pakistan are of the same origin both historically and geographically. Things might have gone wrong in the past, but it is time for us to wake up and correct them. The governments in India and Pakistan should change their mindsets in the best interests of their people.

P. Senthil Saravana Durai, Mumbai

HATS off to Frontline for the Special Issue, which was highly informative. During its long journey, the country has emerged as a strong nation and made tremendous progress in various sectors. Under the current leadership, efforts are being taken to speed up the country’s development. However, India is still plagued by poverty, illiteracy and hunger. Some vested interests, reportedly enjoying the patronage of the present dispensation, are bent on disturbing communal harmony.

There has been no progress in some vital sectors. Economic reforms have not yet gained speed. The issue of unemployment remains unsolved. The growth of affluence in society is not real progress. One waits eagerly for the golden days when peace and harmony will prevail and people in general will enjoy the real fruits of India’s freedom.

Jayant Mukherjee, Kolkata

Nitish Kumar

THE collapse of the Mahagathbandan in Bihar and the reinstatement of Nitish Kumar as Chief Minister with the support of the BJP just proves the saying that politics makes strange bedfellows (“Power games”, August 18). In the present instance the “grand alliance” crumbled under the weight of its own internal contradictions rather than through the machinations of the BJP. Although the alliance achieved its sole objective of keeping the BJP out of power during the Assembly elections, the government completing its term was always in doubt given the fragile chemistry between its various constituents.

B. Suresh Kumar, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu


THE Sangh Parivar seems to consider the words/phrases “cow”, “Gujarat”, “Hindu India”, “Hindutva view of India” shameful and wants to clear the black history behind them, particularly in the context of the 2002 Gujarat riots and the recent instances of mob lynching in the name of cow protection (“Bleeping out Amartya Sen”, August 18). This is not the first time that the Central Board of Film Certification has played its “bleep” music. In March, the Sangh Parivar-patronised board delayed the release of the Bengali film “Shunyota” and asked the director to bleep out some dialogues criticising demonetisation.

The problem is that the state—with Modi as Prime Minister and the RSS chief, Mohan Bhagwat, as conscience-keeper—has gone into overdrive. The BJP has placed those who support the RSS in the most important positions in academia and the cultural world. This is why some of India’s finest minds are critical of it and its world view.

Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee, Faridabad, Haryana


THE very word “India” brings to mind a diverse country with various religions knit into a secular democracy (“Dodging duty”, August 18). But does this rosy portrayal reflect the reality? It looks like one has ascribed venerable qualities to India when, in actuality, the country is flirting with fascism. The barbarous attacks against Dalits and other communities by illiberal outfits seem to enjoy the tacit support of the Central government. As the article rightly observed, Modi and his pack of netas seem to believe that the threat these fringe elements pose to the secular fabric of India is minimal and unworthy of tough action. It is high time Indians woke up to this alarming reality.

Mohit Jacob, Ahmedabad, Gujarat

Border crisis

THERE have been occasional skirmishes between India and China over the years, the latest being the one at the tri-junction plateau of Doklam (Cover Story, August 4). The Chinese position has hardened in recent times, and it appears that it will continue demanding vacation of Indian troops from this disputed territory. With a border not clearly delineated, it is difficult to say who is right and who is wrong. Hardly any progress has been made at several bilateral meetings over the years. A rigid stand can only complicate matters. Subtle diplomacy is needed to handle such delicate situations that affect friendly relations between the two big neighbours.

D.B.N. Murthy, Bengaluru

NEW DELHI and Beijing must resolve this ongoing impasse through peaceful dialogue and negotiation rather than indulge in a war of words. It is high time China maintained the status quo as a mature nation and stopped bullying India and Bhutan. The Central government must deal with this issue in a positive and pragmatic manner and should not allow China to fulfil its hegemonic ambition of global supremacy, which is antithetical to India.

Janga Bahadur Sunuwar, Bagrakote, West Bengal

INDIA should keep an eye on the surge in Chinese economic and military capacities because Chinese companies are close to striking a deal with Myanmar to build a deep seaport in the Bay of Bengal (Kyaukpyu island) and also in Hambantota in Sri Lanka. China is trying to expand its presence in the Indian Ocean.

Arul Daniel, Gobichettipalayam, Tamil Nadu

Kiran Bedi

LT GOVERNOR Kiran Bedi conducting the swearing-in ceremony of three nominated BJP MLAs was against established norms in a democratic country (“Running amok”, August 4). The Lt Governor’s refusal to act as a rubber stamp administrator shows that she is interested in serving the people and not interested in the power of the Lt Governor. But, the Governor is bound to act on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers as otherwise democracy itself would be in peril. Governors are expected to be non-political and there is no justification for them to be active in politics or partisan activities.

A.J. Rangarajan, Chennai

Hindu Rashtra

THE Cover Story “Hatred unleashed” (July 21) portrayed the miserable condition of Indian Muslims. Many of them are living in fear because of the unsavoury incidents that have taken place recently in the country that have trampled on even the minimal rights and privileges they enjoy. If India is to be a strong nation, we need to join hands to stride ahead together regardless of any political ideology, caste, creed, and so on.

Nisamudheen P.K., Wayanad, Kerala