Letters to the editor

Print edition : October 13, 2017

Gauri Lankesh

THE murder of Gauri Lankesh was an attempt to silence critics of Hindutva and rationalists campaigning against superstition and orthodoxy (Cover Story, September 29). She was a relentless fighter against the growing communal chauvinism and intolerance in this country. While it is still not known who planned her murder, there is evidence relating to those who celebrated and justified her murder. There is also the eerie pattern of killings that was seen before her murder. The murderers of Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and M.M. Kalburgi are cowardly people who could not effectively counter their arguments and so silenced them using deadly weapons. Gauri Lankesh’s death comes as a warning that the freedom of the press that Indian journalists enjoyed until recently is rapidly eroding.

N.C. Sreedharan, Kannur, Kerala

THE brutal murder of Gauri Lankesh is a big blow to the media world and freedom of expression. The fact that those who killed Pansare, Kalburgi and Dabholkar have still not been brought to book has only emboldened those who target rationalists at will. Such killings are an anachronism in any civil society.

K.R. Srinivasan, Secunderabad, Telangana

THE use of violence and force to muzzle or physically eliminate those who do not subscribe to their parochial views has been the hallmark of bigots and fundamentalists of all hues across the world. The brutal murder of Gauri Lankesh only reinforces this. Coming as a setback for progressive forces and a shot in the arm for obscurantists, the ghastly incident is a reminder of the grave consequences one has to face for being outspoken and standing up for one’s convictions. The fact that such dastardly incidents recur frequently and that the perpetrators have been able to get away from the clutches of the law is a blot on Indian democracy.

B. Suresh Kumar, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu

FREEDOM of expression, which is enshrined in the Constitution, is at the very root of Indian democracy. Gauri Lankesh should have been provided with security. The state should ensure that such incidents do not recur.

N.R. Ramachandran, Chennai

THE murder of Gauri Lankesh is another glaring example of the danger of raising the voice of dissent against the Hindutva philosophy under the present dispensation. Her murder has threatened freedom of the press, and this strikes at the very heart of democracy. Although, the Karnataka government promptly announced that the investigation would be carried out by a special investigation team, the culprits are still at large. One sincerely hopes the culprits are nabbed soon.

Jayant Mukherjee, Kolkata

THE best tribute to Gauri Lankesh that comes to my mind are these words of Che Guevara: “Wherever death may surprise us, let it be welcome, provided that this, our battle cry, may have reached some receptive ear and another hand may be extended to wield our weapons.”

There is a clear indication that the world’s largest democracy is slowly and steadily getting transformed from a freethinking society into a flawed democracy. Who knows how many people the perpetrators of these heinous acts will silence before they are caught.

Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee, Faridabad, Haryana

DABHOLKAR, Pansare and Kalburgi were killed for fearlessly voicing their views on superstition and irrational practices in the name of religion. Now, the journalist Gauri Lankesh, who expressed views that ran counter to those held sacred by obscurantist forces, has been killed. It is upsetting that such killings are taking place in India, which is basically a democratic, peace-loving and religious nation. The killing of intellectuals and journalists has been going on for quite some time, instilling fear in their minds of the dreadful consequences that could follow if they persist with voicing their opinions. But democracy loses its meaning and substance in the absence of dissenting voices.

The following words of D.H. Lawrence are apt: “Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically. The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins [but]…. [w]e’ve got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.”

A. Michael Dhanaraj, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu

THE killing of Gauri Lankesh is condemnable. The attacks on mediapersons just for reporting the truth and for their social activities are inhuman. Responsible journalists are expected to expose the corrupt and denounce acts of violence. As the media is one of the four pillars of democracy, attacking those who work for the media is unethical.

A.J. Rangarajan, Chennai


THE article “Price of inequity” ( September 29) exposed how the Tamil Nadu government’s inept handling of the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) issue and its false proclamations and make-believe assurances and the Centre’s irresolute stand misled the students of Tamil Nadu and resulted in the death of S. Anitha. She is a victim of policy aberrations, inactive officialdom and social and economic deprivation. The rote system of learning is not unique to the educational system in Tamil Nadu; it is an omnipresent malaise in Indian education.

Anitha could have not comprehended NEET as the questions were from the CBSE syllabus, and the test was therefore relatively easier for students of that board. This belies the notion that NEET ensures a level playing ground.

How is a national exam like NEET justifiable with different question papers for different States? The concept of uniformity in assessing students’ calibre was conspicuous by its absence. The corrupt political system is the cause for the problems in all aspects of life, including education.

B. Rajasekaran, Bengaluru

THE advocate Balaji Srinivasan exposed how the Supreme Court failed to hear all affected parties when it decided on NEET (“Supreme Court was misled on NEET”, September 29). If details regarding the socio-economic background of those who took the test and what preparations they made for it, including how much specialised coaching they underwent, were made public, it would help one know how far NEET is neutral and able to give every participant an equal chance. State medical colleges are intended to provide the necessary personnel for hospitals under the control of the State government. How far NEET will help in this matter has to be ascertained.

S.S. Rajagopalan, Chennai

Defence industry

THE debate whether to privatise Indian ordnance factories can be settled (“Creeping privatisation”, September 29). Take the example of Dassault Aviation of France, the manufacturer of Mirage fighter jets. It competes with other private firms. The Indian ordnance factories’ problem lies in quality. Even the small arms they make fail to compare favourably with those that foreign companies make.

Sunil Pradhan, Khariar, Odisha

Hurricane Harvey

THE U.S. is prone to storms and cyclones at regular intervals that result in enormous damage, running into billions of dollars (“An American deluge”, September 29). Neighbours help neighbours, and the government machinery there seems to be inadequate to the task of dealing with such disasters. Is India prepared for such storms? If such a storm were to hit Indian shores, would it drown a city like Mumbai or Chennai? India is not even prepared to deal with urban floods, which have become a regular occurrence during the monsoon season. The financial capital of India, where people get stuck in their offices overnight because of heavy rain, needs cyclone shelters. India needs to do more to deal with natural disasters, be it in rural or urban areas, as the future is uncertain.

Deendayal M. Lulla, Mumbai

Triple talaq

THE Supreme Court’s verdict on instant triple talaq came as a ray of hope for Muslim women in the country (“Instant talaq illegal”, September 15). The psychological impact of triple talaq is greater than the impact of divorce. The practice reflects the gender bias in the Muslim community. It has been reported that men often say triple talaq in a fit of anger, but more often they say it when they want to break the marriage and seek another wife.

There are many outdated and unconstitutional laws in the country that need to be amended. The onus is now on the Muslim Personal Law Board to acknowledge the court’s verdict and be prepared to revoke the outdated practice.

Janga Bahadur Sunuwar, Bagrakote, West Bengal


THE deaths of over 60 children in the BRD Medical College Hospital in Gorakhpur is a blot on the State government led by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, which failed to rise to the occasion (“A political burial”, September 15). Instead of finding out the facts of the case and taking appropriate steps, it is indulging in petty communal politics. Although a few arrests have been made, it appears that corrective measures are still not in place.

The government has failed on many fronts and is now trying to cover up its poor performance with diversionary tactics. It is time the Chief Minister concentrated on the urgent problems of the State rather than on trying to promote Hindutva. He has yet to fulfil even some of the promises his party made during election time.

D.B.N. Murthy, Bengaluru

Prasar Bharati

PRASAR BHARATI’S attempt to censor the Independence Day speech of Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar was a case of being more loyal than the king (“Sarkar vs Sarkar”, September 15). Asking the Chief Minister to “reshape” his speech was a gross infringement of federalism and an insult to the democratically elected leader. The autonomy of Prasar Bharati has been proven to be a chimera as it only replicates its master’s voice. The silver lining in the dark clouds was that the embargo unwittingly helped spread the Chief Minister’s message far and wide.

Ayyasseri Raveendranath, Aranmula, Kerala

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