Letters to the Editor

Print edition : December 22, 2017

Gujarat elections

FOR the first time in 22 years, the Congress, which has been out of power in Gujarat, is trying to give the BJP a tough fight because of the evident discontent among various sections of the people (Cover Story, December 8). Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s frequent visits to Gujarat to campaign for the election has considerably enthused that party’s cadres. It is a prestige issue for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, too, in his home State, Gujarat. Probably, the election result will have a great impact on the entire nation. It will also be a litmus test for Rahul Gandhi.

Jitendra G. Kothari, Mumbai

THE article speaks about the dirty tricks of the RSS at length and the objectives of various communities to unseat the BJP in the State elections. Social equations and the political arithmetic based on new faces that have emerged after the demand for reservation by Patidars might help the Congress in the elections. The grand old party should reinvent itself to gain the confidence of the people.

Sravana Ramachandran, Chennai



Saudi Arabia

THE article “Saudi intrigues” (December 8) examines dispassionately the role of Hizbollah and Iran in Lebanon’s internal politics. The United Nations is not able to prevent Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies from supporting Al Qaeda and Daesh-linked rebels financially. The U.S. must play an effective role in bringing Iran, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Israel to the table for talks under the aegis of the U.N. The Gulf Cooperation Council is almost dead. One hopes that the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, will labour with great moral authority to win accolades as the “prince of peace”.

Thomas Edmunds, Chennai

THE Gulf region has become more volatile than before with the “anti-corruption drive” to purge the Saudi royal family. The bitter rivalry with Iran for power in the Gulf has only aggravated the problem. It is strange that the Prime Minister of Lebanon announced his resignation in Saudi Arabia. This is perhaps unprecedented in global politics. Saudi Arabia has grand plans to move beyond oil—to make Riyadh a global city. Can it beat Dubai? The war with Yemen is hurting the interests of Saudi Arabia. It is a diplomatic tightrope walk for India, which is building the Chabahar port in Iran.

Deendayal M. Lulla, Mumbai



Change in Zimbabwe

THE political crisis in Zimbabwe was explicitly triggered by the dismissal of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa by Robert Mugabe (“End of Mugabe era”, December 8). Hyperinflation due to bankruptcy, extreme poverty, the barter economy because of the paucity of hard currency, an AIDS epidemic, rampant hunger and plummeting economic growth had already plunged the country into an abysmal situation. The 90 per cent unemployment rate in the country is the highest in the world.

Although Mugabe said that he had quit power “voluntarily”, he undoubtedly succumbed to the pressure of the military that took control in Harare, interned him in his house and even took steps to impeach him. The military must go back to the barracks as early as possible, and the government should hold presidential and parliamentary elections in July as scheduled. Otherwise, the present turmoil may spark off a bloody civil war or lead to military rule in the country.

Buddhadev Nandi, Bishnupur, West Bengal

THE political crisis is a matter of concern for the international community. The world has seen many such army coups but none of them has brought in the desired results. The international community and the U.N. should help Zimbabwe come out of the crisis soon and ensure the rights and well-being of the people there.

P. Senthil Saravana Durai, Mumbai



Under-17 World Cup

THE crowning of England as the champions of the Under-17 World Cup comes as a fantastic culmination of the month-long football carnival (“Soccer’s turn”, December 8). As rightly mentioned in the article, the event has conclusively proved that India is second to none when it comes to hosting international sporting events. While the All India Football Federation (AIFF) deserves appreciation for it, India needs to improve/develop the game at the grass roots. For a country that excelled in the sport in the 1950s and 1960s and boasted players such as P.K. Bannerjee, it is a sad reality that talent and the zeal for the sport has remained confined to certain States. Going by the large crowds and the rousing enthusiasm the tournament attracted in all the venues—Kolkata, Kochi and Goa—it can undoubtedly be said that the sporting extravaganza has truly provided a big boost to football in the country.

Team India’s spirited performance in the tournament should come both as a wake-up call and as a golden opportunity for the Central and State governments and the Sports Authority of India to revive the past glory of Indian football.

B. Suresh Kumar, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu



Demonetisation

THE Cover Story (“Bungling along”, November 24) shows that the Reserve Bank of India played along with the government in the implementation of demonetisation. It was done after Urjit Patel became the RBI Governor. In an interview after demonetisation, Raghuram Rajan stated that he was against this idea when the government approached him during his tenure. In hindsight, one wonders whether Subramanian Swamy’s tirade against Raghuram Rajan was a BJP ploy.

Vidhya B. Ragunath, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu

THE wholly unwarranted move of the government resulted in the death of more than 100 innocent persons, loss of jobs for crores of people in the unorganised sector and a near total destruction of the informal economy. It is clear that none of the stated objectives of demonetisation, namely, bringing out black money, curbing terror funding and combating counterfeit currency, has been achieved. Worse, the government has ended up losing precious money from the exchequer to meet the cost of printing new currency and other logistical necessities. The Finance Minister’s averment that people were compelled to deposit black money is grossly unfair and can only be termed as an afterthought.

J. Anantha Padmanabhan, Tiruchi, Tamil Nadu

IT is crystal clear that the decision of demonetisation by Modi and his coterie was whimsical.

M.N. Bhartiya, Alto-Porvorim, Goa



Taj Mahal

SASHI KUMAR has rightly pointed out that Purushottam Nagesh Oak, “a self-appointed historian on a quixotic mission of rewriting history, set out in the late 1980s to prove that the Taj Mahal was originally a Hindu temple palace” (“Wah Taj!”, November 24). Oak had also claimed that the Vatican in Italy and Westminster Abbey in Britain were Siva temples. The world has discredited Oak’s ridiculous theories. Senior BJP leader Vinay Katiyar, who is an accused person in the Babri Masjid demolition case, said the Taj Mahal was a Siva temple called “Tejo Mahal” that was converted into a mausoleum by Shahjahan. Under the Modi regime, such comments are made to test the popular mood and adjust the political tactic accordingly.

Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee, Faridabad, Haryana



Debt trap

THE self-immolation within the premises of the Collector’s office in Tirunelveli is shocking (“Lost to usury”, November 24). More so is the insensitivity of the government ignoring the petitions the victims had given earlier. The perceived laws to curb usury appear to have lost their steam for reasons unknown.

C. Chandrasekaran, Madurai, Tamil Nadu



Cow menace

THE Cover Story on cow menace (November 10) pointed to the experiences of farmers and landowners in Uttar Pradesh and States that are under the BJP. Since the NDA assumed power at the Centre, there have been attacks on minorities and marginalised sections of society such as Dalits. The virtual ban on cow slaughter has made many persons victims and converted a docile animal into one capable of fomenting political troubles.

Muhammed Adil Edayannur, Kannur, Kerala



Dalit priests

THE appointment of Dalit priests in temples under the Travancore Devaswom Board has, the writer traces, much to do with the voluntary efforts of a group of tantris who found it important to challenge the inherited division of labour (“Blurring divides”, November 10). Towards that end, the Travancore Devaswom Board has taken no initiative. One of the most important events in the last decade of the 19th century in Kerala was Sri Narayana Guru’s attempt to consecrate a Siva idol at Aruvippuram in protest against the denial of entry to backward castes into temples. When challenged, he retorted that he was consecrating an Ezhava Siva.

He translated works of significance, including the Isa Upanishad , into Malayalam, with the title Isavasyato enable people to fully understand the essence of the text that is recited in temples. Incidentally, one of the earliest attempts at translating the Bhagavad Gita into Malayalam was done by Ayyappan Vaidyan, a physician who was trained in Sanskrit and was a follower of Sri Narayana Guru. Although the recent appointment of Dalits as priests is historic, only time will tell when temples will exercise the option of reciting mantras in the local dialect.

Krishnakumar S., New Delhi



Response

The article “Gunning for Dhanush” [November 10] is an incorrect indication of the commitment of the Indian Army in the development and fielding of indigenously developed Dhanush gun and also of thriving cooperation between the Indian Army and the Ordnance Factory Board.

Dhanush is essentially a gun system, not just a gun, and the scope of the same can be fathomed only when the development is appreciated in that manner. Unfortunately, the perspective of a gun system has neither been appreciated nor have the requirements of a war-worthy gun system been understood by the writer. The Indian Army has immense operational competence on the artillery system which has been put to great use for developing the gun system. The factual inconsistencies in the article are clarified as under:

The Army does not deal directly with any firm. The interactions are only through MoD. The methodology of trials has remained the same since the time of project inception. The user exploitation trials have been carried on the directions of the MoD, which has been agreed by all concerned parties, including the Ordnance Factory Board.

Detailed GSQR was formulated on June 23, 2013, with no room for ambiguity. All factual details have been mentioned in the nine pages GSQR, the GSQR is very much in order, has not been revised and has adequate details of the requirements to facilitate development.

The Army has only one trial team. In order to ensure that there is continuity in the working of the trial team, the following has been ensured: (i) The personnel who are associated with the project are only posted as members of the Project Management Team (PMT), which is functional at the Gun Carriage Factory, Jabalpur, since February 1, 2012. The stellar role of the PMT in the development of the Dhanush gun has actually been rubbished in the article and the same is unfortunate. (ii) The tenure of personnel of the current PMT has been extended up to December 2020 which must indicate the Indian Army’s commitments to set new normal to ensure the success of the project. (iii) Since 2012, only some personnel of the Project Management Team have undergone only one rotation and most of them still are associated either as staff at the Army Headquarters or as part of the PMT.

The position of the seat was required to be changed to facilitate the technical functioning of the personnel who sits on the layers seat, operates consoles, must have due visibility of all input parameters, lays the gun on required azimuth and elevation. More so, the operational ergonomics plays a very important role while handling a weapon system or a platform. The foreign guns being considered for procurement are already proven, in service, comprehensively exploited unlike Dhanush which is a new and evolving gun system.

Brigadier Manoj Kumar, VSM

Deputy Director General Public Information

IHQ of MoD (Army)

30B, South Block

New Delhi-110010

A letter from the Editor


Dear reader,

The COVID-19-induced lockdown and the absolute necessity for human beings to maintain a physical distance from one another in order to contain the pandemic has changed our lives in unimaginable ways. The print medium all over the world is no exception.

As the distribution of printed copies is unlikely to resume any time soon, Frontline will come to you only through the digital platform until the return of normality. The resources needed to keep up the good work that Frontline has been doing for the past 35 years and more are immense. It is a long journey indeed. Readers who have been part of this journey are our source of strength.

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Sincerely,

R. Vijaya Sankar

Editor, Frontline

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