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Letters to the Editor

Print edition : January 05, 2018

Russian Revolution

THE Special Issue of Frontline on the Russian Revolution (December 22) read like a fantastic story.

I was in the Soviet Union in 1991 to participate in functions commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Indo-Soviet Friendship Treaty. I could see that the edifice built by Lenin and Stalin was crumbling. When I mentioned my apprehensions to a Communist Party leader, he dismissed them saying the people who had enjoyed the fruits of socialism for 70 years would not desert it. This overconfidence on the part of the party was responsible for its turning a blind eye to what was unfolding.

I was in a small village when enrolment of students was going on. It was a delight to see young children marching from house to house with bugles and drums to invite the newly enrolled children and take them to school in a procession. Likewise when children were returning in buses after their vacation in resorts, it was a thrilling experience to watch people standing on either side of the roads clapping to welcome them back. Children’s education and health care were well taken care of.

S.S. Rajagopalan, Chennai

THE Special Issue was a welcome break from routine political stories and is a treasure trove of information about the 1917 revolution.

The foundations of communist ideology were laid on the building blocks of the lofty ideals of freedom, equality and fraternity and genuine concern for the marginalised and exploited working class.The way to ameliorate their pitiable conditions was first envisioned by the iconic visionaries, philosophers and revolutionaries Karl Marx and Frederick Engels at a time when the tentacles of the oppressive systems of feudalism and capitalism were firmly entrenched in different parts of the world. The October socialist revolution of 1917 was the glorious culmination of the needs and aspirations of millions of Russians to break free from the oppressive shackles of tsarist rule, which had made life miserable for them.

At a time when the foundations of the modern civilised world are threatened by terrorism,dictatorship, fascism, neoliberalism, neocolonialism and imperialism in their various forms, the ideals that shaped the Russian Revolution continue to be relevant.

B. Suresh Kumar, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu

A CENTURY is a long time for any revolution to take root, thrive and then decay and so it is the case with communism as propounded by Lenin. It was a revolt against a monarchy with absolute powers. Communism was advocated as a substitute to monarchy and colonial rule and was supposed to create a free society where every citizen was equal.

But communism as practised degenerated into total control by the state over individuals. Only the Communist Party was allowed to function officially and opposition to it was not tolerated. Freedom of speech and dissent were the casualties in the one-party rule. Slowly, the disintegration of the once-mighty USSR led to breakaway states that charted their own policies for development.

Even in Russia, the birthplace of communism, consumerism and private entrepreneurship as opposed to state-sponsored development are fast matching the advanced capitalist countries. Very few countries now proclaim they are communist. The world has come a long way from the rigid communism of earlier times.

D.B.N. Murthy, Bengaluru

IS a revolution possible in the present era? It is unlikely because the status quo suits the rich and vested interests, the middle class does not have the time and the poor have neither the resources nor the inclination to bring about a revolution.

One saw the fate of the Arab Spring: it is now history. The military of a nation overthrowing the elected government and the public erupting in joy, as happened recently in Zimbabwe, is the modern revolution. People are busy with issues in their daily life such as earning a livelihood and securing a roof over their heads and do not have the time for an extracurricular activity like a revolution.

Deendayal M. Lulla, Mumbai

Gujarat elections

THE BJP has been ruling Gujarat for a long time and has established a strong base in the State, but it is facing a stiff challenge in this Assembly election (Cover story, December 8). Thus, it is a golden opportunity for the Congress to make a comeback.

Jayant Mukherjee, Kolkata

IF the BJP thinks that there are no ethics in electoral battle, that is an affront to democracy. It should not foment religious frenzy just to cover up its failures. Destitute farmers, Dalits and Muslims in Gujarat feel suffocated under Chief Minister Vijay Rupani’s rule. The controversies around Rupani’s business firms, which earned an indictment from the Securities and Exchange Board of India, make a mockery of the BJP’s claim that it is against corruption.

The comments of BJP leaders after Rahul Gandhi’s visit to the Somnath temple were in bad taste. Should not the Prime Minister talk about the party’s achievements rather than turning adversarial?

C. Chandrasekaran, Madurai, Tamil Nadu

THE Congress fared miserably in the 2012 elections in Gujarat, and the BJP came to power as the people supported the political party they felt was responsible for growth in the State. But now Dalit agitations, demonetisation and GST, among other issues, pose some threat to the BJP coming back to power. Rahul Gandhi’s sincere effort to correct the lapses of the past are commendable. The use of hate speech and the violation of orders of the Election Commission are a matter for great concern in general.

A.J. Rangarajan, Chennai

THE citadel of the BJP, hitherto considered almost impregnable, has become wobbly, and the credit goes mainly to the young triumvirate of Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakor and Jignesh Mevani. They have managed to instil a sense of confidence in people who were pessimistically reconciled to the invincibility of the BJP. But, unfortunately, the issues of the minorities are almost cold-shouldered in the hustings as if they are of no consequence.

Ayyasseri Raveendranath, Aranmula, Kerala

DURING the campaign no day went by without Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi taking potshots at each other. The BJP’s creating a furore over Rahul Gandhi’s visit to the Somnath temple was just a gimmick to confuse voters. Given the Congress party’s political vulnerabilities, Rahul Gandhi’s temple visit can be said to be a wasted opportunity for him. The BJP doing its best to expand its base by playing the communal card to the hilt is certain to gain the advantage.

K.R. Srinivasan, Secunderabad, Telangana


THE joint venture between Reliance Industries Limited and SBI to start a payments bank in the name of the former has ominous portents for the public sector behemoth (“A losing game”, December 8).

The reason for the move being trotted out by interested parties that its purpose is to provide banking facilities to the unbanked is absolutely ludicrous. Ever since the NDA government assumed office, there have been persistent attacks against public sector banks (PSBs). The aggressive thrust given to the payments banks concept is intended to push PSBs into private hands.

One wonders how the powers that be could allow one of the largest defaulters of loans to PSBs in the country to start banking operations and that too in a joint venture with India’s largest PSB. The RBI should undertake a thorough review of the entire process of giving licences to private players to start payments banks. There is no better way of taking banking to the unbanked areas of the country than by giving PSBs licences to open more branches in such areas.

J. Anantha Padmanabhan, Tiruchi, Tamil Nadu

Saudi Arabia

ANTI-CORRUPTION drives by rulers will always have people’s support (“Saudi intrigues”, December 8).

After 32-year-old Mohammed bin Salman was named Crown Prince, he launched the kingdom’s first anti-corruption drive in 80 years and has emerged as the most powerful Saudi ruler in a generation. Defying the long-standing tradition in the country, Salman proclaimed a decree to end the ban on women drivers. He has also initiated economic reforms to diversify the Saudi economy.

Kangayam R. Narasimhan, Chennai

Free speech

THE article “Stifling dissent” (December 8) eloquently expressed the intolerance, use of brute force and lawlessness being unleashed by the Tamil Nadu government to stop people from expressing their bona fide views on matters of social relevance or from supporting the victims of economic hardship and political despotism. It is the nadir of the law and order situation in Tamil Nadu when a lawyer is not able to save himself from attacks by the police.

Democracy relies on freedom of the press and the freedom of individuals to stimulate healthy debate and objective critique of society.

B. Rajasekaran, Bengaluru

Tipu Sultan

THE BJP government is following in the footsteps of the British in their use of the “divide and rule” policy (“The past as present”, December 8).

For political gain, members of the extreme right wing are planting the seeds of communal polarisation in the minds of many Indians. The damage this polarisation causes will remain in the minds of those people who do not apply their minds and will pass on to future generations. Whatever be a ruler’s religion, if he has brought prosperity to the nation and resisted foreign invaders, he has to be honoured and respected, be it Tipu Sultan or Pazhassi Raja. Many of the BJP leaders who defame the Muslim rulers of the past express their views without knowing a single thing about history. As the article said, the saffron brigade is not rewriting history but is purposefully misinterpreting it in order to create a deep separation between Hindus and Muslims in India. It is high time that we all realised this cheap trick of the BJP/RSS.

Tipu Sultan is my hero compared with Savarkar, who got out of prison by apologising to the British.

Anees Kurikkal, Kolaparamba, Kerala


THE Cover Story on demonetisation (November 24) clearly described the situations and problems caused by this bad policy. Before people could recover from the effects of demonetisation, they had to deal with Goods and Service Tax.

I applaud Frontline for speaking out on the situation in the country. Agriculture is in decline and small businesses have been ruined by GST. However, the government and Modi do not care about the terrible condition of the people.

A year after demonetisation, BJP followers have started going against Modi’s economic initiatives. It also is providing opportunities for the opposition to join forces.

Muhammed Adil Edayannur, Kannur, Kerala

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