Print edition : May 03, 2013

A protest in front of the Union Public Service Commission office in New Delhi on March 11 against changes in the scheme of the civil serices examination. Photo: Shahbaz Khan/PTI

The birth of the Buddha, Mural by Soliyas Mendis, Kelaniya Vihara, early 20th century. The work of Soliyas Mendis is remarkable in showing its roots in the art of Sri Lanka and ancient India, while serving the contemporaneous needs of Buddhists on the Island.

Building trust

THE interview with Hina Rabbani Khar by A.G. Noorani is one of the best I have read in recent times (Cover Story, April 19). She came across as an intelligent Foreign Minister with a passion for harmony and good relationship with India. She was candid and pragmatic in expressing her opinions. It is time for India to reciprocate her longing for peace.

S.S. Rajagopalan


YOUR cover story is a big boost to efforts to improve India-Pakistan ties. Hina Rabbani expressing her commitment to normalising relations with India offers hope. Her desire to remove the animosity in the hearts of people in both countries is encouraging. Even though she reiterates Pakistan’s view on resolving the Kashmir issue, one hopes that whoever forms the next government in Pakistan will follow the same policy in the interest of all concerned.

Jacob Sahayam


THE new visa agreement between India and Pakistan and the latter granting the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India have revived hopes of improving bilateral ties. Although there are many unresolved issues, a sincere effort to start the composite dialogue process is the best way out.

P. Senthil Saravana Durai

Vazhavallan, Tamil Nadu

ALTHOUGH Hina Rabbani says war is not even a remote option and speaks of a road map to resolve the vexed problem of Kashmir, she is silent on the November 2008 terror attacks on Mumbai and says very little on whether Pakistan will dismantle the terror machinery in her country.

N.C. Sreedharan

Kannur, Kerala

PAKISTAN’S animosity towards India is never going to change. The only difference now is that even while aiding and abetting insurgency and fomenting trouble in India, the civilian government in Pakistan is trying to befool India by pushing every now and then superficial confidence-building measures (CBMs) to foster its commercial interests. At the time of Partition and Independence, Pakistan was ably led by Mohammed Ali Jinnah, a secular intellectual, who struggled for a progressive Islamic nation. Unfortunately, he died the year after Independence. He did not have sufficient time to secure the moorings of his new homeland. Thereafter, with the exception of Benazir Bhutto, no politician has as prominently defended secular values in Pakistan.

Ettirankandath Krishnadas

Palakkad, Kerala

THE Pakistan People’s Party-led coalition government completing its full constitutional term is no mean achievement (“Milestone of sorts”, April 19). Although President Asif Ali Zardari’s shrewd management of allies helped the civilian government survive and last its full term, the going may not be smooth for the PPP in the coming elections, with former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and cricketer-politician Imran Khan in the fray. Former President Pervez Musharraf’s return to the country could make Pakistan politics more interesting.

Coming from a person who only a couple of months ago accused India of “warmongering”, Hina Rabbani’s assertions about Pakistan’s commitment to normalising relations is amusing. There is no reason for India to trust Pakistan now and it is better to wait for the election results before it takes any concrete steps.

K.R. Srinivasan

Secunderabad, Andhra Pradesh


THE article “Buddhist treasures” of Sri Lanka by Benoy K. Behl (April 19) accompanied by rare and excellent photographs makes Frontline a collector’s item. It reminded me of Behl’s earlier articles such as those on the composite Hindu-Muslim architectural marvels of the Kashmir Valley, paintings in the Ajanta Caves, and rock-cut temples and viharas of India.

Frontline, perhaps, is the only magazine that regularly publishes such articles on art, culture and architecture. These are not only informative but also throw light on our glorious past.

S. Balakrishnan

Jamshedpur, Jharkhand

Tamil politics

THE kind of competitive politics played out by political parties in Tamil Nadu over the Sri Lankan Tamils issue can only be described as a drama aimed at the vote bank (“Tipping point”, April 19). The resolution passed by the Tamil Nadu Assembly demanding a referendum on Eelam and calling for economic sanctions against Sri Lanka was clearly an act of one-upmanship by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.

At the behest of political parties in Tamil Nadu, the United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre has pumped in crores for relief and rehabilitation of the displaced Tamils. The aggression shown by political parties in Tamil Nadu to anything connected to Sri Lanka will undo all those initiatives.

J. Anantha Padmanabhan

Trichy, Tamil Nadu

THE article “Tipping point” was a cogent narration of the opportunistic propaganda of political parties of all hues and the emotionally charged atmosphere in Tamil Nadu on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue. The leaderships of both the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam are using the situation to project themselves as the saviours of Tamil interests, adroitly concealing their own political agendas.

B. Rajasekaran


Sanjay Dutt

AT last the law has caught up with Sanjay Dutt (“Justice, at last” and “The Sanjay Dutt saga”, April 19). The weapons and grenades that were found in his possession are not boy’s toys. Just because he is an actor, he does not deserve sympathy or leniency.

S. Ragunatha Prabhu

Alappuzha, Kerala

DUTT’S decision to respect the Supreme Court’s verdict and the fact that he has not sought clemency is bold and reveals his inner strength.

Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee

Faridabad, Haryana

TO serve more time in prison is definitely unfortunate for Dutt. Although some may feel he committed the crime unwittingly, the act has tainted his reputation as an actor and as a human being. Unless there is some effort to arrest Dawood Ibrahim and ‘Tiger’ Memon, the prime perpetrators of the 1993 Mumbai blasts, people directly affected by the bombings will not get full justice.

Jayant Mukherjee


Social issues

THE article “Disempowered Dalits” (April 19) is a shocking expose of how the functioning of democratic institutions and their elected representatives are being systematically stifled, manipulated and sabotaged by casteist forces and vested interests. That Dalit panchayat presidents continue to face caste-based discrimination and intimidation in several districts in Tamil Nadu makes a mockery of the much-touted concept of decentralisation of power. If this is the plight of panchayat presidents, one can very well imagine the plight of Dalits without economic or political power.

B. Suresh Kumar

Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu

Civil services

THE controversial changes proposed in the scheme of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) examination are retrograde (“Language of reason”, April 19). These proposals are grounded on the belief that people who are educated in rural areas and lack proficiency in English cannot be able administrators. Equally impractical was the proposal to have a minimum of 25 candidates for conducting the examination in a particular language. If Hindi is available as a language unconditionally, so should other languages be. Proficiency in a language is by no means a measure of the governing abilities of a person. Going ahead with the proposals would not only have left many such potential good administrators schooled in regional languages in the lurch, but may also have over a period of time bred a class of administrators who consider proficiency in English a mark of intellectual superiority.

Ritvik Chaturvedi

New Delhi

Hugo Chavez

HUGO CHAVEZ will be remembered as a shrewd helmsman who, through diligence and erudition, navigated Venezuela from turbulent waters to safe shores (Cover Story, April 5). The various regional groupings that he helped form have offered stiff resistance to the exploitative policies of the United States.

Meraj Bhat

Repora Ganderbal, Kashmir