Published : May 29, 2013 00:00 IST

Scams galore

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi during the 8th Mahatma Gandhi NREGA Divas in New Delhi on Saturday PTI Photo by Manvender Vashist(PTI2_2_2013_000035A)

THE United Progressive Alliance (UPA)-II government is inexorably declining on all fronts (Cover Story, May 31). A multitude of scams involving top Ministers and bureaucrats have indeed cast a long shadow over it. The UPA leadership’s silence on almost every scam that has rocked the government is shocking.

While the cases of corruption and malfeasance take a heavy toll on the government’s moral authority, its inability to deliver proper governance has resulted in all-round misery. The neoliberal economic policies that are pursued with vigour by the government have led to spiralling food prices, unemployment and loss of jobs. UPA-II inspires little confidence right now, and it will be a miracle of sorts if it mends its ways in the last year of its tenure.

J. Anantha Padmanabhan

Tiruchi, Tamil Nadu

THE article “Drowning in scams” (May 31) offered a critical analysis of the UPA-II government. Enthused by the successes of UPA-I, the electorate gave the alliance a second term in the hope that economic reforms and all-round development would continue. But people are now disillusioned with its dismal performance. However, the massive victory over the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Karnataka Assembly elections has given the Congress a much-needed morale booster.

Jayant Mukherjee


WE have created this Frankenstein’s monster called corruption, which is trying to swallow society itself. Indians may call their political system a “democracy”, but they forget that the key element to any functioning democracy is a free press that informs its citizenry. Sadly, this institution too is failing.

Siddhartha Shankar Mishra

Budharaja, Odisha

IN the monarchical system of governance, the proverb “The King can do no wrong” may have had legitimacy, but in a democracy, the elected representatives at all levels of government are public servants. Even the Prime Minster is accountable to the public.

Is our country Hindustan, Scamistan or Corruptistan?

Mahesh Kapasi

New Delhi

THE resignation of Pawan Kumar Bansal as Railway Minister following the “cash for post” scam only highlights Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s inability to take tough decisions. Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s decision to rid the government of scam-tainted Ministers is praiseworthy. One hopes the Central Bureau of Investigation will be able to carry on its duties without interference from the executive.

Janga Bahadur Sunuwar

Bagrakote, West Bengal

IN any public project, transparency and credibility are key factors, but unfortunately, the present government has not ensured these for many projects such as allocation of coal blocks and 2G spectrum. Even as the global recession, the economic downturn, unemployment, drought and high inflation are playing havoc with the economic growth of the country, the government is allowing the drain of precious resources.

P. Senthil Saravana Durai

Vazhavallan, Tamil Nadu

CBI Director Ranjit Sinha’s revelation shows that the investigating and accounting agencies can be made to dance to the tune of the government (“Shackles on CBI”, May 31). It lifts the curtains on the nexus between politicians and investigators in the CBI.

If Radiagate showed two years ago that politicians can be influenced by corporate lobbyists, the present case shows that investigating agencies themselves can be influenced by politicians and bureaucrats.

Ritvik Chaturvedi

New Delhi

Manual scavenging

THE article “Death in the gutter” (May 31) highlighted the widespread practice of manual scavenging despite a ban on it by the Madras High Court. Manual scavenging is antithetical to the very concept of dignity of labour and is an unpardonable crime against humanity. The fact that this demeaning profession still exists after 66 years of Independence is a matter of national shame and disgrace.

B. Suresh Kumar

Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu

Factory collapse


People and rescuers gather after an eight-story building housing several garment factories collapsed in Savar, near Dhaka, Bangladesh, Wednesday, April 24, 2013. Dozens were killed and many more are feared trapped in the rubble. (AP Photo/ A.M. Ahad)

THE gruesome deaths of more than 500 garment workers caused by the collapse of a building in Bangladesh should be an eye-opener for the Indian government and the managements of garment industries in the country (“Collapse of safety”, May 31). Safety aspects in garment industries in India are far from satisfactory. The working conditions of women are appalling—they are ill-paid, made to toil for long hours and lack health care and creche facilities. They are subjected to verbal abuse and sexual harassment.

N.C. Sreedharan

Kannur, Kerala

Folk arts


SALEM05/04/2013: Attn:Mr.R.Vijaysankar/Editor/Frontline: Ammapet Ganesan performing leather shadow puppetry show at a marriage function Erode in district in Tamil Nadu.PHOTO:SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

THIS is with reference to the article “Shadow play” (May 31). Several folk art traditions that have survived in isolated pockets of the subcontinent are slowly dying out. Puppetry is one of them. Bringing these traditional arts back into the mainstream will require a huge effort.

Shipra R. Upadhyay

Vadodara, Gujarat

IN West Bengal, Kalighat paintings and Medinipur’s scroll paintings flourished owing to the high demand from people. Puppet shows and jatra (costume drama involving extreme body language) were an essential part of Bengali life. But with time these have vanished and have been unable to withstand the force of mass entertainment offered by television, cinema and the Internet. Folk art too needs to adapt itself to the current times.

Uttam K. Bhowmik

Chandramerh, West Bengal


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Women of Pondi village.

THE efforts of Ashish Kothari and Shiba Desor to document the real story of the forest villages Dhaba, Pondi and Phitari are laudable (“Baigas’ battle”, May 17). I was a part of this mission for a year and have seen first hand the revival of these forests. The authors highlight the concern with which women of these villages view the felling of trees, the depletion of forest ecology and its adverse impact on their livelihoods.

The National Institute of Women, Child & Youth Development has been working with the Baiga community for the past 25 years. It has included the youth in the campaign to create mass awareness on ecosystems. It helps villagers in their fight for forest and livelihood rights.

Rajeevan A.K.

Binjiya, Madhya Pradesh

Narendra Modi

FRONTLINE truly shatters the myth of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi (“Modi myth” and “The great land grab”, May 17). A regular visitor to the Gujarat, I find the State a land of extremes—of the super-affluent at one end and the really poor at the other. Gujarat also lags behind Maharashtra and many southern States in terms of economic growth, infrastructure development and social indicators.

Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee

Faridabad, Haryana

THERE is no doubt that Modi has played an integral part in the development of Gujarat. He has a formidable battle on hand in his effort to become the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate as he faces a stiff challenge from party veterans such as L.K. Advani and Sushma Swaraj. Modi’s political ambitions may have caused a turmoil in the National Democratic Alliance, but Modi is the right choice to take India forward economically.

Shreya Jha

Dhanbad, Jharkhand

INDUSTRIAL development alone is not enough for a State’s progress. The decreasing share of agriculture in the gross domestic product indicates the State’s neglect of the sector. Development of all sectors of the economy will create employment opportunities and prevent poor people from migrating to cities.

Pankaj Madhukar Yelapale

Pune, Maharashtra

Tamil cinema

CINEMA in Tamil Nadu, as in other parts of the country, is seen just as entertainment and seldom inspires people to seek a radical change in society (“Tamil cinema’s double act”, May 3). This may probably have to do with films being overdependent on song and dance sequences and a parallel comedy track, which detract from the seriousness of the films. Film-makers should concentrate on the main theme of a film without getting sidetracked.

S.S. Rajagopalan



GITHA HARIHARAN brings to light Israel’s human rights violations in Palestine and the hollow positions adopted by its allies on this issue (“Inside the matrix”, May 3). She objectively presents what it means for ordinary Palestinians to live in a colonised nation.

Nasir Nabi


Iraq in shambles

THE article “Ten years of hell” (April 19) tells the story of the untold sufferings of Iraqi people. The United States encouraged Iraq to wage a fruitless nine-year war with Iran between 1979 and 1988, which weakened and economically crippled both countries. The Gulf wars unleashed by the U.S. and its allies in 1991 and 2003 and the crippling sanctions imposed on the country devastated Iraq and its people.

Harassing, intimidating, challenging and invading weak but oil-rich and mineral-rich countries come quite naturally to the U.S. Its misadventure in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya and its proxy war in Egypt and Syria are well known. In many of these countries, the U.S. left behind a legacy of sectarian politics, violence and anarchy.

Why are George Bush, Tony Blair and others not being tried by the War Crimes Tribunal?

M.Y. Shariff


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