P. Senthil Saravana Durai
Vazhavallan, Tamil Nadu
THE seasoned politician Nawaz Sharif has been returned to power with a massive mandate. It is hoped that he will chalk out a strong foreign policy with a major thrust on cementing India-Pakistan relations. This will hopefully include Pakistan refraining from fomenting trouble in Kashmir and using a strong hand to curb terrorists’ designs against India.
FORMER President Asif Ali Zardari was subservient to the Army, which was the chief reason for his Pakistan People’s Party government completing its full term. The electorate turning out to vote in significant numbers despite threats from fundamentalists was a clear pointer to their faith in democracy and their preference for an experienced administrator to lead Pakistan. Given the volatile nature of the country and the vice-like grip of the Army over the civilian government, it will be a testing time for Sharif. Hopefully, he will use his skills to assert the primacy of the civilian establishment and forge a healthy relationship with India.
Secunderabad, Andhra Pradesh
ALTHOUGH the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) won the election with a comfortable majority and with the participation of all strata of society, its leader, Sharif, faces myriad problems—domestic extremism, an economic crisis, deterioration in the relations with India in the aftermath of the 2008 terror strike in Mumbai, a strained relationship with the U.S. against the backdrop of drone attacks in Pakistan, the Kashmir issue, and so on. Although Sharif is optimistic about resuming talks with India, the Government of India should tread cautiously.
IT is too early to predict the future course of India’s relationship with Pakistan (“Cautious optimism”, June 14). Sharif has said all the right things and chances are he might match his words with action but India needs to be cautious. The task he has on hand is anything but easy, and it remains to be seen how he will counter the Taliban and work with the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Army. He can worry about India after restoring peace in his country and improving governance. And, yes, the Indian government need to be pragmatic in its approach.
Noida, Uttar Pradesh
INDIA should not be elated at Sharif’s victory. He will not rush to embrace India as a long-lost friend. In fact, he was the co-architect of the Kargil War and connived with Pervez Musharraf in that misadventure against India. Sharif was all for Musharraf before his ouster. In Pakistan, the Army chief still retains a powerful hold on the government. Anti-India feelings and rhetoric are in the blood of Pakistan’s politicians, so India should adopt a cautious and tough attitude towards the country.
S. Raghunatha Prabhu
THANK YOU for the excellent visual coverage of the Nilgiri marten (“Marten up close”, June 14). It is believed that one can still sight the animal in the Longwood Forest at Kotagiri in Nilgiris district. Before the invasion of the landscape by the British, a neighbourhood in Kotagiri town was called, in Badaga, “hemola/kemmola haada”, which in English means “the dale of the marten”. The Badaga name for the animal is “mega-rabbit”.
Philip K. Mulley
Kotagiri, Tamil Nadu
THE Pampadum Shola situated in Kerala is one of the unexplored scenic “vans” (jungle) in southern India. The article portrayed the marten’s bizarre behaviour towards humans. It is a rare creature, and therefore, it is important that efforts be made to protect it.
MOHSIN HAMID was spot on with the way he dealt with the sensitive issue of the “Islamic image” in the present-day world torn apart by incessant terrorism (“Why Islamophobia?”, June 14). The projection of Islam as a monolith with an aggressive ideology and as a religion incompatible with other “world systems”, especially the Western world, has come in the way of a proper understanding of issues such as terrorism. Until and unless one dares to look beyond this linear projection and tries to understand the finer nuances of the issue, it cannot be tackled.
Asghar Ali Engineer
His last visit to Mangalore was less than a year ago when, along with his son Irfan, a lawyer and human rights activist, he conducted a two-day workshop on sensitising youngsters to communal harmony (Mangalore has the dubious distinction of being the communalism capital of Karnataka). He endeared himself to sections of Indian society across its several divisions and hierarchies. We have lost a rare human being. I feel intensely and personally bereaved.
H. Pattabhirama Somayaji
THE obituary paid a fitting tribute to Asghar Ali Engineer in whose demise the nation has lost an ardent patriot, scholar, philanthropist and a dynamic social reformer. An uncompromising crusader against communalism and religious fundamentalism, he fought tooth and nail against the religious obscurantism and social backwardness prevalent in his own community.
A truly liberal and secular intellectual, Engineer was a man of action who worked relentlessly to promote religious tolerance and communal harmony. He was undeterred by six physical assaults on him for his advocacy of religious reforms, a testimony to his unflinching commitment to a noble cause. His demise is certainly a setback for secularism and progressive forces at a time when the scourge of communalism and religious bigotry threaten the very foundations of the nation.
B. Suresh Kumar
Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
This rating is only aimed at giving a push to the government’s neoliberal economic policies. The agency has warned the government that unless it shows progress on fiscal reforms, the economy may deteriorate. All these point to an inexorable march to a slew of reforms that will hurt the common man. The government should understand that if it decides to heap more burden on the poorer sections of the country, the repercussions will be severe.
J. Anantha Padmanabhan
Trichy, Tamil Nadu
WHETHER it is match-fixing or spot-fixing, it brings disgrace to the game of cricket (“A run for your money”, June 14). As cricket has a huge fan following in the subcontinent, the cricket administration needs to worry a lot about the recent developments.
The popularity of the game may not diminish because it has essentially become celebrity-centred, but the credibility of the game has been eroded and this is serious. With every passing day, more murky details are emerging, indicating how deep the rot runs in the IPL. Overenthusiasm and overemphasis on cricket have apparently killed the sanctity of the game. The announcement of a cash prize of Rs.1 crore for a cricketer for hitting six sixes in a match is an instance of hyper commercialisation.
It is natural for spectators to bet on matches, but it is criminal for players to play to suit the bettors’ needs. By involving themselves in betting, players, umpires and sports managers have cheated millions of cricket lovers.
Siddhartha Shankar Mishra
IT is said that silence is golden, but in politics this is seldom so (“Drowning in scams”, May 31). Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his party are facing the heat from the opposition, mainly the equally tainted BJP, for their silence.
Labelling Manmohan Singh corrupt is uncalled for. He has been the Prime Minister for two terms and still owns only a 1996 model Maruti. If he had earned money from corruption, he could afford a luxury car. The recent debacle in the Karnataka Assembly elections only goes to show that Manmohan Singh will be Prime Minister for a third term. Congress president Sonia Gandhi should seriously consider appointing a Deputy Prime Minister who would be aggressive enough to take on the BJP stalwarts.
WHILE referring to the Supreme Court’s description of the Central Bureau of Investigation as a caged parrot, the article “Shackles on CBI” (May 31) cites the court’s observation that it would be a golden day if the government actually followed through on its intent to promulgate an ordinance to protect the CBI from extraneous influences.
I read a well-known story titled “The Parrot’s Training” by Rabindranath Tagore. In it, Tagore narrates a few people’s greedy and selfish forays, ranging from building a golden cage for a parrot to engaging scribes to tutor it, only to find in the end that the parrot had died unsung and unceremoniously. I nurse a saddening premonition that the proposed ordinance may cause the CBI to face the same fate as the parrot in the Tagore’s story.
K. John Mammen
Deendayal M. Lulla
FIVE years ago, the BJP, after grabbing the reins of power in Karnataka, had visions of making the State its political springboard to conquer the south and promised the people the moon (“Southern shock”, May 31). But what did it really give them? Three Chief Ministers, some of the worst possible scandals, Hindutva labs in Mangalore and Udupi, and a mining mafia, which was a republic within the State—the republic of Bellary! If Narendra Modi could not sell the Gujarat development model to the people of Karnataka, it is doubtful he will be able to sell his agenda at the national level in 2014.