Print edition : August 09, 2013


CONGRATULATIONS on the Cover Story (“Business of agriculture”, July 26) on the dangerous grip of corporatocracy on Indian agriculture. As early as January 4, 1968, Prof. M.S. Swaminathan gave a prophetic warning of the dangers of exploitative agriculture in his presidential address at the 55th Indian Science Congress held in Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi.

He said: “Exploitative agriculture offers great possibilities if carried out in a scientific way, but poses great dangers if carried out with only an immediate profit or production motive…. Intensive cultivation of land without conservation of soil fertility and soil structure would lead ultimately to the springing up of deserts. Irrigation without arrangements for proper drainage would result in soils getting alkaline or saline.

“Indiscriminate use of pesticides, fungicides and herbicides could cause adverse changes in biological balance as well as lead to an increase in the incidence of cancer and other diseases, through the toxic residues present in the grains or other edible parts. Unscientific tapping of underground water will lead to the rapid exhaustion of this wonderful capital resource left to us through ages of natural farming. The rapid replacement of numerous locally adapted varieties with one or two high-yielding strains in large, contiguous areas would result in the spread of serious diseases capable of wiping out entire crops, as it happened prior to the Irish Potato Famine of 1854 and the Bengal Rice Famine of 1942.

“Therefore, the initiation of exploitative agriculture without a proper understanding of the various consequences to everyone of the changes introduced into traditional agriculture, and without first building up a proper scientific and training base to sustain it, may only lead us in the long run, to an era of agricultural disaster, rather than one of agricultural prosperity.”

If we had heeded his words, most of the current ecological disasters due to micronutrient deficiencies, waterlogging, salinity, and so on, could have been avoided.

R.D. Iyer

Thazhava, Kerala

THE United Progressive Alliance government has failed on all the major fronts, including agriculture and employment. People are forced to pay heavily for essential commodities, fuel and transport because of its bad handling of the Indian rupee and the economy.

More importantly, the announcement of loan waiver for farmers only reflects the poor state of the farming sector in the country. The sector needs more investment and finance.

The government needs to give serious thought to the farming sector and the interests of the farming community.

P. Senthil Saravana Durai

Vazhavallan, Tamil Nadu

THE ruling party is ignoring the interests of the agriculturist. Everyone seems to have forgotten the freedom struggle and how we won India back from foreigners. That hard-earned freedom is being misused by the rulers of the country.

The Frontline Cover Story was timely.

Parayil Bappu Haji

Tirur, Kerala

Caste issues

THE tragic end of the inter-caste marriage between Elavarasan and Divya reflects the sorry state of affairs in Tamil Nadu though the State has had successive governments headed by Dravidian parties (The Nation, “Tragic end”, July 26). Most inter-caste marriages in the State have ended on a tragic note, with violence and bloodshed being unleashed by one caste on the other.

It is unfortunate that, with their eyes on the vote banks, neither the Dravidian parties nor the Congress did anything to end deep-rooted caste politics.

It is shameful that no strict action has been taken against the leaders of the Pattali Makkal Katchi, which has been fanning caste hatred and fomenting trouble.

K.R. Srinivasan

Secunderabad, Andhra Pradesh

Chief Justice

THE article “Self-made man” (July 26) outlined well the professional progress of Chief Justice of India Justice P. Sathasivam.

While many people, even with help from eminent members within their families or from others, fall short of reaching the acme of the judicial gallery, Justice Sathasivam has carved his own path, inspiring members of the legal fraternity to follow suit. His appointment to the top judicial office is commendable.

His transparent approach will put justice delivery on a high pedestal.

B. Rajasekaran


X-ray vision

WHEN Mumbai was attacked by Pakistani terrorists in 2008, Israel offered India technology that would allow the security agencies to watch the movements of terrorists holed up in a room (Science Notebook, “Seeing through walls”, July 26). The device looks like a small coin and can send pictures of terrorists, even if they are in a dark room, to commandos outside the room.

The Central Intelligence Agency of the U.S. has a museum of old spying technologies. There was a time when pigeons fitted with cameras were used for espionage. They would sit at the window and transmit pictures and sound to the command centre. Nowadays, there are remote-controlled drones in the shape of birds that can even take blood samples from humans and are also used for spying.

Unmanned aerial vehicles are already used for surveillance in India. Israel and the U.S. have jointly developed planes that can fit into one’s trouser pocket, and can be used for spying whenever there is a need.

Deendayal M. Lulla



THE article “Himalayan tragedy” (July 12) failed to mention the role played by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) battalion, which contributed as much as the Army to disaster management.

The press appears to be unaware of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) and other forces under the Ministry of Home Affairs that are doing excellent work in spite of their personnel being paid less than those in the Army.

A. Rajendran


PERHAPS, disasters are the price to be paid for the devil-may-care attitude towards nature. Ecologists have always warned us about the possible consequences of ecological destruction but were seldom heeded.

B.B.C. Chandrasekhar

Madurai, Tamil Nadu

THE 1882 photograph of the Kedarnath shrine with a few huts around it touched my heart (“Why Kedarnath happened”, July 26). The geology and mountain features remain the same.

S.S. Almal


IT is evident that nature and man-made environmental degradation conspired together to inflict unprecedented destruction in Uttarakhand.

N.C. Sreedharan

Kannur, Kerala


IN spite of the irreversible damage L.K. Advani caused to the BJP, the party is still confident of not only winning the next general election but also making Narendra Modi Prime Minister (“Double whammy”, July 12). This conclusion makes it clear that it has not done its homework well.

It needs to realise that the majority of India’s population is below 30, and ultimately, these young people will decide who will rule the country. They cannot be lured by groups such as Vishwa Hindu Parishad as they are no longer interested in Indian culture.

Ramesh Kotian

Uchila, Karnataka

Satyapal Dang

THE article “Communist legend” (July 12) did not mention Satyapal Dang’s contribution to political journalism. He wrote hundreds of articles in publications such as Mainstream.

His wife, Vimla Dang, created a trust that helped families affected by terrorism. She was honoured by the Government of India with the Padma Shri when Chandra Shekhar was Prime Minister.

N. Dharmarajan

Sivaganga, Tamil Nadu


THE Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar have long been subjected to violence and persecution under the hands of extremists who have the sanction of the country’s rulers (“Suu Kyi’s dilemmas”, July 12). They are harassed, terrorised and killed simply because they are Bengali Muslims who had migrated to Myanmar illegally. This is myth.

This could be true in the case of a few hundreds, or even a few thousands, but not all 8,00,000 of them could have migrated to Myanmar. They have been living in the country for decades..

It is the duty of the minority community to respect and honour the majority community and of the majority community to protect the minority community, its interests, life and property. The sort of indiscriminate killing and persecution of Muslims is not happening elsewhere on such a large scale except in Myanmar.

It is shocking to note that Aung San Suu Kyi, who could help affected Muslims and bring them hope, seems oblivious to their plight.

The military is in no mood to sacrifice power, and therefore, even if democracy comes to Myanmar, it will be a mirage and farce.

M.Y. Shariff


Harappan civilisation

THE Harappan civilisation had some features that other ancient civilisations lacked. It is known for its remarkable town planning and unique underground drainage systems (“Dholavira: The Harappan hub”, July 12, and “Discovering Khirsara’s Harappan glory”, June 28).

This splendid civilisation was destroyed by natural disaster but some of its religious traditions continue to this day.

It had a script which eventually evolved into a script called Brahmi, which was widely used on the subcontinent. If one believes that Kautilya was a contemporary of Asoka’s grandfather, then he must have written the Arthasastra in the Brahmi script.

M.S. Govindasamy


THE Indus Valley civilisation forms an important part of the history of ancient India. The Harappan excavation sites have amazingly revealed very modern house sites and streets and rainwater harvesting systems and reservoirs, and so on.

Students, researchers and people interested in history will find the pictures in Frontline very useful.

M. Arunachalam

Udhagamandalam, Tamil Nadu

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