AAP vs BJP
EVEN though it is clear to everyone that India needs a strong national opposition, I was a bit disheartened to see Frontline almost making the case for Arvind Kejriwal as the primary challenger to Narendra Modi in 2024 (“Who is afraid of AAP?”, September 23). Kejriwal, who began his political career speaking in secular tones, has moved on to peddling soft Hindutva, something that should have been emphasised a lot more in the article than the writer did. To safeguard Indian democracy, the country needs not only a political alternative but a moral one as well, and in my view, the AAP leader just does not cut it.
Mithilesh Kumar Jha
GHULAM NABI AZAD’S quitting the Congress and his scathing attack on Rahul Gandhi rattled the party (“Fighting for survival”, September 23). Many disgruntled members of the Congress have found greener pastures, mostly in the BJP. Azad slammed the “coterie” of the party as one of the main reasons for its present abysmal state.
The party’s organisational elections will be a sham. Its decline was not sudden but happened over time. It should not be forgotten that it was the ruling party until it lost the 1977 general election because of Indira Gandhi’s imposition of the Emergency. In 1984, it returned to power on a sympathy wave owing to her assassination. It was unable to get a majority on its own in 1989 and saw its vote share declining in the 1990s. A revival of sorts happened when it led coalition governments in 2004 and 2009, but since then its fortunes have gone downhill, and Rahul Gandhi’s yatra may not be enough to change this situation.
Vellore, Tamil Nadu
WITH the demise of Mikhail Gorbachev, the world has lost a towering statesman, an ardent pacifist, a true revolutionary, and a great humanist (“The last leader of the Soviet Union”, September 23). At a time when the world was divided into two power blocs, Gorbachev preferred consensus over confrontation in both domestic and international arenas. This was both his strength and his weakness, and he will be remembered for the efforts he initiated towards ending the Cold war . It would be inappropriate to shift the entire blame of disintegration of the Soviet Union on Gorbachev, who through his political and economic policies unshackled an entire generation of people who had been subjugated for decades by his dictatorial predecessors. When the world today is under threat from terrorism, dictatorship, fascism, neoliberalism, neocolonialism, and imperialism, Gorbachev’s policies and vision are more relevant than ever before.
B. Suresh Kumar
Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
IT is high time India had a proper data privacy law in place (”Spycraft becoming statecraft”, September 23). Enormous amounts of personal data are generated as more than half of the country's 1.4 billion people get online and start using the Web. The state has a duty to protect people from becoming data commodities of surveillance capitalism. Data-driven governance also runs the risk of being misused in the absence of a robust, holistic privacy law. Digital data rights are as important as human rights.
HERITAGE gardens such as the Rani Bagh of Mumbai are a national treasure, and hence must be preserved at any cost (“Breathe easy”, September, 23). They represent more than what they seem to be. Their flora and fauna herald India’s rich diversity, and it is sad to witness such beautiful landmarks across the country being encroached upon or reused for less important purposes. Civil society must rise up in favour of preserving them. Such gestures can send a healthy message to future generations.
AS a reader of Frontline for the past decade or so, I am pleased to note the gradual expansion of the culture section of late, especially in terms of reviewing works of fiction.
However, what stood out for me was the article in the new section “White Space”, wherein the writer presented a unique perspective on the problems that the Coastal Road poses to the city’s seafront (“Lovers at sea”, September 23). The point of urban planning should be to build better public transport corridors, instead of swanky eight-lane expressways for private vehicles, and from the looks of it the new road could end up depriving people of one of its few non-discriminatory open spaces.
IN earlier times, the legislature, the executive, and the bureaucracy were scared of the judiciary and of being punished for their wrongdoings, and all the three arms of the state were in turn afraid of the media in case they were investigated and exposed to the public (“Shaky verdicts”, September 9).
Now judges appear to be yielding to the executive and the government in power and working to favour the rich and the powerful. There are umpteen cases where they have failed innocent litigants. Also, many important cases that have been filed before the apex court are gathering dust, with the court not taking them up. The surrender of the judiciary to the government will be the last nail in the coffin of democracy.
THE problem in India is its huge population (“Justice for the poor”, September 9). The justice system is unable to cater to an ever-growing volume of litigants. Only those who have money will have access to justice. The eminent jurist Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer said that while justice barked at all, it bit only the illiterate, the poor, and the ignorant.
B.R. Ambedkar believed that the courts should be for common people and should be easily available to redress their grievances. But the prohibitive cost of litigation means that “equality before the law” is a distant dream for most people.
Kangayam R. Narasimhan