WITH its coverage of the music, environment, language, culture, and food of Arunachal Pradesh, the Cover Story (November 4) provided readers with a ringside view of the north-eastern State. What is noteworthy is that the fondness the people of the State have for music means that it is more important to them than language and they do not focus much on linguistic identity.
It is a matter of concern that the state is giving its pastoral heritage and agriculturist background short shrift by introducing numerous mega hydropower projects, which are environmentally and economically disastrous. The governmental intrusion in the sustainable lifestyle of the tribal State on the pretext of development is disquieting.
INDIA is still in the clutches of communal and religious prejudices and ethnic fissures (“Growing unease”, November 4). Such weaknesses are not specific to a region in India and seem to have spread to Arunachal Pradesh from the rest of the country, which makes one realise that the nation is being led astray. The part of the country that sees the sunrise first is clouded by murky politics and shadowy practices, thanks to political machinations.
In Arunachal Pradesh, religious practices have slipped from being personal convictions into public compulsions because of the direct and indirect actions of political parties. The suppression of differing spiritual point of views will prevent the finding of fair solutions to knotty issues of governance. There appears to be no signs on the horizon that the biased authoritarianism of fringe factions and their cruel attempts to break subjective identities will change.
Mulayam Singh Yadav
THE article “Hinterland hero” (November 4) was a fitting tribute to Mulayam Singh Yadav, whose demise signals the end of an eventful epoch in the annals of the political history of both India and Uttar Pradesh. Mulayam Singh was instrumental in galvanising the socialist movement across the country and giving it a new direction. The late leader, or “Netaji”, as he was affectionately known, will be remembered for his ability to maintain a close rapport with the masses and for his political acumen, decisiveness, and willingness to act according to his convictions regardless of the consequences.
The fact that he was one of the most prominent leaders to oppose the Emergency and raise his voice against authoritarianism, along with his colleagues Madhu Dandavate and George Fernandez, and the infamous shooting orders he issued as Chief Minister against the kar sevaks at the peak of the Ayodhya movement in the 1990s are testimony to the same. The founding father of the Samajwadi Party nurtured it and made it a force to reckon with.
B. Suresh Kumar
Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
DESPITE Mulamyam Singh’s many achievements, his ego prevented him from forming coalitions with other political parties. He also did not promote new socialism/liberal socialism, and unfortunately, in Indian socialist parties the socialists lean on communism instead of being democratic socialists. Like most political parties in India, Mulayam Singh’s party is family run and does not conduct regular elections for party posts and does not have a good second- and third-line leadership. Akhilesh Yadav must participate with other political parties in the Congress-led Bharat Jodo Yatra and device an action plan for a common opposition agenda.
WITH organisational elections in the DMK complete and Chief Minister M.K. Stalin getting a second term as party president, he is firmly in the saddle (“Elected unopposed”, November 4). During his first innings as DMK president, Stalin stewarded the party to an electoral victory in the 2019 Lok Sabha election and in the 2021 Assembly election. His acid test will be the 2024 Lok Sabha election. With the AIADMK in the doldrums, mainly because of the feud between rival camps in the party, the DMK is likely to have a smooth ride.
The interesting feature of this election was the promotion of Kanimozhi Karunanidhi as deputy general secretary. Her potential was unleashed during the campaigning for the Assembly election in 2021.
Vellore, Tamil Nadu
THIS is with reference to your Cover Story (October 21). Perhaps President Vladimir Putin thought that invading and taking over Ukraine would be an easy task. Russia has successfully penetrated key areas and created panic among the civilians, forcing them to take shelter in underground bunkers or flee to neighbouring countries. But Ukraine’s resistance has frustrated Putin’s plans and hurt his ego. He appears to be planning to use nuclear weapons without realising that his country too will not be spared. He is well aware that this war has badly affected the global economy and, therefore, needs to sit across the table with Ukraine to settle the issues.
HAVING visited Koonthankulam village one winter and wondered at the profusion of birdlife, especially the ubiquitous painted storks and spotted pelicans, I felt sad reading about the unfulfilled promises of the government on providing amenities and for blocking people’s participation in the conservation efforts in the Koonthankulam Bird Sanctuary (“Wasted recognition”, October 21). For instance the decision to deny local farmers permission to remove silt with guano from the lake for use as fertilizer once a year is most unimaginative and needs to be changed.
The other suggestions the authors of the article made such as improving ecological standards by demarcating boundaries and roping in local experts to guide visitors deserve the serious attention of the authorities concerned. They would do well to heed to the advice of Madhav Gadgil, the foremost ecological expert in the country, who said: “We absolutely must abandon the bureaucratic culture of control and command and embrace a new democratic culture of share and inform.”
Madurai, Tamil Nadu
IT is unfortunate that Pakistan has suffered severe floods caused by climate change that have affected normal life ( “A flood of crises”, October 7). Pakistan is in need of international help, especially in the form of food and money. Asian countries and the West should reach out to those affected sooner rather than later. Even in India, during the south-west monsoon, many areas received unprecedented levels of rainfall. Against this background, something on the ground has to be changed, and that is the attitude of humans to the earth. Technology has been good for society. However, people should switch to walking and using public transport to reduce their use of automobiles. The international community and the media of all countries should create public awareness of the need for people to switch to cycling, walking, and so on, to reduce fuel consumption.
P. Senthil Saravana Durai
Jammu & Kashmir
THERE is a plethora of political parties in Jammu and Kashmir and disunity among them (“Cracks in Kashmir coalition”, October 7). They do not seem inclined to come together on a common platform in the interest of stability and prosperity and to defeat the BJP. This is only helping pave the way for the BJP to come to power sooner or later in Jammu and Kashmir.
Instead of allying with other parties to form a non-BJP government, Mehbooba Mufti of the Peoples Democratic Party is digging up old grievances with the National Conference. The NC and the PDP are at loggerheads with Ghulam Nabi Azad for his plans to start a new party, which they say will only split the vote and benefit the BJP.
There is no stone-pelting or huge crowds now at funerals because of the presence of security forces, but this does not mean that all is well with Jammu and Kashmir and its people. The restoration of Article 370 is an illusion because there is no history of the BJP going back on its earlier decisions. If political leaders fight with each other and become political chameleons, there is little hope that Kashmir will once again become a paradise on earth.