TASNEEM ZAKARIA MEHTA laid bare the facts of museums and what is needed to maintain them (Cover Story, December 30). She gave a broad perspective of the significance of museums. They are not merely holders of artefacts, worn-out drawings, mute statues, and the like but reflect the evolution of the human race, the animal kingdom, and so on. In this era when there is “rewriting history” for social polarisation, the protection, development, and reorganisation of museums are more relevant than ever before. The promotion of museums through adequate funding and proper policies will pay rich dividends to the country.
PEOPLE from marginalised communities being imprisoned for years without proper trial or investigation is nothing short of tyranny. (”Long forgotten”, December 30). This inhumanity and injustice cause those stuck behind bars for years, most of whom are SCs, STs, or OBC Muslims, great mental and physical distress. Is their life not as precious as that of the rich and well connected? The government needs to come up with a bail system that everyone can afford and that guarantees speedy justice to all.
IN her valedictory address at the Constitution Day celebrations held by the Supreme Court, President Droupadi Murmu spoke of the profound injustice visited upon the hapless undertrials languishing in prisons. That three-fourths of India’s prisoners are undertrials speaks volumes about the incompetence of our justice-serving systems. The fact that the lion’s share of those undertrials come from underprivileged communities explains why there is a laid-back approach to addressing the grave crisis.
THE Supreme Court judgment that upheld the 103rd amendment granting 10 per cent reservation for the economically weaker sections (EWS) has stirred up a hornet’s nest (“Of deprivation, past and present”, December 30). Confining the EWS reservation to forward communities is a lopsided decision as the majority of the EWS are in the SC/ST and backward communities. Denying them the benefits of income-based reservation will only push them further down the social hierarchy and defeat the very purpose of reservation.
The makers of the Constitution saw reservation as a means to remove social backwardness and the stigma attached to marginalised communities and to bring them into the mainstream of societal development. Reservation was never conceived as a tool for economic development. Financial backwardness is the wrong metric to apply with regard to implementing reservation. If the government goes ahead with the 10 per cent reservation for the EWS, it should extend it to SCs, STs, and OBCs also so that the entire exercise will be balanced. As of now the balance is skewed towards the forward communities.
THE world has been in a churn since the coronavirus outbreak (“Season of change”, December 30). It has been causing big health problems worldwide and should be tackled by all countries collectively without assigning blame. China has many educated people and is a hub of education, attracting many students from across the world. And they all should be encouraged to carry out research in the health sector to put an end to such deadly diseases. Now, all of China and the world should think ahead and act through cooperation and use technology and scientific methods to kill viruses such as the coronavirus.
P. Senthil Saravana Durai
THE BJP’s humongous victory in Gujarat ensures the continuation of its dream run (“Clear winners”, December 30). Its success can be attributed to the unabated popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the party’s clear electoral strategy. The fact that the BJP was able to buck the anti-incumbency trend in Gujarat and retain power is both significant and creditable. The Congress had its worst ever performance in the State’s electoral history. It seems to be out of sync with reality. The election of a new party president and the Bharat Jodo Yatra had little effect on voters.
In Himachal Pradesh the Congress’ focus on local issues resulted in success. However, its victory in the hill State, which has alternated between the Congress and the BJP, cannot offset its rout in Gujarat. The AAP, which led a high-profile campaign in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, flattered to deceive.
B. Suresh Kumar
Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
IN the parliamentary system of democracy, Governors play a useful and crucial role, but they lose their value when they become agents of a political party (“Weaponising the Governor”, December 16). The solution to this lies in enacting a law that lets the members of both the ruling and opposition parties in the Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament to elect Governors and Deputy Governors from a list of candidates provided by them for only two five-year terms. Biased Governors or Deputy Governors should be impeached. This will ensure that Governors are impartial.
THE Governor is a constitutional head bound by the advice of the legislature, while the Chief Minister is the executive head of the State. Governors are supposed to be a bridge between the State government and the Union government and are not expected to act as agents of the Union government in opposition-ruled States; run a parallel government; harass, target, and belittle the legislature; or act like a governor general of the East India Company or a Viceroy during British rule. The presence of Governors in every State is part of British legacy, which Union governments are following faithfully. Their powers have not been diluted a bit. They create perennial problems for the Chief Ministers concerned. The Governors not only dance to the tune of the Union government but are hell-bent on promoting the agenda of the RSS, which does not augur well for the world’s biggest democracy.
IF Great Britain had had any sense of responsibility towards the people it ruled, it would have created some seven workable countries instead of just one in August 1947 (“How Nehru handled Kashmir”, December 16). In this way, 90 per cent of India’s existing problems, all created by power-crazy politicians, would have been avoided. The present situation is an unworkable occupation and annexation of hundreds of heterogeneous kingdoms that is mistakenly called integration by free will and touted as the choice of princely states.
Beaches are community assets and should not be given to multinational companies in the name of development (“Port in deep water”, December 16). The fisherfolk of Vizhinjam are living under the threat of being evicted from their natural habitat because of the Adani Group’s proposed Vizhinjam port project near Thiruvananthapuram. This innovative project can adversely affect biodiversity and aggravate coastal erosion, which has already affected the lives of the fisherfolk. It is a painful fact that the government did not pay heed to the dangerous consequences that could befall the environment. The need of the hour is promotion of development that goes hand in hand with the conservation of biodiversity.