THE Cover Story articles on Punjab (April 7) could not have come at a better time. The data card explained the grim reality with statistical data. Once India’s most prosperous State, a role model for energy and exuberance, Punjab is now in the news for the wrong reasons. It is facing farmer suicides and unemployment, and drug dependency is crippling the State. The lack of political will to curb the drug menace is shocking, with the strained relationship between the Centre and the State adding to its woes.
The recent incidents in which the nation’s tricolour was removed from embassies and replaced with rebel flags cannot be brushed aside as stray occurrences. It is time the Centre supported Punjab despite the differences it has with the State government.
THE sequence of events in Punjab indicates that there was a failure of the intelligence agencies of the State and the Centre. Unless there was a dormant network of a nefarious group(s), it would not be possible for the kingpin of a group to challenge the authorities and make his escape.
Effective action against terrorists in India is reactive and not proactive in many instances. Indian embassies and consulates are vandalised, Indian scribes are tormented abroad, and Indian diplomacy is obviously less than effective. The Central government needs to take a bite of the reality sandwich to defuse the crisis. The AAP government’s protracted search for the fugitive Amritpal Singh makes one doubt its competence. The BJP-led Centre cannot afford to leave the AAP in a tight spot for narrow electoral gains.
THERE seems to be no end to terrorism. Strong political measures and well-planned strategies are required to tackle terror outfits across the world. Unfortunately, unlike earlier, there are no strong condemnations of terror attacks by the international community. I still remember how the world reacted to the September 11 attacks in the US in 2001. The world community should wake up and be on the alert for possible terror attacks.
P. Senthil Saravana Durai
THE collective failure of the rulers and the ruled to take notice of what has been brewing in Punjab since at least the 1980s is what facilitated the re-emergence of radicalism in Punjab. Amritpal Singh is the symptom and not the disease per se, and its remedy calls for a holistic approach as the Cover Story unravelled in some detail. However, Khalistanism is certainly the whole that is to be regarded more vicious than the underlying parts.
There is no denying that the farmers’ agitation was a manifestation of the simmering discontent precipitated in good measure by the wilted Green Revolution. What happened in Punjab and elsewhere in the country makes one lament: “We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another” (Jonathan Swift).
RAHUL GANDHI made a grave mistake in speaking about the state of democracy in India at Chatham House (“The Rahul-BJP slugfest”, April 7). He should have chosen platforms within India even though the media and TV channels here are not prepared to accommodate him. Perhaps he guessed that he would not be permitted to speak his mind in the Lok Sabha and hence resorted to the new channel.
Whether or not there is truth in his statements, the situation prevalent in India is there for all to see, and there is no need to specifically mention it, that too outside India. Gandhi gained a new lease of life as a leader of the masses after the Bharat Jodo Yatra, but this has been watered down because of his words in London.
IT is time that MPs were reminded of the Supreme Court ruling of January 2022 in which elected members were asked to show statesmanship and not brinksmanship. It is a matter of shame that the stimulating debates of yesteryear have given way to the use of lung and muscle power to settle scores. Despite boasting that India is the world’s largest democracy, our leaders still lack discipline. A country aspiring to be a world leader needs to focus on debating and discussing welfare issues pertaining to the common man instead of engaging in petty party politics and internal squabbles.
B. Suresh Kumar
Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
Mallika Sarabhai is a celebrity (“For a gender-neutral Kalamandalam”, April 7). By publishing an interview with her, you have ridiculed the great contributions of Kalamandalam. Art and culture are sublime. Any Tom, Dick, and Harry cannot handle them.
THE judiciary is the most significant estate of a democracy (“A lost opportunity”, March 24). Therefore, the appointment of judges is a crucial process that determines and sets the course of justice in society. Through the years, there have been multiple cases where lawyers affiliated to different political parties or who had close relations with them were appointed as judges or not appointed on the basis of their political leaning. However, what makes Justice Victoria Gowri’s appointment problematic, as rightly pointed out in the article, is not her affiliations but her blatant display of bigotry and hate speech. Her remarks against the minority community are extremely concerning. The appointment of judges who show partiality in their personal beliefs or past behaviour creates the risk that they may not apply the law impartially and may instead allow their personal biases to influence their decisions, leading to an unfair justice system.
The system should represent the diversity of society. It is essential that it is representative of all people and not just the majority.
Although metro and suburban trains as modern modes of transport are available in Kolkata, trams are still much sought after by those who wish to go to the busy market areas. Though a bit slow, trams are more eco-friendly compared with share taxis and share autos. Trams happen to be a major mode of public transport in many European and Western countries, and many movies show trams with colourful coaches snaking their way through main thoroughfares.
A little more support from the West Bengal government in realigning the existing tram routes and in ensuring easy access for commuters would help increase patronage.
THIS is with reference to the article “Indigenous languages being killed” (March 10). It is quite evident that the youth are not interested in learning traditional languages. The use of Indian languages has also reduced because under the influence of the Western media young people want to learn English and because of the trend for learning East-Asian languages. One should realise that it is the youth who can preserve culture, and we should encourage them to do so.
Darjeeling, West Bengal