This has reference to “Brand new face” (Cover Story, April 21). The whole gamut of articles highlighted the new nadir Indian democracy has sunk to. The Rahul Gandhi episode should perforce open the eyes of political players across the nation. Only complete cooperation among the opposition and total commitment towards the cause of political righteousness will help restore democracy to India.
It is most unfortunate that the Congress has resorted to theatrics upon the disqualification of Rahul Gandhi as a Member of Parliament following his conviction by a trial court in Surat on the charges of defamation. It is equally intriguing why its leaders did not utilise the opportunity to appeal to a higher court of law right away. While the Central government owes an explanation for its supposed links with business tycoon Gautam Adani as alleged by Rahul Gandhi, it needs to be understood that the verdict was delivered in a different issue/context. The judicial verdict and the subsequent action by the Lok Sabha Secretariat should hopefully serve as a deterrent to political leaders of all hues who, in the run-up to any election, indulge in personal attacks and provocative speeches against their political adversaries, throwing political decency and decorum to the winds, and get away scot-free, time and again.
B. Suresh Kumar
The cover story on Rahul Gandhi and connected articles therein made for serious reading. Indian politics could witness a paradigm shift, and Rahul Gandhi could well emerge as a force to reckon with, especially after the recent happenings. In any field, more so in politics, the toughest opponent is the one who does not fear defeat, and having seen two massive defeats in the 2014 & 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Rahul Gandhi’s resolve and determination have only grown stronger. He quit as the party’s president, undertook a country-wide yatra to connect with people. The success of the Bharat Jodo Yatra has surprised many, even the ruling party.
Rahul Gandhi may not be a shrewd politician, but the questions he raises are serious, and for which no answers are forthcoming. His views on internal turmoils, the Adani issue, and Chinese challenges are not imaginary issues. Democracy brightens only when questioned. Rahul Gandhi questions, and has emerged stronger.
Mumbai on overdrive
In the article “On Overdrive” (April 21) the author has completely ignored that various ambitious water transportation infrastructure projects being developed in and around Mumbai, such as the Mumbai to Mandwa RO-PAX service which has changed the way people travel from Mumbai to Alibag, the famous weekend holiday destination for Mumbaikars. The author has failed to include other mega infrastructure road/sealink projects such as the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation’s proposed Bandra-Versova sea link project which will be connected to BMC’s ongoing coastal road; the Sion-Panvel road bridge (parallel to the Vashi bridge), which will improve connectivity to Navi Mumbai; and the ambitious coastal road from Rewas to Redi, which will bridge the gaps in the interior regions of Konkan wherever Konkan railway and Mumbai-Goa National Highway are not able to provide last-mile connectivity.
Sandeep Kumar Dhuraji
Sharks are one of the most misunderstood species (“Leave the sharks alone”, April 21). Though they thrive on small fishes and are largely harmless, they have earned notoriety as “man eaters” thanks to their portrayal in popular culture, beginning with the Hollywood blockbuster Jaws. Overexploitation and unsustainable fishing practices have brought sharks to the verge of extinction. They are mainly captured for their fins as shark fin soup is a delicacy in many Asian countries. Harvesting sharks for their delicious meat and liver oil, rich in rare nutraceuticals, and the accidental capture of juveniles, also contribute to their fast depletion.
A sustainable stock of sharks is vital for a robust and vibrant ecosystem. Being apex predators, sharks occupy the top of the food pyramid and selective removal of them through overfishing leads to a condition described as “trophic collapse” or “fishing down the marine food web”. In a multispecies tropical fishery like ours, a blanket ban on shark fishing is neither desirable nor practical. Instead we need an ecosystem-based, scientifically managed sustainable fisheries development initiative which will revive, replenish and rebuild the stock. Mitigation measures like mesh size regulation of fishing gear, controlling capture of juveniles and enforcement of ban on shark fin trade will go a long way in saving this wonderful animal from extinction.
K. G. Kannabiran
The review of the book The Speaking Constitution by human rights activist and “prosecutor of prosecutors” K.G. Kannabiran was an edifying read. (“Civil rights legend”, April 21) Kannabiran’s 25 years of fighting encounter cases in courts mark the high noon of the civil liberties movement in India.
Kannabiran’s response to the judge who asked how naxalites, who did not believe in the Constitution or courts, take shelter under writs—“When such issues come before the court, it is your values and not their values which are on trial”—was profound and will remain relevant forever.
The Punjab problem
Punjab commands a unique place as the bread basket and food store of the nation and sends more youth to the Army than any other State (Cover Story, “Reasons to rebel”, April 7). Sadly, today it has a different story to tell as the demand for Khalistan has returned to haunt it again with the entry of Amritpal Singh following in the footsteps of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. The fault lies with the misrule of successive governments who neglected the symptoms and failed to address the burning problems on the ground. The State government needs to take preemptive proactive action to nip this in the bud so that Punjab does not slip into militancy once again.
Reading “Getting the picture” (Diary from Mauritius, April 7) reminded me of the time I lived in Mauritius in 2018-2019 on a work project. The beauty of the island is mesmerising. Residential areas such as Quatre Bornes and Rose Hill are well planned with neatly laid roads. During the rainy season, not even a single drop of water gets stagnated on the roads.
Mauritius has a mixed population, with many Telugu, Hindi and Tamil-speaking people. The Siva Subramanya temple is a replica of the Tiruttani Murugan temple in south India, and the whole country celebrates Thaipusam in January.
While tourism is the main business in this island country, somehow Mauritius is given second priority when compared to Maldives, Singapore and Malaysia. Given the chance, I would love to reside in Mauritius forever.
The cover story (“Disruption or fantasy”, March 24) provides an in-depth insight into the world of Artificial Intelligence. And as technology improves and more data becomes available, AI systems will become even more accurate, efficient, and capable of handling complex tasks. However, the advancement of AI brings with itself complex issues regarding human ability and its handling of such technologies. It is significant that while such advancements are welcomed, we humans do not lose touch with our own humanity and lose the plot altogether.