Saturday, Sep 20, 2014

Letter of the Week: Summer of discontent

Express News Service | Posted: March 22, 2014 6:16 am

This refers to ‘Bhagwat cautions RSS cadres against crossing limits for BJP, says can’t chant “Namo Namo”’ (IE, March 11). Time and again, it is proclaimed that the RSS is an apolitical organisation. Since when has planning and assiduously working towards the defeat of an incumbent political party become non-political activity? And if the RSS is really apolitical, then are its members truly free to work for other political organisations? Having pushed hard for Narendra Modi’s prime ministerial candidacy, it appears that the RSS now finds itself sidelined. Modi has cornered the limelight and doesn’t seem to pay much heed to what the RSS or Mohan Bhagwat says. There are similar uneasy rumblings in Varanasi — another symptom of discomfort among the BJP’s senior leadership.

Shridhar P. Shukla  (Thane)

History lessons

* This refers to ‘So that 1962 is history’ by Hardeep S. Puri (IE, March 21). There is no gainsaying the fact that India did blunder very badly in its confrontation with China in 1962. It has been well documented that India’s defeat in the war was due to the leadership’s gross ignorance of ground realities. Neither the army commanders nor the political masters and bureaucracy had any coherent idea about the plans and level of preparedness of the Chinese. History tells us that the political authorities and defence forces were working at cross purposes. There was a woeful shortage of defence equipment as well. The saddest part is that we have not learnt any lessons from the debacle. More than half a century later, our defence procurement is plagued by the shadow of corruption and the consequent absence of decision-making. We must remember that those who forget the lessons of history are destined to relive it.

— Chandramohan V (Mumbai)

Identity labels

Apropos of ‘In the minority’ by Tahir Mahmood (IE, March 21), as the writer said, there were two alternatives before the government — either confer minority status on the Jain community or cancel the prevailing minority status of Buddhists and Sikhs. But, more critically, we must evaluate whether identifying communities as minorities and erecting schemes around them has benefited the intended recipients. Or is this paradigm, as several cynics will agree, the perfect example of playing identity politics in the name of uplifting weaker sections of society? My hunch is that politicians have exploited the poor of this country while masquerading as messiahs.

— Swapnil D. Khorate (Pune)

Sensing trouble

This refers to ‘Can the Taliban be far behind?’ by Khaled Ahmed (IE, March 21). The writer has painted a terrifying picture of the recent developments in our immediate neighbourhood. While Islam is one of the greatest religions in the world, extreme individual interpretations have damaged its image. The imposition of Sharia will only be to the detriment of Pakistan and Islam. Such decisions in this modern era will prevent the country from realising its full socio-economic potential. I hope the apprehensions voiced by Ahmed are dealt with soon. Or else, we will soon witness another spurt of military and extremist activity in our continued…

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