Mark of couragehttps://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/mark-of-courage/

Mark of courage

Shekhar Gupta’s ‘The big rewrite’ (IE,July 25) is a timely word of caution to our political leaders to rise above petty politics and engage maturely with the Sharm el-Sheikh....

•Shekhar Gupta’s ‘The big rewrite’ (IE,July 25) is a timely word of caution to our political leaders to rise above petty politics and engage maturely with the Sharm el-Sheikh joint declaration in our national interest. Not talking may have worked for a while but it has long outlived its purpose. In the reconfigured world,India can act only in concert with the international community. A hardline will not guarantee global sympathy beyond a point. The US,and others,favour renewed talks between India and Pakistan. Under the circumstances,we need to think out-of-the-box and the PM appears to be doing so. This political courage must be applauded.

— A.I. Nomani Mumbai

Is it indeed so?

•I admire Shekhar Gupta’s intricate and insightful analysis of contemporary issues,but I have reservations about the positive interpretation of the Sharm el-Sheikh joint statement. My reasons are fourfold: first,when faulty drafting leads to contradictory readings of key points by the parties concerned,it no longer remains a minor tactic in diplomatic terms. Second,a quid pro quo is necessary for forward movement in international negotiations. India’s initiatives have so far yielded little reciprocation from Pakistan. Third,the adversary’s character must be taken into account in making concessions. Pakistan has little reputation to speak of. Finally,India’s generosity of spirit

has won it little apart from America’s respect. Meanwhile,Pakistan has its cake,and it’s eating it too.

— Y.G. Chouksey Pune

VIP club

•Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda’s ‘Some are more equal than others’ (IE,July 25) will be difficult to digest for our “mass leaders”. Dr Kalam of course belongs to a different order,unassuming and sincere,one who would not demand VIP treatment even if he as a former head of state. Indeed,it’s ironic that here’s a man who deserves special treatment,but doesn’t demand it,while most of those who go out of their way to demand VIP status don’t deserve it. What Continental Airlines did to the former president was undignified,but India should reconsider its extended and extensive VIP list,beginning with the perpetuated security cover for leaders no longer in ministerial office.

— Prasad Malladi

Nidadavole

Be present,please!

•Our honourable members of Parliament have faced criticism for their poor attendance (only 54) in Rajya Sabha during the passage of the right to education bill. Perhaps they were occupied otherwise — scanning TV shows,for instance,to determine the extent to which they were violating the Constitution or Indian cultural premises? Indian MPs have been cautioned time and again about the minimum requisites of a healthy and viable parliamentary work culture. Yet,persistent appeals on something as basic as attendance have fallen on deaf ears. If important issues are not debated,bad laws will passed. Or,necessary bills will appear to lack adequate legitimacy in the public eye.

— Anil P. Bagarka

Mumbai