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Thursday, December 12, 2019

Letters to the Editor: Ancient glory

Of course, there were those in ancient India who broke new ground

By: Express News Service | Updated: January 17, 2015 3:49:08 am

Letter of the Week

It is cause for alarm that campaigns backed by the Sangh Parivar, touting largely imaginary scientific achievements from ancient India, are being aided and abetted by scientists and educationists, either through silence or active endorsement (‘Incredible Indians’ by Shobhit Mahajan, IE, January 15). Of course, there were those in ancient India who broke new ground in medicine, math and astronomy, but so did the Greeks, Mesopotamians, Egyptians, Arabs, Chinese and Peruvians. Instead of building on these foundations, we Indians seem to bask in a sense of past achievement. We might as well wear Vedic t-shirts and strut around saying, “My forefathers did all that 3,000 years ago, you know, so I needn’t do anything more”. — R.P. Subramanian, Delhi

Deny and gag

This refers to the editorial, ‘State of neglect’ (IE, January 16). It is unfortunate that, under threat from fundamentalists, Perumal Murugan, a creative writer and chronicler of the Kongu region, had to flee his hometown. The police expressed inability to protect him and advised Murugan to leave. The role that the state and local administration played in silencing him and the unwillingness of most political parties to come to his aid is despicable and dispiriting. Murugan’s period book, Mathorubagan, is a fictional account of a socially sanctioned ritual, whose existence academic anthropologists can vouch for. But certain Hindu outfits in the region saw his work as a slur on Hindu women and as derogatory towards their town. It is painful to see that, instead of eradicating such immoral rituals, the votaries of Hindutva are engaged in denial and the gagging of reformatory voices. It is, however, heartening that civil society has risen to the occasion by countering the onslaught on the freedom of expression. It is also reassuring that the publisher of the book, Kannan Sundaram, has refused to buckle under pressure. — Dev Athawale, Amravati

Welcome to politics

Apropos ‘To counter Kejriwal, BJP turns to his ex-comrade Kiran Bedi’ (IE, January 16), former IPS officer Kiran Bedi played an instrumental role in several important areas of police work and policy, including narcotics control, traffic management and VIP security. As director general of prisons in Delhi, Bedi introduced many management reforms and launched several innovative programmes, for which she was awarded the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award in 1994. In 2004, she was honoured with a UN medal for outstanding service. She took voluntary retirement in 2007 and dedicated herself to social service. Given her credibility and dedication, Bedi’s decision to enter active politics is a welcome development. Indian politics is in dire need of clean, selfless persons like her.— M.C. Joshi, Lucknow

We need change

This refers to ‘Government mulls split in DRDO chief’s role, structural changes’ (IE, January 16). Reform and restructuring of the DRDO is a necessity. The unusually long time that it takes to complete projects results in the escalation of costs as well as the diminution of confidence of the armed forces. Between 3 and 5 per cent of scientists and engineers leave the organisation every year because of the lack of career opportunities. Clearly reform is required. — B.N. Anand, Mohali

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