Before they lose out
Sir — Now the figures corroborate the facts. Movie-goers in India are tired of the staple dose of love, lovers and their extension to love triangles with a minimum of two heroines in every film (“Bond breaches Khan country”, Dec 29). The result — film industry has been suffering bad losses lately. Bollywood seems to have fooled itself into believing that it can continue to rehash and glamourize the run-of-the mill, brain-dead film scripts and get away all the time. With tastes and preferences getting more globalized, Hollywood’s innovations and mind-boggling movie themes naturally find an increasing number of viewers. Given that India too has its share of talented film-makers and directors, ideally, there should be no hiccups in producing quality films here. But, that is, only if Bollywood was a little less lazy in exercising its imagination. The allegations of Western cultural imperialism do not draw tears any more.
M. Datta, Calcutta
Make sitting ducks
Sir— The People’s Democratic Party government in Jammu and Kashmir has pledged itself to the disbanding of the special operations group, non-implementation of the Prevention of Terrorism Act and the rehabilitation of terrorists (“Mufti taps Delhi on job sops to militants”, Dec 10). The move seems a bit premature. Despite the free and fair elections in the state, terrorist activities continue unabated. The “healing touch” policy will not suffice in addressing the real problems. The main aim of this policy seems to be to win over the Kashmiri people with its soft approach towards militants.
There is no doubt that the people of Kashmir want peace. The massive public participation in the elections proves that neither the Pakistan-sponsored terrorists nor separatist outfits like the All Party Hurriyat Conference enjoy public support. However, there is always a possibility that Sayeed’s policy may backfire as it seems too simplistic in its approach.
M.C. Joshi, Middlesex, UK
Sir — The idea of rehabilitating surrendered terrorists could work only if militants gave up arms forever. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to be the case in Kashmir, especially since enemy countries are actively supporting terrorist organizations. It seems foolish to experiment with fire when terrorism has already caused irreparable mental and physical damage. Repeated condemnations have not resulted in any positive outcome. The government should reconsider its plans and plug the existing loopholes.
Shyamali Saigal, Calcutta
Sir — There is no doubt that Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had noble intentions when he proposed the “healing touch” policy. However, the continual killing of innocent Kashmiris, the slaying of a legislator, and the more recent incident of the murder of three women for allegedly defying the dress code imposed by the militants show how these terrorists have welcomed the government initiative. These incidents hint that they are not interested in cooperating with the state to heal the deeply inflicted wounds.
Freeing well-known terrorists and separatist leaders is a blunder. Already branded as being pro-militant, Sayeed should carefully weigh his policy. Perhaps he does not need to be reminded of the cruelty of these dreaded terrorists. They deserve nothing but harsh punishment. If Sayeed is sincere about solving the Kashmir problem, he will have to take a tougher stand. Given the Pakistan factor, the release of terrorists has to be accompanied by a thorough investigation into the connections of each of them. There is no doubt most will have retained the connections, which will take Kashmir to a greater mess.
Rajesh Kumar Sharma,
Sir — India is taking every precaution to see that its interests are not affected by a change of regime in Iraq (“Delhi gears up for Iraq minus Saddam”, Dec 2). Our main interest in Iraq is its oil reserves. If the United States of America is also interested in the oil then it would serve India well to be prepared for all contingencies so that changes in oil prices do not hit it badly. India imports huge quantities of oil from west India and this bill forms a significant percentage of its gross domestic product. The saffron government of India may not want to support a foreign regime in Iraq, but our long-term interests in Iraq have little to do with Saddam Hussein’s remaining in power. A regime change in Iraq may even bring down oil prices, and thereby benefit India.
B.C. Dutta, Calcutta
Sir — Sonia Gandhi has reportedly said that despite being a pre-eminent power in the world, the US cannot afford to act unilaterally (“Sonia keeps politics out of address at Islamic centre Oxford speech for India”, Nov 30). But the US cannot be bothered to take the views of Indian leaders seriously. Non-alignment and skulduggery are Nehruvian traits which are invariably imitated by our political leaders. But the actions of these leaders often contradict what they say. The world knows that Iraq has been a hotbed of religious fanaticism and also that Saddam Hussein is a rabid bigot. It is advisable that our leaders remain silent on matters that they cannot change.
H.P. Hande, Bangalore
Sir — The sudden shift of focus of the US from Osama bin Laden to Saddam Hussein has evoked considerable debate. The compulsions of George W. Bush are understandable — the much-hyped war against terrorism has not yielded any benefit as bin Laden has managed to give the slip to the US. Iraq answers Bush’s prayers for a diversion. Now if it so happens that fate hands over bin Laden to Bush, the US, given its powers of concoction, may even conclude that Iraq had never possessed weapons of mass destruction.
Jawed Nehal Hashami,
Sir — It is no hidden fact that member countries of the United Nations security council have adequate stocks of nuclear weapons themselves. With countries like Pakistan and India following suit, logically, there should be no problem if Iraq, or any other country for that matter, develops such weapons. The real explanation behind the US’s war-mongering seems to be that the failure of capturing Osama bin Laden was proving to be too costly in terms of the declining popularity of George W. Bush. But perhaps Bush should gather more proof of Iraq’s “mass destructiveness” before launching a full-scale war against Saddam Hussein.
Reba Bose, Jamshedpur