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Corridors of power

Sir — Could it be that Mayavati’s sudden decision to dissolve her government and go for elections has something to do with the “Taj scare for CM” (August 23)' Only days back, the Supreme Court’s order to the Central Bureau of Investigation to question top officials in the Uttar Pradesh bureaucracy had got her scurrying for cover. Earlier, the same controversy over the Taj corridor had forced her to precipitate another crisis with the Bharatiya Janata Party over the dismissal of the Union minister for tourism, Jagmohan. Which all goes to show that there is something terribly fishy in the goings on surrounding the Taj. There is no doubt that Mayavati had sanctioned the construction of a Rs 175 crore commercial area around the heritage site, throwing to the wind all concerns about environmental damage. The CBI inquiry might rake up a hornet’s nest. Her only way out is to stall CBI investigations by threatening the BJP again. But will that be enough to save her skin'

Yours faithfully,
Sailesh Jha, Calcutta


Eyes wide shut

Sir — In “Blind affection” (August 20), K.P. Nayar trashes the recent Indian parliamentary delegation to Pakistan. Laloo Yadav’s efforts to reach out to the Pakistani masses appears circus to Nayar. However, let us remind ourselves of what exactly the “realities of Indo-Pakistan ties” has done to us. It has cultivated a whole new generation of youngsters on both sides of the border who are completely aloof to their past and who are constantly baying for each others’ blood. It has encouraged hatred, distrust and treachery. That is what Nayar’s brand of diplomacy has achieved.

I hope none of Nayar’s well-to-do friends in the intelligence agencies had to leave memories and belongings behind as they mounted crowded trains to India either from Lahore or Jessore. For if they had, they would have been more sympathetic towards their fellow countrymen. Diplomacy, as preached by Nayar, goes over our heads for it does not value human emotions. Nayar may call it circus, but we, the people of the subcontinent, call it humanity.

Yours faithfully,
Indranath Chattopadhyay,


Santiniketan

Sir — K.P. Nayar has reminded us once again how politicians in India refuse to see reason or accept the ground realities when it comes to matters of national security. Laloo Prasad Yadav’s antics in Pakistan exemplify this naïvete even as India continues to be plagued by the infiltration problem and the machinations of the Inter-Services Intelligence. Far from displaying fortitude, these politicians remain solely concerned about increasing their popularity base. Thus national honour takes a backseat as the fossilized ideas on good neighbourliness are mouthed once again.

However, Nayar’s apprehensions about people-to-people contacts are a little far-fetched. It is evident from the enthusiasm displayed by Pakistanis during the recent visit of the Indian delegation that people on both sides of the border want a peaceful settlement to the bilateral problem. The peacelovers easily outnumber the fanatics who will go to any lengths to disrupt the peace initiatives. Moreover, unlike in the Soviet Union, where such contacts hastened political disintegration, ties at the popular level will prove to be in the interests of the people.

Yours faithfully,
Susenjit Guha, Calcutta


Sir — K.P. Nayar seems to be unnecessarily critical of Laloo Prasad Yadav’s visit to Pakistan. The Bihar politician’s efforts to forge better relations between the neighbours is commendable and similar attempts should be made by other important political figures in India. Nayar may be pessimistic about the renewed efforts to make peace with Pakistan, but people on either side of the Wagah border still harbour hopes of a watershed development towards this end.

Yours faithfully,
Md. Gafur, Darjeeling


Sir — “Blind affection” was an eye-opener. The publicity gimmick of Indian politicians on the streets of Pakistan was embarrassing and disgraceful for any self-respecting Indian. Laloo Prasad Yadav used uncivilized language, walked crassly and got sniggers from delegates on the opposite side of the table. A man who should have been behind bars should not have been allowed to carry out his buffoonery beyond the border. Laloo Yadav provided comic relief, but he should not have been given such publicity by the media. It only allowed him to enhance his viewership and votebank in India. Nayar’s article provided a welcome breather. It is good to know that there are still people who refuse to be awed by politicians of Laloo Yadav’s stature.

Yours faithfully,
J. Poddar, Calcutta


Negative measure

Sir — In “Another slice of the quota cake” (August 1), A.J. Singh rightly points out that given the country’s experience with reservation politics, reservation for the upper castes will create more problems. Reservation policies since independence far from fulfilling its objective have created fissures in the social fabric. Only a very limited number of the categories targeted to benefit from reservations have actually reaped benefits. Why should the children of successful professionals who happen to belong to the scheduled caste or tribe categories be allowed to take unfair advantage of their caste status' The caste criterion should be totally replaced by the economic criterion.

Yours faithfully,
Sanjoy Mukherji, Calcutta


Sir — The logic behind the sudden urge of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government to effect reservations for the upper caste poor is crystal clear. What better way to ascertain the votes of a sizeable section of society' One ought to remember that social justice and equality cannot be achieved with such partisan state policies. If the government is serious about helping the downtrodden, it has to realize that reservations are not always the best way to help the downtrodden climb the social ladder.

Yours faithfully,
Kajal Chatterjee, Sodepur


Sir — The reservation issue will hog more limelight as elections draw closer. But this retrograde policy makes a mockery of democracy. Despite having several social divisions, other countries in the subcontinent have avoided the policy. The government of India should seriously reconsider this discriminatory policy.

Yours faithfully,
Sadhan Mukherjee, Nalhati,


Birbhum

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