Business first, beauty later
Sir — The business community is by far the most difficult to sway by such things as glitz and glamour unless they come with a profit tag. Therefore, one was a little taken aback to see the Bombay Stock Exchange invite Hema Malini to attend its annual Lakshmi Puja, and that too in the hope that the star who plays goddess Lakshmi in many of her dance shows would see the BSE through the elusive 5,000-mark (“Market’s Diwali dream: high five with Hema”, Oct 25). But when it came to the actual show, one was relieved to find that the Dream Girl could not generate as much enthusiasm among the brokers as S. Ramadorai — the man behind the success story of Tata Consultancy Services — did. Those who had pitched for Hema Malini must have been reminded at the end of the day that nothing — not even filmstars — could get the BSE more publicity than a bullish market. Thankfully, a few people still have their heads in the right places.
Suranjan Sarkar, Calcutta
Sir — The new initiatives announced by the foreign minister, Yashwant Sinha, to prepare the ground for the resumption of talks between India and Pakistan is welcome (“A dozen for Pak, Advani for Kashmir”, Oct 23). These could not have come at a better time than Diwali, when light overpowers darkness.
Since 1947, India and Pakistan have been fighting a useless and naive war (whether conventional or “proxy”). Both countries should now work together to make the subcontinent a major economy of Asia.
Which powerful nation of the world fights with its neighbours' Does the United States of America fight with Mexico or Canada' Has not North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement strengthened the economies of Canada and Mexico and also the US'
Prashant Solomon, New Delhi
Sir — I find it puzzling that whatever initiatives India takes vis-à-vis Pakistan, the first international reaction always comes from the White House, and that too, within an hour or so. Either Washington’s stakes in the Indo-Pak relationship are too high, or it must have a role in the preparation of the draft peace proposal.
Jang Bahadur Singh, Jamshedpur
Sir — The proposal to resume cricketing ties with Pakistan may not be such a good one since the game has been stoking communal passions in both countries of late.
Subhash Chandra Agrawal, Delhi
Sir — It is good to note that India is finally behaving like a mature nation and not like a stubborn child. It is now upto the Pakistani leadership to respond in an appropriate way to the recent peace overtures by India. Hopefully, the Hurriyat too will not turn away the Indian government’s offer of peace talks.
Kalyan Ghosh, Hong Kong
Sir — The events surrounding the arrest of 13 National Socialist Council Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) members, including the home minister shows that the ceasefire in the Naga-inhabited areas is not a political gimmick. The Centre’s directive to the Manipur government to release the arrested leaders and the latter’s prompt action are reasons for optimistism. But the Naga militants need not have been arrested by the Manipur police since they had not committed any crime in Manipur. The bandh called against the Manipur government’s decision to release the Naga militants was based on ignorance and misinformation. The arrest of the militants has helped the Nagas move a step further to the integration of all Naga-inhabited areas.
Kaikho Paphro Chachei, Shillong
Sir — The excesses of the Indian army in the Northeast continue unabated. The brutal slaying of nine members of the Kuki National Front in the Kangpokpi sub-division on September 13 is testimony to it. The rise of militancy in the Northeast has its root in the Centre’s neglect of the region, one of the most backward in India. Naturally, unemployment is high, which has led to unrest. The Centre should stop using force and invite the Kuki militants to the negotation table.
Thangboi Haokip, Guwahati
Sir — After the ceasefire agreement between the government of India and the NSCN (I-M) in August 1997, people in the Northeast were expecting economic and developmental activities to pick up. There is now also a better understanding among the different ethnic groups. So why are the United Committee Manipur and All-Manipur United Clubs’ Organization trying to disturb it with their protests against the Okram Ibobi Singh government’s release of the 13 NSCN(I-M) leaders. Wasn’t the release a conflict management strategy' Had the leaders not been released, it would have driven a wedge between the people of the plains and the hills. This is not a sell-out and Singh has tried his best to diffuse the volatile issue and bring peace to Manipur.
Why don’t the UCM and the AMUCO act responsibly and call for better social understanding and cultural dialogue among the different communities, instead of flexing their muscles. Or do they have an agenda hidden behind the pretext of territorial integrity' They seem to be playing the “politics of identity rather than the politics of development”.
N.A. Pfoze, New Delhi