From idea to reality
Sir — The question of discarding old vehicles had been put on hold for some time. Until recently, the state government as well as transport operators were equally apathetic towards the issue. Only now have they started taking a few positive steps (“Transporters review stand”, Aug 13). To boost this effort, the government should help transport owners with loans and other facilities. Without teamwork, environment-friendly vehicles will remain mere ideas far removed from reality. And the people will continue to suffer.
R. Sinha, Deolali, Maharashtra
Sir — Jaswant Singh is one of those rare politicians who never hesitated to call a spade a spade. The way he has been shown the door for praising Mohammad Ali Jinnah in his latest book, Jinnah: India-Partition-Independence, is extremely unfortunate. He was not even given a chance to explain himself (“Jaswant axed, battle rages”, Aug 20).
It seems that the Bharatiya Janata Party has lost its faith in democracy, debate and discussion. A party that has always boasted of being the guardian of Indian culture seems to have forgotten the essential spirit of India: pluralism. Since the retirement of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the BJP has not only suffered from a lack of leadership, but also from confused thinking about what constitutes the party’s ideology.
Lalan Chakraborty, Delhi
Sir — The BJP is right in its decision to oppose Jaswant Singh’s views on Partition. It is unacceptable that Singh has held Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel responsible for the partition, while praising Jinnah’s role in that historic event. It is difficult to understand why Singh took up such a touchy issue at a time when his party is already in a tight spot.
There has been a lot of debate among historians and politicians over India’s struggle for freedom and the partition. Singh’s book will only intensify this discourse. Not surprisingly, Gujarat has already banned the book. A conservative party like the BJP would naturally not endorse the differing views of a member, especially at a time when the party is already in the thick of dispute and electoral disappointment.
Sir – One wonders why Jaswant Singh was not allowed to clarify himself. It seems that he could be expelled so easily because he was not popular, and therefore not all that important in the BJP. The day before Singh’s expulsion, Mohan Rao Bhagwat, leader of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, had demanded a “generational change” in the BJP leadership. This may have worried the party, as the BJP does not wish to face the wrath of the RSS and groups like the Shiv Sena.
B.K. Chatterjee, Faridabad
Sir — Jaswant Singh may have been treated shabbily by the BJP, but it is difficult to imagine many politicians coming up with equally bold statements on national leaders of both India and Pakistan. The entire Jaswant Singh fiasco reveals how sections of Indians are still trying to come to terms with the ghosts of Partition by looking at that historic moment dispassionately and in an honest manner. Obviously, India does have its share of hawkish elements, but it would be unfair to claim that Indians continue to be inspired by a jingoistic nationalism.
K.S. Jayatheertha, Bangalore