Sir — In “A tale of three lions” (Sept 13) and “From darkness to hope” (Sept 14), Gopalkrishna Gandhi acknowledges the nation’s progress in many ways, but he also recognizes the absence of values and the skewed priorities in governance that result in the common man’s sufferings. The people of India need to be more conscious of their country’s well-being.
Thanks to the efforts of some, the awareness of social and environmental issues has increased. However, the nation still has a long way to go — with its water crisis, the double standards of most political parties, and the land and security concerns of the farmers and their families. Tribal people and the economically weaker sections need to be integrated into the mainstream through development, rather than through short-sighted measures like reservation. The government’s stand on the Vedanta project and on the enactment of the Right to Information Act is an example of change that will strengthen the country.
Saroj Upadhyay, Calcutta
Sir — Gopalkrishna Gandhi has accurately identified the decay that has eaten into the Indian democracy resulting from corruption, poverty and terrorism. The former chief vigilance commissioner, Pratyush Sinha, said that one in three Indians is corrupt. The situation has been worsened by the havoc created by the Maoists and the Naxalites. If urgent preventive measures are not taken by the prime minister, the unrest will soon spread to urban areas and metropolitan cities, creating more law-and-order problems.
A.S. Mehta, Calcutta
Sir — It is the dark side of globalization that has overshadowed the inner life and voice of India and the Zameer-e-Hind that Gopalkrishna Gandhi speaks of. The statistics Gandhi puts forward reveal a shameful reality. Yet our conscience still refuses to emerge from its long hibernation.
Gandhi was a part of the West Bengal hukumat when he was the governor. He has finally broken his silence, but has lost the opportunity to bring about a fruitful reformation. The people are still well aware of the huge divide between the rich and the poor in this country. At the same time, Gandhi’s effort to present a cohesive picture of awaam, siyaasat and hukumat is laudable.
None of the three lions in our national emblem can see the others — yet, they are inextricably bound together by democracy. The role of conscience in the Indian democracy is crucial. We must make efforts to bring about radical and progressive change, even if that proves to be a tough task.
R. Subhranshu, Chandernagore, Hooghly
Sir — It is sad to know that the chairman of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference played a part in making Srinagar go up in flames on the day of Id-ul-Fitr, which is an occasion of joy and celebration after the offering of prayers (“After prayer Srinagar erupts”, Sept 12). Instead of celebrating in a peaceful manner, the protesters made inflammatory speeches and set fire to symbols of government. It is unfair to turn a religious gathering into a political rally, thereby putting people’s lives in danger and ruining the spirit of Id.
Restoring peace is undoubtedly important. But if the government lifts the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, extremists who incite violence to put pressure on the government will be further emboldened. Repealing the act will also demoralize the armed forces, which exercised great restraint in dealing with the unrest on the day of Id. The Omar Abdullah government has rightly filed a first information report against those responsible for the disruptions. One hopes that the guilty shall be dealt with in a lawful manner, and not granted privileges.
S. Balakrishnan, Jamshedpur
Sir — In spite of fighting a losing battle, the Left Front refuses to learn from its mistakes (“CPM readies Lalgarh thrust”, Sept 12). Armed cadres continue to display their muscle power in Lalgarh, in a bid to prove their might. The party may lose the local people’s favour even further as a result. The Left Front should understand that it cannot regain lost ground by intimidating the people, who will not tolerate its strong-arm tactics any more.
Ranjit Sinha, Delhi