Of forbidden faces
Sir — Looks like the face of Latifa, author of the bestseller, My Forbidden Face, is destined to remain veiled forever. For the report, “Taliban replay snips Bollywood” (Aug 29), shows that the past is catching up with Afghanistan faster than the world thought it would. Hamid Karzai, the American stooge in power, is fighting a losing battle against the medieval forces in the country which are bound to overtake him sooner or later. Another bout of civil war, followed by another reinstatement of “order” will once again banish women into the four walls of homes with plastered windows and doors.
M. Kanungo, Calcutta
The Modi contest
Sir — The editorial, “Simply the thing he is” (Aug 24), makes it plain that Narendra Modi has made himself a laughing stock by his singleminded campaign for elections in Gujarat. Which is why he has not desisted from mouthing profanities about the chief election commissioner and the opposition leader. For Modi, anything that suits his gameplan is fine, never mind the ethics. In the process, he forgets that the CEC, by visiting Gujarat and assessing the situation there, has acted in his constitutional capacity. Men like him are trained in the difficult task of administration to remain loyal to the nation. J.M. Lyngdoh’s greatest responsibility is to remain neutral. As the nation can see, Lyngdoh has done his job without bending to the wishes of politicians.
B.S. Ganesh, Bangalore
Sir — Narendra Modi’s comments on the CEC are uncalled for. One despairs that in a democracy such as India’s, a criminal like Narendra Modi can move about scot-free, with the tacit support and patronage of politicians like L.K. Advani and Atal Bihari Vajpayee, both of whom stand to gain from the perpetuation of Modi’s rule. Agency after agency has called Modi’s bluff: the National Human Rights Commission, the Election Commission, non-partisan non-governmental organizations. And yet Modi forces us to believe that Gujarat has returned to normalcy. His gaurav yatra will add insult to injury. If he has any fear of retribution, and any idea of the voters’ whiplash in the imminent elections, he ought to re-christen his yatra as kshama-yachna yatra.
Feroze H. Ali, Calcutta
Sir — Although Narendra Modi’s comment on J.M. Lyngdoh might be seen to border on the absurd, particularly where he hints at a conspiracy between Sonia Gandhi and the CEC, the fact that Lyngdoh, being part of the minority community, would feel more free to take a sympathetic stand on Gujarat, where the Muslim minority has been devastated, than a person belonging to the majority community, is perhaps understood.
N. Chatterjee, Calcutta
Sir — There is little doubt that the delayed censure of Narendra Modi, coming from the prime minister and other leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party, follows the widespread public reaction and criticism in the media (“Atal ticks off Modi for Lyngdoh slander”, Aug 25). It is an attempt at fire-fighting to set the sangh parivar in order. I am now convinced that no fair and free election is possible in Gujarat so long as Modi remains at the helm.
Phani Bhusan Saha, Balurghat
Means fair and foul
Sir — On Question Hour Pakistan on August 16 on the BBC, I was shocked to hear a Pakistani panelist say that Pakistan was more prosperous than the Indian states of Orissa, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. But the economy of an entire country cannot be compared with that of three states.
Another query on the pros and cons of military rule again unnecessarily brought up a comparison with India. India is considered as the largest democracy in the world. Pakistan, on the other hand, is a military dictatorship, in which the government rules by force and fear. India is also secular, unlike Pakistan. In my opinion, Pakistan has yet to discover the true meaning of freedom if its people are not permitted to choose something as intimate as one’s religion.
Sir — The report, “Plagiarism charge in hot pursuit, Maleeha Lodhi flies home”, (Aug 5) is shocking. It seems fraud has become the key mantra in Pakistan’s success.
Indu Kapoor, Guwahati