Carry on the blame game
Sir — If something is bothering Jayalalithaa Jayaram, then it has to be M. Karunanidhi’s doing. And so, if her own employees have turned against her policies, of course Karunanidhi must have egged them on (“Jaya strikes at Karunanidhi”, August 17). For one, Indian politicians want nothing better than hurling accusations at their rivals, and Amma loves it a little too much. For another, it helps her stay on the centre-stage when there is no apparent reason for her to be there. One is left searching for an explanation about why Jayalalithaa had not brought the former chief minister’s role to the notice of the Supreme Court, which was dealing with the strike. But Jayalalithaa is treading a sticky ground. Not only has she infuriated over a lakh government employees, now she has also put off thousands of Karunanidhi loyalists, who will not let her sleep in peace when it is time for the next elections. Wouldn’t this be too high a price to pay for a few moments in the limelight'
Moitreyi Sinha, Calcutta
Heads and tails
Sir — The recent government move to ban cow slaughter is nothing but a means of manipulating votes in the forthcoming elections (“Free the cow”, August 13). It does not speak very highly of the freedoms, religious and otherwise, of the people of the country.
The majority community, in whose interest the legislation is ostensibly being contemplated, has lived with cow slaughter for so long. Besides, the twin forces of globalization and cosmopolitanism has worked a change in the food habits of a large section of the majority community: many Hindus have no qualms about consuming beef. Once the beef-eating people switch over to mutton and chicken, it is probable that the prices of these items would soar so much that the items would be beyond the reach of most people. The government should either pass a law asking for a total shift to vegetarian diet or not interfere at all.
S. Mohan, Jalpaiguri
Sir — If the bill banning cow-slaughter gets the nod of Parliament, it would perhaps challenge the very basis of the Constitution, where India is described as a secular republic. Given that both the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress are now banking on the cow card for the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls, the bill stands a high chance of becoming a law. Instead of benefiting the country in anyway, it can only invite differences, and even spark off communal riots.
Sujit De, Sodepur
Sir — The zeal to ban cow slaughter, is motivated by anything but love for the animal. Of all the irrational obsessions of the BJP, none appear more irrational than the determination to stop the slaughter of even the useless and old cattle, who cannot be cared for or fed properly. If the BJP is proposing this bill because it wants to protect the milk-providing animal, isn’t it strange that the party is silent on a similar law on buffaloes, which is the chief source of milk in many states of northern India.
Surajit Basak, Calcutta
Sir — We need to regard the issue of cow-slaughter sensibly, not emotionally. Beef-eating is permissible but not obligatory in Islam. If beef-eating hurts the sentiments of any community, and shunning it helps realize the directive principles of state policy, then I would certainly like to volunteer to give up beef. Only then would I be practising Islam in its true spirit.
Masood Md Sohail, Calcutta
Sir — Political parties like the BJP thrive in India because most Indians are driven by emotions rather than by strong logic. How can cow slaughter be considered any differently from the slaughter of any other animal' When a large number of Indians are beef-eaters, a law banning cow-slaughter would be robbing Peter to pay Paul, only in this case Paul is already the majority community and does not need to be appeased. It is our duty to foil such communal designs.
Dilip Bhattacharjee, Guwahati
Sir — It is not true that in India, beef is eaten by people belonging to the backward Hindu community, Christians and Muslims of Kerala. In Kerala, almost all the communities, including high caste Hindus, are devoid of any prejudice about beef-eating. In West Bengal too, I have many Brahmin friends who eat beef. Eating beef is a matter of individual taste and preference and can hardly be generalized as the food habit of particular communities. I wonder why the Central government is hellbent on imposing a ban on cow-slaughter and why politicians must preoccupy themselves with such a trivial issue when there are several pressing problems begging their attention. The framers of the Constitution surely never imagined that one day, the wishes of the majority would be thrust down the necks of the rest.
Seema Dey, Calcutta
Sir — The decision of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre to bring in, among others, a bill to ban cow-slaughter is outrageous (“Cow leads stampede of Centre’s poll bills”, August 12). There are thousands of cows in the country who serve no useful purpose but put pressure on their owners for their maintenance. If the bill is passed, India could soon be stranded with the BJP, its allies and millions of cows. The export earnings from beef is quite substantial too. Has India reached such financial stability yet that it can spurn so much foreign exchange'
Kalyan Ghosh, Calcutta