Clear and present danger
Sir — It seems to be a case of once bitten, twice not shy for N. Chandrababu Naidu (“CM fights shy of Black Cats”, Oct 14). His rejection of the state cabinet’s proposal of extra security for him and his hesitation over accepting the Centre’s offer of protection by the National Security Guards do not bode well. Naidu says he is driven by the desire to raise the morale of his security forces, but it already has large chinks in its armour. Continuing with the same security arrangements is akin to writing his own death warrant. Also it would be a shot in the arm for the Naxal militants who are aware of the flaws in the chief minister’s personal security cover. A successful assassination attempt would drive the final nail in Telegu Desam Party’s coffin. The TDP, without its flamboyant and IT-savvy chief minister, is but a rudderless ship. Naidu should accept the Centre’s offer immediately for his own sake as well as that of his party.
Indranil Mukherjee, Calcutta
Sir —Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian human rights activist and lawyer, truly deserves the Nobel peace prize (“Right to peace”, Oct 14). But the decision of the Nobel peace prize committee is significant for more than one reason. First, terror strikes by jihadis in various parts of the world have led to a severe backlash against ordinary Muslims. A large section of the West believes that the community is the hub of international terrorism. The award will help change this perception of the Muslim world. It signals a recognition of the fact that much of the community believes in human rights and peace. Second, Ebadi’s success crowns her relentless work for individual rights and democracy in a country dominated by a conservative clergy. The fact that she even ignored the threat to her own safety reflects her commitment to the cause. Her success will inspire countless others fighting for a similar cause in different parts of the world.
Syeda Kulsum Khan, Chennai
Sir — Very few people have the courage to match their actions to their words. Shirin Ebadi is one of them (“Free rebels urges Ebadi”, Oct 16). The Nobel peace prize winner’s renewed call to free political dissidents languishing in Iranian jails is an indication that success has not gone to her head. Ebadi has decided to use the recognition that has come her way for a cause she believes in — justice and equality for political prisoners, women and human-rights activists in Iran.
Indranil Sen, Calcutta
Sir — The winds of change are blowing through Iran. The fact that Shirin Ebadi won this year’s Nobel peace prize is an indication of this. With a moderate as president, and, of course, with leaders like Ebadi, the fledgling reform movement in the country is finally headed in the right direction. Ebadi’s Nobel and the resultant international fame will be a thorn in the flesh of the conservative mullahs. Wonder how the proponents of change will tackle the wrath of the hardliners'
Sabyasachi Guha, Calcutta
Sir — Although Shirin Ebadi’s contributions to the pro-democracy movement in Iran cannot be ignored, I think the United Nations secretary general, Kofi Annan, would have been more deserving of the Nobel peace prize. Annan’s tenure has been full of challenges, the Iraq war, the west Asian crisis and 9/11 being some of them. His efforts to resolve crises have been truly commendable. The Nobel committee should take note of this.
Rituraj Kalita, Guwahati
Sir — The guarded response of Muslim leaders, clerics and the Urdu media in India to Shirin Ebadi’s honour was disappointing (“Reform divide in Nobel hush”, Oct 13). There are two reasons for the lukewarm response — Ebadi is a woman and her reformist campaign has been dubbed as dissent by the Islamic society. It is a pity that the hardline sections of the Islamic world give a bad name to their liberal counterparts through their actions.
Shailen Bhattacharjee, Calcutta
All play, no work
Sir — Government resources are scarce and are thus better utilized for alleviating poverty and improving infrastructure. But this logic is beyond the understanding of India’s current crop of political leaders (“ Mulayam misses ministry ton”, Oct 4). Mulayam Singh Yadav may feel that by creating more portfolios, he is ensuring that each member of his coalition cabinet in Uttar Pradesh has been accommodated effectively. But he is only adding to the pressure on the exchequer. A large cabinet also means that there will be little work for each minister. Thus a minister would enjoy his perks despite being underemployed. Putting politics before public welfare is an established norm in Indian politics today and Yadav is no exception to this rule.
C.R. Bhattacharjee, Calcutta
Sir — The Sarkaria commission had recommended that the number of ministers in a cabinet should not exceed one-tenth of the size of the house. Mulayam Singh Yadav has grossly flouted this guideline. The judiciary should take note and give exemplary punishment to the guilty.
B.S. Ganesh, Bangalore
Sir — Mulayam Singh Yadav’s jumbo cabinet could solve the unemployment problem in the state since each minister will need a huge retinue of personal staff to do his domestic and official chores.
C.V.K. Moorthy, Calcutta