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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Letters to Editor

Old means gold

Sir ' A pragmatic answer to the concerns voiced in Bhaskar Ghose's 'So that they may live' (June 28) would be for our society to accept and encourage the concept of old age homes as a viable replacement for the joint family of yore. The state, NGOs and the private sector can be coopted to pitch in. Old age homes, on the lines of service apartments with proper security arrangements, need to be established in select areas ' ideally as condominiums ' of towns and cities. These homes can even be classified according to the financial capabilities of the inmates. Police stations under whose jurisdiction such homes are located should be made responsible for monitoring their security and general well-being. An awareness campaign may rid society of its prejudices. In fact, old age homes could become a component of the hospitality industry in our country.

Yours faithfully,
Jayanta Dutt, Calcutta


Confused speech

Sir ' Nivedita Menon makes the same mistake that left-of-centre commentators tend to commit while talking of religious politics in India ('How the patriarchs speak', June 21). She argues that the minorities in India (and elsewhere) cannot be part of the national mainstream, and therefore cannot assert 'their' culture. However, what she fails to note is that the so-called 'culture' of the minorities is very much shaped by the national mainstream itself. For instance, Urdu developed out of a tryst between Hindi and Arabic, and was born in north India. The so-called secular argument about minority cultures being steamrolled is misplaced because there exists no homogeneous 'minority culture' per se. This argument bears the same fallacy that once led the residents of former East and West Pakistan being thrown under the Islamic umbrella.

Second, there is never any clear analysis of the position of the Hindu right. Arguments are either fanned by vehement loyalty or an equally strong hatred. One admits that there are numerous problems in the tactics employed by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, but one can still defend its basic stand on nationalism. Moreover, contrary to what Menon says, contesting elections is not the ultimate test for morality in a democracy like India. The democratic structure is marred by discrepancies which result in criminals being elected as ministers. Reform of society can easily precede an electoral victory.

Yours faithfully,
Aruni Mukherjee, Coventry, UK


Sir ' According to Nivedita Menon, the RSS resorts to both dishonesty and subterfuge to have its way, especially with the Bharatiya Janata Party. But has she any proof' Menon abuses the RSS without mentioning anything that may substantiate her allegations. Does freedom of expression mean one can say anything one likes' Scho-lars like Menon are often seen to come down heavily on Hindu organizations like the RSS. Why are they silent about organizations like the Majlis Ittehadul-e-Muslimeen'

Yours faithfully,
Asoke C. Banerjee, Calcutta


Sir ' Nivedita Menon has smoothly turned the tables on the RSS by her comparison of sex-work with the activities of the RSS and BJP. The cold war between the RSS and its political front has been on ever since L.K. Advani went overboard in his statements during his visit to Pakistan. K.S. Sudarshan's comments about Advani, in fact, are shamelessly hypocritical. When the BJP was in power, it did the RSS's bidding. Now that it is desperate to go for an image-change to facilitate its return to power, the RSS finds it intolerable. Perhaps the RSS now realizes that it no longer holds the same position of authority with the BJP leadership. And hence the desperation. Another thing. The sangh parivar draws its imagery from the epics. Why does it refuse to learn the lesson that both the epics try to teach man, that is, the victory of good over evil'

Yours faithfully,
Sumant Poddar, Calcutta


Sir ' For some critics like Nivedita Menon the only task left is to train their guns at Hindu bodies. Why does she ignore leaders of other sects who openly advocate separatism' Not everything is bad about the RSS except it's aggressiveness in its desire to put the nation on the road to success following its ancient ideals. Surely, this is better than the pseudo-concerns of today's intellectuals.

Yours faithfully,
Arvind K. Pandey, Allahabad


Parting shot

Sir ' No newspaper can do without a sanctimonious, in-house 'Auntie' who must, by force of habit (and in true wiccan tradition), smugly pontificate on all things under the sun. It is a means of keeping the priggish auntie-types (who buy the paper) happy. Sadly, these creatures have enormous life-spans and so readers of The Telegraph will have to put up with Pakshi Vasudeva for quite a while.

Yours faithfully,
Amit Kumar Ray, Calcutta

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