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Letters to Editor 16-09-2005

Change the script Go between Cut price

By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 16.09.05

Change the script

Sir ? Githa Hariharan tries hard to keep to the centre ground in her article, ?Perfecting the past? (Sep 11), about the debate over deleting objectionable references to Dalits from our scriptures, yet all she manages to do is to muddy the waters. By claiming that ?the villains of the present have ancestors? and citing a sentence from the Ramcharitmanas that shows bias towards Dalits, she makes the same mistake as those who vilify Islam by quoting the Quran. We must study old texts in the context of the times they were written in, otherwise we are no better than the extremists.

Hariharan also seems to have problems with Hindutva ideologues glorifying the Gupta and Mauryan ages. Perhaps she will be convinced by Western endorsement of the successes of these two dynasties in the areas of international trade, taxation, general prosperity and entrepreneurship. Their achievements are also recounted in our folklore and popular culture. There were drawbacks such as the caste system (a distortion of the original varna system). But then, every age has its drawbacks. All that left-leaning intellectuals can see in India?s early history are Brahminical oppression and poverty. Writing new texts for the new age is the way forward, as the author rightly argues. But it is time to acknowledge the achievements of ancient Indians ? for only then will we realize how far we?ve fallen behind.

Yours faithfully,
Aruni Mukherjee, Calcutta

Sir ? Texts like the Manusamhita are full of prejudice not only against Dalits but also women. In this connection, one may recall that B.R. Ambedkar publicly set the text on fire. The situation is different today. We now have some political groups who try to take advantage of the Dalits? feeling of being aggrieved by shedding crocodile tears for them. These parties do immense damage to the national interest. Both the Manusamhita and the Ramcharitmanas have been rationally dissected by men like Iswarchandra Vidyasagar and their flaws exposed. Bias makes one myopic, causing one to forget to look at a text from diverse angles and thus make some avoidable mistakes.

Yours faithfully,
Tanmoy Bhattacharjee, Howrah

Go between

Sir ? Do a few of people, hand-picked by the United Liberation Front of Asom, have the right to decide the destiny of the people of Assam (?Mediator team gets cracking?, Sep 12)? If the Ulfa feels that it has the support of all the Assamese, then it should go public with its agenda for the development of the state and the discussions with the Centre. The main priority for the Ulfa or anyone claiming to speak for the Assamese should be economic development, how to stop traders and industrial units from outside the state reaping the benefits of Assam?s immense natural resources and using them instead for the Assamese. The Ulfa should also concentrate on ensuring equal opportunities for all the people of Assam irrespective of caste, tribe or religion. Perhaps introducing a permit for travel to Assam and prohibiting people from other parts of the country from acquiring property in the state may be considered.

Yours faithfully,
Iftakhar Latif, Guwahati

Sir ? The posters in Guwahati against the Ulfa?s September 10 bandh were surprising. They were signs of a change in mindset of the people of Assam, who have realized that outfits like the Ulfa thrive on fear. They aren?t accountable to the people, whom they claim to represent. In fact, there is clear proof of these bodies being in league with the Bangladesh government which is trying to create unrest in the North-east.

Yours faithfully,
Debi Singh, Guwahati

Cut price

Sir ? Debashish Bhattacharyya?s article on the ?Media War? (Aug 21) in Mumbai bears out why the city is called the advertisers? goldmine. No wonder Mumbai has the highest number of dailies after New Delhi. The battle among newspapers in Mumbai reminds me of the scenario in Calcutta some years ago, when The Asian Age cut its price to Rs 1.50, forcing others to follow. However, in the long run, it is a combination of editorial excellence and wide readership which will ensure the success of the new dailies in Mumbai.

Yours faithfully,
Ameet Sengupta, Calcutta

Sir ? Everyone knows that The Hindustan Times and The Times of India are vying to be the number one daily in India. But by joining hands in Mumbai in order to beat their rivals in the city, the two newspapers behaved like two political parties who form an alliance just before an election to beat others, but otherwise remain separate and critical of each other.

Yours faithfully,
Mahesh Kumar, New Delhi