Regular-article-logo Sunday, 28 May 2023

No time for delay

Readers' Speak: Saving crocodiles, engaging with Amartya Sen

The Telegraph Published 31.01.20, 06:47 PM
Palu, the crocodile

Palu, the crocodile Twitter

Sir — Time is running out for the 13-foot saltwater crocodile, Palu, in Indonesia. The reptile has had a tyre stuck around it for years now. Attempts by Indonesian authorities to take the tyre out have repeatedly ended in failure. The country has now offered a reward to anyone who can achieve the task. One hopes Palu, who was seen gasping for breath in a recent video, is saved soon. But it is shocking that a country does not have the wherewithal to look after its flora and fauna. Indonesia should recruit experts — if necessary from other countries — to help Palu and his ilk.

Achintya Sinha,



Potent questions

Sir — Amartya Sen raised many valid points in his interview to The Telegraph, highlighting the dangers posed to democracy by uniformity of thought (“It depends on how the emerging young leaders mature: Amartya”, Jan 26). Our country is going through a phase where one ideology is being imposed upon the masses. But the idea of India is based on the notion of diversity.

Sen has seen the Shiv Sena’s breaking of ties with the Bharatiya Janata Party as significant. However, this new equation is yet to stand the test of time. The BJP has been known to inject the poison of religion into other political parties. It has also allured many an

Opposition leader into its fold by this means. This one poison that is spreading through the veins of the country can be fatal for the democratic principles on which India was founded.

The parallel that Sen draws between the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, and the president of the United States of America, Donald Trump, is interesting. Also heartening was his opinion that the economy can thrive even in a pluralist democracy.

Abhijit Chakraborty,


Sir — In an absorbing interview with Uddalak Mukherjee, Amartya Sen underlines the importance of Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s poem, “Hum dekhenge”. Sen aptly describes it as “the cry of the underpowered”. This song has become an anthem of protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the National Register of Citizens. This poem had once rattled the military regime under Zia-ul-Haq. The fact that a certain section of Indians has condemned the poem in the name of nationalism reveals the overlaps between the mindset of these people and the military dictators of Pakistan.

Interestingly, Faiz’s poem has much in common with Rabindranath Tagore’s “Amra sobai raja”. Both urge people to carry on their satyagraha against wrongs, both speak of equality before, and with, a supreme power and imagine a time when failure and wrongs will be overcome for a just world to emerge.

Sujit De,


Sir — One of the most interesting takeaways from the interview of Amartya Sen was his opinion about institutional gaps in India. He says that India’s founding fathers failed to make “an institutional transformation that could go beyond fighting the British into fighting the upper classes on behalf of the majority of the lower classes. There is an institutional gap there.” This led me to wonder whether the democratic principles enshrined in the Constitution, too, have left a gap. After all, before uniting against a common enemy — the British colonizers — that spared no one, the area that is now India was riven by petty regional divides and discriminations. These were not really uprooted; they were just suppressed by the need to rise against a common opponent. The divisions were thus bound to resurface. Could it be that the makers of the Constitution might have done more harm than good in imagining India as a country that was a secular whole which had moved past this history of segregation?

If this is true, then the protests against the CAA and the NRC are no less important to the foundation of independent India than the freedom struggle. Here is an India face to face with its shortcoming, where the enemy is ensconced comfortably within the home. This fight, in some ways, is more difficult than the previous one.

Aditya Banerjee,


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