When digits rise; Crucial decision

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  • Published 6.06.18
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When digits rise

• Sir - Technology faces a number of opponents in India. One such adversary happens to be inclement weather. That, perhaps, explains why app-based cab services such as Uber and Ola - they epitomize new technology - start fleecing passengers whenever the city experiences rainfall. The going gets tough for the hungry hearts too. Swiggy, the digital dabbawalla that has revolutionized the delivery of food, charges an extra fee at the hint of a drizzle. The pradhan sevak's sarkar has already put diesel almost out of reach. It seems that app cabs and app-delivered food will soon follow suit.

Nakul Bagoria,
Calcutta

Crucial decision

• Sir - The former president of India, Pranab Mukherjee, has accepted an invitation from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh to be its chief guest at an event and address its recruits. However, a large section of the Congress has not taken the news well ("Delicate conversations", June 2). But they should rest assured that Mukherjee would not do anything to harm the Congress's interests. By accepting the invitation, he has only proven that he believes in dialogue, and upheld the true spirit of the Indian Constitution.

Mukherjee has had a long and active political life as a Congressman. In his political career, he never deviated from his ideals. In spite of his lifelong association with the Congress, he completed a successful run as president with the Bharatiya Janata Party - the ideological master of which is the RSS - at the Centre. He reprimanded the BJP when he found lapses in its governance. In his address on the eve of Republic Day in 2016, he emphasized the necessity to guard "against the forces of violence, intolerance and unreason." At the same time, he praised the welfare schemes undertaken by the government, such as the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana and the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana.

Mukherjee is fearless, and has a track record of handling critical political issues deftly without compromising on constitutional principles. His political sensibility should not be doubted.

Dhruba Chandra Das,
Barrackpore

• Sir - The editorial, "Delicate conversations", deserves to be lauded. It is unfortunate that the former president and an influential leader of the Congress, Pranab Mukherjee, is being slammed by the party leadership for accepting an invitation from the RSS to address its volunteers in Nagpur. This implies that the present-day Congress does not believe in the freedom of speech and an individual's right to choose.

Mukherjee rarely got his due from the Congress because of its Gandhi-Nehru dynastic policy. If he had been treated fairly, it is entirely possible that Mukherjee would have been the prime minister of India, not its president. It is sad that as a Congress loyalist, Mukherjee had to work under inept leaders who could never match his political acumen or leadership abilities.

Even now, when Mukherjee is no longer as politically active as he used to be, the Congress is trying to restrict his fundamental right of freedom of movement, choice and speech. There was no need to remind Mukherjee about his stand on the RSS as a Congress leader. Now that he is not a party leader any more, he should be able to express his ideas as an unbiased citizen of India.

Mihir Kanungo,
Calcutta

• Sir - The editorial, "Delicate conversations", was well-argued. It pointed out the right of individuals or institutions to reach out to those who adhere to different ideologies. In fact, that is one of the basic differences between democracy and autocracy. It was, therefore, the prerogative of Pranab Mukherjee to accept or decline the invitation extended to him by the RSS.

The role of the RSS in many sensitive incidents in the country in recent years has created controversy. In that context, the organization's invitation to Mukherjee, a veteran Congress leader, and his acceptance of it are bound to stoke intense debate, even in non-political circles.

Sanjit Ghatak,
South 24 Parganas

• Sir - There has been a considerable hue and cry over Pranab Mukherjee's agreeing to attend an RSS event in Nagpur. Many Congressmen have tried to persuade him to skip the event by reminding him of his tough stance in the past with regard to the divisive activities of the organization. However, one must remember that he is no longer politically active now, and as such, has every right to accept the RSS's invitation.

Given Mukherjee's association with the Congress for over six decades and his criticism of the Grand Old Party, it will be interesting to listen to his speech at the event tomorrow. One wonders what advice he will give to the RSS volunteers.

Hira Lal De,
Hooghly

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