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Meaning of freedom

“What does freedom mean to you?” (August 10) raises a pertinent question regarding what freedom means to us all. According to me, it signifies indiscipline and the right to defy the laws. We are the biggest democracy on earth, but not a great one. The most vocal advocates of this system of governance are the intellectuals, who ironically are the least interested in participating in its process. The large majority of our political parties do not practise democracy within and are least committed to set healthy democratic traditions. Then how can they be expected to lead a fruitful democracy? Virtually all of them are as good as private companies under the control of a single person.

Dr. Y. P. Joshi
Retired Professor, BHU, Varanasi

India has undergone a sea change since independence. It has produced a vibrant new generation. Education, which was the monopoly of a few, is now open to all. There was a time when schools and colleges were few and far between. But now, we have them in every nook and corner and fully occupied. What about the wonders like green revolution, white revolution?

People like Ayesha Matthan would like us to see only the negative aspects and not the positive achievements. In spite of its diversities, this wonderful country has managed to keep the flock together. Let us learn to love our country and rest will follow.

P. U. Krishnan
Ooty

The mere existence of democracy in India despite all drawbacks is a wonder for other nations, especially the Europeans having one religion, one language, and one culture. The much enviable Indian Democracy can be made meaningful and flourishing in the coming years by exercising a little more discipline and also by restraining the misuse of freedom. By doing so our democratic institutions will be preserved for the coming generations.

Petson Peter C.,
Kochi

I condemn the view of Prof. T.K. Oomen and Kancha Ilaiah. What do they mean by a successful democracy? If they say India is not a successful democracy, then it’s also the result of democracy which allows them to say so. They would have never been permitted to say this in a totalitarian society. It’s the leader of a backward class who is the Chief Minister in UP. It’s not only a personal achievement but also a representation of trends in that society. If you read Prof. Javid Alam’s book Loktantra ke Talabgar, you will realise that it is the lower and backward classes who are getting the most benefits and also saving the democracy. Now, they can raise their voice. Ours is a prosperous democracy which is growing gradually at its own pace.

Nishant Bhardwaj
New Delhi

Despite the fact that ours is the biggest democracy in the world, it is still in a low ebb. Presently it is neither people friendly nor structured for the uplift of the masses. To safeguard the seats of power, any method, including highly undemocratic principles have become acceptable. There dies the definition, “By the people, For the people and to the people”.

Capt. O.B. Nair
Poonithura

Peaceful management

With reference to “Have a dialogue” (August 10), what is the use of education, if the teaching faculty itself lacks discipline and indulges in ego-centric behaviour? The scenario is the same in most work places. “The Ahimsa way” is the proven method of conflict management. In this age of the Net and communication overload, people not communicating properly with each other and the resultant tensions at the work place are futile and meaningless. Clash of interests and intolerance of dissenting opinions are maladies affecting the present generation too. These can be easily sorted out by “talking” in the Ahimsa way.

K.M.G. Vivekanandam,
Madurai

Impeccable statesman

Harsh Mander’s article on Nelson Mandela (August 10) was thought-provoking. Mandela’s way of handling difficult situations made him an outstanding politician. His perseverance has paved the way for future generations to march forward. His idea of reconciliation and peace is a good example and lesson for all the so-called politicians of India.

Raja V. M.,
Thiruvananthapuram

In the concluding paragraph of the article, the writer points out that Mandela bartered justice for peace. In my view, had he not embarked on such a move, the country would have been a simmering cauldron of animosity and retribution which would have resulted in further human losses. History has taught us that sometimes Hobson’s choice has to be accepted.

Raju Ragavan,
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