THE Orissa government's initiative to strengthen the mining industry with the help of various companies, including Posco, comes with the inescapable liability of having to promote the welfare of the people being displaced from their lands, the source of their livelihood (“Tactical retreat”, July 15).
The present Official Memorandum of the Bureau of Public Enterprises avoids its obligation of offering employment to the members of displaced families citing requirement constraints, economies of scale and lack of qualifications. The same reasons are cited by State governments when aggrieved people protest. Deploying the police and using political intimidation to get lands for industrialisation will definitely boomerang badly on the government.
The Orissa government must constitute a tripartite committee comprising representatives of the government, the industry and local people to discuss the issues. If people are not taken into account in the developmental strategies and when things are forced upon them, the way may be paved for the growth of militant organisations.B. Rajasekaran
THE articles on the Right to Education Act (RTE) were a good appraisal of its shortcomings (Cover Story, July 15). In his critical review of the Act, Anil Sadgopal showed that the lack of political will is the reason for education not being a reality for a large number of the poor. There has been no visible improvement in extending education to marginalised groups. No efforts have been made to start residential schools for children of migrant labour and those without schools in their neighbourhood.
The attention of civil society has been cleverly diverted to the 25 per cent reservation in private schools from the need to strengthen public schools and pave the way for a common school system. The net result is that the country is where it was before the Act was enacted.S.S. Rajagopalan
Chennai THE RTE will remain on paper as long as its implementation is left to the bureaucracy. Unfortunately, government schools, which are established at taxpayers' expense, have failed to lead the way in implementing the Act in letter and spirit. N. Nagarajan
THE Cover Story has once again exposed the double standards of the second United Progressive Alliance government. It also explains how the poor are being denied their fundamental right to education.Bharadwaj Tanikella
THERE are bottlenecks in the implementation of the RTE, but such a situation is quite common in India. Nevertheless, if the Act is implemented effectively, it can be a ray of hope for innumerable Indians. Lack of awareness among the rural poor is a major void that needs to be filled.Kiran S.
THIS is with reference to the article “Marks and market” (July 15). The whole concept of education has changed in such a way that the focus is now on achieving numbers rather than on acquiring knowledge as only the numbers help one get a seat in colleges. Education should help people acquire skills.Syed Khaja
K.N. PANIKKAR says that “the revival of Hindu classical tradition privileged an Indian culture which was earlier the preserve of the upper castes” (“Culture & making of a nation”, July 15). India's classical tradition and ancient culture were projected to the outside world as “tolerant”, “non-violent”, and “cosmopolitan”. Romila Thapar observed that this “theory is so deeply ingrained among most Indians that there is a failure to see the reverse of it even when it stares them in the face”.
There are many concrete events in Indian history that show that the cultural tradition of Indians as a whole is not non-violent and tolerant. The eminent anthropologist C. Kluckholm said that culture consists of a “patterned way of thinking”. This made upper castes oppress the “untouchables” and minorities during the pre-Gupta and post-Gupta periods, and unfortunately, that pattern continues today.
The traditional violent and intolerant culture derived from earlier periods in Indian history has been transmitted to the present generation. Collective programming of the mind or mass brain washing on the basis of varnashramadharma has continued to stay with us even in the 21st century.
In a recent shocking incident in Thiruvananthapuram, the office room and furniture used by a senior Dalit government official were “cleansed”, by sprinkling cow dung water, by some employees shortly after his retirement from service. Hindus are not prepared to overthrow this obnoxious cultural pattern.
Violence against Dalits in many parts of India today is the outcome of thousands of years of such “programming of the mind” on a collective and societal level. How long will it take for India to establish cultural equality?A. Yeshuratnam
FATAL attacks on journalists is a dangerous trend in a society based on democratic principles (“Midday murder”, July 15). The gruesome murder of the senior crime reporter Jyotirmoy Dey and two other journalists within a span of six months is a matter of serious concern. The data related to the killings of journalists across India in the past several years shows the government's apathy and irresponsibility towards the fourth estate.Neeraj Kumar Jha
I THINK Swami Nigamananda, and not Baba Ramdev, was the real crusader against corruption (“Unsung baba”, July 15). He not only tried to protect the Ganga but also the many people who depend upon the river for their livelihood. There is no denying that Nigamananda's death exposed the long-running nexus between politicians and mining mafias.Niloy Kumar Roy
MINING and stone-crushing companies are too good a source of funds for the government for it to pay much attention to a sadhu who did not have political or media connections and who was innocent enough to think that fasting for a good cause would bring about change.
All that politicians can think about is winning elections. The accusations and counter-accusations of political parties – that the Congress gave the stone- crushers their licence and that the BJP allowed the mining to continue, and so on – expose the sorry fact that politicians and governments are least interested in the good of the people or in the preservation of the environment. Nigamananda's death is proof of that.J.S. Acharya
THE article on the pros and cons of art as a means to convey political messages was good (“Politics of the visual”, July 15). It began as a critical analysis or review but later took a rebellious turn.
Nevertheless, the writer's view on objectivity is to be lauded. In contemporary journalism, where rampant criticism of the state machinery is more a fashion than a necessity, there is a need for unbiased art. The writer is justified in feeling disappointed at the omission in the exhibition of images of the destruction caused by Maoists or the damage caused by jehadis in Afghanistan and elsewhere.M.N. Abhijith
IT is disturbing to note that the selective abortion of female foetuses has increased substantially in India (“Disturbing trend”, July 1). A girl child is considered a liability in poor households mainly because of dowry.
To arrest this trend, female participation in all the branches of human activity is a must. Free education to girl children up to the graduate level should be made mandatory. Girl children should be given cash compensation for pursuing education. They must also take part in law-making. The women's reservation Bill must be passed, with the enhanced reservation of 50 per cent. Lastly, the laws against those who illegally determine the sex of foetuses should be made more severe.Sravana Ramachandran
IN the past few weeks, Intellectuals have been intensely debating the legality of fast-unto-death pressure tactics, the implicit devaluation of elected representatives, and the subversion of parliamentary sovereignty by civil society (“Pre-modern project”, July 1). Unfortunately, politicians only think about democracy, accountability to people and other such ideals just at the time of elections.
If parliamentary law-making and deliberative democracy are so sacrosanct, why was the recent budget session with 32 Bills on agenda terminated ahead of schedule to free leaders for election campaigning in States? Clearly, democracy before and after elections are two completely separate entities.Harsh Pandey
THE arrest and detention of an accused can often impinge on personal liberty, which is an article of faith in a true democracy (“Bail and discretion”, June 17). The main criterion for granting bail should be that bail applicants pose no threat to the lives and property of others. In using its discretion in this matter, courts should be guided by objectivity and common sense.
The irony is that the detention of an accused results in an undeserved punishment if the charges are ultimately dropped.T.V. Unnikrishan
The credits for the two pictures appearing on page 23 of the July 15 issue, accompanying the article "Kerala's lessons", got interchanged inadvertently.
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