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Privatisation

FRONTLINE has brought out well the dangers of hiving off public sector undertakings, or PSUs (Cover Story, October 31). CMC and VSNL were sold to the Tatas. A great loss to the people of India and a bonanza for the Tatas! Several industrial houses founded by illustrious persons faded into oblivion when succeeding generations chose to sell part or the whole of the empire. PSUs are the priceless treasures that came into existence with the sweat and blood of the people. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will soon learn a bitter lesson.

S.S. Rajagopalan

Chennai

THE Modi government’s decision to disinvest several PSUs will have great ramifications. It will impede social justice and hurt the weaker sections of society. One of the core objectives of PSUs as envisaged by Jawaharlal Nehru was to use a part of their profits to improve health care and education of marginalised people. However, Modi’s stance is predominantly pro-corporate, so workers’ rights will be eroded as happened in Maruti Udyog and Honda Motors.

N.C. Sreedharan

Kannur, Kerala

THE “Make In India” campaign seems to have received a body blow with the government’s decision to shut down the public sector company HMT Watches after 50 years of operation. Nehru once likened PSUs to temples. One does not close down temples. HMT watches and clocks are prized possessions. The government should make every effort to revive HMT, which was the pride of the nation. Not only HMT, other PSUs like the Indian Telephone Industries, which used to make landline phones, should also be revived. It is strange that even though there is a huge market potential for mobile phones in India, no Indian hardware company manufactures them. It is ironical that when India has the capability to send an orbiter to Mars, Indians continue to use Japanese, South Korean and Chinese mobile phones.

Deendayal M. Lulla

Mumbai

MAGAZINES such as Frontline have taken it on as a “sacred mission” to crusade against the Modi government for almost everything. The favourite subject of criticism is Modi’s privatisation drive and his pro-corporate approach. Although such measures are not free from disadvantages, what alternatives does India have to privatisation? I think it will boost employment and create wealth that can be used for infrastructure development and equitable growth. What can the public sector achieve with its empty pockets?

The 1991 economic crisis was the result of the public sector’s inefficiency.

Anoop Suri

New Delhi

Photography

KUDOS to Ajoy Ashirwad Mahaprashasta for his article on photographs of bygone days, which in one go depict history, art, culture and people (“Colonial gaze”, October 31).

G. Azeemoddin

Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh

Media freedom

ONE fails to understand how opening the “floodgates of Hindu and Hindu-ising religious lore on television” is detrimental to secularism unless Hindu lore has explicit content against religious minorities (“Noisy signals”, October 31). Or unless secularism entails depriving the majority of exposure to their religious symbols and stories. Hinduism had been around much before Islam and Christianity, and even if, hypothetically, all the Hindu icons, persona and symbols were replaced with some others, the central message would remain unchanged. It is a moot point that no Hindu would watch such a production.

In point five of the recommendations of the committee on making Doordarshan and All India Radio independent and responsible, the word minoritarianism should be in the same sentence as the word majoritarianism, but it is not. The recommendation appears to endorse minoritarianism.

Jayakrishna Nayak

Manipal, Karnataka

Clean India

ALTHOUGH the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan is a noble mission, its implementation shows Hitlerian trends in Indian politics (“Beneath the hype”, October 31). The Modi government directed the staff of the Central government and public sector banks to come to work on October 2, a national holiday. It is sad that employees had to spend money to go to office even on a national holiday just to boost the Prime Minister’s image. While one appreciates the laudable objective of cleaning India, such projects should not be a substitute for appointing enough cleaners and sweepers nor should an additional burden be put on already overburdened staff. If these kinds of Hitlerian traits are not nipped in the bud, India will become a totalitarian state.

S. Raghunatha Prabhu

Alappuzha, Kerala

THE Prime Minister’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, a scheme no other political leader has come up with before, is commendable . But announcing it to coincide with Gandhi Jayanti overshadowed the lofty ideals of truth and non-violence that Gandhiji stood for.

Cleaning garbage and filth is a good idea but will be an uphill task. Taking Ministers, political leaders, bureaucrats and celebrities to clean already clean areas is laudable, but they have to go beyond wielding the broom. They should have been asked to start by cleaning toilets, drains and gutters, and each group should have adopted a slum area. There is also an imperative need to cleanse India of corruption and violence. One hopes that the Prime Minister’s clarion call will reverberate throughout India. On the Gandhi Jayanti day, we must also pledge to guard against communal disharmony and discrimination on the basis of caste and creed.

M.Y. Shariff

Chennai

Modi in the U.S.

PRIME Minister Modi took the U.S. by storm during his five-day visit to the country (“Hand in hand”, October 31). Whether it was his address at the United Nations General Assembly or at Madison Square Garden or his meetings with President Barack Obama and others, Modi charmed one and all.

He proved to be a good businessman, managing to convince the Indian diaspora in the U.S. and the American business community to “come, make in India”. One hopes that Modi’s visit to the U.S. will have a positive long-term effect.

S. Balakrishnan

Jamshedpur, Jharkhand

Jayalalithaa

FORMER Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s conviction by the Special Court and thereafter the Karnataka High Court’s rejection of her bail plea debunked the prevalent notion that justice served in the country is inversely proportional to one’s power and social status (Cover Story, October 17). It should serve as a wake-up call for all politicians who engage in corrupt deals.

It is unfortunate that some of her supporters turned the disproportionate assets case into a fight between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, even going to the extent of saying that Tamil Nadu would give up its claim to the Cauvery river water if Karnataka would release its leader, as if she had been kidnapped by that State’s government.

K.P. Rajan

Mumbai

THE Cover Story painted an excellent portrait of a long-winding legal battle. Jayalalithaa and her co-accused were unable to explain where the Rs.66.65 crore came from. Whatever her lawyers do, they may only succeed in reducing the prison term awarded or the quantum of the fine. Jayalalithaa’s absence in politics for a minimum period of 10 years will lower the morale of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) cadre. The immediate challenge before the party is the Srirangam constituency byelection.

T.R. Thiruvenkadam

Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu

THE claims of Jayalalithaa’s supporters that the Special Court order was unprecedented and an arbitrary exercise of power did not cut much ice with the High Court, which rejected her bail. Moreover, when the Supreme Court has given a clear direction that corruption should be treated with greater seriousness as it is a violation of human rights, court sentences cannot be automatically suspended. Despite abundant opportunities provided by the court in the past 18 years, Jayalalithaa could not adduce sufficient evidence to prove that the ill-gotten wealth did not belong to her.

K.R. Srinivasan

Secunderabad, Telangana

JAYALALITHAA’S conviction, though a severe blow, is certainly not the end of the road for her in Tamil Nadu politics. She has faced adverse situations in the past only to emerge stronger. It is not fair to jump to conclusions after the Special Court’s verdict given that she still has some judicial options. With two more years of her party rule left, Jayalalithaa could well stage a comeback. The AIADMK is a party with a mass base and it may not be a cakewalk for the opposition to dislodge it from its perch, especially in view of the sibling rivalry in the DMK. The BJP too cannot hope to fish in troubled waters as Tamil Nadu is one State where secular values are deep-rooted.

J. Anantha Padmanabhan

Tiruchi, Tamil Nadu

I REALLY appreciated the article “Rise of a star”. Jayalalithaa has the capacity to lead the party no matter what hurdles it faces. The former MP P. Kannan has been loyal not only to MGR but to Jayalalithaa too.

V.T. Seshan

Chennai

The BJP

IT was Narendra Modi’s promise of establishing peace, amity and development that ensured the BJP’s victory in the Lok Sabha election, not the vitriolic spewing of leaders like Yogi Adityanath (“In communal overdrive”, October 17). Modi must be cautious of such fundamentalist elements. He must not forget that it was his progressive message, not his communal image, that got the electorate to vote for the BJP.

Modi in his Lok Sabha campaigns vowed to fight corruption and dynastic politics. He even detached himself from the BJP’s Hindutva orientation because he understood that his anti-graft image would surely deliver a hard blow to the corruption-tainted United Progressive Alliance II government. Soon after he became the Prime Minister, he warned his Ministers and other leaders of his party to keep away from corruption and nepotism. Modi’s ambition is for a long-term BJP government at the Centre, marginalising the Congress and regional parties. He realises that this is possible only through overall development of the nation. Modi seems determined to nip corruption, nepotism and dynastic politics in the bud to keep his election promises, but he seems helpless before the fundamentalist forces in the party.

Buddhadev Nandi

Bishnupur, West Bengal

Mars

I AM grateful to Frontline for the article “Giant leap” (October 17). It was full of information on the Mars Orbiter Mission. After the orbiter was successfully put into the Mars orbit, all newspapers covered almost the same aspects of the topic. But the Frontline article had unique information, which I found helpful.

K.S. Venkateswara Rao

Hyderabad

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