This refers to Bad Losers or Whistleblowers (March 27). When Indira Gandhi returned to power with a massive victory in 1980, there were no EVMs (only paper ballots) and yet those who lost blamed their defeat on the election not being fair. That time, the losers—they included those who are now the victors—alleged that the ballot paper imported from Russia had done the trick. The genuine stamp by the voter would disappear in a few hours and a fake stamp made on the Congress symbol would become visible! The allegation of tampered EVMs this time is no different. Those who lose keep such reasons handy to explain away their defeat. It should be obvious that the real reason why the BJP won was that the opposition failed to forge a ‘grand alliance’ against the Hindu nationalist party of the kind that had worked in Bihar not so long ago. People trust decisive leaders over those who bicker among themselves.
V.K, On E-Mail
This refers to Broomstick Broke, AAP Got a Poke (March 27) on the Punjab polls. If anything is done in haste or overdone, it proves to be troublesome to the doer. This is the case with Arvind Kejriwal who still behaves with naivety and pays a heavy price for it. His tirades against Narendra Modi have done him no good. In fact, Arun Jaitley didn’t lose the chance to apply pressure on Kejriwal by slapping a defamation case on him for his impulsive statements.
C.K. Ramani, Navi Mumbai
Any analysis of the consistently hapless Congress is a depressing read for me (Masters of Losses, Mar 27). Blaming Digvijaya Singh for the Goa fiasco is nonsense. The blame lies squarely with Rahul and Sonia Gandhi, who have developed a culture of completely disregarding local leaders. Take the example of Arunachal Pradesh— a sitting CM couldn’t get an appointment with Sonia, but the PM had time for him. The results were a given. The same thing happened to Andhra. The local leaders couldn’t get Delhi’s attention, so they just moved on to other parties. Modi, the tallest leader in India today, makes time for local leaders. He flatters and threatens them as required. The point is, he is engaged.
Akash Verma, Chennai
A decade of mismanagement, unprecedented corruption and unprincipled politics brought about the downfall of the Congress. A good administrator like Manmohan Singh was reduced to a dummy PM, while the parochial Karunanidhi was left free to aim for important cabinet posts—all of his nominees turned out to be corrupt. The fallen image of the party is just too fresh to forget. Again, Rahul is still a novice in politics, while Modi is a modern Chanakya. Congress, if it has to survive, must have a man like Modi to whip up the baggy, loose monster that it is into a disciplined unit, and show the dynastic toadies the door.
T. Santhanam, On e-Mail
The Congress finds itself at a critical juncture today. Although the latest round of assembly polls saw the party form the government in Punjab and emerge as the single-largest party in Goa and Manipur, the magnitude of its defeat in UP and Uttarakhand has been staggering. If the argument that the Congress needs the Gandhis to serve as glue for the party is credible, then Sonia and Rahul should quit their party posts and lead an advisory council of party elders. This way they can bring in fresh blood in the high command while doing away with the sclerotic coterie that has hardened around them.
J. Akshobhya, Mysore
Guess who was praying for a Congress victory in Punjab? The Congress, of course. But so was the BJP, which was desperate to halt Arvind Kejriwal’s march to national status. BJP ministers, including prominent leaders, wished for that. If the AAP had managed to win in Punjab, it would have emboldened Kejriwal and his team to take a clear stab at forming the government in Gujarat, which is due for polls later this year. AAP teams have been visiting Gujarat frequently for several months. Even more worrying for the BJP is the fact that Kejriwal’s team has been in touch with Patidar agitation leader Hardik Patel.
Padmini Raghavendra, Secunderabad
This refers to K. Satchidanandan’s brilliant review of Gulzar’s latest book of poetry (A Poet’s Diversions Around A Pothole, Mar 27). In fact, the very title, Suspected Poems, mirrors the pain and anguish of a sensitive mind buffeted by the socio-political turn our nation has taken through the rich medium of Urdu poetry. His poems on almost all burning issues of our times are delicate surgical operations on the minds of all those involved in and affected by our politically volatile times.
M.N. Bhartiya, Goa
There appears to be substance in the doubt some quarters have over the circumstances of the death of former Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalitha (False Spins Wove Curious Plots Till The Last Breath, Mar 27). One needs to probe if the episode has had something to do with the late AIADMK supremo’s key aide V.K. Sasikala, who almost became the CM. Right from the time Jayalalitha was admitted to Chennai’s Apollo in September last year, the bulletins on her health appeared more to conceal facts than reveal them. One day she is said to be out of the ICU, then ready to even leave the hospital, the next day she suffers a “massive heart attack”—something that is said to have led to her death. All this was hard to believe even when it was happening, but what could be done, the public had only one version to go with the one given to them by news bulletins.
Lajwant Singh, On E-Mail
The world is a more intolerant place, and Saif Shahin’s report from the US about the hate crimes afflicting the American-Indian community, is a disconcerting reminder of that (Red Blobs on the Rainbow, Mar 20). Of course, white supremacist triumphalism in the US has reared its ugly head because of the sense of entitlement Donald Trump’s victory has spawned in them. Such sentiments are helped by the fact that there are thousands of Indians in the US without any valid papers. These are people who just arrive there to make a fast buck, with little preparation or education. Again, even though Indians have risen to the top in almost all professions, they are guilty of being insular—other than professional life, they are content to grind in a narrow groove dominated by language and caste. This creates doubt and misgivings in the majority community.
Venkat Sairam, Hyderabad
This refers to Barrels Deter Goodwill Goal (March 6), your story on the Indian Army’s ‘Operation Sadbhavana’ in Kashmir. The army chief’s warning that those who pelt stones may be shot cannot win Kashmiri hearts unless an attempt is made to find out why stones are pelted. We cannot choose our neighbours, but have to live with them. The UN resolution on Kashmir has no effect as it was vetoed by the erstwhile Soviet Union—this fact should be clearly stated. Harsh words and warnings are of no use. If Pakistan feels it is a stakeholder in Kashmir, we have to talk with them. But the nationalist view on the matter does not allow for meaningful dialogue as it sees Pakistan as an enemy.
Raj Ganesh, Secunderabad
This refers to your cover story on the downfall of start-ups (How Start-Ups Die…Plop!, March 20). Not too long ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced a grand plan for ‘start-up’ India as part of the ‘Make in India’ scheme. The aim of the programme was to guide and aid budding entrepreneurs interested in opening start-ups. But as this article shows, the optimistic vision is far from being realised. Start-ups are rapidly failing. In order for the start-up India programme to succeed, the government must monitor the work of tax officials, public sector departments and nationalised banks, all offices which can help start-ups to ensure that the programme runs smoothly.
Mahesh Kumar, New Delhi
Start a big company. Buy bubble gum for Rs 100 on credit. Sell it in retail for Rs 90. Do not clear your debts to the vendor, target next vendor. Do the same to the next. Go online to connect. Raise the bar both in inventory and sales. Forget about relationship, the first ethic of business. Then you lose trust, you burst like a bubble. So before any start-up, smart up! This rhyme, in short, is the story of the start-up culture.
V.N.K. Murti, Pattambi
This refers to the opinion piece by R. Jagannathan (Value For Losses). Over the years, though perceptions largely remain the same, customers have been taken for granted. In the digital world, in any form of trade, the challenge and aim is to always attract the customer. Several ‘special discounts’ and schemes are launched in order to somehow catch the attention of a potential customer. Most of these schemes are hollow and nothing but a false front to lure the buyer. Since the competition now is so aggressive in the market, several norms which were followed in business earlier are being overlooked.
Ramachandran Nair, Oman
For any new business to take off, a lot of ground work has to be done. A solid product backed by market research infrastructure has to be launched and aspects such as buy back facilities, banking support, export promotion, certifications and issuance of licenses have to be taken care of. Clearly, as your cover story shows, in order to rush into the much-touted idea of start-ups under the Make in India project, many entrepreneurs bypassed these procedures. Thus, the start up bubble burst as no solid ground was prepared for it to flourish.
Rakesh Agrawal, Dehradun
Your article on the auto of the future (Relax, Digi Driver Is Here, March 20) reminded me of the condition of my city, New Delhi. The city is one of the most lethally polluted metropolises in the world. Something needs to be done urgently to control pollution here. The future cars described in your article are aimed to make the ride as smooth as possible. But what we really need are green cars, which make lives of the driver as well the people around easier and less hazardous. Since cars have become almost a necessity for a large section of people, they should be made to suit the environment. The true technology of the future would be an eco-friendly one.
Mahesh Kapasi, New Delhi
The start-up philosophy is trying to run a marathon like a 100-metre dash. It doesn’t work!
Rajneesh Batra, New Delhi
Refer to A Farm Twist To Caste Power (March 20). Every now and then, a relatively dominant community, like the Jats in Haryana, resorts to large-scale vandalism and public harassment in the name of reservations. They demand reservation because they are aware that the Indian government has a history of responding to the politics of appeasement. The solution to these recurring disturbances would be to scrap the reservation system altogether and instead bring in revolutionary reforms to uplift the economically backward section. While affirmative action is desirable to a degree, we must realise that we are functioning, as a country, in a free market economy where numbers and statistics have almost become more important than human beings. Decisions are taken on the basis of these statistics. In this context, reservations do hinder the country’s economic development.
M.K., On E-mail
An overwhelming number of Jats from Haryana are agitating for reservations yet again. The fact that they got away lightly after wreaking havoc in the north Indian state last year, when they looted shops and homes, burned property, indulged in violence and disrupted public life, has only encouraged them to blackmail the government again. It’s time for the state and central governments to put their foot down and check this menace. The tendency to treat this mob as a vote bank must be stopped altogether. The majority of the people in the state are gullible and instigated by a few anti-social elements, who tell them that the government will give in to their demands. If stern action is taken, they will understand the futility and danger of their actions. Yielding to their threat of violence will be asking for more protests and similar demands from other communities as well.
L.J. Singh, Amritsar
Apropos your Leader comment The Plot Thickens (March 20), why was it necessary for you to defend Rahul Gandhi? Some say the Congress won in Punjab precisely because of Rahul’s absence in the state campaign. The Congress has faced so many electoral defeats in the past five years, and yet Rahul remains its face. It’s curious that despite the party’s present condition, there is no end to sycophancy within the Congress towards the Gandhi dynasty. Ever since Modi became PM, Rahul has spent most of his time in rhetoric, targeting him rather than doing any substantial work. The results of all that Modi-bashing have been quite counter-productive. No wonder BJP leaders are saying that Rahul is helping the BJP accomplish its mission of a Congress-mukt Bharat.
M.C. Joshi, Lucknow
By organising and encouraging Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, India is increasing chances of hostility with its most powerful neighbour—China (The Hint Of A Forked Tongue, March 20). Unfortunately, in an age of globalisation, where fast-growing economies spell success, Tibet and Dalai Lama are anomalies. Agreed, the Lama is a reminder that as a civilisation, India is more than the sum total of territory, sovereignty and citizenship. But the bitter truth is that rubbing China the wrong way can add to the trouble at the border. Dalai Lama is refused entry by nations who do not wish to incur China’s disapproval. Though India shouldn’t be nursing an ambition to be a hegemonic power like China, it should not encourage the Lama’s visit to a ‘disputed’ area like Arunachal. After all, international relations are all about diplomacy. It’s in our interest to seal the border issue as fast as possible. The realist in me believes it is inconceivable that Tibet would be granted freedom by China.
C.V. Venugopalan, Palakkad
India is clear and consistent on the status of Arunachal Pradesh as an inalienable part of the country. India is not a vassal state of China, to be cautioned against its residents visiting it. The Dalai Lama, known for his commitment to compassion, universal ethics and harmony amongst religions, is a revered figure across the world. Besides, China should note that the sixth Dalai Lama was born in Arunachal in the 17th century and the Tawang monastery is a sacred home for Tibetan Buddhism. China is glaringly insensitive to India’s concerns too—it occupies 38,000 sq kms on the Aksai Chin plateau, nor does it care for our positions on the Karakoram highway or the proposed CPEC corridor that cuts through the disputed territory of Pakistan occupied Kashmir.
H.N. Ramakrishna, Michigan
China’s opposition to the Dalai Lama’s visit to Tawang has become a dilemma for India. We can improve our ties with this powerful neighbour if we use the Tibet card intelligently, not as a blatant provocation. The Sino-Indian relations soured when Dalai Lama was allowed to form a government in exile in India. We should just humbly ask that holy entity to relocate itself. Remember, if we have warm ties with China, we can contain Pakistan well.
P.L. Singh, On E-Mail
Despite extreme Chinese sensitivity to Dalai Lama’s public engagements, India has enjoyed the better of the exchanges. Now, when there is still a month left for Dalai Lama to visit Tawang, it’s unfortunate that the Sino-Indian war of words is getting into high gear. China claims most of Arunachal as part of south Tibet. China ought to realise that after it held up the UN’s decision to declare Masood Azhar a designated terrorist, it is hardly well placed to raise objections on Dalai Lama’s social engagements.
J. Akshay, Bangalore
The Dalai Lama has been a bone of contention between India and China for far too long. To the rest of the world, he is a spiritual leader, but China sees him as a kind of fugitive. All said and done, the fact is that he’s a refugee in India and in my view, no diplomatic difficulties should be created for the host country on his account.
J.N. Bhartiya, Hyderabad
This refers to your cover story Amicus Curious (March 13). Fake lawyers have been duping clients with their con skills, flamboyance being an essential one here, for a long time. This menace is also seen in the medical and engineering professions. What are the regulatory bodies doing?
G.L. Karkal, Pune
This refers to your Leader comment Gurmehar, My Daughter (March 13). Had Gurmehar Kaur said her father, an Indian army officer martyred during the Kargil war, was killed by Pakistanis and not war, she would have been hailed as a nationalist by a large section of people. But, her plea for a more humanistic approach earned her disgusting comments by trolls and insensitive remarks by even celebrities. What else can be expected of a rabidly nationalistic public space that has been created out of our collective frustrations? Under the present government, the ABVP feels it can get away with anything. The Ramjas College incident, where the police largely stood as mute spectators to ABVP’s violence, is just one proof of that.
Vimal Kumar, Hyderabad
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