Civilians live their lives restrained by civil law. The navy lives on naval law, which is quick, efficient, ruthless, unforgiving and sometimes makes mistakes. Indian civilians will never understand naval law or military law because the enforcement of even civil law in India is a pathetic joke. For your investigative journalist to constantly query why the civilians involved in the irregularity have not been punished, when the naval officers have been dismissed (Shadow on the Chief, Jan 16), indicates his failure to grasp the basic facts of the case. To complain that the accused naval officers were not court-martialled instead of being dismissed is downright ridiculous. It’s true that the navy is a closed world to outsiders, but the navy knows the actual worth of a senior officer, no matter what his reputation with the government or media. Adml Arun Prakash is one of the best chiefs of the last 20 years and your journalistic blunder is not going to change that.
Rear Adml Raja Menon (retd), on e-mail
Outlook replies: Perhaps Rear Admiral Raja Menon (Retd) will be happy to note that India and its people follow only one law and one Constitution, which is the same for those in and out of uniform. As regards the Navy Act, Section 15, which uses the President’s pleasure doctrine, also notes that a showcause notice must be issued, which was not done in this case. Or does the navy pronounce its officers guilty without presenting any evidence? Also, in all fairness, wouldn’t it be better for "one of the best chiefs of the last 20 years" to inform the BoI investigating the case that he and other senior officers had spoken to known equipment vendors who allegedly received "information of a classified nature".
Baba Ramdev has indeed endeared himself to millions, and perhaps for good reason (Save Your Breath, Jan 23). That said, his allegation that Brinda Karat is hand-in-glove with mncs is absurd, considering she is as vehement in her attack against them as he is. The Arya Samaj should have taken up cudgels against the allegations about Ramdev’s medicines and not against the Marxist leader who just played whistle-blower.
K.P. Rajan, Mumbai
Ayurveda being a noble and traditional system of medicine, it will be unfortunate if its practitioners are found guilty of polluting it. mncs are, in any case, known to lace their products with spurious material, and medicines are no exception. We should have a more stringent Drug Act and ensure that it’s implemented well so that ayurvedic medicines too comply with the standards certified by the government.
Philip Verghese Ariel, Secunderabad
Just to prove ourselves an enlightened breed, we should not dismiss yoga or its preachers as unscientific.
Yugal Joshi, New Delhi
Perhaps Ramdev overlooked the human resources management aspect, leaving some of his employees disgruntled. When the income is in crores, he should have paid the workers better. That apart, the Baba is doing a great service to the nation by making its people health-consious through yoga and allied breathing exercises. We will do well to keep some balance while investigating a man who managed to give lakhs of people an alternative to pill-popping.
Madhu R.D. Singh, Ambala Cantt
It might sound strange but global warming is still just a theory which has not been proven conclusively. Moreover, the temperature graphs for various cities of the world for the past 100 years don’t show any conclusive trend. (In fact, for many places, 1930 was the warmest year. It doesn’t mean pollution is not harmful and should not be controlled. But attributing anything to global warming (It’s Too Hot in the Igloo, Jan 23) without any scientific data to back it up is illogical. Instances of extreme weather have always been happening around the world and their frequency has not increased, sadly contrary to your hasty conclusions.
Kunal Mangal, Denver, US
Deve Gowda’s alter ego is on the wild run (Locusts on the Farm, Jan 23). His democratic credentials are now questionable as fast-paced events put his alliance with the Congress in Karnataka in deep peril. The bjp too must be wary.
K.V. Raghuraman, Wayanad, Kerala
The problems of the minority community in Pakistan seem to have spiralled out of control. (Sindh’s Stolen Brides, Jan 23). President Pervez Musharraf, instead of worrying about the fate of Muslims in India, should take note of the many perils Hindus face in his own country. I feel education could be the antidote to the menace, as it would create awareness in the victim about one’s own rights. It’s surprising that the International Human Rights Commission, which seldom misses a chance to chide India over safety of minorities, has not taken cognisance of the deteriorating state of affairs of Hindus in Pakistan.
Arvind K. Pandey, Allahabad
Blaming Zia-ul-Haq’s Islamisation programme for "many Hindus leaving Pakistan" is simple denial of reality. Actually, many Hindus are not leaving Pakistan now—and for good reason: not many were left there. The Hindus, in fact, never left Pakistan on their goodwill; they were made to leave. And that was not after the late president’s Islamisation, but around the time when Jinnah was making his now-famous ‘secular speech’ in Pakistan’s constituent assembly. He’s credited today with trying to make Pakistan a secular country, but then two questions still linger. What was the need for a religion-based country if he really believed in secularism? Further, if Jinnah had a change of heart, why did he not prevent the exodus of Hindus and Sikhs from Pakistan just before and after August 11, 1947—the day he made the address. I feel that any talk of peace between India and Pakistan is an exercise in futility as long as the basic ideology that caused Partition remains alive.
Vinod Kumar, Portland, US
The write-up wrongly portrays the status of Pakistani Hindus. In fact, Hindus are a respectable community in Pakistan. As for Sindh, life is not very happy for a good chunk of the province’s population, irrespective of religion. Even then, its cities like Karachi have a notable number of Hindus running business. I am from Peshawar (nwfp), where Hindus form a vital part of society. The chief of Peshwar electricity corporation is Nanak Chand; there are many other Hindus holding high positions. I suspect motives, besides cheap popularity, behind your story.
Shakil Khan, London
Why did you have to peep into another country to narrate such sordid tales? If it’s investigative journalism that you intended, we have our own tribals being killed by the police even as the government watches it all in silence. Isn’t it better to tidy our own backyard before setting out to clear others’ mess?
Ameet Bhuvan, Bhubaneshwar
Thanks for highlighting the travails of the minority community in Pakistan. I wonder how the Islamic world would have reacted if the same thing was to happen to the minorities in India!
Sharmishtha Ghosh Ray, Patna
It’s not a feature of Pakistan alone, trafficking of young girls is common even in West Bengal villages bordering Bangladesh. Much like the girls in the Mirpur Khas village of your story, it’s poverty, social faultlines and illiteracy that are forcing the girls to marry Pakistani youths. Hope the administration and women’s organisations can offer an economic armour to potential victims by providing them employment in knitting, tailoring or similar cottage industry jobs.
Bhupendra Nath Bose, Calcutta
One should not forget that two reasons checked many Hindus from moving over to India ahead of Partition. One, they were poor and, two, many of them lived in far-flung belts. Their non-Muslim identity continues to hound them, leaving them with little option but to either embrace Islam or face elimination. Sadly, none of the erstwhile Lahori or Sindhi elite in present-day India raises a finger about the plight of their fellow people in Pakistan. Overall, it would be good if the Indian government took steps to ensure their rehabilitation.
K.R. Phanda, New Delhi
It really needs a cruel and primitive mindset for one to believe that there are no religions other than one’s own in this world even in the age of globalisation. K.R. Parvathy, Wayanad, Kerala
A native of the Thar desert, let me tell you that the Hindu population in Sindh comprises former subjects of the Rana of Umarkot—a Hindu ruler prior to Independence. After Partition, the Hindu middle class, mostly Sindhi traders, migrated to India, while upper castes—a chunk of them Rajput landlords, like the Vadehras—retained their estates. Poor communities like Bhils and Meghwals stayed back, now paying the price for it. India has always had people speaking for Dalit rights but they don’t seem to have any vision beyond national boundaries. Hope the issue of oppression would be raised by bjp leader and former minister Jaswant Singh during his visit to Pakistan this month-end.
Kailash Ratnoo, Jaisalmer
Added to the problems of Hindus in Pakistan is their low rate of fertility, chiefly owing to a high proportion of widows among them. Jains are the only other community with a worse ratio in this regard but they form a microscopic minority.
Joseph Pereira, Karachi
The history of capturing non-Muslims and keeping them as sex slaves is as old as the times of Prophet Mohammed. Such women are typically referred to as right-hand possessions. Thus, singling out Pakistanis and criticising them over the topic will amount to nothing. Maybe other than flaying heroes like Ghazni, Nadir Shah and Aurangzeb—all stand-up Muslims!
Pal Singh, Chandigarh
I think the best option for Hindus in Pakistan today is to leave that country. An Islamic state can never provide any future for its minorities. India should facilitate migration of Hindus from the neighbouring nation.
What have the feminists in India to say about these hapless Pakistani girls? Will their ‘secularism’ prevent them from taking up an issue touched by the Hindutva taboo? Oh, maybe it won’t grab them international headlines, thus is not worth their time.
Nivedita Barthakur, London
Such zero tolerance towards minorities in Pakistan makes me feel that India is virtual heaven.
K.R. Venkata Narasimhan, Bangalore
Can someone please explain to these fanatics that the Holy Quran states ‘there is no compulsion in religion’?
Azeem Taqi, Nashville, US