Brit wheels within wheels
It is the British who were the first and foremost to advocate honesty is the best policy culture. And by now, it is the very British who seem to have opted in favour of rank dishonesty. This Rolls Royce bribe controversy in India’s defence deals with that British company of repute is a case in point. Being caught for unethical practice, it might now offer to return some Rs18 crore it has paid to someone as bribe and had included that amount in its bid with the GoI, that’s a different story. But that’s too little and too late, as the company has already inflicted damages upon us and damage to its own longstanding reputation like never before. The British defence contractors are no different than those Italian ones it seems, when it comes to under-the-table understandings.
R N Shanbhag

Clamp down on Maoists
This refers to the edit, ‘Naxals send a reminder’ (March 13). The menace of Maoists should be crushed with an iron hand, as they are a threat to the development. The logic that people take to violence because they are oppressed by the authorities does not cut ice, and this is the reason given by Maoists to seek legitimacy for their ruthless killings of security personnel. Ordinary citizens become victims of corruption in all walks of life, and do not resort to violence. Maoists are anti-development, and it is in their interest to stall development. They forcibly recruit youth, rape women and girls and are sadistic in their attacks. Maoism is a well-oiled machinery to extort money,and their leaders live like kings. Not much is known about their organisational structure and they do not function in a democratic way. It is high time that air power should be used to crush Naxals. Drones should be employed for precision strikes on Maoists’ hideouts. The ISRO should launch a satellite to track the movement of Maoists.
Deendayal M Lulla

Anna lets down aam aadmi too
As a senior citizen and despite being sick, I went to Ramlila Maidan to witness the media-hyped ‘jugalbandi’ of Anna Hazare and West Bengal (WB) Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Alas, but where was Anna Hazare? Like Mulayam Singh Yadav, Anna also ditched Didi, due to his last-minute ‘chest congestion’ to avoid the ignominy of facing a mere 2,000-strong crowd. But many in the Ramlila Maidan strongly felt that Anna was not keen to campaign with Mamata against Narendra Modi, because he always has had sympathy for — Modi. How a Gandhian apolitical activist has slowly and steadily changed his colour at the fag-end of his life is a major letdown for thousands.
The TMC nominee of Behrampore (WB), Indranil Sen, inspired the small crowd with Tagore’s all-time great song ‘Jodi tor dak shune keu na aase tobe ekla chalo re’ (if they answer not to thy call, walk alone) as Didi walked alone on the stage without Anna. Small solace was derived from the fact that I was able to see our college days’ matinee idol and yesteryear star Biswajeet (Chatterjee) in flesh and blood.
Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee

Recalling another ‘anarchist’
Most newspapers have criticised Arwind Kejriwal for his road show and reaching Churchgate station by train. As if for the first time Mumbai was thrown into chaos. The traffic rules on Mumbai roads are hardly followed by so-called civilised drivers. We must not forget that those who followed Kejriwal were all Mumbaikars and not brought in by air-conditioned buses and lorries and provided food, drinks etc from neighbouring towns. After reading various newspapers, I remembered the early history of Mahatma Gandhi’s movement for freedom. He was also called an ‘anarchist’, not only by the then rulers, but by our own people and newspapers also. The same person, who went on to emerge as a freedom fighter who got us a free India without much bloodshed. So criticising the Aam Aadmi Party for the Keriwal road show in Mumbai is not acceptable.
Marcus Dabre

Rush aid to farmers
The unseasonal and unprecedented rains in many states of India has left our farmers helpless and distraught. Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh are the worst-hit states, with hailstorms damaging vital rabi crops there. The loss will have a direct impact on the Indian economy, which is already on a downward slope. The price of essential commodities have risen alarmingly, and there appears to be no respite from the hailstorms for at least a few days. More worrying is the possibility of the El Nino, a process of warming of sea surface water in the Pacific, which may hit a host of countries, including India in mid-2014. The occurrence of El Nino may mean a weak monsoon, and the farmers’ woes may continue. In this regard, it is incumbent on both the state and the central governments to ensure quick relief measures to lakhs of farmers. We have seen a couple of farmers ending their lives, and if the governments do not act swiftly, many more may be in the offing. The EC should slacken its code of conduct rules to allow governments to come to the aid of farmers in this hour of crisis.
Ganapathi Bhat

One strike and you’re out norm
This has reference to ‘Cleansing the polity’ (March 12). When a person is accused of serious criminal charges and where the court is prima facie satisfied about his involvement in the crime and consequently charges have been framed against such a person, he should be kept out of the electoral arena. It would constitute a reasonable restriction for serving the larger public interest. At this juncture, the integrity and character of the accused is under scrutiny and he ceases to have the requisite excellence and integrity, the basic requirements as a candidate for a high public office. With all the Rajas, Marans and Yeddys in the fray, the moot point is that ‘we’re going to have again many such undesirables’, in 2014 poll, as lawmakers!
Subrahmanian S H

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