Lessons from the Bihar experience

The only rational conclusion in Amulya Ganguli’s piece, “Divide and lose: The lesson from Bihar is not for Lalu Yadav alone” (Nov 30), is that RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav was indifferent to development. He didn’t appreciate the fact that “upward mobility has its own momentum”. But the momentum is fostered by class antagonism which Ram Manohar Lohia crudely sought to redefine as “caste struggle”.

Lalu has not faced a crushing defeat like Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK in Tamil Nadu or N. Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections. True, the upper caste and the middle class had voted freely in the Bihar elections, but why was the voting percentage low?

The writer’s comment that the poor in Bihar wanted bijli-sadak-pani as well as television and mobile phones shows that he has no idea about penury among the economically backward classes in Bihar.


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The report on vote swing in the Bihar Assembly elections shows a 9.68 per cent swing in favour of the JD(U)-BJP combine as against 0.95 per cent loss to Lalu Prasad Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal and 8.67 per cent to the “others” category out of which the loss of votes to the independents is 7.99 per cent.

This suggests that in popular perception, Lalu still is the main contender in Bihar’s polity, way ahead of the rest. Therefore, the loss to the independents was a shift of the fence-sitter voters who did not like yet another election while those opposing Lalu wanted a change.

Naturally, it enjoins upon both Nitish Kumar and Sushil Modi to ensure good governance in terms of better law and order plus financial uplift if they want to remain a force to reckon with.

They must take Bihar on the road to progress. It had achieved distinction during the Mauryas’ rule and later during the golden age of Indian history under the Imperial Guptas.


Human rights and wrongs

I refer to National Human Rights Commission Chairperson Justice A.S. Anand’s piece “Human rights and wrongs: Counter-terrorism measures should respect law” (Dec 5).

Justice Anand rightly says that a terrorist who violates human rights must be punished, but his human rights should not be infringed except in the manner prescribed by law. For, as there can be no peace without justice, there can be no freedom without human rights.

This is the only way to eradicate terrorism, the mortal enemy of human rights. There is no short cut. The devil always needs a long rope to die.

In the absence of consensus on the definition of terrorism, killing the innocent, for any reason whatsoever, is a sin if not crime. The material world needs criminal laws for punishment, not sin.


Pakistan’s designs

The world knows that Dr A.Q. Khan was the frontman for nuclear secrets sale, but the Pakistani army and the government were behind him. We all know that Pakistan released nuclear information in exchange for missiles.

Can an individual arrange for such a deal without the involvement of the government or its strongest arm? When missiles (or technology) are imported, it is always a government-to-government deal and the government makes the payment in cash or kind.

When the West decided to stop proliferation, Pakistan enacted a farce. General Musharraf called Dr Khan and persuaded him to take the rap. He was pardoned only when someone was taking the rap for his government’s crime. But then, the USA and the UK have swallowed the pill.


Save the Chiru

The editorial “Save the Chiru” (Nov 25) rightly highlights the callous craze of the rich, fashion-celebrities for Shahtoosh shawls made of the Chiru wool. The Supreme Court directed the Jammu and Kashmir government to promptly ban the hunting of this animal. All the state governments should help protect the sanctity of the Wildlife (Protection) Act. The sale/purchase of these shawls should be banned all over India.

Let us not be competitive and demonstrative in buying costliest garments. When “three to five animals are slaughtered to make enough wool for one shawl”, we should have no taste for such shawls. Are prettier, warmer shawls not available to us?

Prof P.L. JAIN, Sirsa

Reckless driving

Callous driving has become too common on Amritsar roads. Proper steps should be taken to put a stop to reckless driving of motor cars in Amritsar’s narrow streets. The traffic police must regulate reckless driving.



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