It’s our misfortune that we are the world’s largest democracy but have remained a mute spectator as Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi has spent over a decade and a half under house arrest in Myanmar. Suu Kyi’s commitment to true democracy for the Burmese people under the world’s most repressive regime looks hopeless. And the kangaroo court has recently sentenced her to another 18 months of house arrest. The economic sanctions imposed on Myanmar by the West have not resulted in any change. We can help to loosen the grip of the regime if we join Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) in engaging the generals and persuading them to release political prisoners, in order to transition to a broad-based and popular rule.
— Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee
You have suggested taxing farmers for excessive use of groundwater or levying higher land revenue depending upon the crops grown (“Protecting our water supply,” Mint, 14 August). As you suggested, both will be almost impossible to implement. Since there are millions of tubewells, the withdrawal Rs.of groundwater cannot be easily measured. It would be best to fix the groundwater level for each local area. A community can police individuals in a much better way than any other agency. This would encourage the community to go for water harvesting on a large scale and change the cropping pattern on their own so as to reduce the withdrawal of groundwater. A community found at fault with regard to the water level could be punished by a fine or some other way. The level should be fixed by a groundwater authority according to the local conditions but in a manner which would allow groundwater to rise every year until normal levels are reached. For the community to be able to take action, a number of laws already exist, but the authority to act and take responsibility which are provided in these laws has not been transferred by the bureaucrats. It is only the communities who can always convince the local politicians—who then can put the pressure on the government. It would, of course, be helpful if the subsidized rate of electricity and diesel were gradually increased to normal rates.
— G.N. Kathpalia
As reported, the predictions have been proven wrong on India’s prosperity as a nation (“ One nation, not twenty ,” Mint, 14 August). Some vested interests and foreign elements are keen that India should not be allowed to flourish.
But dangers also lie within the country as we face problems due to caste, religion and linguistic differences which often take centre stage and act as stumbling blocks in the process of development. These divisive forces should not be allowed to break this nation for the sake of satisfying their parochial needs. The younger generation should take the lead imbibing patriotism and nationalism, and show their commitment to a united India for the posterity to emulate. The spirit of oneness should be chanted like a mantra in all public platforms by our leaders — not necessarily at the time of seeking votes.
— K.N.V.S. Subrahmanyam
What Jaswant Singh said might not sound good to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ears, but it might please some of his Muslim counterparts (“Misreading Jinnah’s life ,” Mint, 18 August). I am sure that not only will this start a fresh debate over who was responsible for the creation of Pakistan, but it will help the sale of his latest book. As far as the BJP’s approach of rereading Jinnah’s life goes, I do not think it is going to add any value to the party’s future potential as a political outfit.
— Bal Govind