Athreya is neither a coward nor is he disloyal (“An open clarification about an ‘open letter’”, Mint, 22 December). If at all, he has been both brave and loyal to the country. He has articulated the sentiments of many of citizens. The demonstrations in Mumbai and Delhi after the terrorist attacks decrying politicians amply proves this. Union home minister P. Chidambaram publicly accepted that mistakes were made. Yet those who made them remain in office to cover them up and continue making them. As a member of the Union cabinet, he had no option but to decry Athreya. However, he could have chosen his words better. He knows fully well that a serving officer cannot dare write such a letter to the Prime Minister. The author would have been hounded.
- Pramod Kumar
Your turn to talk
The economic meltdown is a major threat today for all sectors. Though the government has declared a bailout package, it can at best be a temporary measure. Our economy will have to stand on its own legs. This can happen only through long-term efforts such as developing more industrial units, small and big. Fortunately, India in general and Maharashtra in particular have been a hot destination for special economic zone (SEZ) projects. Taking advantage of the situation, the Maharashtra government must go all out to encourage the SEZ projects.
Union home minister P. Chidambaram’s reaction to an entirely logical, honest submission by Athreya (“An open letter to the PM”, Mint, 10 and 22 December) is unfortunate on two counts. Firstly, it betrays yet again the Indian politicians’ inability to come to terms with well-constructed criticism of themselves. Secondly, and even more so, it comes from a person no less than Chidambaram who otherwise, I believe, falls in the rare category of more rational politicians participating in parliamentary debates.
In my opinion, it is diversionary to centre the discussion on themes such as “disloyal” or “cowards”. The government in general and Chidambaram in particular continue to demonstrate confusion on how to tackle the nation’s safety in the face of repetitive and brazen assaults by its neighbours on both sides of our country. Athreya has written wisely, your editorial response is exceptionally forthright and well composed. Indeed, our government and administration does function in a culture of fear of reprisals. There is no point in debating this reality. Chidambaram as the government’s spokesman is deviating from the issues raised by Athreya, simply because they are uncomfortable in his quest to please his political masters. Resignation of a few political heads is only the beginning of a process of solution. There are many bureaucratic heads that must also roll, some of whom, it would appear, have been criminally neglectful in meeting the justifiable demands of the Armed Forces, the paramilitary forces and police services, all consequent to an intoxicated obsession with red-tapism and abject failure to comprehend the seriousness of requirements in the interest of national security.
The visual media adequately suggests that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has lost control of the Union cabinet he was nominated to head, and in the meantime, the nation prays that the current round of dithering is not waiting for further assaults before politicians translate words into visible protection of our motherland.
- Pramod Bhandari
Women are scarce in the top echelons of the private sector and even more so in the banking industry. In this light, the achievement of Chanda Kochhar (“Kochhar’s tasks at ICICI Bank,” Mint, 22 December) who commenced her association with ICICI Bank as a trainee, merits praise.
- Preetam Kumar
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