| PICTURE SPEAK |
| "Tapping into Controversy", January 23 |
"The way Amar Singh has treated the phone-tapping controversy shows that his aim is not to bring up the issue of surveillance but to settle political scores."
B.K. Parmar, Ghaziabad
By making the "phone battle" a national issue, Samajwadi Party (SP) General Secretary Amar Singh has blocked any possibility of leakage of the taped conversation that could have embarrassed him ("The Phone Battle", January 23). However, politically he has not gained much. The mutual abuse of the SP and the Congress could only help the BJP.
A. Jacob Sahayam, Thiruvananthapuram
Is it a mere coincidence that immediately after Amar Singh's brother joined the Congress and claimed to expose the SP leader's activities, the allegations of phone tapping surfaced? The issue has also pushed aside a more serious matter of the Supreme Court notice to Mulayam Singh Yadav in a case of disproportionate assets. The protests by Amar Singh appear like tactics to garner public sympathy in Uttar Pradesh, where his party's image has hit rock bottom.
P.K. Srivastava, on e-mail
Amar Singh has emerged as the real leader of the Opposition which is starved of issues with which to take on the Centre.
Navneet Dhawan, Delhi
It has become fashionable to accuse Sonia Gandhi of anything and everything, no matter what the problem the politicians and bureaucrats face. Since she was born in a foreign country these people with no values find an easy scapegoat in her.
Gregory D'Souza, Haridwar
Political parties always exploit scandals to make it to the headlines. Amar Singh and his party have done the same.
K. Chidanand Kumar, Bangalore
| FAMILY FOLDS |
Giving Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) cards to the NRIs is a way of reaching out to them ("Promises, Promises," January 23). It will help them develop a stake in India.
Rekha Rai, Patna
It is a tragedy that the Government has decided to shower sops like voting rights and OCI cards on the NRIs. Investments in India by them have always been driven by interest rather than loyalty.
Tharcius S. Fernando, Chennai
India is finally treating the NRIs right by welcoming them. This will create a goodwill trust for it abroad.
I want to clarify that I was never an employee of K.K. Birla, whereas, you have mentioned that I was a protocol officer ("The Phone Battle", January 23).
Amar Singh, National General Secretary, SP, Delhi
Where was Brinda Karat when pesticides were found in cold drinks ("Yogi in a Tangle", January 23)? Such contents were not mentioned on the bottles of these beverages. Even mentioning "artificial colours and flavours" does not specify the exact nature of the contents. A number of medicines, toothpastes and ointments are gelatine-based. Is it not the duty of the manufacturers to mention that gelatine is derived from bones? Why should it be mandatory for only ayurvedic medicines to mention all the contents?
Rajiv Chopra, Dehradun
It is not correct to say that "the law does not require declaration of ingredients of a particular medicine if it is based on classical texts" recognised under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act. The Second Schedule of the Act requires "all medicines other than homeopathic" to have a list of all ingredients on the label or container. Medicines that contravene this requirement are deemed to be "misbranded drugs" and invite legal action. The only concession available to the ayurvedic, siddha and unani products is that if the ingredients are listed in the classical texts, then manufacturers need not obtain marketing approval from the Drugs Controller General.
Chandra M. Gulhati, Delhi
The article is highly biased against the yogi. While yoga guru B.K.S. Iyengar may have excellent knowledge of certain aspects of yoga, he seems to have none as far as pranayama is concerned.
Y.N.I. Anand, Mysore
Iyenger is a revered yoga guru for the Indian media because he has taught yoga abroad. Ramdev's simple yoga steps are imparting health benefits to millions of Indians but this is not the criterion by which the Indian media in the English language judges anybody. Yoga and ayurveda are India's ancient treasures and if someone is making the common man aware of their benefits, then his efforts should be appreciated. Politicians like Karat are free to raise the labour issue if there is a violation of the law but mixing it with the issue of vegetarianism only makes them a butt of joke.
Arun Bala, on e-mail
Ramdev has done injustice to not only vegetarians but also non-vegetarians. For who would like to eat the skull and bone powder of human beings? He should be punished.
Snehal Shukla, Ahmedabad
Karat has displayed great courage by exposing Ramdev's questionable acts. His claims of achieving cures for cancer, advanced arthritis and diabetes through yoga and ayurvedic medicines have not been scientifically evaluated.
Raju Vaishya, Delhi
The controversy over ayurvedic medicines underscores the need for stringent regulation. Surveys reveal that adulteration of alternative medicines is rampant across India. Such practices bring the Indian businesses and philosophically rich medical systems into disrepute. A better regulatory framework will reward genuine practitioners and expose charlatans.
Anil Kumar Pandit, Delhi
The Jehad Factory
Recruitment of the Hindus by the Hizb-ul Mujahideen in Kashmir on allurement of money exposes the falsity of the terrorists' commitment to a cause ("Now Hindu Jehadis", January 23). The picture is the same elsewhere too. The Maoists in Jehanabad and Giridih reportedly distributed pamphlets in Jharkhand and Bihar, inviting young people to join the "revolution" on a monthly stipend of Rs 2,000 and compensation of Rs 2 lakh in case of death.
Asoke C. Banerjee, Kolkata
The profession of terrorism has nothing to do with religion. It is exploitation of the youth. Governments in all states as well as at the Centre must provide counselling and employment to the boys who have taken up arms to bring them back into the mainstream.
Rakesh Bahuguna, on e-mail
Foot in Mouth
Putting his foot in his mouth is not new for Raj Singh Dungarpur, the manager of the Indian team ("Unsound Bite", January 23). Raking up the issue of Sourav Ganguly's performance at this stage does not serve any purpose. It will only demoralise the team. Dungarpur should be removed from the post. Discipline is not something to be enforced only among the players. It is applicable to our loud-mouthed sports officials also.
V.V.S. Mani, Mumbai
Test of Mettle
West Bengal rather than Bihar will be the real challenge for Election Commission (EC) official K.J. Rao because in Bihar the people were with him ("For a Level Playing Field", January 23). But West Bengal may not allow Rao to function smoothly with both the state Government and party cadres determined to resist any change.
Subhash C. Agrawal, Delhi
The article says that I had requested the EC to remove state government employees from the election coordination committees. I had petitioned the commission to exclude only the employees belonging to the Coordination Committee of State Government Employees' Unions and the "Non-Gazetted Police Karmachari Samiti" or to any of their affiliates.
Tathagata Roy, President, BJP, West Bengal