The Gujarat Assembly election result points to the victory of an individual, not his party or its owner, the RSS. Narendra Modi projected himself and his deed — the good side of it — effectively to the urban middle class and youth who saw only highways and industrialisation. He did not worry about the rural people as he knew they did not have the numbers to make a difference, and concentrated on his target group. As for the BJP, it has lost to the Congress in Himachal Pradesh.

The Gujarat verdict was a foregone conclusion but in Himachal Pradesh, both parties had a chance and both had a corrupt image. The electorate perhaps thought the Congress was less corrupt or its strategies were better.

Ahamad Fuad,

Kochi

Analysts, the electronic medium in particular, are attributing Mr. Modi’s grand success to various reasons. The simple truth is that the people of Gujarat find in him a consistent performer and have reiterated their faith in his leadership. It is indeed not wholly ‘party related’ but ‘performance related.’ This observation is reinforced by the BJP’s failure in Himachal Pradesh where the leadership failed to perform.

S. Rajagopalan,

Chennai

Class apart?

This refers to the two reports on rape in The Hindu dated December 20, 2012 — one of an eight-year-old Dalit girl raped and murdered in Bihar, and the other of a woman gang-raped and set on fire in Siliguri. Both are instances of brutal assault and led to the victims’ death. Why did the stories appear in inside pages? In the light of the nationwide outrage following the gang rape of a 23-year-old woman in a moving bus in Delhi, these two reports could have appeared on page 1.

It would have allowed for the focus to remain on women’s safety. Otherwise, I fear, the focus may slowly shift to the young woman from Delhi and all the anger we see will revolve round her plight. While the attention of the country is still on the issue of rape, it is worth reminding people that it happens everywhere, not just in Delhi. And while some victims are at least lucky enough to get access to hospitals and the media, there are others who are doomed by their background.

Bhanu Sridharan,

Bangalore

I was horrified to read that a 15-year-old from a daily wage labourer’s family was tied and raped in Bangalore. Unlike the New Delhi case, the Bangalore incident has not attracted much attention. It seems we, the middle classes, do not identify or empathise with the labour class. A young middle class woman’s horrific ordeal in Delhi leaves us restless, agitated and angry — and rightly so. But we are unable to summon up the same outrage when the victim belongs to a different social class.

Our mindset is lazy and contributes to the deepening social divides in an already unequal society. We need to change the way we think, and learn to identify with all fellow brethren regardless of their class.

Swaminathan,

Bangalore

Outrage over rape

This refers to the article “Executing the neighbour” (Dec. 20). The Delhi gang-rape is not just a case of heinous crime. It is also about how society treats women. We need to have stringent laws to punish the rapists, implemented in letter and in spirit. The law will act as a deterrent only when we implement it irrespective of whether the perpetrator is a father, brother or neighbour.

Rapists come from our society. Therefore the solution to the crime should also come from society. Parents of a male child should teach him to respect girls. For now, let us think of a stringent punishment for the Delhi rapists so that it works as a deterrent.

Aarti Verma

Jaipur

The article has restated many concerns about the death penalty. However, the author fails to make one crucial distinction, between the statistics of rapes committed by known people and the horrific incident three days ago — of a gang involvement. Numerous offences in the Indian Penal Code have different punishments for crimes committed by an individual as opposed to a gang. Clubbing of a charge with conspiracy or abetment will almost certainly land the perpetrators with a higher sentence. This is in recognition of the higher punishment required when there is a gang involvement. The level of malice, savagery, violence and evil is much higher in each individual in a gang offence. Since criminal law seeks to punish the intention along with the act, a much higher level of evil intention is attributed to persons involved in offences committed in groups.

Linda Beatrice Louis,

Chennai

All of us are raising questions on the government’s ability to protect women. But we must understand that we too are responsible for the state of affairs. Girls are taught about our tradition, culture and moral values but boys are brought up almost untrammelled. It is time to realise that it is equally important to teach boys moral values.

Saleha Anwar,

New Delhi

Contrary to what many people believe, rapists do not commit rape due to any hyperactive sex drive or urge. Nor does it matter to them how women dress or behave. Rape is an assertion of male power over women, which has its historical and social roots in feudalism and patriarchal values. Extensive sociological research has proved that it is an exercise of male power arising out of a desire to intimidate women into submission.

V. Natarajan,

Coimbatore

Shocking

In his article “Looming clouds of destruction” (Dec. 19), Prem Shankar Jha says “Jihadists captured a truck ... and killed all 18-20 soldiers ... by cutting their throats in the approved Islamic manner.”

What does Mr. Jha mean by “approved Islamic manner?” Which Islamic text did he refer to before reaching the conclusion? No religion provides a manual or handbook on the manner of killing or butchering a human being. If some fanatic interpreters or scholars have ever mentioned it, it cannot be taken to mean “approved manner.” It was really shocking to see this distortion of Islam.

Fazzur Rahman,

New Delhi

More In: Letters | Opinion