Ever since the 2G spectrum and the Coalgate scam broke, there were attempts to make Prime Minister Manmohan Singh accountable. But his silence, coupled with a stout defence by the loyalist brigade surrounding him, thwarted all attempts by the Opposition to nail him. The revelation by the retired Coal Secretary, P.C. Parakh — against whom the CBI has filed an FIR in the coal blocks allocation case — that Dr. Singh approved his recommendation to allocate a block to Hindlaco implicates the Prime Minister. Can Dr. Singh wriggle out again?
H.R. Bapu Satyanarayana,
It is not only ironical but a total travesty of justice that the CBI should have hastened to book a case of criminal conspiracy against Mr. Parakh, the man who made out a strong case for adopting the auction route to ensure greater transparency. A review of an earlier policy decision, on a representation from the Aditya Birla Group duly forwarded by the PMO to the Coal Ministry, by itself, cannot and must not form the basis of accusing Mr. Parakh of hatching a criminal conspiracy. The former Coal Secretary is right in saying if he is liable, there is no reason why, for the same reason, the Prime Minister who held the Coal portfolio and took the final decision should not be accused of similar charges.
The CBI’s inability to get to the bottom of the coal block allocation scam has been squarely exposed by its latest FIR naming Kumar Mangalam Birla and Mr. Parakh as accused in the case. By implicating Mr. Parakh who vociferously objected to the flawed coal block allocation policy, the CBI has lent itself to allegations of favouring the PMO.
Division of A.P.
Many elders like me feel sad that a few politicians in Andhra Pradesh have fomented dissension and hate among people speaking the same language without consideration for long-term consequences (“Bird in hand, now two in the bush,” Oct. 16). This has been happening for more than 10 years. Had similar efforts been made to sort out the reasons for discord on all the issues being aired now, they could have been sorted out amicably.
M. Rama Krishna Rao,
A political drama is being enacted by Congress leaders in the Seemandhra region. Their so-called defiance of the party high command appears to be a smokescreen as, day after day, many of them are “falling in line.” The least they can do is declare publicly that they are for the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh and spare the people the ordeals of the prolonged strike. The UPA government at the Centre is apathetic to disputes that are likely to arise between Telangana and Seemandhra over river-water sharing and other issues.
The Union Ministers of Seemandhra adopted an aggressive posture for short-term political gains after they found that the general public of the region was not in favour of bifurcation. It seems good sense has at last dawned on them. The creation of Telangana has now become inevitable — for better or for worse. It is the duty of the Union Ministers and MPs, as representatives of people, to explain the situation and gain their cooperation.
It is a sad reality that divisive politics over the years has eroded Dravidian principles, and the core ideology of Periyar E.V. Ramasamy’s movement has become a casualty of caste-based politics in Tamil Nadu (“A new churning in the caste cauldron,” Oct. 17). The movement sought to create an inclusive, peace-loving and development oriented State for the uplift of the marginalised sections. But Tamil Nadu today is witnessing a rift among communities, leading to disharmony and loss of lives.
S. Siddharth Samson,
Tamil Nadu has always been in the forefront of movements aiming at radical transformation of society. But it is an irony that caste is playing a dominant role in the State. Many political parties have mushroomed on the basis of caste identity, each one of them trying to carve out its sphere of influence. But such parties tend to align with dominant political parties for want of numbers, thus losing their separate identity.
A. Michael Dhanaraj,
Caste-based political parties pay only lip service to the uplift of the marginalised. They consolidate caste-based identities, making discrimination stronger. Laws cannot be effective. People’s mindset should change.
This can happen only through quality education for all and the empowerment of Dalits.
The failure of the Dravidian movement in Tamil Nadu is perhaps best exemplified by the fact that political contestation is still articulated and carried out on caste lines. The Dravidian parties are controlled by dominant caste Hindus. The PMK, with its newly consolidated All Community Federation, has been changing colour every now and then, unable to come up with a coherent ideology and a firm organisation.
The Dravidian movement sought to establish a reverse discrimination regime, not an anti-caste, liberal, rational social order. Many OBC groups that constituted the movement were in the forefront of physical intimidation and violence against Dalits and continue to be so. Social mobility of Dalits has created a rift between them and caste Hindus. Status assertion of Dalits vis-à-vis the dominant castes is another reason for the outbreak of caste conflicts and in such conflicts, the local police and the Dravidian parties side with the dominant groups.
The movement failed to develop into a pan non-Brahmin movement and became fragmented because of the exclusion of the lower castes. Since the 1990s, Tamil Nadu has witnessed a spurt of violence against Dalits perpetrated largely by the ‘backward’ castes, which claim victimhood under Brahmins but also turn oppressors of Dalits.
Whatever the criticism of the free supply of food grains, saris and dhoties and the 100-days employment guaranteed under MGNREGA, the schemes have certainly contributed towards freeing the landless Dalits from the tyranny of the land-owning intermediate castes. They have reduced the availability of Dalits as captive labour force.
The intermediate castes enjoyed the right to insult, ill-treat and intimidate Dalits all along. They misused the law with the help of police to foist cases on Dalits who mustered the courage to resist their tyranny.
The intermediate castes, who were used to having Dalits working on their fields and doing menial jobs, including scavenging, removal of carcasses of cattle, and beating drums for funerals, are alarmed at the changing scenario. This is what has prompted the Anaithu Samudaya Periyakkam (All Community Federation) to mobilise.
In the early years of independence, Tamil Nadu politics was influenced by regional and linguistic nationalism. The Dravidian self-respect movement was a virulent anti-Brahmin movement. The Dravidian parties dominated Tamil Nadu politics and soon came to power. Caste-based parties like the PMK enjoyed a modest electoral success but ate into the DMK and the AIADMK vote banks. The two big parties subsumed the small game players with some success. But the small but well-knit organisations smelt the success of independent caste identities and realised that they could form a formidable force if they competed as a united front.
Col. C.V. Venugopalan (retd.),
Patel & RSS
Whether it is L.K. Advani or Narendra Modi, leaders of the BJP fancy being compared to Sardar Patel rather than Savarkar or Golwalkar. Similarly Mr. Vajpayee liked being compared to Jawaharlal Nehru rather than Shyama Prasad Mookerjee. This is proof enough that the ideology of the Sangh is not acceptable to the majority of Hindus.
If Patel had some sympathy for the Sangh, it was because of his magnanimity. The fact the he remained a Congressman and an ardent disciple of Mahatma Gandhi till his last breath should not be lost sight of. The RSS leaders claim the legacy of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and Bhagat Singh also when it suits them.
Baikadi Suryanarayana Rao,