Letters to the Editor — January 22, 2022

Nation and rights

It is unfortunate that the Prime Minister has decried rights (Page 1, “Focus on rights made India weak, says PM”, January 21). Indeed, the basket of rights in India remains small and most of it out of reach. There are more cases of authorities denying and violating people’s rights than of people availing them. When it comes to protesting against the abuses of authority, most Indians are in fact acutely wanting in the knowledge and consciousness of their rights. In fact, it may be said that, deprived of any meaningful sets of rights, a vast number of Indians, especially the down-trodden, have yet to attain the dignified status of citizenship. Moreover, it is contradictory to blame people’s struggles for rights as having weakened the nation, since the nation does not stand in opposition to the people, but it is the people who make the nation. Struggles and aspirations for rights imply that people are lacking the same. As it is, there is a huge sense of the thin architecture of the rights to information, rural employment, education, etc. being hollowed out, if not razed, by an insensitive regime. As for the false binary between rights and duties, a just balance would be to hold the powerful — including those in the government — accountable in terms of their duties, and enlarge the spectrum of rights for the weak, and the citizens at large. Finally, 75 years of Independence is just the right time to empower people by strengthening citizenship rights through legislation and ensuring that they are neither abused nor violated with impunity by the administration, instead of haranguing against what little has been gained by fellow citizens.

Firoz Ahmad,

New Delhi

In the context of violations and attacks on democratic and human rights in the country, the words of the Prime Minister sound ominous. Are we being prepared for further doses of illiberalism? Fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution should remain non-negotiable in a country like India, steeped in social and economic inequalities.

Manohar Alembath,

Kannur, Kerala

The Prime Minister’s statement is very disturbing. Crores of our fellowmen do not even know their basic rights. They run to every nook and corner to make both ends meet. What rights are they demanding? Nothing. Just a prayer for efficient governance. Before promoting ‘culture’ and ‘spirituality’, we must make sure that there is enough food for people to eat.

Reshma A.,


Fundamental rights and duties are complementary to each other, not substitutes. A democracy cannot thrive in the long run without an alignment between the two.

Vardan Gupta,

Sonipat, Haryana

I endorse the Prime Minister’s view. But I believe the remedy should start from the top level of our administration. Political leaders and the bureaucratic elite should get rid of the privileges enjoyed by them at the expense of the common man and lead a simple and transparent life. “ Yadhaa Raja , Thadhaa Praja ” is an old saying — equally valid in a modern democracy like ours; only the “selection of the Raja ” is through periodic elections. The BJP should lead in implementing a “duties first, rights later” concept in day-to-day life.

M.V. Nagavender Rao,


Cadre rules plan

The article, “Drop the IAS cadre rules amendments” (Editorial page, January 21), appears to only highlight the State perspective and does not consider the AIS policy for the country as a whole. Now, the perception is that many officers have taken to political patronage. For policy formulation, officers must have experience and knowledge of various fields. It is high time State governments broaden their vision and send all AIS officers on central deputation by rotation, narrowing the gap between policy formulation and policy implementation.

Ranjan Kumar Sharma,


Dr. V. Shanta

Dr. V. Shanta (Tamil Nadu, “Remembering a tall leader”, January 19) was a phenomenon that happened to India’s medical fraternity when cancer care seemed a distant dream. She once said, “When the sick approach the gates of the institute, weak in body and spirit, and full of fear, there is only one response — you have to become a part of them.” It may be recalled that when a journalist used the word ‘cancer’ as a metaphor to report a mega bank scam, Dr. Shanta strongly objected to it and said, “Corruption is a crime and something to be ashamed of; cancer is not.”

R. Sivakumar,


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