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From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 9, Issue 12, Dated 24 Mar 2012

Will Regional Parties Seize 2014 Polls?

No one, except some in the Congress, expected Rahul to make inroads in the UP Assembly polls. With the emergence of regional parties in several states, will the next Lok Sabha be an aggregate of Vidhan Sabhas? The Congress’ only hope is to present a mass-friendly Budget now and make the most of the next two years.

Jacob Sahayam, On Email

Sack Setback
Refer to ‘How Maya Lost the Plot?’ by Brijesh Pandey, 17 March.
Loved your article. Wanted to point out that all the ministers she sacked, with the sole exception of Babu Ram Kushwaha, hailed from the three upper caste communities — Brahmins, Rajputs and Baniyas. This led to a major vote drain from these sections and also induced a fear of Behenji reverting to her Tilak Tarazu aur Talwar, inko maaro rhetoric. This hysteria benefited SP. I think it should have been mentioned in your article. Thanks for the wonderful insight.

Shrey Vats, On Email

Split On Atom
Refer to ‘In Denial of Fukushima’ by MV Ramana, 17 March.
Thanks Ramana for an outstanding piece of writing. Thanks TEHELKA, for carrying it. I wonder if it isn’t about time TEHELKA joined hands with a number of those crying hoarse for the DAE, NPCIL, and the PMO to simply pause, and say let’s discuss the issue, to help initiate a robust national debate around this critical question? Right now, we are moving dangerously into a confrontationalist situation — with both sides unable to talk to each other. The government and the atomic energy establishment seem totally unwilling to admit that there are some grounds to reconsider and review! There is an urgent need for all sides to sit across the table and discuss a way ahead which takes on board the valid evidence of the many problems facing nuclear energy and the huge potential of solar and other renewables.

Lalita Ramdas, On Email

Letter From The Editor Tarun J Tejpal
And The Awards Keep Coming In
TEHELKA Special Correspondent Tusha Mittal has bagged the 2012 Chameli Devi Jain Award for Outstanding Woman Mediaperson, for her reporting work in the tough terrains of interior West Bengal, Odisha and Chhattisgarh. This is the third time in the last four years that TEHELKA has won this prestigious award. Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi presented the award to Mittal at a function in the capital on 13 March. The Awards jury comprised eminent personalities, including Bhaskar Group Editor Shravan Garg, columnist and Director of Centre for Policy Analysis Seema Mustafa, and Director of Women’s Feature Service Pamela Philipose. Calling Mittal’s work exceptional, the award lauds her “hard work, perseverance, news sense and excellent writing skills that make her stories come alive”. Mittal has been writing on innocent people caught on the margins, trapped in the crossfire between Naxals and security forces. Accepting the award, Mittal highlighted the role of local mediapersons in helping journalists from national media in conflict regions.

Tsunamic Error
Refer to ‘If tsunami strikes, chances of damage are very low in Koodankulam,’ by G Vishnu, 17 March.
I appreciate your interview with SS Bajaj. It is curious that Bajaj presented a 4m-tsunami as the ‘worst case scenario’, when in the 20th century alone there have been tsunamis in the range of 10, 12, 14, 20 metres. Historical records attest to tsunamis of more than 30m in Japan, just 400 years ago, and in 1771, 1896, and 1993; in Krakatoa in 1883; 15m in Lisbon in 1755, 11m in Hilo in 1960. The recent Indian Ocean tsunami surged as much as 33 metres, making it the highest recorded earthquakegenerated tsunami. There was a 100m tsunami in Japan in 1791 and a whopping 524m megatsunami in the Lituya Bay of Alaska just recently in 1958. Regarding nuclear safety in general, engineer A Stanley Thompson, whose 25-year-study of nuclear safety was suppressed from publication by the US. Atomic Energy Commission, came to the conclusion that it is impossible to construct a fool-proof reactor due to the inherent instability of nuclear reactions. The more reactors you build, the more you raise the probability of accidents.

Stephen Mikesell, On Email

Junior Vision
Refer to ‘How They Made The NRHM Sick’, by Abhishek Bhalla, 17 March.
Akhilesh Yadav is well-educated, practical and a down to earth man. I hope power does not go to his head! To prove his vision of a corruption-free India, he has to start by making UP crime-free.

Mahesh Kumar, On Email

Burying the Past does not Justice serve
Refer to ‘Ten Years of Resistance’, 10 March.
I have been a reader of TEHELKA for about a year now. I appreciate your pers pective and relatively unbiased reporting. But it appears that one event — the Gujarat riots — dominates almost all issues of your magazine. Having lived in south India, I have never been witness to any carnage of this or lesser proportion. In a state known for its history of communal riots, what have different sections of society as well as the media done to prevent recurrence on this scale? I would consider three aspects as priority — providing relief for the victims, investing in practices for prevention and bringing the culprits to book. Where does the responsibility of media rest? By continuing to focus on the absence of justice, have you achieved anything? You are likely to do more by offering solutions for the future. TEHELKA does not need to prove its secular credentials. Like most secularists in the media, you run the risk of alienating the majority that is equally secular but chooses not to wear it on its sleeves.

R Kailasnath, On Email

It’s sad and remorseful that the Indian State has not been able to provide justice to the hapless victims — not Muslims or Hindus but Indians. Kudos to the brave fighters risking personal comfort and security in order to mete out due punishment to those guilty of orchestrated hate-crimes with unparalleled brutality post-Partition.

Mahendra BW, On Email

Thank you for your fair and balanced reporting. Could you please let officer RB Sreekumar know that as a Malayali, I am very proud of him. I have shared the article with my son in Chicago amid talks of the need for mitigating internal biases and being fair all the time towards all people. RB Sreekumar is an example of that.

Shah Jahan, On Email

The cover story on Gujarat 2002 leaves one with mixed feelings — rage against communalism of the highest order practised by the associates of the RSS i.e. VHP, Bajrang Dal, and BJP, and admiration bordering on pride that there are people like Teesta, Javed, Mukul, Nirjari, Girish, Sreekumar, Sohel and many others, not forgetting the helpless riot victims who have held their ground in the face of daunting personal obstacles in their cry for justice. Pray, what action has anyone in authority taken on Tehelka’s sting, exposing the truth behind the statesponsored genocide? Maybe if the Supreme Court had acted a little faster (2003-2008), justice would have been better served.

SLJ Gallyot, On Email

The candid and frank views of men who were in the midst of the 2002 holocaust in Gujarat amply demonstrate that the Gujarat riots were one of the worst and saddest chapters of communal violence in our country’s history. A decade has passed but the horrific incidents still seem fresh and vivid in the minds of victims.

KR Srinivasan, On Email

Three Cheers
Refer to ‘Who’s afraid of Being Sexy’ by Nishita Jha, 10 March.
The article authored by you in TEHELKA is wellwritten. My compliments on the same.

Vijaykumar Ponniah, On Email

Out Of Character
Refer to ‘Lord Juggernaut Calling Delhi’, by Ashok Malik, 10 March.
It is a shame that TEHELKA, of which I am a regular subscriber, had to carry such a sycophantic, one-sided story on Naveen Patnaik’s meteoric rise in the political arena. TEHELKA has been at the forefront of sharing stories of struggles from grassroots and is no stranger to people’s movements in Orissa. Under its current CM, Orissa has experienced some of the most ruthless, repressive antipeople, anti-environment policies, which undermine the very constitutionality of a people’s democracy. The anti-POSCO movement has been at the forefront of such historic struggles in which Patnaik has readily sacrificed the interest of his people and their rights to life and livelihood, in the interest of foreign investment and the related questionable development. Even if you admire the man, please do also share about those he willfully trampled – so that he could rise.

Arati Choksi, On Email

A US Invention
Refer to ‘India’s Persian Puzzle’ by Sushant Sareen, 3 March.
It is not Iran vs the rest of the world, but Iran vs the US and Israel. The world, and for that matter, India also, is not against Iran. The hue and cry over Iran’s nuclear programme is unwarranted. The nuclear powers have already accumulated enough nuclear arsenal to destroy the world. Of the 23,000 nuclear weapons in the world, 8,400 are operational warheads and 2,000 on high alert, capable of being fired at short notice. Iran has declared that its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes such as satisfying energy needs. Even if Iran acquires nuclear bombs, it will not dare use them against Israel, for it knows America will come to its aid. The eagerness of smaller countries to acquire nuclear capability is quite understandable. The USA, the world policeman, holds talk with those countries which have nuclear bombs and threatens those which have no nuclear weapons. It is a bitter fact that there is no alternative to nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles if you are to live with security and with honour. In the uni-polar world, the US can beat all the nations in war with one hand tied behind its back. So let every country acquire nuclear power for their own security and then let nations destroy their nuclear arsenal through mutual agreement. The so-called sanctions against emerging nuclear powers are mere economic bullying and the IAEA acts as the agent of USA. India co-exists with a hostile nuclear-power Pakistan. There can be no difficulty with a friendly nuclear-power Iran that supplies 12 percent of India’s oil needs. India can and should remain neutral between Iran and US/Israel on the basis of our old policy of non-alignment.

S Raghunatha Prabhu, On Email

'Bollywood producers may opt for several pre-release rights. But having said that, it is not justified to say that the industry has become a safe bet. For every Ra.One, there are five or six movies that come and go and no one notices. It is just that star power in Bollywood has become so strong that they invariably end up raking moolah at the box office.’
Bal Govind, On Email
Refer to ‘why bollywood doesn’t flop Anymore’ by Sunaina Kumar, 10 March

Patient Capital
Refer to ‘The New Ambulance Chasers’, by Sai Manish, 10 March.
It is a fact that the politicians are manipulating and bagging contracts not only in government sectors but also in private establishments. This has become a universal trend now.

Elias Jayan, On Email

So in short, we have politicians who do not hesitate to monopolise even a critical sector like healthcare! Gives a new meaning to Indian politics. Bapu’s soul must be crying.

Khurshid Irani, On Email

Carnage Stain
Refer to ‘What the Amicus Really Told the Supreme Court: Prosecute Modi’, by Ashish Khetan, 11 February.
Why can’t Narendra Modi apologise to the Godhra riots victims in Gujarat? He is responsible for the slaughter and dislocation of Muslims in the pogrom. Ten years down the line, Modi enjoys power and the glory though nothing has changed for the riot-victims. The cover-up of mass murder and atrocities through development can only be accepted by Modi and his ilk in the BJP. He remains invincible and incorrigible for obduracy. But this won’t help him fulfill his national ambition. Modi has de-sanctified the land of the father of the nation. Communal riots anywhere in the country are a shame to our secular democracy, reminding us again of the disaster of Partition.

Janga Bahadur Sunuwar, On Email

The Minister Clarifies
Refer to ‘Farmers See True Colours of Dalit Minister’, by Imran Khan, 17 March.
In response to TEHELKA’S queries, Minister of State, Railways, KH Muniyappa had this to say: “To file a case of non-declaration of assets, the aggrieved person should be either a candidate or a voter. In this case, the complainant belongs to neither category. We have replied to the complaint filed at the Kolar Deputy Commissioner’s office. Our argument was that the memorandum is wrong and politically motivated. I have declared my assets. As far as the land in my wife’s name is concerned, we had already sold it to another person. As for the Yeshwanthpur land, the matter is in court and I wouldn’t like to comment on it. However, not a single piece of that land is in my name. I would also like to bring to your notice that in the case of state forest minister CP Yogeshwar, it has been ruled that the Deputy Commissioner has no power to take decision on matters related to non-declaration of assets.”


 
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