Is someone else doing the driving?
AKSHAYA MUKUL and Saroj Nagi’s reports (“At the centre of things”, The Big Story, Aug. 22) expose the RSS-Sangh Parivar’s backseat driving in order to attain power.
The BJP, with its masked “liberal and moderate” leader, is only a cover. The test of any statesman is his long-term impact. But Atal Behari Vajpayee has exposed himself with the Kargil tragedy and nuclear doctrine at the cost of economic sanctions by the
Mahesh Inder Sharma, Delhi
AFTER POKHARAN-II, crushing Pakistan in Kargil was one more feather in Vajpayee’s cap. The assumption that the RSS will unfurl its saffron agenda if the BJP wins a decisive mandate, is wrong. Since Vajpayee is its sole hope, the RSS will never upset his
RC Gupta, Ghaziabad
Contempt of truth
IN “CONTEMPT of the people” (The Big Story, Aug. 8), Sumir Lal gives a twisted version of the Narmada Project. Pathrad village is not being submerged. It was shifted to a higher location as early as 1970. Secondly, only 191 hectares of Kothara village will
be submerged. More than 80 per cent of its land will be saved. Jalsindhi, the current centre of the agitation, has no school, hospital, electricity or water supply. Twenty-eight of the 47 affected families have already been resettled in Gujarat, and each
owns five acres. The rehabilitation site has streetlights, internal roads, water supply, a dispensary, school, etc. The people have built pucca houses with government assistance of Rs 45,000 per family.
It is clear that big non-tribal farmowners support this agitation, while the tribals by and large have agreed to resettle in Gujarat. So far, over 3,000 mostly tribal Madhya Pradesh families have resettled. When the Rehabilitation Sub Group visited MP’s
Eklara village in March 1994, people complained that because they had cooperated with the government in obtaining residential plots, they were being boycotted socially and economically by the anti-dam rich farmers.
Displacement can be converted into a development project for these poor affected families. One status report says: “The depleted forests have nothing to offer but fuel wood. Soil is very poor and irrigation is almost nil. Only one rainfed crop of mostly
maize is sown... there is no surplus economy.
“Project-affected families inhabiting these areas find generous rehabilitation and resettlement packages as a means to assimilate in the mainstream in the valley.”
As for consulting the affected people, such an approach has not been followed in any project.
CG Joshipura, Vadodara
Science and god
IN “THERE’S life after tennis” (Musings, Aug. 28), VN Narayanan mentions that there is “no level playing field in either God’s universe or Darwin’s world.” Eric Ashby has said: “The greatest single contribution that scientific thinking has made is to set
man free from despotic authority in intellectual matters.” Any faith or belief in ‘authority’ goes against the spirit of science. There is more faith in honest doubt. Science attempts to learn the laws of nature without supposing that the sun, moon and
other objects are gods. But Darwin’s theory of evolution forced the men of science to wonder whether the soul plays no part in cause-event relations, or when animals got the soul, or when free will was adquired.
A Tuli, Delhi