The people's president whom we don't remember enough
Khushwant Singh, in Kalam: A space-scientist and the people's president (With Malice Towards One and All, August 29), states that besides A P J Abdul Kalam, only two Indian presidents, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and Zakir Hussain, were 'people's presidents'. Singh has overlooked Rajendra Prasad's contribution to the nation. He is biased against Prasad who believed in the principle of 'simple living, high thinking'. But, unfortunately, India under Jawaharlal Nehru turned a blind eye to his accomplishments.
K M P Singh, via email
Two friends and a number
With reference to Paramita Ghosh's article Days of friendship are numbered (Variety, August 29), it was interesting to read about the bonhomie between Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan and his British mentor G H Hardy. The number 1729 is called the 'Hardy-Ramanujan' number, as once Hardy told Ramanujan that the number of his cab, 1729, seemed rather dull to him. The latter contradicted him by proving that it is an interesting number as it's the smallest one that the sum of two cubes add up to. That is, the sum of the cubes of 12 and 1 and that of the cubes of 9 and 10 add up to 1729. Truly, numbers up to 10,000 were Ramanujan's closest friends.
S K Dewan, Gurgaon
What about the middle class in the middle?
Vir Sanghvi rightly analyses that the middle class is no longer a puppet in the hands of politicians (The Indian middle class has begun to care, Counterpoint, August 29). It's ironic that while the middle class stands by the underprivileged, problems like inflation and corruption affect it the most. The government forms special policies for the poor while the rich in India follow their own rules. But nobody pays attention to the plight of the middle class.
Mayank Goel, Kurukshetra
The Indian middle class has finally begun to act maturely. It is putting things in perspective, speaking up against the government's apathy towards the less-privileged sections of society and questioning the wrongdoings of the political class. It is because it has realised that, in a democracy, real power lies with the people.
Pranav Kumar, via email
Indrajit Hazra's views on urbanising rural areas, as stated in Urban hymns (Red Herring, August 29), are way off the mark. Turning Indian villages into towns will be a bad strategy. The nation depends on its farmers for agriculture. If every village boy heeds Hazra's advice and gives into the temptation of migrating to a city, India will be pushed into a hunger crisis. While competing with First World nations, we forget that the government in those countries successfully worked towards the welfare of their rural populations. If our government can do the same, even our farmers won't ever want to move out of villages.
Tanvi Chaudhary, Gurgaon
Bimal Roy's classic 1953 film about migration and land acquisition Do bigha zameen had a big flaw in it. The movie is about a farmer migrating to a city to raise money. He is not only the only son of his father but also has only one son himself, which isn't the reality of rural India. A more realistic depiction would have shown that the farmer's brothers and all but one of his sons having to migrate to cities to do unskilled or semi skilled jobs as 'two bighas' of land was not enough to sustain the family.
Nihit Patel, Mumbai
The games we play
This refers to Manas Chakravarty's article Expending problem (Loose Canon, August 25). By discussing the various ways in which our MPs can spend their 'extra' money, the writer cleverly asserts that the recent increase in their salaries wasn't required. It's ironic that while we read about parliamentarians' unreasonable demand of a three-fold salary hike, papers carried reports on how the Commonwealth Games labourers were denied even the little wages the government had promised them.
Devika Kumar, via email
Better safe than...
Karan Thapar in Liable to waffle (Sunday Sentiments, August 29) presents a well-argued analysis of the Civil Nuclear Liability Bill. The UPA, to attract foreign investors, is putting millions of lives at risk. Attaining self-sufficiency in nuclear energy sector should not come at the expense of national security.
Sandeep Soni, Delhi
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