Our secularism seems so fragile that we're rattled by Rushdie
With reference to Indrajit Hazra's article Illiterate !ndia (January 21), if our beliefs and faiths are so weak that artworks can easily shake them up, then we should ban all artists. This will make sure that their works won't hurt the sentiments of any community in the future. The government's mishandling of the recent episode of author Salman Rushdie's proposed visit to India proves that secularism and democracy exist only on paper. We may be living in the 21st century, but intellectually, we are still stuck in the Stone Ages.
--SK Malhotra, Delhi
With reference to the report What a shame, no Rushdie at lit fest (January 21), it is really unfortunate that celebrated author Salman Rushdie could not attend the literature festival. But what is frightening is that the central and the state governments allowed some people (read: religious fanatics) to take the law into their own hands and forced Rushdie to stay away from the festival. It was the duty of the government to ensure Rushdie's safety. Instead they gave in to the demand of some fanatics just to secure Muslim votes in the upcoming Uttar Pradesh elections.
--Mahesh Kumar, via email
I think we are giving too much importance to a non-issue. What has Salman Rushdie done for India? We always tend to support causes that might eventually end up disturbing the peace. Can we afford to do so? Let Rushdie continue with his tweeting and remain in his own world.
--Roopak Vasishtha, via email
Unique confusion project
The editorial Identify and then reach out (Our Take, January 21) reveals that there's a lack of coordination among various government ministries. It's too late to raise doubts over the Unique Identification (UID) project. Why did the home minister not raise any objection when the scheme was announced in 2009? His concern over the safety of the data that the UID team is collecting is unconvincing. The way he is slyly pushing his National Population Register (NPR) scheme makes one doubt his intentions.
--SC Vaid, via email
Though I appreciate the efforts of the UID team, I feel it would be unfair to overrule the home ministry's concerns. A recent report reveals that the cost of enroling one person under UID is R10 more than it is under the NPR project. When both schemes aim to collect the same information in approximately the same period of time, why should the government spend billions more on the UID?
--VN Kesavan, via email
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