This refers to Outlook’s cover story (Malamal Street, December 7) on the spectacular recovery of the Sensex. This may be possible because interest rates on fixed deposits have fallen by at least 2 per cent since March and, with inflation rates high at 7 per cent, bank fixed deposits earn a negative interest on account of infation adjusted rates. Gold prices have settled and thus shares and stocks appear to be better options for investors. Your article correctly pointed out two areas that need to be looked at: one, the manufacturing sector, that is still not showing signs of recovery; and two, a four-year-high inflation.
D.B. Madan, New Delhi
The Sensex has touched an all-time high, with FIIs lapping up the good stocks. Yet there is no relation between some stocks showing an upward rise and its actual performance. The concerned firms’ PE ratio, dividend history and fundamentals are just ignored.
Rangarajan T. S., On email
The Share market is called the barometer of a country’s economy. However, at times it behaves irrationally. The Sensex was on January 14, 2020 at 41,953, then dove to a low of 25, 981 on March 23 when businesses were about to be hit by the pandemic. However, the Sensex crossed the pre-Covid mark, reaching 44,149 on November 27, leading us to conclude that Dalal Street, which became Halaal Street in March, was transformed into Malamaal Street by the festive season. During past few years interest rates have been cut by banks, driving people towards the share market. Since Diwali, the Sensex has kept up its unprecedented rise, but the possibility of a sudden crash, making investors lose crores, hangs like a Damocles’s sword.
M.C. Joshi, Lucknow
This is on M.R. Shamsad’s timely column on the false spectre of ‘love jihad’ (An Unholy War, Dec 7) and the laws framed by Uttar Pradesh and other states to curb this imagined menace. Though ‘love jihad’ does not seem to exist, it has been shamelessly used as a political weapon to fuel a divisive narrative and reap political mileage by right wing political parties. Their minions now have a license to terrorise Muslim men marrying Hindu women. The law aims to harass and demonise the Muslim community, while keeping alive communal polarisation. When existing laws fail to prevent heinous crimes, bringing a law on ‘love jihad’--a non-existent crime--is a cruel irony. It needs to be rejected outright.
K.R. Srinivasan, Secunderabad
After UP passed the Prohibition of Unlawful Religious Conversion ordinance, making ‘forced religious conversion’ a crime, more BJP ruled states are eager to follow. Is this India of the 21st century? ‘Love jihad’ politics is being played in the guise of providing security to women. But are crimes against women to be prosecuted on a religious basis from now on? States should instead focus on providing greater security for women. This means creating an environment where their choices are respected, instead of being undermined . They would also do well to make the Special Marriage Act better known to the public.
L.J.S. Panesar, On email
Love jihad is much more than meets the eye. It would have been fine if women were converted to Islam only for marriage. But non-Islamic women married by Muslim men have been traced to terror factories in distant Syria, Iraq and Yemen from northern districts of Kerala. These ‘captured’ women are indoctrinated, converted to fidayeens and sent back to India to carry out terrorist attacks. If conversion in the pretext of ‘marriage’ is undertaken to foster terrorism, love jihad’ needs to go.
George Jacob, Kochi
This is apropos Outlook’s story on the BJP’s ruthless political juggernaut (The Big, Bold, War Machine, Dec 7) that is now training its artillery on Bengal and Assam. The BJP is obviously buoyed after its Bihar performance but if it expects TMC to be a cakewalk then it is living in a fool’s paradise. No one should forget that Mamata Banerjee had dislodged the Left after 34 years in West Bengal. Of course, the BJP has made deep inroads in the state and it will require a united opposition to halt its progress. Both Congress and the Left are under an illusion that they would be an alternative in the assembly polls. If they are really serious about halting the BJP, then they better join hands with the TMC and form a strong united secular front.
Bal Govind, Noida
Wedded as it is to Dravidian ideology for long, Tamil Nadu is still an enigma to the BJP (Decoding Dravida Nadu, Dec. 7). The party continues to struggle for popular acceptance despite the power vacuum left by both Jayalalitha and Karunanidhi. Of the two Dravidian majors, the AIADMK is more at home with BJP’s concept of nationalism and religion than an ideologically-inclined DMK. A redoubtable Amit Shah has other plans to weaken the DMK. Cases like 2G spectrum and money laundering by DMK MPs will be pursued vigorously. And 20,000 RSS volunteers will meet 1.5 crore Hindu families to caution them against the DMK’s ‘anti-Hindu’ stance.
Kangayam Narasimman, Chennai
I write in response to Outlook’s cover story on Asaduddin Owaisi and the stunning performance of AIMIM in the Bihar polls (Capped Crusader, Nov 30). Owaisi is a controversial figure, for while he speaks the language of constitutionalism and seeks rights for Muslims and other marginalised groups, he has often been engaged in extremist rhetoric and hate speech. Those criticising Owaisi for ‘cutting votes’ of opposition parties are doing a disservice to our democracy, for he is entitled to contest elections as he pleases. But Owaisi must ensure that his party remains wedded to peaceful, democratic and constitutional means.
Lal Singh, Amritsar
It was a pleasant surprise to find Asaduddin Owaisi featured in the cover story. He comes across as a suave, urbane and well-groomed politician focused on his mission. Unlike so many Muslim leaders, he is never afraid of speaking his mind and doesn’t shy away from the fact that welfare of Indian Muslims is an article of faith with him.
Anil Joshi, Ranikhet
The eruption of massive protests against the new farm laws is a clear manifestation of farmers’ anger against them. The government should have consulted the farmers and won their support before enacting them. The protests seem to have shaken the government too. It is sad that farmers who toil the whole year to feed the nation are branded as ‘anti-nationals’ and ‘Khalistanis’. The growing support that the protests draw from all over the country belies the claim that the laws have gained widespread acceptance in states other than Punjab and Haryana. The Modi government’s proclivity for promoting corporate interests is ill-concealed and widely known. The farm laws are pro-corporate and anti-farmer. PM Modi’s Varanasi speech in defence of the laws does not carry much conviction. The laws pave the way for dismantlement of government-regulated mandis, monopolisation of agri-markets by corporate behemoths and sale of agri-produce at prices fixed by bulk buyers. The lucre of ‘corporate benefits’ far outweighs ‘higher standards of corporate governance’ for farmers to expect fair prices. These laws do not set conditions for farmers to get what M.S. Swaminathan recommended: MSP at 50 per cent above the cost of production and cultivate crops of their choice.
G. David Milton, Maruthancode, Tamil Nadu