Pressure Won't Work With India

Your coverage on India-Pakistan issues is superb and very balanced. This balanced approach dazzles in contrast to the strong anti-India attitude shown in many other American news media.

India has been ruled by Muslim invaders from Iran, Afghanistan, and the British for most of the last 800 years. With these invasions came forceful religious conversions. Today, India remains predominantly Hindu, despite 800 years of foreign rule. Indians have preserved their culture and have taken good values from other religions, although with resistance.

If American policymakers today think they can bring about desired changes in India by force, manipulations, or collective opposition, any person who knows Indian history will know that task is impossible.

From this point of view, the article "India Bomb Cries: 'Respect me'" (June 10) is heading in the right direction. If India is taken into confidence, with the respect and recognition due this single largest democracy and one-sixth of humanity, the US can achieve its desired goal. Because of the hypocrisy and dual-speak of past Western rulers, Indians have very strong feelings about this kind of attitude. Most of us believe in "Leave us alone, and let others live as well."

Dialogue, respect, and recognition are the way to go. Pressures will bring no positive results. Thanks for the very good coverage.

Mukund Kute

Willow Grove, Penn.

Storytelling and strong families

Congratulations on an excellent paper which I enjoy via the Internet down here in New Zealand. The article "Entertainment's Message: 'Buy Me!'" (June 12) is about an issue that concerns me. I have four children and many nieces and nephews. Stories are one of the greatest parts of childhood; they are stimulating to the intelligence, aid in socialization, and provide intimate time with family.

But it is sad that so many stories and TV shows are followed up with intensive advertising and have become commercialized.

Robert Louis Stevenson created in me a desire to study history; Jules Verne led me to science; and illustrated books brought out an artistic flair that could have gone unrealized. And the story time spent with my parents has meant my family was strong.

The question is not why commercialization, but why are parents being suckered in. Kids can whine (I know!) but that doesn't mean you have to buy the stuff. Offer kids an alternative.

K. van Rijk

Havelock North, New Zealand

Livestock's quality of life

The article "Hog Farms Mean Odorous Battles in Heartland" (June 8) did well to report the negative environmental impacts of corporate hog farms in the rural communities of Missouri. Similar consequences - of unpleasant odors for miles around and contamination of fields and wetlands with animal waste - occur in North Carolina, Kansas, and other areas with factory farms.

But the Monitor article failed to mention an equally important issue - whether it is acceptable to allow animals to be raised under these conditions. All of our livestock species are active, intelligent animals. Confinement operations keep animals at extremely high densities, without access to exercise, to the outdoors, and without any semblance of normal life.

If our society grows in compassion and fairness, then factory farming will not be "the future of animal agriculture," as the article suggests. Rather, factory farming will become one of the barbarous anachronisms of the past. Cheap food should not compromise the quality of life of farmers of livestock animals.

Catherine Badgely

Chelsea, Mich.

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