Other voices

Excerpts from letter to the editor from M Mahmood Husain, Chennai
Forty years ago, Veerappan's haunts in Tamil Nadu forests were mine too, almost every one of them. Every nook and corner was intensely familiar for ten years or more, right from probationer days in the Forest Service. What memories these exotic village names evoke! Of many a long march on foot, exhausting but rewarding, in wildly undulating and trackless terrain for days together on occasion, in the salubrious climate of the southern extension of the Mysore plateau. The prize at the end of the day's march was the sojourn in one antique forest rest house or other, usually 10 km apart from each other, Spartan in comfort but so picturesquely located that it was a delight to stay in for rest to one's tired limbs. Imagine the scenario now, the task force and the brigand's marksmen have a free run all over. The task force's forays into the interior between the jeep roads can in the nature of things be only few and far between. The forester or the policemen on the roads has to compete on unequal terms with the marksman from the nearest commanding height. The rainfall is low and the tree cover itself is rarely dense except along stream banks and in isolated pockets. What of the future, after the present crisis passes? Need the situation remain frozen in apparent helplessness? Solutions have been outlined