One Rank One Pension
The Narendra Modi government has insulted retired soldiers – a sin it should pay for by being relentlessly hounded out of power by concerted public action at all levels ("If Modi was going to let down OROP protesters, he should at least have appealed to their honour"). I never imagined that the Prime Minister would become so swollen-headed so quickly.

The old soldier will survive on whatever he has, but he will never forget the insult of passive protesters being physically assaulted.  Revti Raman


OROP is becoming a serious matter of national concern. I don't understand what pleasure the BJP is deriving by opposing the scheme. Keeping national interest at heart is what matters. The Prime Minister, his advisors and BJP leaders are enjoying watching a 'mela' unfold at Jantar Mantar.

The reality has been expressed by former Chiefs of Army Staff, who understand the pain of soldiers fighting wars without modern machinery and other provisions.

As a veteran, I understand the stress of being at sea for a month, leaving my family on short notice without ration or money.  Daya Shanker Lal Srivastava


One Rank One Pension has been a long-standing demand of the armed forces and the BJP had committed itself to the cause both before and after coming into power.

Irrespective of the arms possessed of the defence, high morale is a major contributor to any victory. It's better late than never. OROP should be implemented without any further delay. Let the bureaucrats not create hurdles for early implementation of the scheme.  Kewal Khanna

If India wants to go the Greece way then the government should implement OROP, for it will have a negative effect on the economy.  When talk of OROP was first initiated, it was understood to cost Rs 3,000 crore, which has now shot up Rs 8,000 crore. After the 7th pay commission, the cost is expected to double. No country can afford this.

At the the end of the day, we have to remember the armed forces perform a 'service' and not 'extortion'. The latter is a threat to the legitimacy of a secular, democratic India. Otherwise we should be ready to follow the path of Pakistan, where the armed forces dictate terms to citizens.

In 1973, then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi cut the army to size by putting into place the same pension rules for civilians and the armed forces. It was a smart move. If OROP is implemented, then there is no reason for the armed forces to serve after attaining eligibility for pension.. It is dangerous and all talented individuals will make a beeline to quit the services.  Binuchandran


Ex-servicemen being brutally assaulted, the relay hunger strike and related inaction and political apathy have caused deep anguish among serving soldiers, who hope they are not witnessing their own future.

These incidents will affect the morale of the armed forces and will have an impact on the fighting spirit in future too. I would not be surprised to see another 1962 war-like debacle as the soldiers have started to feel that they have nothing to lose.  YS Yadav


It's up to our soldiers to retrieve their honour. Action is needed, not bluster  Behram


The BJP in general and Narendra Modi and Arun Jaitley in particular will repent for the humiliation being meted out to the veterans. The buck stops at them.

The bureaucracy, despite being the stumbling block, cannot be directly blamed. The political leadership alone has to pay for their deeds. The nation will also have to bear the costs and consequences of this issue both in the near future as well as the long0term.

The indifferent media could have done a lot more, but chose not to, even if they didn't toe the government line.  VK Khurana


How do you expect the Supreme Commander and the Prime Minister to honour and respect the armed forces when they have not served a day in the defence? We who have served in the armed forces have started to doubt the pride we had thus far of being a soldier.  Manjeet Bedi

Bounty for Bihar
I am a proud veteran. This article, which tries to compare the armed forces' demands with those of the railways and central government employees, shows ignorance about the ground realities such as role, age, service conditions among other factors relevant to the One Rank One Pension debate ("Why comparing Modi's massive special Bihar package to OROP demands is unfair"). It's like comparing apples with non-existent oranges.

The government was able to work out a package for Bihar in 15 months with multiple ministers and ministries involved. The political will was decisive and highlighted. We welcome this fillip to Bihar's development.

Yet, when it comes to what is rapidly snowballing into a national security issue, despite unanimous political support across parties, we reach a stalemate on OROP. Where is the will? Why the waffling? And at what cost to the nation?  Sekhar


It's good to see the 'paid' media working overtime to support the IAS lobby against the One Rank One Pension scheme. You are absolutely correct in stating that it's not a fair comparison. How do you compare a blatant political attempt to sway elections by offering money to what the Supreme Court has defined as a right?

How come the author hasn't referred to the 'non-functional upgrade' that the bureaucrats gifted themselves without authorising the same for the armed forces? Wasn't that blatant discrimination?

It's true that the pension bill will rise. But the author is grossly overstating the figures involved. How can there be a variation when the complete details of ex-servicemen are known? The defence ministry has worked out an outlay of Rs. 8,300 crore. If that turns out to be incorrect by over 10%, the defence secretary and others involved in working out the maths should be sacked.

To reduce the pension bill, go ahead and reduce the size of the forces. Or if the government does not dare to do so, do what has been suggested for years – move personnel to the Central Armed Police or to the paramilitary forces. This will also improve the efficiency of the forces.  Brig Deepak Sinha (Retd)

Roman Hindi
Shoaib Daniyal’s article only looks at the political aspect of the problem ("For once Rahul Gandhi shows the way: Hindi needs to discard Devanagri and adopt the Roman script"). There is no analysis of the actual linguistic issues involved. Keshav Guha does add some examples in his article about the phonetic aspects of the language and some problems that occur naturally when using the Roman script ("Why writing Hindi in Roman rather than Devanagri would be a disaster"). The issue requires a more thorough analysis of the various facts and potential problems.

Based on the facts, I do not see how the Roman script could be suitable for writing Hindi. I tend to agree with Guha that is absolutely no case for replacing the Devanagri script for the Hindi language with the Roman script.

Everyone who tries to write Hindi/Urdu in the Roman script has his/her own custom for long and short vowels and the consonants. Most of the time, words and names are misread when read by someone other than the original writer.

In Rahul Gandhi’s case (or anyone else who uses the Roman script for their own personal notes) it can work. But the system cannot be used universally for communication. This is a disastrous movement and should be discouraged at all levels.

With the advent of new scripts on software applications, the need for other scripts (other than the script specially developed for that language) for any language completely disappears.  Syed Mohsin Naqvi


Keshav Guha's piece was an excellent rejoinder to Danial's article – Mrinal Pande

Why talk about individuals writing Hindi in Roman when English language newspapers are doing it already? What does it say about the editors who have allowed it and their idea of their readership? Rahul Gandhi obviously got it right. – Sreelata Menon


Devanagri script is the most suitable for Hindi. It's Rahul Gandhi's pure ignorance and stupidity that he cannot read the script. It's not Devnagri's fault that he can't read it.

Do speakers of Russian, Chinese, Arabic, Japanese, Tamil and other languages think of changing their script to Roman? Leave Hindi alone. It's perfectly fine with the beautiful Devanagri script. Please don't spread these half-baked thoughts.  Kirthi


This piece by Mr Shoaib Daniyal is one of the most stupid articles I have come across lately. My protest is not against a change in the script for Hindi. Rather, it's with the argument that Roman is by no means a substitute for Devanagri.
That a lot of people globally are using the Roman script more than other scripts is no reason that the scripts of all the other languages should be devoured by Roman. Yes, spoken Hindi is more popular than written. But  that should be considered an accomplishment of the spoken Hindi, not a basis to discard the written Hindi.

Devanagari unites not only all the dialects of Hindi, but also Nepali and Marathi. It's also similar to Gujarati, Bengali and Punjabi languages in some ways. Replacing Devanagri with Roman to attract those unfamiliar with Devnagri will alienate this language from its vast mother territory.

The Roman script is the worst thing that could happen to Hindi. It would make Hindi absurd. I don't want people to come across a new Hindi word, say, 'sambhavna', 'vivaad', 'Rukmini', and need a teacher to explain them how to 'pronounce' it.   Bal Krishnan


I thank you for publishing Keshava Guha's article countering Shoaib Daniyal's piece, which, as Guha so eloquently puts it, was rather "too free with facts and logic."  Indeed, so free it was with facts (such as completely ignoring the astounding popularity of Hindi dailies and magazines vis-a-vis English dailies) that it is a mystery how it passed through Scroll's editors and fact-checkers.

The only issue I would like to take up with Guha is that, perhaps in his attempt to not flog an already dead horse too much, he goes a bit soft on some of the less glaring but equally preposterous liberties with truth taken in Daniyal's article.  One of these is the surprising claim that "Hindi’s greatest litterateur, Premchand, actually wrote in the Nastaliq script and it was only later that his stories were transliterated into Devanagri."

Any serious student of the history of Hindi and Urdu knows that Premchand, though he started off as a Urdu writer, wrote later both in Urdu (in Nastaliq) and in what he called Hindi (in Devanagri), with much of his later work being originally written only in Devanagri.

As Geoff Pullum, a linguist at University of Edinburgh, has often wondered, it will always remain a mystery as to why journalists feel qualified to make stuff up about languages and scripts in a way they would never dream of doing with, say, astronomy or civil engineering.

Languages and linguistics form legitimate and serious fields of study, and perhaps Daniyal's catastrophic failure of an article would serve as a reminder to other journalists to be a bit more diligent in their research before shooting off fact-free screeds on these topics.  Piyush Srivastava

Missing a link
Your article on the Purandare controversy seemed incomplete ("Row over Mahararashtra's award to historian is really a Brahmin-Maratha battle"). It's a fact that the NCP and Maratha organisations are opposing him for the purpose of caste divisions. Their agenda is to consolidate Maratha votes.

But they are not the only people who are opposing Purandare. Narendra Dabholkar's daughter Mukta Dabholkar, Govind Pansare's daughter-in-law Megha Pansare and other progressive thinkers have also opposed Purandare.

The whole article revolves around the caste issue. But Purandare's historical approach is missing. He has portrayed Shivaji as staunch Hindu king who was die-hard opponent of Muslims. His writing helped the Shiv Sena and the BJP use Shivaji's image to pursue their anti-Muslim agenda.

In "Shivaji Kon Hota", Pansare, who was assassinated in Kolhapur, has portrayed Shivaji as a religiously liberal king with a secular approach. Many officers and soldiers in his army were Muslim. Purandare never mentioned this in his writings. This whole approach is missing in your article.  Abhijeet Kamble


The author has made a mistake in implying that Dado Konddeo was Shivaji's tutor. A committee of historians was formed by the Maharashtra government concluded that Dado Konddeo had no role in tutoring Shivaji and actually opposed his idea of "Swarajya"

Purandare is often accused of writing and glorifying only Brahmin characters and neglecting everyone else. He also acknowledges that he is not a historian but a "Shahir" i.e. balladeer. And his book Raja Shivchhatrapati is a novel. His book is full of errors and fictional incidents.

Caste wasn't an issue with regard to the opposition Purandare faced, until Raj Thackeray mentioned his caste. Many prominent secular Brahmins are also against Purandare's writings.  Vinit Wankhede

Mushrooming problem
Thank you for sharing information on this issue ("Goa's appetite for wild mushrooms is hurting the ecology of Western Ghats"). What's happening to mushrooms is similar to many other problems related to overharvesting or destructive methods of harvest or unsustainable extraction practices with regard to natural resources.

Many of the poorest communities are involved in this practice of extracting mushrooms. The best way to address the issue is at the grass-roots level. The problem has to be understood properly and requires a lot of patience and time.

Collectors and consumers need to be educated and made aware of the importance  of mushrooms in the wild and the impact of indiscriminate extraction of wild mushrooms on the food chain in nature. It's indeed a challenge.  Prabhakar R Bhat

Urban and rural
India still largely lives in its villages ("Why do Indians tolerate religious rituals on our streets but frown on protest demonstrations?"). Even people living in the cities have a little village engraved somewhere in a little corner of their heart. Therefore, city dwellers make way for religious traditions like kavads etc.

These traditions have been a part of Indian life for a long time. In fact, the cities have come up en route these religious journeys. It is religious folks who tolerate encroaching cities and not the other way round. The headline may appear to suggest that people who bring rituals to the street are not Indians, which surely is not the case.  Anil Kapoor

Not entirely true
I liked this post and the portrayal of Chetan Bhagat ("Reading Chetan Bhagat in Dhaka: the anxiety of English literature"). However, I do not agree with the statement about him being a "ruthless advocate for a pragmatic English education". It's not true. Bhagat has written so many articles suggesting measures to conserve Hindi. He has also spoken about his love for the language.  Himanshu Ranjan

Allow private players
You have covered the subject well ("Land pooling strategy for the new Andhra capital could become a model for India's Smart Cities"). In the present scenario, market forces such as private developers are very important. In Haryana, they have been given the opportunity to explore. The government compiles a plan which is then executed with the help of private players. Total execution by the government is impossible.

Apart from land pooling, developers should be bound with contractual agreements  of co-operation, not coercion. It will be a successful enterprise.  Sunil Mehra

Godly aspirations
I wholeheartedly support your plan and offer to join you in the enterprise ("How I intend to become India’s next godman"). I propose that we open a division called Safe Deposit Vault in which our devotees can be invited to keep their unaccounted money for a small fee. The amount earned thus will go a long way to fill our coffers.

This is not my invention but a widespread underground practice going on since our country became independent. Politicians and businessmen of all hues have massively enriched themselves by hiding their ill-gotten wealth in 'saffron vaults' hidden in the saffron robes of the Babas.

I suspect that this wealth should be much more than the black money stashed abroad. But the secrecy of saffron vaults is so intense that no economist worth his salt has come out with the estimate of its size. You are welcome to exploit this idea on your own if you want to go it alone in this enterprise and I will not claim any royalty.  Ramesh Vora

Justice for all
Most of the injustices mentioned such as malnourishment, child labour, lack of healthcare and quality education for the poor have very close links with corruption at high places ("‘Niti’ or ‘Nyaya’: The real injustice that should keep us awake at night"). The 'dynasty rule' in India for more than 50 years mainly accounts for this injustice.  sbblore on email


Interesting read to understand the difference between "niti" and "nyaya". But is it a case of political indifference alone?

With rural areas comprising 70% of India, not focusing on villages for generating employment opportunities can have a cascading effect on other social indicators.  The late Dr APJ Abdul Kalam's concept of Providing Urban Amenities to Rural Areas (PURA) is so relevant but no one wants to give it a try.  Shefali

Secular matters
This is a heart touching interview ("Irfan Habib: The Indian variant of secularism opens the door to majority communalism"). I belong to a freedom fighter's family. Perhaps we would be happier today had we stayed together and not split into India and Pakistan. Even today, I'm sure most Indians and Pakistanis want to be friends and stay together.

Whatever happened earlier was because of the vested interests of the erstwhile leaders. And whatever is happening today is because of power-hungry politicians. The peace-loving people of both countries suffer in the process.

The so-called superpowers will never let Indian and Pakistan be one nation. They have a vested interest – to divide and rule.  Anjan Bharadwaj


It is sad that a historian, irrespective of his political leanings, would look at the present day events in India with bias. Democracy and secularism cannot survive if a miniscule number of people in key academic positions have disdain for the choice of the masses, such as Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

A scientific approach is needed even in history, which means not compromising with facts. And the historian must keep his biases away when presenting the facts and then interpreting them.

Otherwise he/she starts imagining, and distorting facts. Mr Irfan Habib seems too biased to comment on the present day India from a historian's perspective. His political ideology has handicapped him.  Ram


Irfan Habib has shed light on realities with regard to communists, casteism, Dr S. Radhakrishnan and the spread of Hinduvta ideology among the middle class.  SM Ali

Tread with caution
India needs to be very careful ("How Iran’s nuclear deal could boost India"). Iran has not yet set aside its nuclear ambitions. Iran needs India to rebuild, but it will naturally turn to Pakistan to fulfil its nuclear dream. It has done so in the past and will do it again.

India has been among the first nations to open trade with Iran. But caution is advised. Iran continues to support international terrorism. India is yet another infidel target in the eyes of the Iranian clergy. The nuclear deal will only boost India in the short term.  snbenj on email

Double standards
The media should put on record data of how much time and money was wasted because the BJP stalled Parliament while in Opposition for 10 years ("Why is this government starting to look like UPA 3?").

Why is the media repeatedly blaming the Congress for the lack of business in the last session of Parliament? What about the BJP-led government's refusal to act on charges against its ministers?

The media also quotes some BJP brains who say that the Congress stalled  Parliament because it can't get used to being in Opposition. Very biased views expressed and that's very sad. Nk

Impractical solutions
By the same logic, should all government employees and their families only go to government hospitals for medical attention ("Allahabad High Court shows the way to improve education for majority of India’s children")? Should all of them use only BSNL/MTNL phone connections? Should government employees travel only by state-owned transport?

Of course, government schools and hospitals need improvement and support, but this order infringes on fundamental rights. The order will be challenged and thrown out by the higher courts. A nice judge with good intentions. But not a workable solution. G Vishwanath