Surrogacy ban for foreign couples
Surrogacy gives rural women in India the opportunity to earn ("Why the plan to ban foreigners will only worsen the plight of Indian surrogate mothers"). Banning surrogacy for foreign couples is not the solution. It forces women to delve into the black market and shames them further – all under the guise of "protecting rural women". It ensures that whatever corruption that happens in India stays in India.

We need to regulate, not revoke. Surrogate mothers are a blessing and deserve respect, generous payment and excellent heathcare. Surrogacy is not shameful, it is a gift. God bless all surrogate mothers for the kindness of their labour.

India needs to learn to respect women – not just in the realm of surrogacy but in the bigger picture of law and culture. Banning surrogacy ignores the real and dangerous life that Indian women experience and it denies them an income. The way to help women is making sure they are cared for and that the money they make goes to them and is not stolen by their drunk husbands, greedy in-laws, or by unregulated surrogacy agencies.  Gea Bassett

Talking tolerance
Thank you, Raghuram Rajan  ("Full text of Raghuram Rajan's address at IIT Delhi: Tolerance is essential for economic progress"). India stands on two firm legs of prosperity and social cohesion. We have to save India and believe in an indivisible India – an India that is good for her people and welcomes diversity.

Those of you who are blinded by love for Narendra Modi, I appeal to you to have greater love for the nation. Modis will come and go but the nation will continue. I am challenging your patriotism. None of us want India to go down, so let our loyalty be to India and not Modi, until he proves that he can keep these two functions in shape.

If we all wake up and criticise Modi, he will be compelled to do the right thing. Arise, awake, and stop not till the goal is reached.  Dr Mike Ghouse


I welcome Raghuram Rajan's convocation address. It truly reflects our great values of debate, tolerance, and mutual respect. It's these values that have enabled us to hold our heads up high. Our society is more progressive and non-violent and has allowed all faiths to blossom.  Rabindranath Choubey


Raghuram Rajan has spoken the obvious and that too at an apt moment in the heated political environment. One cannot be sure whether his address to the IITians was meant for them or for a wider audience, who feel somewhat frustrated that the debate on intolerance is not leading us anywhere as those in denial remain unmoved.

It is time that thinkers on both sides of the debate understand each other better. There is no other way. India has to remain united, plural and multifaceted. Because the alternative is dangerous.  Ravindranathan

Mask of development
It is a fallacy that Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party are pragmatic ("How has the RSS culture produced a pragmatic man like Narendra Modi?"). It is their strategy to portray themselves as modern and pragmatic while hiding their real beliefs. They are biding time till they get control of Parliament, infiltrate the education sector with their ideas, and get cadres from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh posted in strategic positions in the bureaucracy, police, and army. Once that happens, they will reveal their true colours.

Modi dons a mask to lure youth on social media and the BJP is able to hoodwink them in this way. The party has portrayed Modi as a man of development, but his vision is very narrow. The media has blamed recent incidents of tolerance on the "fringe elements" in the BJP, but that is far from the truth.  Vishal Jindal

Safeguarding the Constitution
Better late than never ("Full Text: Padma-winning scientists protest 'a rash of bigoted acts'"). India has had undercurrents of religious intolerance reignited time and again by intolerant extremists. Despite having a wonderful secular Constitution providing equal rights to all Indians irrespective of religion, colour or creed, the powers that be have always let it get eroded by letting states devise their own laws that clearly defy the Constitution.

The media is partly to blame because it has failed to play a constructive role in domestic and international affairs. It is instructive (and heartening) to see that now even the President of India has publicly taken up this issue. When are the political masters going to openly come out protecting the public and the Constitution?  Ashraf Chaudhry


Most of those returning awards are doing so for fear of irrelevance in this fast-changing world, where there is easy access to knowledge and information about India's true history, contrary to that doctored by Nehru.

They are returning their awards for political reasons, which implies that they were awarded not based on merit, but political patronage. They seek to defame and paralyse India to deny common Indians the benefits of development.  jini on email

The moral high ground
The author is an intelligent, gifted and sensitive artist and it reflects in her writing ("Nandita Das: If art was not subversive, conservatives would not feel threatened"). For intellectual, artistic outrage to seek the moral high ground, and thus strive to be effective, it should at least cloak itself in the garb of objectivity, fairness and reason, a sustained and apolitical mindset and narrative.

Where was this outrage when MF Husain was exiled? When Salman Rushdie was muzzled in Jaipur? When Taslima Nasreen was attacked in full public view in Kolkata?

Something is rotten. The voice of the people, not the few who arrogate themselves the right to speak for them, is the voice of god.  Roy Rover


Why no mention of Salman Rushdie and the Satanic Verses controversy? Or Taslima Nasreen? Why so selective? You should have mentioned them if you claim to be a true lover of freedom of speech.  Abhay Singh Thakur

Futile agitation
It's a historical truth that the so-called Gandhian, non-violent protests are futile and useless against a belligerent, ruthless and violent state ("15 years of hunger strike: Should Irom Sharmila continue her protest in another form?"). The state is aware of this but cunningly eulogises the Gandhian form of agitation. The state knows that if the people start challenging violence with counter-violence, the government will not survive a single day. Unfortunately, our so-called intellectuals consciously or unconsciously ignore state violence while crying hoarse about the counter-violence by the people, which is an act of self-defence.  Arun

Taking offence
India is a country full of discrimination - social, economic and political ("I’m neither Santa nor Banta: Why I support a ban on jokes about Sikhs"). I can understand why the Sikhs are hurt and feel that their community is being targeted by joke writers. My only wish is that the activists seeking to ban Sardar jokes do not approach Arvind Kejriwal or Narendra Modi.  Rajesh Toppo

Missing background
An enlightening article, but somewhat confusing for uninformed individuals like me ("Why this town in Manipur refuses to bury nine people who died two months ago"). It would have been nice had there been a few paragraphs about the history and geography of Manipur. Some information about the different tribes and the core problems between them would have been useful.

The article left me asking why this tragedy took place at all, who ordered it, and what precipitated the action. That said, the article does throw light on the beautiful people who have been wronged.  Koch Mama

Food habits
This is a refreshing article ("Why some South Africans don't eat sheep brain (and many Indians don't eat dog)"). I am scared to comment because your article contained the word "beef", but the fact is that human food habits are as diverse as the continents on our planet. They have been developed over thousands of years and the current generation does not understand this history.

Democracy should be used to respect diversity and enrich the social fabric. Intolerance of the food habits of others endangers democracy.  Rajesh Toppo

Selective memory
This lengthy interview aimed at targeting the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is full of big holes ("‘RSS was silent during the 1984 riots. At places, it was implicated in the violence’"). The RSS was at the forefront of efforts to save the Sikhs all over India. It was one of the reasons why the Bharatiya Janata Party faced a massive defeat in the elections. Writers are good at documentation, but the RSS works on the ground.  Ratan Sharda

Fixing India
Rebooting India: Realizing A Billion Aspirations has brought out the true picture, where a few individuals can achieve great things ("How 101 people can fix all of India’s problems"). Unfortunately, a bureaucracy which is hand-in-glove with politicians cannot deliver.

There is a need for integrity, concrete policy, commitment, command, and direction to carry a team forward. The jungle of bureaucracy and outdated procedures needs to be dismantled. A committed policy and direction are needed.

I agree with Nandan Nilekani that 101 people can solve India's problems with administrative support and no interference. It is for the government in power to make this a reality.  Kewal Khanna

Building a city
This is the reason why not a single planned town or city has come up after independence ("In a village that could become part of Lavasa, adivasis fight to take back their land"). Given the insurmountable obstacles, the whole initiative becomes impossible to implement.

Of course, some initiatives such as Aamby Valley progress unhindered with the connivance of the powers that be. Is this the only way that great cities can be built?  akajmera on email

Gender roles
Challenging the Bharatiya Janata Party on the common civil code, the writer makes a strange argument ("If the BJP is serious about the uniform civil code, it must answer these three questions"). He talks about us reaching the third stage of ethical aspirations – gender justice. But what kind of gender justice is it to give a wife an equal right to her husband's property?

What about giving the husband a similar right to his father-in-law's property? The property rules of India definitely need a great many changes to give women their rightful place in society. We should be encouraging economic liberation of women and a free passport to husband's property is not going to help it. The state has a duty towards changing a wife's dependence on her husband for maintenance.  Niraj Chaudhary

Piloting equality
This article makes as much sense as a feminist saying that equality is achieved by granting special quotas and status to women ("South Asian women fighter pilots: Why should empowerment be defined by a willingness to kill?").
Let the world be equally equal. Let women choose what they want to be. Women were discriminated against when they were not given combat roles. Now they are allowed in some departments at least. It's a move toward equality and so there is absolutely nothing wrong in celebrating the fact that women are now allowed as fighter pilots.

The writer has exercised his freedom of speech, but the editor should have considered whether the article was worth publishing.  Rohit D

Online trolls
It will be interesting to see how Narayana Murthy, one of the founders of the Indian IT industry, is abused by social media trolls ("Infosys founder Narayana Murthy joins the chorus expressing anxiety about intolerance"). So far, anybody who has raised his/her voice against this atmosphere of intolerance has been vilified, abused, and attacked mercilessly by Bharatiya Janata Party trolls. Now, for the first time, a person whom they consider one of their own has echoed this sentiment of growing intolerance,

It is a myth that this online trolling is done by uneducated, semi-urban individuals. The reality is that most of these trolls are from English medium schools and highly educated.

For most of them, Murthy was and is a revered and admired self-made gentleman. But they have grudge against those whom they think are enjoying life without doing anything. This is because they themselves come from the middle class in small cities and have laboured for their success. They are a frustrated lot and they abuse because either it is a fashionable or because they love to troll anybody who talks sensibly.

I sincerely hope that they will listen to Murthy and that and some of them will change their ways.  Vishal Jindal

Unjustified blockade
This article seems to favour only the so-called Madhesis ("Dismissing the protesters in Nepal as Delhi’s puppets will prove harmful for Nepal"). I don't even use that word as it separates them from the Nepalese people. In truth, Madesis are Nepalese. No one with a sense of nationalism would like to see Nepal divided into a madhesi rajya or a pahadi rajya. There may have been some conflicts between the people in different regions in the past. But of late, people have been migrating to and fro, thus actually mixing people from different regions.

Nothing justifies a blockade at the borders and making people's lives in the capital harder. If you really want to be heard, come and gather outside the constitution assembly hall and stage a protest in front of the ministers whom you think are the culprits.

Also, is India really not the culprit? Could it be the other way around – that our brothers and sisters have nothing to do with the current blockade?  Rishav Aryal

Terror has no religion
Why use terms like "atheist blogger" and "secular blogger" ("Publisher of slain Bangladesh blogger hacked to death")? These terms are used by those behind the killings and those supporting these acts. They are trying to justify murder by citing atheistic beliefs. It is the language being used to claim support for the murders. Please do not fall into this trap – just say blogger or writer.  Bishakha Datta