Home truths

My great-granduncle was in Subhas Chandra Bose’s Indian National Army and was hanged at the age of 24 by the British Indian Government in 1945 for treason. Now, my father used this fact to tell me how the entire family is ashamed of me and ashamed of themselves because of my “anti-national” leanings.

No, he did not catch me Skyping with the Lashkar-e-Taiba chief or receiving texts from the ISI. He saw that I had shared an article on Facebook supporting the rights of the Jawaharlal Nehru University students to protest. After screaming at me for five minutes straight over the phone (which included violent, albeit innovative, suggestions of torture to teach the students a lesson) he hung up. I did not say much. Firstly, the tears running down my face did not allow me to. Secondly, I did not think I owed him an explanation, which even if given, would never have gone down well with him.

I was never the “good daughter” to feel bad about all this to begin with, but the thing that pinched the most was that he took the martyr’s name. I know the martyr did not fight fiercely and lay down his life for a country where the government of the day, with all its might, would take on a university student union for debating or dissenting.

I wanted to refer to him a book, any basic book on modern Indian history, so that he could enlighten himself on Bose’s clear socialist ideologies. Would he ever care to read Kashmir’s history and what the Kashmiris mean when they ask for azaadi? I wonder if I will ever be able to explain to my father the difference between parochial nationalism and love for the nation.

He would never believe me if I said that I love India, despite its faults and despite the growing fears. It is because patriotism is the personal property of those who aspire for a monocultural Akhand Bharat of the 2nd century BC, and not for terrorist sympathisers like me who “want to break this country into pieces”. A patriotic Indian

Patriotism paradox

I am reminded of Saadat Hasan Manto's description of the scene at Mumbai Port when he left for Karachi ("What exactly is anti-national about shouting ‘Pakistan zindabad'?"). Manto was accompanied by his friend, Shyam. Manto recalls that towards the very end, Shyam said "Zindabad Pakistan", to which Manto replied "Zindabad Bharat". As Manto notes, Shyam was sincere in his wish.

What this anecdote illustrates is that "Pakistan Zindabad" is not the same as "Bharat Murdabad". Logically, they are unrelated and it is possible to wish the best for both countries. Or, if one is inclined to be perverse, the worst for both countries.

“A pox on both your houses,” was Mercutio's dying curse in Romeo and Juliet. The fact that so many, both in Pakistan and in our country, see praise for the "enemy" as wishing the destruction of one's own country, is a tragedy. – M Suresh

Conscience calling

It really takes a lot of character to take such a measure ("‘My conscience has started to revolt’: A Zee News producer quits over channel’s handling of JNU row"). Really appreciable. I hope we have more individuals like you whose inner conscience is still alive. Kudos for your action. Maybe it will motivate more people to stand up for the truth. Sandeep


It was the best of times, it was the worst of times - the author of this article seems to be caught in this cauldron. He really expects us to believe that Vishwa Deepak was coming out clean and was not aware of the political affiliations of the publishing houses.

The author is either naive or seeking his two minutes of fame. Does Deepak think he has done a great deed by posting his resignation on Facebook? Ajit Tendolkar


I agree with Sudhir Chaudhary's statement. Zee does business in communication and entertainment. So people leave for reasons best known to them and give various versions of the story. Resignations are not new in the TV channel business, going by the track record of many popular and unpopular anchors and reporters across the country. They too can give reasons like there is no "editorial freedom", and they were given a cubicle next to the toilet, the coffee or tea

served does not have the aroma that s/he is accustomed to, among other complaints.

I am not at all convinced that the media "industry" stock will crumble after Vishwa Deepak's resignation. He found a golden opportunity to get publicity and headhunters must have spread their net thereafter.

Remember Tehelka and how the mighty have fallen? Then who cares if he quit Zee or his career and now opens a men's saloon? M Ramachandran


I pray to god that the staffers who propagated hate on those fateful days on Zee News and Times Now (and any other channel) should face a situation where they are screaming innocence and nobody believes them, while the country is baying for their blood.

It takes all of five seconds to shred a family's life and send them to living hell. The chosen channels are mere puppets and mouthpieces of the fascist government. I hope for the rest their lives they don't get to sleep at night and their conscience overwhelms them.

I salute Vishwa Deepak for listening to his conscience. I pray that he will not be jobless for long and that right-minded people should help him earn so that he can look after himself and his family. A reader

Troubling questions

As an army veteran, there are some questions about JNU that jar me out of complacency about our temples of education ("‘Twitter is our weapon’: How JNU students are fighting hashtag wars"). We taxpayers heavily subsidise the place so that children from poorer sections may study and rise in life. So it is upsetting that these places have become sheltered cesspits of leftist politics and platforms for anti-national activity by our enemies. How people like Kanhaiya Kumar can ever expect to find employment beats me, or maybe that is not their intention at all.

The students and its professors fiercely defend the right of the university to not allow the police of the land to enter even in case of offences committed, but the same students have no condemnation to make when so-called "outsiders" are freely able to enter and raise anti-national slogans in the presence of students. Or is the outsider theory nothing but a legally contrived argument just to hoodwink the courts?

If I am expected to believe that JNU should not be condemned for the acts of a few, why do I not see the majority of JNU rising in protest against the anti-national sloganeers? And why do we see even the professors laying down conditions before the Vice Chancellor about the sedition charges being removed when they know the law gives no such privilege to anyone. Gursharan Jolly

Two agitations

The Jat agitation occurred in a Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled state ("Four reasons why the JNU and Jat agitations are worlds apart..."). It was timed to divert attention from the incidents in JNU. One was peaceful and other violent, but the response of the government to accede to the demands of the Jats, while using violent means to intimidate the students and use the government and the police to deal with the non-violent demonstration in JNU, should not be missed. Srinivasan N


The article smacks of elitism. The author says that unlike the JNU protests, the Jats are claustrophobically focused on themselves and their immediate tribe and don't care about anyone else.

So are you suggesting that women fighting for reservations in Parliament also care too much about themselves?

"There is no sense of a larger collective that needs to be pulled out of the pit of social inequality”. Would anyone criticise a Dalit activist for not considering the inequalities faced by a Brahmin woman?

I don't think that the JNU protests are about oppression faced by minorities across the country, as the author claims in any way other than that the right to dissent is universal and minorities should not have their voices crushed. The JNU protestors are mostly from the educated urban middle class. So while the issue is universal and cuts across borders, the protests hardly do.

Yes, the violence used by the Jats is reprehensible. But is it not unfair to criticise a group that has a literacy rate of 45% among men and 30% among women for not relying more on slogans, or not giving lectures and raising issues of critical thinking? Upasna Gopalakrishnan

Misused letterhead

I protest that the present office-bearers have used the letterhead of the Indian Medical Association to express their personal views ("Doctors protest as Indian Medical Association writes letter supporting Centre against 'anti-nationals'"). The IMA constitution does not give any doctor the right to condemn any person as anti-national.

The expression as a citizen is a personal opinion and cannot be the opinion of all doctors of IMA in the country.

Dr Agarwal and his band of so-called citizens must give a written apology to all the registered IMA doctors of the country for misusing the IMA platform. This is without prejudice to what is happening in JNU. Dr Arvind Almeida


I am a lifetime member of IMA and I condemn this action by IMA’s

office-bearers. I wonder who gave them the authority to write this letter? If they have any decency left, they should resign from their posts forthwith. They can then play the role of “bhakts” more effectively. Anil Desai

Apt comparison

The article was an amazing read ("What if Harry Potter had been a student of JNU?"). As someone who has read the Harry Potter series more than five times, I can say that the comparisons were perfect.

Although the article resonates with everyone, it has the potential to draw youngsters to the world of politics. Youngsters are usually better acquainted with works of fiction and they find the real world boring. It's a very good idea to use fiction they love to make them aware of what is happening around them. Especially with the current tide, it's very important that everyone knows what is actually happening in our country or they will fall prey to propaganda. AZ Damudi