Equal citizens

A very well written article but it seems like something has been left out. India should treat Kashmiris as equals, but are Kashmiris ready to be treated as equals (“Opinion: To solve Kashmir crisis, India first needs to treat Kashmiris as equal citizens”)?

Many Kashmiri students studying out of Jammu and Kashmir have raised slogans in favour of Pakistan and against India. Is this also India’s mistake? Are Kashmiris ready to ask for the removal of Article 370 which gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir?

Why has the writer failed to put across these points? Manoj Saini


Although the writer has been impartial to some extent, how could she declare the Handwara episode as a rumour? We live in Kashmir and we know better what is happening over here. We know that the facts are distorted. So before bailing out the rapists, she ought to have thought a thousand times. Magray Abumouazzin


Do you mean equal citizens to the ones in India who have all the same problems including poverty, bad roads, floods, corruption, lack of most basic amenities, among other things? Despite these problems, they do not damage, kill and kick out minorities but engage with the democratic system to try and improve the situation.

Less cliches, please. Kashmiri Muslims are not special. The choice to burn or build has always been theirs. Do not always blame India – that argument does not fly anymore. India has changed and more and more of us have started questioning the intentions of the Valley’s dominant communities. Atul Wokhlu

Ridiculous comparison

The article is absolutely rubbish not because of the similarities that are highlighted between Narendra Modi, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, but because of the attempt to try and convince the reader that Modi is exactly like Trump or Cruz, which is just not true (“Why Donald Trump + Ted Cruz = Narendra Modi”).

Trump is plain dumb when it comes to foreign policy. He constantly demeans women, insults people all the time, and is not embarrassed or shy about it.

Modi, on the other hand, is much more politically adept thanks to experience in public office. He hasn’t blatantly said anything demeaning towards anyone. He is power-hungry of course, but there is no evidence that he is blatantly trying to destroy the country for his own gain.

I think his problem is the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and other such fringe elements and how to control them. He is in a fix on how to handle them. While Modi would rather keep them at arm’s length, the Bharatiya Janata Party also needs their support.

Overall, Trump and Cruz (to a lesser degree) are oafs, bludgeoning their way to political office. Modi is far more measured. Ranjeet Singh


Which Prime Minister or President is not egotistic? So are they all like Donald Trump? The key difference between Narendra Modi and Donald Trump is that Modi is a career politician who has risen through the ranks, is a proven administrator, has a vision and ambition to make India strong and prosperous, and wants to engage with neighbours and the rest of the world. Parthadeb Chakravorty

Stray priorities

Whilst I do empathise with all the carers putting in their own money and time to take care of these strays, why don't they consider a few sanctuaries to house the bulk of these strays and see if they can get some like-minded people who will adopt a few of these strays as well (“In India, animal lovers feeding strays are being met by incredible hate”)?

This, I feel will keep them out of harm’s way in a safe and secure environment where they can be showered with love and care that their benefactors can give them. This will also stop the animal haters from abusing them.

As for keeping the streets cleaner and safer, I take that statement with a pinch of salt. These strays usually roam in packs and it is quite frightening to come across them at any time of the day and especially at night. Besides, with all this talk of Swachh Bharat, it is bad enough having open defecation without having the strays adding to it. Do the carers also see to the cleaning up after these strays? If they do, I take my hat off to them.

Whenever there is a case of a violent crime against these strays, it is good to know that the feeders collect evidence and follow a legal path to justice. But on the other hand, if and when one of these strays happen to attack and/or bite an innocent passerby, who then is responsible for his or her medical care or compensation and how does the law look upon such incidents and what legal path can he or she follow? Who among the do-gooders stand up and take responsibility for such incidents?

Whilst I do applaud the unselfish acts of these carers in looking after these strays, one must not forget the millions of humans in India who find it hard to get one square meal a day, living on the streets, and exposed to all sorts of diseases and abuses. I know that people like the Dalits and other sections of society are treated worse than these strays. Do these carers ever stop to think of the misery of millions of their “brothers and sisters”, who are living in far worse conditions than these strays. Let’s get things in perspective and our priorities in order. Martin Fernandes

Artificial debate

It was a good article when it appeared to be balancing the two, but seems to be lacking the basic intention to bring out ill-effects of GM crops all over the world, which actually motivated European countries to ban GM crops (“All our food is ‘genetically modified’ in some way – where do you draw the line?”).

The fight is between GM crops and traditional crops because wherever you go, you will find traditional crops standing tall and healthy in their local, already adapted climate, whereas GM crops failed to adapt even after a decade of cultivation in a region.

Please think and research more to know and better inform the people. Otherwise India is on the verge of getting GM-fied. People are fighting for their rights over seeds and we will also fight one day for safe food.

India is about to decide the entry of GM crops in our country and I think this type of article may confuse people. Take suitable actions with proper fact finding. Amit Kumar

Scholar's story

The article portrays a lovable personality, an accidental antagonist for the “real Sanskritists who are cold-blooded pendants” (“A life of learning: Wendy Doniger on becoming the woman who pretended to be who she was”).

Perhaps real Sanskritists have not bothered with her writings, but those concerned with Hindu identity have got angry. The puranas she mentions are happily read by the traditional Sanskrit scholars who do not take them seriously. However, one is not sure whether she is not serving the political/evangelical interests of some groups. Aravinda Rao K

Diplomatic bungle

This is the problem with this government (“From #ModiSlapsChina to an Uyghur U-turn: Modi caves to pressure from Beijing”). Whatever it does is just to please its urban middle hyper-nationalist class, which is baying for the blood of Pakistan and now China.

In this case, first to show that it is tough on China, it leaked the information about this man being granted a visa despite knowing fully well that it cannot stand up to China.

But here is the catch. The government has adopted the same approach as media organisations who report false information and then do not issue denial or bury it somewhere insignificant in the bulletin.

The government first let false information leak to the public to score brownie points, and then the right information slipped under the radar after some days, knowing fully well that its bhakts do not consume positive news.

And if some of them find about this, then they will play the victim card, claim helplessness or blame today’s conditions on the previous government.

No government in today’s world can stand up to China, but these Indian urbanites think that this government can slap China. What a joke. There is no way that a government slapped by Pakistan on the Pathankot attack can slap China. I advise these bhakts to live in the real world and not in their make-believe world. Vishal Jindal

Searching for shelter

I loved and was incredibly moved by Aarefa Johari’s illuminating photo essay (“Without Walls: A photo exhibition explores the lives of homeless women in Mumbai”). “Without Walls”. about women living on the streets of Mumbai. It brought into view these women’s lives in a very dramatic and personal way. The focus on the home, or lack thereof, also revealed the important challenges of finding work, safety, access to an education, among other things. Given that the state government is unlikely to build homes or shelters for these street dwellers, it left me wondering what can be done now. Kavita

Balanced treatment

I am a doctor and I work in a corporate setup (“Is the corporate hospital killing small hospitals and exploiting patients?”). I feel the article is bit too harsh on corporate hospitals, which have to compete with any other commercial establishments for buying land - the first step in establishing a hospital.

They are treated like a business entity by the government at all levels, be it registration fee, licenses, electricity, or water charges.

They have to pay competitive salaries so that their medical staff sticks to them. Many big and well connected people often get treated and never pay, including politicians and bureaucrats.

These hospitals have to accommodate government schemes, which bleed them heavily. The patients who pay for their treatment indirectly become victims.

There is no justification for doing unnecessary investigation, consultation or treatment (including surgeries). And not all doctors do it. There are bad police, bad lawyers, bad people, and bad doctors too. It’s not right to paint the whole community with the same brush. The situation at corporate hospitals is far from ideal and needs to change. Venkatesh Babu

Cultural pluralism

All religious practices, rules and customs must end within the four walls of one’s house (“Furore over a handshake declined in a Swiss town holds valuable lessons for India”).

Beyond those walls, every rule and custom of the nation must be practised by every citizen, permanent resident and Non-Resident Indian, or even foreign tourists.

If this is not going to be the case in every country, soon there will be religious wars spreading all over the world. MN Rao


An interesting article, but I have certain reservations. The argument here is that unless a religious interpretation is mainstream or maybe even universal, then it can’t be said that is religiously based and instead it’s culturally based.

This approach would regulate the status of any small religious community in the world to that without protection, such as a cult. This raises the question of when a “smaller community” becomes a “larger community” and thus deserving of protection. But that is beside my concern.

My real concern is that you’re not recognising that these children are acting out of their sincerely held religious understanding. If the individual right to freedom of religion is to have value, then it must be based on the individual and their conception of religion.

Does a Mormon have less rights to their beliefs than a Catholic, simply because Mormons are a much smaller denomination of Christians?

Having the scale of one’s rights depends on the size of the group of which one is a member. It is an affront to the meaning of human rights. Human rights are meant to protect the minority over the majority, promote equality between all people and are based on the individual. Gabriel Armas-Cardona