Online hate

I admit that a lot of comments on Twitter are offensive and meaningless (“As Rajdeep Sardesai quits Twitter, time to ask: is abuse killing the social network in India?”).

The fact is that today’s society is such. People talk nonsense all day long. Even journalists are not free from this disease. They talk nonsense, make baseless comments and can never stick to the point. Just look at any television talk show – the host is cutting off participants and shouting at all of them.

Everyone is talking at the same time. Some people, including the host, hog all the time on air while polite people are forced to be quiet. The point is that uncivilised behaviour is all around and Twitter is just a manifestation of it. Ashok Bhagat


Abuse and mindless trolling is killing the fascination for the social networking sites. It is up to these social media sites to create a checks and balances system to stop these people. If they don’t do this early, more and more liberals will quit or turn inactive on these sites. Vishal Jindal


When news anchors are so obsessed with showing their neutrality through a biased approach towards a personality with a large majority, then people will start expressing their frustration.

It’s time for the media personnel also to introspect what’s wrong with the anchors who are being heavily criticised and abused consistently, I don’t abuse anyone, but there is anger within me and many of my friends on why the media is so one- sided.

I’m very sure there is a form of reporting which is blowing certain issues out of proportion to vilify the central government. There is not a single question or focus on state governments, which are the primary law and order agencies. Ghajabiram Sriramulu

Dreams at stake

I am a student from West Bengal (“Supreme Court recalls 2013 verdict, reinstates common entrance test for medical courses”). In the previous year, I did not fare well in the medical examination. But it’s my childhood dream to become a doctor, so I dropped one year just to prepare for the exam.

Hope the Supreme Court knows that there is a huge difference between the state syllabus and CBSE syllabus. Like me, thousands of students were preparing for state medical exams. But the court’s last-minute decision came as a hammer blow. How can we prepare for the all-India exam in such limited time?

We are the victims. No one is listening to us. If this decision had been made a year ago, then we would have prepared ourselves based on the CBSE pattern. Our dreams are being crushed. Sourav Guin


Arson at play

Throughout the story, forest fires are considered inevitable. Please note that drought does not spark off forest fires, people do (“Drought sparks off one of the worst forest fires Uttarakhand has seen”). These are not innocent villagers, uneducated villagers or anything of the sort – they are arsonists. To deal with the situation, these people have to be prosecuted and convicted.

The Forest Department is not empowered to deal with the situation, the police is, and it is complete inaction on the part of the police that is largely responsible for this situation.

Placebos like money to buy equipment, helicopters carrying buckets of water, or additional personnel to fight the fires, will not address the problem, which is that arsonists are having a field day, for whatever reason. Peter Smetacek

Root cause

Akshat Khandelwal’s proposition that the usage of English as a medium of education is the reason for incompetent graduates is specious logic, which perhaps the current Human Resource Development regime will lap up with alacrity (“Why the English language is to blame for the continued poor quality of India’s MBAs”).

The flawed logic goes that teaching a second language is difficult, and unless students speak that at home, it is pointless. This absolves the teachers, the schools and the students themselves, while offering regressive and a borderline silly solution: education in vernacular languages.

The lack of exposure to the outside world shines through. Almost every professional German, Nord or Russian today speaks good English, and the European Union does most work in English (when it is the second language for all the countries).

English isn’t the problem. It is bad quality primary and secondary education, which won’t improve in any language. Mudit R


The very basics of being successful in today’s cut-throat competitive environment has been highlighted in a very subtle manner. This is also is one of the basic reasons our country is still lagging behind in all sectors. Hence, by stressing on this issue, we can grow in leaps and bounds. RN Prabhakar

Overlooking the benefits

I disagree with the exaggerated comments about thr E-jamaat card (“Bohra community’s smart card system shows us what a post-Aadhaar world could look like”). Its main pupose is to help community members and make them participate in jamaat and community activities more efficiently, and bring them into the mainstream for their own spiritual benefits. The author seems to be biased against our system and ignorant about the great benefits that the community is reaping.

Can the author quote a single example where the E-jamaat card has been used to invade privacy? Sk Shabbir Fidvi


The article is highly malicious and defamatory towards our community, and I was deeply hurt by reading it.

I appreciate the debate on privacy concerns regarding the Aadhaar law. However, this article is a naked effort to sling mud on our community. Isn’t this an abject failure of your editorial board to let defamatory content pass as an article ?

There is a section that separated from our community a couple of years back. Since then, they have made a concerted effort to defame our community. Couldn’t your editorial board see through this effort? The article is one-sided and has no connection to reality.

There is no compulsion for a community member to get the smart card. It is only required if you are participating in community activities. In fact, the smart card has allowed equitable distribution of the community resources. I would ask you to go and talk the members of the Dawoodi Bohra community to find out the truth.

The department that runs the smart card programme has strict privacy policies, where personal details are never shared or revealed. I have been using the smart card since its inception and am thankful for such a system. The smart card system has been used to ensure the progress and upliftment of the community. If nothing else, it can be a model on how the Aadhaar system’s information can be used for the progress of the whole nation.

I am looking forward to an apology from your editorial board, and the removal of the defamatory content from your site. Murtaza Shabbir Rampurawala

Canine cause

Banning the import of dogs will certainly stop the entry of newer strains of existing viruses as well as newer canine diseases into India (“India’s ban on importing dogs is welcome – but not enough”). Many canine diseases are exotic and have entered the country owing to the massive important of dogs for commercial purposes.

Most of these importers, or so-called great breeders, do not have any emotion for these dogs. The dog itself, which never forgets his first master, suffers emotional shocks throughout its life, which is visible in their eyes during dog shows. SK Paul


Although the title says a lot, there are a lot of loopholes.

First of all, there are already lots of foreign dogs in India which are being bred for sale at very high prices. After the owners breed the living hell out of them, they leave them loose to wander and eventually starve to death. There is also a lot of inbreeding going on, which makes each species genetically weaker and more prone to illness.

Secondly, you state that dog owners abroad can bring their pets home. And if their pets aren’t sterilised, they start breeding them here and have a thriving business selling the pups. It's a Catch 22 situation.

Recently, in Goa, there have been lots of breed dogs set loose because the owners cannot afford to look after them. Their plight is very sad indeed.

So I’m not really sure if what is being implemented is really going to make that much of a difference. I can only hope and pray it does. Alethea Lobo

Tree's company

It is time to consider planting, nurturing and growing trees as part of urban utility, especially in a tropical urban setup like Bengaluru (“Why more cities need to add up the economic value of trees”).

Usually, the argument against the presence of trees in the urban landscape is that it damages sidewalks, hinders drawing of overhead power lines, and doesn’t leave enough space for underground drainage and water lines. This line of thinking is purely owing to the attitude that trees serve no tangible purpose. That is why it calls for a paradigm shift in thinking. nsmukunda on email

Twisting a misquote

At a press conference for Art of Living’s water conservation project in Latur on April 30, a journalist asked Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, “Are you doing all this work for the Nobel Prize (“Is Sri Sri Ravi Shankar too cool for the Nobel prize? Twitter thinks so”)?” He replied, “Not at all. What will I do with a prize? We have been doing social work for years now and it has not been for prizes. When good work is done, people think it is for a prize. There is no logic in this. When a 16-year-old girl, without any body of work, gets the prize, you get a sense that you don’t need to do much to get the Peace Prize. There are political factors at play.”

He had added that once someone had told him you have to lobby for the prize. Sri Sri refused, saying “I will not do so.”

This has been misquoted by the media.

The Art of Living firmly refutes the statement made in several articles that quote Sri Sri Ravi Shankar as saying that he had been offered the Nobel Prize in the past and had rejected it. The Art of Living


The article is built entirely on a misquote by another publication. Nowhere is Sri Sri Ravi Shankar claiming to turn down the Nobel Prize or criticising Malala Yousafzai, as this author states.

A true professional would have felt the need to get the other side of the story by giving Art of Living an opportunity to comment on the “so-called” quote. But the author took the easy route and offered her own take on it for public consumption.

And now it seems the alleged “Nobel controversy” continues in your publication, even though none exists.

As journalists, we have a responsibility and an obligation to present the truth; not “twist” it to create a news story that sizzles and that fuels the kind of rants we see on your site. Barbara deSouza MacMath

Fixing a hole

The author has done her homework and the analysis is appreciated. That said, I’d like to highlight a few issues (“Fixing India’s school system: Government must show equal commitment to kids of both poor and rich”).

As a society, we have a lot to answer for the ills in our education system; blaming the government alone takes us nowhere.

The criticisms of the Human Resource Development ministry, while valid, are still premature. We have had so-called political and intellectual titans handling this ministry, with disappointing results.

Smriti Irani has had a hostile establishment to contend with. Very early into her tenure, they decided that she was not one of them. Further, as a first time cabinet minister, she has had her work cut out. The new education policy will be her litmus test.

Unbridled private enterprise, when touted as the panacea for all the ills of our education system, is to say the least, done with specific profit-making agendas, with little interest in nation building.

As a soldier educationist, my biggest distress is not about policies. We may have the very best of them, or the most mediocre of them, yet ground level implementation with accountability is needed.

The government teacher community, politically among the most powerful today, play the single-most destructive role in making our education crisis go from bad to worse.

Any government – Centre or state – able to rein them in, and get them to do just the basics right, will win elections without even campaigning. Lt Col A Sekhar (Retd)


I do not think this government or any government for that matter has any commitment to kids, whether rich or poor.

It’s not as if the private schools charging exorbitant fees have better teachers. The students' performances are directly proportional to after-school tuitions.

The argument goes beyond private and government schools. We just do not have teachers who have mastery over their chosen subject domain, nor are they aware of pedagogic strategies. Technology is shunned by most teachers.

With every passing generation we are spending more and more on education and getting less and less. Sita

Hate brigade

This article by Kavita Krishnan is completely false, malicious and unsubstantiated (“Sex and sedition: What the JNU dossier tells us about the right-wing imagination”). It is a figment of hateful imagination nurtured and nourished by fascist-intolerant ideologues of political parties.

The dossier is not even remotely connected to my name, even though I know as much about it as anyone else in JNU, since it had become a reason for not reinstating a School of International Studies Dean despite his exoneration from a sexual harassment case through JNU’s Executive Council in 2014.

Such hate brigades that misuse social media open themselves up for criminal defamation, and when caught, they will start another campaign for deliverance.

Universities are a platform for quality citizenship education, expanding job markets for our PhDs by developing new, inter-disciplinary courses and innovative research areas. These hate brigades seem to be oblivious of the jobless growth that India has been pushed into by the previous Manmohan economics, and are playing havoc with the lives of students aspiring for good lives through a university PhD degree.

In the next three years, most of them will have no jobs in higher education. A kind advice to stop preying on young lives and demonstrate your work for the vast majority of JNU students other than just these eight in the quagmire. Find an alternative assignment as soon as possible. Amita Singh