Decrying murder
May Swathi's soul Rest in Peace (“Murder in Nungambakkam: A computer engineer's killing forces Chennai to confront its big-city fears”).

I believe there were more daylight murders that week in different parts of the city. But then, the one of a techie, as it’s called, is a headline- grabbing one, I suppose. Other lives matter too. Care to write about them? – Ravinder


Sample this line from the article: "Even as she lay dying, no one dared to touch the body of a Brahmin girl. Is this another manifestation in reverse, of the hateful contradictions of a society mired in caste?"

From a purely practical standpoint, it is not possible to identify a body as a Brahmin, and thus not "dare" to touch it. Yes, the behavior of people who walked past and just went on with their day is puzzling as well as shameful, but that doesn’t mean it has anything to do with caste.

Second, I believe that Tamil Nadu, especially Chennai, thanks to Thanthai Periyar's movement, does not harbour as much casteist sentiment as, say, North India. This is the same city where, just six months ago, people helped neighbours stranded in the floods without discrimination on the basis of caste, religion, statehood or social standing.

Please don't make irresponsible inflammatory comments. Already, the RSS is spreading its vitriol making use of tragedies like this for selfish gains. I respect the journalism of Kindly do not stoop to their level. – Deena Sangeetha Chandran


There’s no doubt that our society is mired in caste, but that has never distanced the common man from his humaneness.

It’s a bit far-fetched to believe that people’s reluctance to go near Swathi’s body was because of caste factors when there other possible and common reasons – such as general apathy and people’s aversion to crime scenes.

What started as a touching exposition of changing culture and big-city fears got mired in unnecessary politicisation with the last two lines of this article. – YVR


I am one of the many people who are shocked by Swathi’s murder. I am even more pained by your remark about a caste angle that could have been the reason why no one touched her body. I am certain that you are wrong in this regard.
I am a proud Indian and a fiercely proud Chennaite. There is enough of pain as it is, please do not alleviate it. Yusuff


I was very sad to hear of the ghastly murder of a young, innocent engineering graduate in Chennai. Though I love South India and have studied there, Chennai has changed exponentially with regard to crime, drugs, slums, poverty and the ethnic divide.

Also the public needs to be more concerned, considerate and humane, especially if they witness such wrongdoing. Only then can we strive to be called civilised and hope to become a so-called develop country.

May God give strength Swathi’s family. – Kamad Dixit


I generally don’t write emails to any newspaper/website but I have made an exception to complain about this article by Geeta Doctor. The article is casteist, racist and sexist and a useless diatribe of irrelevant information. In simple words, it is verbal diarrhoea. Her observations are full of “would haves”, “could haves” and “should haves”, with zero facts. Ifthikar Ahmed


What does the writer mean by the statement: "no one dared to touch the body of a Brahmin girl”?

Going by our history, we can say that it is Brahmins who practiced untouchability and discriminated against lower castes

I am born into the Tamil Brahmin community of Kerala. I still remember how my grandfather used to scold my mother for giving buttermilk to Dalit labourers on hot days. My community is very discriminatory towards non-Brahmins. Very few of them are egalitarian.

What happened at Numgambakkam station was quite deplorable, especially the fact that no one came forward to report the incident or to Swathi to the hospital. May God give peace to Swathi's father. – Rama K

Moving tribute
I remember when I first met Veena Tai ("Veena Sahasrabuddhe (1948-2016) was one of the most authentic Gwalior gayaki exponents"). It was a Thursday – August 28, 2013 – and it was Janmashtami. This was just my second week in Pune.

I wanted to see her once and take her blessings. But just in case she would ask me to sing, I had prepared a Saraswati aaradhana sung by her, that I had been singing since I was eight. When she heard the names of my previous gurus and their gurus, she did ask me to sing. “Sing any raag,” she said. I was excited but also nervous. I decided to sing raag Bageshri – that was the first raag I had learnt and was confident about it.

But I ended up saying I’ll sing raag Shankara. Now I became even more nervous. I wasn’t as confident with this raag but had no choice but to sing it. I touched her feet and began. It must have gone well, because she asked me to come for her next music lesson.

I had only dreamt of learning from Veena Tai. I was on cloud nine! She taught with such commitment that I would look at her transfixed. She would effortlessly sing intricate yet subtle strings and ask us to repeat. And if she was not happy with our rendition she would say: "He pan chhan aahe... pan punaha pryatna kara." (This is nice, but try again).

I had the fortune of performing solo for her twice at the sangeet sabha at her residence. I'll cherish those performances as long as I live. Vidushi Veena Sahasrabuddhe, a committed teacher and a great performer, a supreme artiste with a child-like laughter, I have never heard and seen you performing live – I shall always regret that.

I know you are and will always be watching over us as we try to imbibe your renditions. Rest in peace. – Sailusha Vadapalli


Thanks for publishing such a great and moving tribute to Veena Sahasrabuddhe. It was a pleasure reading it here in Washington DC. – Vivek Date


Veena Sahasrabuddhe was an extraordinary singer and I have an extensive collection of her work, going back to her early years. It is sad to hear of her demise. – Rupasree Tewari

Unsatisfactory hike
The media has been screaming itself hoarse about the Seventh Pay Commission and how the entry-level salary of Rs 7,000 has been raised to Rs 18,000, and top-level salaries have increased from Rs 90,000 to Rs 2.5 lakhs (“The Daily Fix: With Seventh Pay Commission, we are getting more money – but more problems too?”). Either the media is, as usual, ignorant of the facts, or it is misrepresenting them.

Let me explain how it actually works.

The Rs 7,000 figure is the basic pay. Let’s assume each government servant was getting about 225% of their basic with accumulated dearness allowance increases over the past 10 years. So, the total pay was actually about Rs 15,750. The increase, then, is just Rs2,250 per month and is not worth all the brouhaha.

At least should have verified the facts. It may concern the cheering crowd that the increase this time is the lowest till date. – Ramachandran P


Every pay commission report approves a hefty (in the government’s words) hike for government servants. But has anyone stopped to think that the increment that we get is nothing but an increment to adjust for price rise? Those with no structures wages or increments, meanwhile, continue to suffer.

The need of the hour is a stringent mechanism to curb price rise.

Ours is a country ruled by bigwigs who make tall promises and supported by stalwart economists with the best brains – but with no results. Here are some steps the government should take to control inflation.

It should do away with the annual budget and instead constitute a periodical performance review board. It should withdraw all subsidies and freebies, especially to the privileged class. All elected representatives should be made to visit and work in their respective constituencies when the Assembly or Parliament is not in session. The government needs to do away with caste-based reservations. Pay and perks to MLAs and MPs should be restricted. The government should implement a uniform taxation police and reduce tax rates coupled with widening the base. Grievance redressal mechanisms should be simplified. – Srinivasan Venkateshan


The Seventh Pay Commission has disappointed all government servants except IAS officers. Pensioners are worst affected. Their pension has only increased by 14%. They don’t get any allowance. This is going to be the downfall of the BJP. – Kulbir Bhatia

Poor left out
The government’s claims of rising GDP and falling inflation are not backed by ground realities (“Seventh Pay Commission: Is the Centre robbing the poor to pay its employees?”). One just needs to look at the plight of ordinary people to see that they’re not true.

The prices of vegetables and pulses are rising by the day. Upward revision of service taxes has affected the middle class considerably.

Healthcare, education transport etc are also becoming unaffordable for the common man. Senior citizens who receive no pension and live on their bank deposit interests are scared of falling bank interests.

Meanwhile, central government employees are treated to a hike of 25%. The government should treat all equally. —Ravindranathan PV

Parochial protest
The agitation by Telengana advocates, judicial officers and chief minister K Chandrashekhar Rao is nothing but stupid (“Telangana politicians raise the pitch for separate High Court as judges' protest rages on”). It is abject parochialism and should be nipped in the bud. It is high time India unites against divisive and anti-national activities. – JR Krishnan

Prime-time talk
Why was Modi silent all this while (“Nation will not benefit from publicity stunts, says Narendra Modi: Times Now”)? A timely statement would have put the publicity-hungry Subramanian Swamy in his place.

It would have been alright if RBI governor Raghuram Rajan had made an independent decision to leave. He need not have been made the centre of unnecessary public discussion. There were some BJP/RSS members discussing economic issues without a clue on the subject.

Hope Modi's message is taken seriously by all those who talk out of turn – irrespective of party affiliation. – Srinivasan Iyer


With just one interview, Prime Minister Modi set aside many aspersions against him and his government. Various issues, such as the position on Pakistan, the NSG setback, Rajan’s resignation and black money, were adequately addressed. Speaking like the seasoned statesman that he is, he tackled the questions head-on and avoided any mud-slinging.

He pointed out that he remains wary of being misinterpreted by the media. The solution to this is greater engagement with the media. The public and press demand more transparency in the functioning of the government, especially the Prime Minister’s Office. If the prime minister can hold monthly, if not weekly, press conferences, the citizenry will feel more connected to him. – Gaurav Singhal

Power of the press
The writer of this piece says that journalists are taught to show deference to those in power (“The Times Now interview says more about Arnab than Modi but leaves us wondering: Why now?”). I have never heard that before.

On the contrary, journalists are notorious for treating the powerful with disdain. That is the only factor that has helped this profession survive despite all odds.

I have been a journalist for 40 years and I loved the profession because it offered me the freedom to treat the powerful and the powerless with equal deference. – NK Singh


Two years of Modi’s rule and there hasn’t even been a whiff of a scandal. The writer says Arnab Goswami soft handled Modi and compares it with his interviews of Rahul Gandhi and Manmohan Singh. But Modi's stature is different from that of Gandhi’s or Singh’s.

Singh was a damp squib. And about Gandhi, the less said the better.

The country has bigger issues than ghar wapsi and cattle. The writer does not recognise true merit. – G Natesh


Political prophecy
It's okay to have an anti-BJP agenda – I don't expect anything better from you – but this article seems vengeful (“The Nine-Year Curse: Why BJP policies are leading India towards a 2020 disaster”). The writer was so absorbed with spewing venom that he actually called the Chinese President “Eleven Jinping”. Really sad. You should have a comment section your articles. You can't just shoot and scoot. As a media house you need to be as neutral as possible. – Mayank Kumar


The writer’s attitude is pessimistic attitude. His claim of "eight years of unprecedented economic growth and dropping poverty levels" during Congress rule is debatable.

Everybody had high expectations from the BJP government and was looking forward to instant results. It has been only two years since it was formed.

There are still three long years to go till the BJP’s tenure ends. There is still so much to look forward to, so much to hope for and to work together to achieve. But the author, it seems, has already made his prophecy based on these two years.

He has predicted communal conflagrations too. Heaven forbid such problem to ever come.

If possible, we all need to be positive. Not all people wanted the BJP to come to power, but now that they have, we should be responsible citizens and help them take India to new heights. And if they’re going off track, we should remind them of our common goals – not scare people unnecessarily by making such prophecies. – Bipulesh Baruah

Coach clash
Anil Kumble was the right choice for Team India coach and he is endowed with an indomitable will (“Cricket: Sourav Ganguly lashes out at Ravi Shastri as coach selection squabble worsens”). Ravi Shastri is gauche and is best behind the microphone. He should have accepted Kumble's selection gracefully. – Khaliqur Rahman

Pitched battle
Sourav Ganguly cannot be compared with Ravi Shastri (“Dear Ravi Shastri and Sourav Ganguly, for the sake of Indian cricket, please grow up”). Lavish, easy-going like Vijay Mallya – those are the attributes of Shastri, even though he has given India good results in the past. Ganguly, on the other hand, is an adventurer, a brave man like Netaji. He takes up every task assigned to him and finishes it successfully. We have to appreciate his decision to be bold with Shastri. – Radheesh


Ravi Shastri started it. Being a senior, he could have maintained restraint. Shastri's outbursts stemmed from frustration of not getting the coaching position. He is not fit for the job.

He lacks the balance and maturity required for a coach. He encouraged sledging during the Sri Lankan tour in 2015 and could not restrain Ishant Sharma, who was handed a one-match ban. His argument with the Wankhede pitch curator smacks of arrogance and immaturity. How can a person like this be given an important post? – Gopinath Nalla


Sourav Ganguly’s outburst did not start the fire, it was already burning. Ravi Shastri is the media’s darling, but the media would not have defended Ganguly. So he had to do it himself.

This article tries to justify Shastri’s stance. Ganguly was very restrained. What was wrong in being absent from a Skype interview? Shastri could have requested Ganguly for another interview. – Sankar Chakraborti

Misplaced priorities
Hrithik was just trying to narrate what happened with him (“Social media ticks off Hrithik Roshan and Celina Jaitly for self-absorbed tweets on Istanbul attacks”). At a time like this when so many people have lost their lives in the Istanbul airport attacks, you are worried about what Hrithik and other celebrities tweeted? – Mitin Kothari

Food for thought

Food habits are an individual’s choice and freedom to choose it is a fundamental right (“'In my religion, meat is Ma Kali’s prasad': A Shakto Hindu objects to enforced vegetarianism”). No religious fanatic should have the right to impose on my food habits.

Those who talk about Hindutva know nothing about Hinduism. In ancient times and in mythology, everyone ate meat. – Venkatesh S Amarnath


I read Garga Chatterjee’s article and appreciate that he has spoken for the Bengali community, in which people of all castes eat the same kind of food. No one distinguishes between vegetarian and non-vegetarian.

However, I don't agree that the Hindi-speaking belt is forcing vegetarianism. I have found strong resentment in people of South India too towards meat-eaters. Don’t generalise people of a certain belt. – Dollon Bose

Glory days
Journalists of the time had zeal (“'Himmat' during the Emergency: When the Press crawled, some refused to even bend”). There were upright scribes who stood firm amid the turmoil, like Ramnath Goenka of The Indian Express. Much before that PK 'Acharya ' Atre was instrumental to the Samyukta Maharashtra Movement for the creation of a Marathi-speaking state out of the State of Bombay. Lokmanya Tilak spearheaded the fight against colonial rule through his publications, Kesari and Mahratta.

Alas, these principles and the spirit of sacrifice have deserted many in the field. Many mediapersons have become puppets in the hands of corporates and some have become mercenaries. – Vishwas Shinde


This article reminds me of my own days in journalism. I had just joined as a trainee in Morning Echo, a tabloid of HT group during Emergency.

I was eager to do so much – like all new reporters – but with VC Shukla breathing down our neck, that wasn’t possible.

Surprisingly, I was not even allowed to do a story on the ban on Kishore Kumar songs on Sanjay Gandhi’s orders. So I chose to not write on politics at all instead of writing lies. After that period, I got all the freedom to do things the way I wanted and editors always backed us.

Today, however, editors rarely take a strong stand and reporters are usually on their own. – Amitabh Srivastava

Shameful circumstances
I remember in May 1964, when Jawaharlal Nehru expired, the entire country plunged into sorrow at the loss of great patriot and successful diplomat (“Raghuram Rajan's letter makes it clear – leaving the RBI wasn't his decision”).

Everyone was wondering who could possibly fill his shoes. But shortly thereafter India got one of its finest prime ministers in Lal Bahadur Shastri. Now too, the coveted chair of RBI governor will be occupied by someone capable – there is no doubt about that.

However, the manner in which Rajan was forced to take the difficult decision of resigning from the post when the country needs him very badly is not only unfortunate but also deplorable. – Anuj Sinha

Spreading falsities
It is through such rumours and wrong information that Narendra Modi was able to capture the imagination of BJP workers and voters (“'Modi has been declared World's Best Travelling PM by UNESCO': Twitter trolls hoax 'award for Modi'”).

As this article mentions, this hoax – about UNESCO adjudging Modi as the world’s best PM – has done the rounds in the past too.

Modi bhakts knew that India’s NSG bid will be thwarted by China. Therefore, to curtail the damage to beloved prime minister’s image, this lie was circulated on the same day that news of the NSG setback hit headlines.

Even when he was eyeing the PM’s post, misinformation was spread about Gujarat’s development that was later termed the Gujarat Model.

His work ethics were eulogised by his supporters on the internet.

During the Uttarakhand floods in 2013 too, a report was doing the rounds that Modi had singlehandedly evacuated 15,000 Gujaratis – as though he were superman.

But as the famous saying goes: "you can fool all of the people some of the time (like in 2014), and some of the people all the time (bhakts) but not all of the people all the time." – Vishal Jindal

Dubious claims
Homosexuality and sodomy are strictly forbidden in Islam (“Orlando shooting: It’s different now, but Muslims have a long history of accepting homosexuality”). You are distorting Muslim past and their history. Conjecturing is neither research nor scholarship. – Nazir Hussain


I understand that it serves the point you are trying to make, but you have committed a grave factual mistake by categorising Albania as a Muslim country. Albania, in fact, always had a rich history of Catholic, Orthodox and Muslim religions. Still, since 1945, Albania was, by law, an atheist country and only recently regained the freedom of religion. – Nebil Kanada

Unquestionably great
I enjoyed tribute to Neil O'Brien with personal insights as it brought the generous quiz master alive (“Neil O’Brien: The father of Indian quizzing had more than just a few questions up his sleeve”). I loved to read his quiz questions in Telegraph whenever I would visit Kolkata. The tribute clearly indicates that O’Brein was a quizzer out of passion and valued a sense of fairness. Rest in peace, Neil O'Brien. The country is poorer with the departure of a person of your stature. Melanie P Kumar

Bullish defence
I really appreciate your attempt to present Adhi Ramachandran Venkatapathy’s song Takkaru Takkaru as worthless (“This Tamil music video wants you to believe the jalikattu ban is a corporate conspiracy”).

Seriously, if you had seen the video or listened to the song, you would not be dismissing it in your very first paragraph, a line in which says: "The bull-taming tradition, which involves torturing the animals and force-feeding them liquor, also has many defenders who argue that it is an important part of Tamil culture and can be done in a safe manner."

Guess what – video is getting many more views and positive comments than your site has ever had. – Mufaris Sulthan

Hard questions
I’d like to ask Ms Nitasha Kaul how we could contribute to tackling and minimising the ills she has mentioned (“A few things I wasn't able to discuss with BJP leader Ram Madhav during his Al Jazeera interview”). Can she not attribute the excesses in Kashmir to successive Congress-led governments? How is Hindu fundamentalism and Hindu nationalism responsible for that mess? What, in her opinion, is the way out? Is she not concerned about soldiers being massacred by mercenaries from across the border? – Anant Patil

Indigenous route
It is true that domestic production is the only viable option to curb the rise in prices of food grain (“As pulses become expensive again, farm experts say Make in India is the only option”). Farmers must be rewarded and offered competitive prices for their produce. The government must purchase the entire lot and build storage facilities.

If funds are a problem in creating more storage, it should get the private sector on board. Dependence on imports will only drain our resources. – KJ George

Reimagining caste

This is among the better ideas that have emerged in recent times to secure the dignity of Dalits (“The violence of caste: Why I have changed my name to Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd”).

If we can cheer a Michael Schumacher without a thought for his ancestral occupation or name, it makes sense to get such madness out of our vocabulary.

It doesn’t even have to be Anglican names. We can use the Saxon variant, like Schumacher, for even better impact or Cordonnier (French for cobbler!) Well done Mr Ilaiah! Respect. Debraj Mookerjee