Power play
The more Narendra Modi tries to stall the AAP government’s administration, the more counter-productive his efforts will be (“Battle royale: Why Modi has launched such an energetic attack on Kejriwal and AAP”). He cannot succeed in this as Kejriwal is innovative and determined. Also, Kejriwal may lead Delhiites in protest against the Modi government for not letting his administration do good work.

Modi’s attack on Kejriwal seems vengeful. To my mind, taking a benevolent approach and assist in development work in Delhi would be a more effective way of winning support. – SL Goyal


You are Modi haters and this is a completely biased article. When Modi was chief minister of Gujarat, the media made it seem like he had the power to ensure the Centre does not act against him – how is that possible?

Now, too, you are portraying Kejriwal to be an innocent victim while Modi unleashes whatever he wants against him. Kejriwal is audacious and has only one trick – of positing himself against one target.

He forgets that when he started his so-called revolution against corruption, his target was the Congress and now his target is Modi – though he can’t even touch a man of that stature. – Dinesh Agarwal


AAP has shown in Delhi that it is the only party that can fulfill the people’s mandate. There are many differences between its policies and those of the Congress and the BJP.

AAP works towards rooting out corruption and cutting red tape. It’s functioning is more liberal and it is in touch with the common people.

The BJP, on the other hand, came to power based on its attacks of the Congress. It has gone back on all its promises and its policies are targeted at fulfilling the demands of corporate while secretly pushing the Hindutva agenda. It has failed at controlling price rise.

As a result, the party has lost favour with the poor, with farmers, unemployed youth and labourers. AAP is pro working class and functions with honesty. AAP is on course to becoming a national party. – Om Parkash Puri


Indian journalists just can’t be balanced. Their articles are either pro or anti someone. This sounds more like propaganda. – Rahul


Thank you very much for coming out with such a good analysis of the tussle between Modi and Kejriwal. It brings out all facts and gives an overview of how things have shaped up till date, how things stand, and how they will unfold in the days to come. – Mandar Thatte


Ashraf's analysis of the Modi-Kejriwal confrontation is brilliant.

Modi will probably never understand that Indians are not fools. Soon, he will be ousted by the very people who voted him to power.

I liken the present situation to the one in 1976-77, when Indira Gandhi repeatedly got opposition leaders arrested, only to learn her lesson through a terrible defeat in the Parliamentary elections.

The only difference is at that time, there was a united opposition, while at present the AAP is singlehandedly challenging Modi and the BJP while the others watch. – Angelo Pais


Ashraf doesn’t question the appointment of AAP’s Rajendra Kumar – who was arrested this week by the CBI in a corruption case – to the sensitive post principal secretary to the chief minister.

He also doesn’t speak of the appointment of 21 AAP legislators as Parliamentary Secretaries by the Delhi government, allegedly in violation of the office-of-profit rule.

Instead, he blames Modi for everything. Is this a neutral analysis or a paid one?

He who stirs the hornet’s nest is bound to get stung. – Ajoy Verma

Talk time
Your analysis of Arnab Goswami and the myth that he speaks truth to power is bang on (“What Arnab's response to the backlash over his interview with Modi tells us about him”). Congratulations on saying it like it is.

It is a wonder that people don't see through his hectoring manner, which always chooses to make someone the scapegoat whilst going soft on others. After this interview, the ratings of Arnab's news programme should have dropped, but as your piece states, people have short-term memories and are easily carried away. Thank you for your great coverage. – Melanie P Kumar


On May 8, 2002, MV Kamath wrote an article on the Gujarat riots in the Times of India. In it, he traced the history of communal riots in Gujarat post Partition. The most important advice he gave to mainstream English media was not to demonise Hindus for the riots.

Eventually, this and the attack against Modi caused Hindus of Gujarat to rally behind him, resulting in his thumping victory in the state elections later that year.

From then on, Modi’s winning streak has continued and today he is the prime minister.

Mainstream English media thinks that its readers/viewers are illiterate. Modi as prime minister works selflessly for 18 hours a day for India’s development. Arnab Goswami did a good thing by interviewing him in this manner. – Karadi Raghava Rao


English news channels in India can compete with the tabloids and paparazzi in the West in yellow journalism. The advent of megalomania in TV journalism began with the likes of Rajdeep Sardesai and Barkha Dutt. But that was child’s play compared to what happened with the arrival of Arnab Goswami, the king of the cesspool. He can certainly claim the total ownership for this state of English TV coverage. – NS Rao

Opinion divided
I have followed and appreciated Scroll.in for a long time now but I am struck by the stupidity of publishing this article (“Watch: Fact-checking Zakir Naik and discovering 25 mistakes in a five-minute talk”). I am neither a Muslim nor a follower of Zakir Naik but have heard the so-called televangelist’s speeches many times.

There may be different opinions on him, but you can't call him out on grammatical and pronunciation errors that are common to many south Asians.

Why does the media always take sides even while seemingly reporting facts? Islamic extremism is blamed for global terror, but the acts of Western powers in Muslim countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan are not highlighted or equated with terrorism.

The greater the power, the greater the responsibility. – Prudhvi Raj


One needs to look at all of Zakir Naik’s clips, not judge him based on one or two videos. No one is perfect. Naik is airing his views – it does not matter whether or not we like them.

Do not encourage hatred between communities. – MM Sikander

Movers and shakers
The recent Cabinet expansion gives credence to the perception that ministerial appointments are more about political appeasement than responsible governance (“Has the Cabinet reshuffle weakened the BJP among UP’s Kurmis?”). The job must go to the best man irrespective of his caste, race or domicile. However, in this case, the aim was to give representation to those belonging to the poll-bound states.

Important Cabinet portfolios must be insulated from vote-bank politics. It hampers governance, and restricts the implementation of new initiatives taken by previous ministers. Actions like this prove, yet again, that the BJP-led NDA is all about political sloganeering and unfulfilled promises. There is no serious effort to reform the age-old governance practices. Gaurav Singhal

Game of thrones
It is sad to see Jayant Sinha shunted out of the finance ministry and made minister of state for civil aviation in the recent Cabinet expansion (“India's new minister of state for finance loves cycling, yoga and Modi – but can't stand homosexuals”). Sinha was well received by the corporate world. He was qualified and perhaps Jaitley saw him as competition.

Punishing him for his father Yashwant Sinha’s criticism of the Modi government is mischievous and that theory doesn’t cut ice with me.

Maybe, he made some innocuous public statements that didn’t go down well with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. One wonders what expertise he will bring to the Civil Aviation ministry and what Modi or Amit Shah's intentions were. – Srinivasan Iyer

Biased view
This article is so heavily loaded in favour of the murder accused, Ramakumar that I am surprised it does not collapse under its own weight (“Swathi murder: Alleged killer was a quiet man struggling to free family from poverty, say neighbours”)!

The young man is made out to be a paragon and every aspect of the police investigations and their findings are labelled as doubtful, almost dishonest.

For example, the article says: “Ramkumar had allegedly been identified from CCTV footage and was captured after an intense manhunt.”

“The police closed in on the Choolaimedu neighbourhood after obtaining footage from a private CCTV camera that they claimed had established that Ramkumar had been in the area,” it further says. “A door-to-door search led them to the home in which he had been living, the police said, and alleged that they recovered blood-stained clothes from there.”

But the writer has omitted the one truly damning point that was widely reported in the press. When Ramkumar was arrested, he tried to slash his throat, and was hospitalised. If he was innocent, why this suicide attempt?

This is just one of the slanted articles Scroll.in seems to specialise in. I was shocked by an earlier one by Geeta Doctor, where it was speculated that Swathi was left bleeding on the platform because she was a Brahmin and no one dared to touch her. Neither writer nor your editor paused to ask themselves – how would the passersby have known she was a Brahmin?

Now you are busy canonising a murder suspect, while making sure that you play the Dalit card as well. – Shyamala B Cowsik

Great escape
I read this well-written piece with great interest as I have been to Cooch Behar with the late Maharani Gayatri Devi and toured the palace extensively (“Cooch Behar in north Bengal has an Italian Renaissance palace so beautiful it will blow your mind”). I was fortunate to have been given a tour of the place by the great lady herself. I would just like to make a minor correction – Maharani Gayatri Devi was born in England, not in Cooch Behar. – Dharmendar Kanwar

Loan trouble
The banking sector is passing through its worst phase (“India Inc is sunk in bad debt – and unlikely to pay up”).

The RBI’s disclosure that banks had written of loans worth Rs 1.14 lakh crore between 2013-15 and non-performing assets have gone up to Rs 3.6 lakh crore points to an alarming scenario. As the article points out, most of these bad loans are to the corporate sector.

But industrialists continue to lead the most luxurious lives even though the corporations they own are debt-ridden.

There is no proper appraisal and monitoring of loans. Above all, with the connivance of bank officials and politicians, industrial houses ensure a constant supply of loans. The time is not far when the public loses confidence in the banking system. An independent judicial commission should be appointed to catch the big fish of the corporate world. – Kewal Khanna

Remembering a prime minister
While I have no comments on the nuclear programme, as revenue secretary of India, I had interacted with Prime Minister Narsimha Rao on several sensitive issues (“Narasimha Rao, not Vajpayee, was the PM who set India on a nuclear explosion path”). Rao was a strong proponent of the judiciary and would always say – let the law take its course. He would advise me to, at all times, stay within the law so that actions could be justified in any fora.

During the 1993 hijack of an Indian Airlines flight, the prime minister put me in charge even though I was no longer the Director General of Civil Aviation. He calmly told our crisis management group to go ahead with an assault on the aircraft. The hijacker was taken out. Rao told the cabinet secretary that he will defend our decision to storm the aircraft based on my assessment that the assault could result in casualties but the nation's prestige would be maintained by not yielding to a hijacker.

Despite all that has been said and written about Rao in connection with the Jain hawala case, I was handling the case before the Supreme Court, along with the CBI director, and I can vouch that he didn’t ask me even once about the details of the case even though I met him on occasion for other matters. Rao was one of the best prime ministers of India. – MR Sivaraman

Caste debate
Geeta Doctor ostensibly wrote a piece on the tragic death of Swathi, a young Infosys employee who was murdered while on her way to work (“Murder in Nungambakkam: A computer engineer's killing forces Chennai to confront its big-city fears”). But is this really what the piece is about? Because to me, it looks more like a platform for Doctor to present her politics.

Bang in the middle of the piece is a paragraph that paints a community in a shade that is not at all objective. It says: "In recent times an additional ingredient has been added into the ethnic pot by members of 'Little Tibet’ as anyone from the North East have been labeled. Some of them prove the point by setting up stalls selling momos and noodle soup that the young men make in dark and dingy corridors and that their dazzling fair counterparts, the young women, sell on the streets attracting a certain kind of clientele."

This reeks not only of racism and sexism, but insinuates that this is the only way one can look at people from the North Eastern states of India.

There is nothing critical or objective about this description and it amazes me that it passes editorial standards of Scroll.in. I expected much more.

Then comes another jewel:

“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?”

The point that Doctor tries to make here is beyond me, to be honest. I read this last sentence nearly 10 times but its meaning eludes me. It just strikes me as wrong and inappropriate.

What has her being a Brahmin girl got to do with apathy of fellow passengers not rushing to protect her or, later, cover her body and ask for help?

With due respect to Doctor, who I know is a writer of repute, I do not think the use of such divisive language, discriminatory in its import and superficial in its presentation, ought to be framed as objective commentary and pass editorial standards at an independent publication. – Jasmeet Sahi


A young woman was slaughtered by a man at a busy railway station. Yes, she was ambitious and had aspirations like all young women do. Should she not have any aspirations?

She clearly was unprepared for the bloody assault that was to come. The fact is nobody responded to her attack and went about their business. Her body was lying in the railway station with the blood dripping and congealing.

At no time did people do the civilised thing, which was to cover her body and give her dignity. That would have been the human thing regardless of her caste or her religion.

According to the writer there is some casteist conspiracy that is involved in not touching her or covering her body. The fact is, as a woman, the writer has no sympathy for a young woman hacked to death but is happy to bring religion and caste as a diatribe speaks to the level of vitriol that exists in society where even in dying you are not accorded peace. – Meera Venkatachalam


Geeta Doctor's conclusion is nonsensical, to say the least. While many TV stations highlighted her caste in the absence of any detail from the police, by no stretch of imagination can one say that people stood there on the platform unwilling to help her or touch her body because she was a Brahmin. People were probably paralysed with fear or plain insensitive. There can be any number of post-incident analyses, but this caste angle takes the discussion to a new low. – G Krishnan

Insult to injury
It is very sad to compare government servants with monkeys (“Seventh Pay Commission: Is the Centre robbing the poor to pay its employees?”). Such articles should not be encouraged by Scroll.in – Akilesh R

Illusion or reality?
Funnily, the writer’s arguments actually support Elon Musk’s claims (“Elon Musk is wrong: We live inside a giant computer game only if aliens built the pyramids”).

As the writer argues, the mere fact that may be part of a simulation does not decrease the significance of this simulation that appears as reality to us. The world still has problems that need to be solved. Our actions still have meaning. So what if we’re all inside computer? Climbing the Everest is still hard, even if it’s a simulation of the mountain and not the real thing.

It’s just that calling it a simulation is explains a lot of weird occurrences. For instance, Quantum Mechanics makes more sense if we look at our world as a simulation. As do concepts such as karma, after-life, God, heaven and hell. – Parv


In this article, Anvar Alikhan initially exclaims: "When the billionaire inventor made that assertion, people’s first reaction was to nod and connect his theory with what had come before "

But a peek at Alikhan’s other articles reveals that just a few days ago, he wrote an article doing the exact same thing. “When a hard-headed pragmatist like Elon Musk, who is immersed in the world of technology, sticks his neck out on the subject, it’s time to shut up and pay attention,” Alikhan wrote in a previous article on Musk’s theory, that we’re all a part of cosmic computer game, on Scroll.in

The condescending tone of his article denouncing Musk’s theory, then, is frustrating, because he had fallen into the same trap that he now conveniently attributes to "people". If this is his stance on the issue now, I honestly do not see why he would write a knee-jerk article. That is extremely bad journalism.

Further, the writer displays a profound lack in the realms of logic, since principally he keeps committing the fallacy of equivocation. In his previous article, he had asserted that the concept of maya and the idea of a simulation are one and the same. But that’s not the case at all.

Maya is an esoteric concept, based on the idea that the only fundamental truth in the universe is God – everything else is an illusion. This "illusion" and the idea that reality now is an illusion because there exists a possibility that the universe might be a computer simulation, are not one and the same.

In article in question, he blatantly asserts that "simulations are made of the same stuff that everything else is made of..." This is trivially true, and Elon Musk (or any other sane person) would not deny it.

"...hence they are the same as reality." In this conclusion lies the problem.

Of course simulations (and computer games) are made of elements found in this universe, but that does not mean computer games are not qualitatively different from us human beings, or that we can't use the word "simulation" when we refer to them. Herein lies another fallacy of equivocation and just general lack of understanding.

The writer also says: "...a 10-inch model of Mount Everest is still made of the same stuff that everything else is made of hence it is the same as reality."

This, too, is trivially true, but can you jump to say that since the model of Mount Everest is made of real particles and Mount Everest is also made of real particles, the model = Mount Everest itself? This simple logic he fails to realise when he refutes Musk.

Our universe could be a simulation and still be so-called real, if our definition of real is made up of real particles. These assertions are not mutually incompatible, and Musk does not claim that either.

Alikhan further says: "...Occam’s Razor, a philosophical concept, which essentially says that if you have two theories that explain the observable facts, you should use the simpler of the two"

To cite Occam's Razor and assume that it is axiomatic is foolhardy beyond belief. Consider these two theories: The first says God created humans. The second says evolution through natural selection created humans.

In this case, the first theory is infinitely simpler to understand and assume, so should we now use Occam's razor to claim that the second theory is flawed on account of being more complex?

The writer says: "Thus, to look at our world and say that it is not reality but a computer simulation created by a race of super beings is not too different from looking at the pyramids and saying they were built, not by the ancient Egyptians, but by visiting aliens who came to earth long ago in a giant purple flying saucer."

In a vacuum, without evidence, this would be true. But that the universe is a simulation has several competing proofs, and most scientists take the suggestion seriously. It is an inference based on sound rational judgement, not a claim made without evidence. This argument is not analogous at all and fails to consider the nuance in the idea that the known universe might be a simulation. – Jayasoorya

Everyday misogyny
I appreciate Gnani Sankaran’s insightful account of Swathi’s murder (“'Why are women so vulnerable?': Tamil writer Gnani Sankaran reflects on the gruesome Chennai murder”). I would have been happier if Gnani, with his vast knowledge of Tamil film culture, had also made a critical reference to the recent wave of misogynist songs where young men blame women and curse them for spurning them.

Perhaps, such an atmosphere of misogyny serves as a rationale for sadists. A counter-offensive against this degraded mass culture has unfortunately been absent or weak in Tamil Nadu. – Sivaraman B

Stricter punishments
What is wrong with the judiciary (“Days after release from jail, murder accused rapes and kills 10-year-old in Telangana”)? On the one hand, we have innocent undertrials languishing in jail for years and on the other, a man who was an accused in eight murder cases is released after serving just a year in prison?

Who will pay for the brutality? No one, I guess, because even after he’s caught, the trial will go on for years, and even a life in jail won’t be adequate punishment for this heinous crime. Faiz Ahmed

What a marvellous review of the brilliant Michael Orthoffer’s painstaking and perceptive magnum opus (“No book can tell you about all books, but this one comes close”)! Congratulations, Scroll.in, on showcasing this rich treasure trove for all readers, writers, and critics alike.

Orthoffer represents that dying breed of old-fashioned scholars who have devoted their life and time to reading, reviewing and critiquing books from all over the world – a rare undertaking in the United States which publishes notoriously few works in translation.

For Indian readers and writers, this book will prove an indispensable reference catalogue of vernacular writers so rarely reviewed in the English-language press. – Vibhuti Patel

Feeding India
Why world hunger – India’s hunger problem is a big challenge in itself (“Why end world hunger by 2030? We have the moral obligation to end it now: Swami Agnivesh”). About 40% of all the food grains produced in India are simply wasted – these would be enough to feed millions of people who go to sleep on empty stomach every day.

The need of the hour is to raise funds to build grain silos and develop cold storage for fruits and vegetables. We have to ask the Private Sector to build these storage units and offer them return on investment as an incentive.

First let us feed our own starving millions and then we can turn our attention to alleviating world hunger and assist in global efforts. – KJ George

Fast and feast
Owing to the teachings of Prophet Mohammad, Islam calls for a fast for the body, mind and heart (“As Eid draws closer, the big question looms: When will the moon be sighted?”). When a person fasts correctly, his energy expands and when a person cleans his mind and heart, he will see the moon shape light up in his own heart. This is the end of fasting. The moon in the sky does not matters here, as it will be sighted at different times in different parts of the world.

Of course, most do not follow the real Islam. If they go by what the Quran said, the world will be a better place. – Hans Abharchei

Lest we forget
As a reader, I loved Night, but one must also mention that even though he is among the important voices speaking against the genocide of Jews, he supported Israel in their destruction of Palestine, a horror that continues (“‘If we forget, we are accomplices’: Elie Wiesel’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech”). – Gurleen Judge


Wiesel said “if we forget, we are accomplices”, but he never remembered the displaced and dispossessed Palestinians. – Joji Cherian

Word power
I salute the Madras High Court judges for the way they put things in perspective in the Perumal Murugan case (“'If you don't like a book, throw it away': High Court brings author Perumal Murugan back to life”). As Dr BR Ambedkar said, in his preface to the second edition of Annihilation of Caste: "...the world owes much to rebels who would dare to argue in the face of the pontiff and insist that he is not infallible. I do not care for the credit which every progressive society must give to its rebels. I shall be satisfied if I make the Hindus realise that they are the sick men of India, and that their sickness is causing danger to the health and happiness of other Indians".

These words sum up the intolerant attitude of people who killed MM Kalburgi, Govind Pansare and Narendra Dabholkar and the manner in which creative minds have been stifled in the country, especially by the so-called saffron brigade. – Onkar Singh


I am so happy to read the court verdict. I have read Murugan’s book, Madhorubagan what writing! The characterisations, the language and the conversations are all so impressive that I decided to read all his books.

Murugan has a rare talent. He is true to his feelings and declares that begetting a child is not a testimony to love. He believes in love for love’s sake. I hope he writes more and teaches us about the true meaning of life through his words. Pushpa Viswanathan

Memory lane
The article on Taj Bhai, the Sehriwala who wakes up fasting Muslims in Mumbai for the pre-dawn meal during Ramzan, brought back memories (“For 18 years, this man has been waking Mumbaikars up at Ramzan dawn”). I used to live Dongri, which is part of Taj Bhai’s route, and I remember how his voice would ring out in the middle of the night/early morning, accompanied by some couplets, urging us to wake up. I always only heard him – never saw him. I recall how, even on one particularly rainy day – the kind that most people wouldn’t step out in – Taj Bhai didn’t fail to turn up and give us a wake-up call. It’s truly inspiring to see his determination to keep a tradition alive. – Suby Zuby

Inspiring tale
I am an Irish writer and have worked in publishing – newspapers books etc – for 30 years (“An immigrant job-hunting in UK publishing: bad before Brexit, probably worse now”). It took all my strength ability and stamina to survive in the UK and I did not need to get a visa; I could enter through an agreement Britain and Ireland had signed to allow citizens in both countries to cross borders.

Reading Naomi Barton’s words and recalling my own experiences made me realise that we do what we do to become who we are. You are not pushy, Naomi, you are talented and driven. There is nothing pushy about ability and everything earned.

The best thing about Naomi’s well-written and illuminative piece is that the facts speak for themselves. The fact is all of those who didn't go through the rigours of the visa application process are going to regret it incrementally - as Naomi’s talent continues to attract opportunities. My best wishes to her. – Suzanne Power

Oh captain
Mahendra Singh Dhoni needs to be given his due. He has got India more wins in the limited-overs format than any other captain in this country’s cricketing history (“The sun is setting on the MS Dhoni era and we never even realised when it passed us by”).

But he has received a lot of criticism, especially for Test cricket. Let us not forget that India’s only 4-0 Test victory against Australia at home was under his leadership. He also took India to No 1 ranking.

He helped us reach heights that Ganguly, Dravid, Sachin or Kumble couldn’t. – Nirjhar Gupta

Epic battle
If it's a question of comparing the filmed interpretations of the works then Game of Thrones has a comfortable lead (“Is 'Lord of the Rings' greater than 'Game of Thrones'? Watch the epic rap battle between the writers”). This is not to criticise filmmaker Peter Jackson’s excellent work, but the complexity of the JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy poses an obstacle to bringing it to life on screen. The far simple writing style of George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire the makers of the Game of Thrones series a distinct advantage.

As works of literature, there’s no comparison between the two. Lord of the Rings is one of the finest examples of Western – and world – literature. A Song of Ice and Fire, in comparison, is a proletarian pastiche of historical cultures and events combined with Arthurian and traditional legends. Both are entertaining, but while A Song of Ice and Fire simply inserts storylines from pre-existing sources, Lord of the Rings creates a truly new and previously undiscovered world. – Lafe