The writer’s views are correct and clearly presented (“It is not enough for Muslims to say that terrorists misinterpret Islam. Here is what they must do”). Muslim youth are intelligent and can think for themselves and not be lured by fundamentalists. Non-Muslims, too, must not think of every Muslim as a terrorist. – Varma RN
This is a timely exhortation to Muslims and Hindus to come together and fight this menace that is destroying innocent lives in the name of religion. – Madhusudan Gavai
The writer says that he "...participated in Diwali pujas at the neighbours, celebrated Raksha Bandhan in school, earned a number of degrees, joined the bar, made English my language of communication, travelled the world wearing western suits and wrote and spoke extensively on ‘non-religious’ matters"
Does all this imply liberalism?
Chapter 5, Verse 32 of the Holy Quran says: “For this reason, We decreed for the children of Israel that whoever kills a person - unless it is for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he has killed the whole of humankind, and whoever saves the life of a person it is as if he has saved the life of the whole of humankind. Our Messengers have already come to them with the clear signs; then many of them thereafter commit excesses in the earth.”
Is this enough to teach liberalism?
Another part of the Quran says: “To each among you, We have prescribed a law and a clearway. If Allah willed, He would have made you one nation, but that (He) may test you in what He has given you; so compete in good deeds. The return of you (all) is to Allah; then He will inform you about that in which you used to differ.” – Sajeer PC
I completely agree with what the writer says. Not only Muslims, even Hindus who have to help the cause through words and actions. An atmosphere has to be created where Muslim youth do not feel that their religion is being targeted by Hindus. – Namita Sood
This is such madness (“Nice attack: At least 84 people killed as attacker drives heavy truck into crowd on Bastille Day”)! Why are innocent people paying the price of reckless political decisions?
My heart bleeds for Nice and for the victims of this senseless violence. Why must they be wronged this way? – Nikhath
Youth-led homegrown terrorism is on the rise. The attack in the French city of Nice during Bastille Day celebrations is dreadful. Perhaps, it is the frustration of young people against rulers.
There’s almost no part of the world that has not witnessed terror attacks.
World leaders need to open dialogue with radical terrorist groups and fighting back with force is only going to escalate matters further. – Kewal Khanna
I was surprised by the lack of insight or depth in this article (“The Daily Fix: If Modi is acting against 'preachers of hate', why stop at Zakir Naik?”) The author carelessly moves from pointing out that Indian agencies are not finding it easy to gather any evidence against Naik to saying: "But there's no question that the man is a dangerous, bigoted element, one that the country needs to be thinking about, even if banning him could backfire."
There is no evidence given to support this bigotry and the writer jumps to a remark on Modi in the same paragraph. In absence of any supporting evidence, one wonders where the bigotry lies.
In the online journalism space, one has come to expect a certain standard of Scroll.in as it seemed to prefer analytical long-form over quick, easy opinion bites as far as possible. I hope this newly built tradition is not easily lost. – Maaz
As the saying goes, charity begins at home. So, on foreign soil, many good things can be said, Narendra Modi should first stop rabble-rousers at home who kill people for eating beef, lynch suspected cattle thief or threaten to behead people who don’t chant "Bharat Mata Ki Jai”.
There’s an entire tribe of such people, even within the Sangh Parivar, whom he can direct his attention to.
When we see you preaching such virtues abroad, we in India feel very sorry that you are unable to find an obedient audience in your country. Your own countrymen fail to make India habitable for African nationals and foreigners who come here to study. – Onkar Singh
The Chinese response to the Hague Tribunal’s ruling on their activities on the South China Sea depicts China as a bully and is ample proof of its hegemonic aspirations (“'Low-cost sabotage, farce, American plot': The South China Sea defeat has left Beijing angry”). – Padmanabhan Natarajan
What credentials does Raj Babbar have to handle a big state like Uttar Pradesh (“Congress names Raj Babbar its chief in Uttar Pradesh ahead of state elections”) Congress seems to have surrendered even before the polls. – Dr Ram Mohan Reddy
Figure of speech
A man posts the following statement from one of Zakir Naik’s speeches on his Facebook wall – “all Muslims should be terrorists” – and a week later, commits a terror attack (“Zakir Naik fracas: Bangladesh paper denies report used by Indian media to demand ban on preacher”). Any fool can conclude that the terrorist was influenced at least to some degree by Naik.
Whether or not Naik was the only one to influence him is something only the terrorist could have told us – but it is irrelevant. – Rajesh Gindwani
Zakir Naik is a man of courage. India is said to be democratic country that allows freedom of speech to its citizens. Naik has always preached a peaceful way of life and respects every religion. He has never encouraged anyone to spread violence against innocent people. He is not the cause of any destruction. – Sadaf
Religion and politics
In 2002, I heard Zakir Naik speak at the Music Academy in Chennai (“Suicide bombing is haraam in Islam, but permitted as war tactic by many scholars, says Zakir Naik”). The event was called the Communal Harmony Meet and I had dropped everything to attend Naik’s speech, which, I assumed, would be about how we can all get along peacefully. This was shortly after the Gujarat riots and I had just come back from that state, where I’d heard many tragic stories.
As I looked around the large auditorium, I realised that I was one among just a handful of non-Muslims there.
The meeting turned out to be a thinly disguised but well-packaged proselytising meeting, and we, the others, so to speak, were there to bear witness to Dr Naik’s genius. If his lecture was interspersed liberally with quotes from other religious scriptures, it was only to make a strong case of how, at the end of the day, other religious traditions were flawed in comparison to his own faith.
To his credit, Naik made no direct derogatory remarks about other religions, unlike some of his Christian evangelist brothers who make no effort to hide their bigotry and unlike Hindu right-wingers who spew communal hate day-after-day. But I do remember how Naik couldn’t resist a palpably mischievous dig at vegetarians: “Why would God have given us canine teeth if he wanted us to be vegetarians?” I had wondered how such remarks squared with the idea of promoting harmony and what kind of reception he might have received had the audience been the usual Music Academy crowd of Carnatic Music lovers!
During the Q&A round, I asked Naik: if this was a communal harmony meet, why were no other religions represented on stage? I vividly recall his cocky resoinse – he said he would be glad to engage with any religious leader worthy of debating him!
As I walked out, I was livid that the organisers had gotten away with billing a partisan religious sermon as a communal harmony meet.
I have no idea what Naik’s orations are like these days and whether he may have inspired terrorists in Bangladesh. All I can say is that if Naik is to be censured or indicted for peddling hate, the meida should also look at people like Pravin Togadia, Yogi Adityanath, Sadhvi Prachi and other RSS/VHP/BJP luminaries so people can decide for themselves who is inciting communal hate in India on a regular basis. –
The price isn’t right
One has to be in the common man’s shoes to know how the increase in prices of essential commodities such as milk, vegetables and dal affects their household budgets (“Three charts show how expensive potatoes could stop Rajan from giving India a parting gift”). It may not make much of a difference to those whose assets run into crores but those living hand-to-mouth on their salaries are paying the price. Raghuram Rajan is right in not cutting interest rates and should, in fact, increase them further. – Shubham Mangalam
Power and responsibility
The Fourth Estate must be free in a democracy – but this does not justify trial by media which is seen repeatedly in India (“In Zakir Naik's Mumbai neighbourhood, support from even those who don't sympathise with him”).
Media trials interfere with the course of justice and truth is the biggest casualty.
The media trial in the Zakir Naik case must be stopped. Further, Naik must come to India immediately and prove his innocence. – KJ George
The writer of this article seems to not understand politics (“By picking Raj Babbar as Congress chief in Uttar Pradesh, Rahul Gandhi manages to baffle all – again”). Rahul Gandhi learnt a lot from the 2012 Uttar Pradesh elections. He knows now that the Gandhis alone cannot revive the Congress in the state. He also knows that party loyalists who do not have a mass bass cannot do the job.
Therefore, he is right in giving charge to so-called outsiders. The loyalists either sit at home or roam the party offices in Lucknow and Delhi but outsiders are seen working on the ground and establishing a media presence.
I say this because I come from Saharanpur and I know that because of Imran Masood, Congress got a fighting chance in 10 seats and it won a by-election from Deoband just recently. Prior to Masood's entry in Congress, it was a moribund party here with candidates forfeiting their deposits in every election.
The choice of Babbar is correct because the Congress needs a campaigner who draw crowds and who is a familiar name among voters as a whole, not just in one caste or community. – Vishal Jindal
Your report covers a garbled quote from me in the press. Let me be explicit (“Indian government is targeting NGOs yet again, claim non-profit workers”).
First, the quote from Pooja Taparia appears to suggest that only people with less than honest incomes would want to conceal their wealth. In a contradictory magnanimity, she goes on to tolerate such an attitude and regrets that these people, tainted as their wealth is, would be a loss to NGOs. This is a view commonly held by many people, so I do not blame her for also holding it.
The concern is not disclosing what would prove embarrassing. The concern is that in India, the rule of law no longer prevails. It is not an exaggeration to state that extortion and kidnap is an hourly occurrence in this country. Extortionists and criminals would find such publicly available information a mine to be exploited.
It is not even the concern that an incompetent and thoroughly undermined police force would ignore your complaint and you would end up having to pay off the extortionists. The concern is of kidnapping of innocent family members and threat to their safety, even when the extortionist's demands are met.
You also need to point out that according to the provisions, any wealth not declared will be legally attached by the Lokayukta. This provides a perfect device to the minions of his or her office to harass information filers and extort bribes should even an innocent omission of an asset have occurred or if the filing or its update is delayed by even a day.
I am not going to take up space by stating the other risks that attach to being deemed a public servant. Ask any current or former member of the IAS of those. – Nawshir Mirza
Rohingya, as an emerging, coalescing, unifying, even expansionist ethnicity, invites comparisons with what they used to be called (“From Myanmar's Rohingyas to Pakistan's Ahmadis, how nations change names to oppress minority groups”).
Under the British (Arakan 1824-1948) they were enumerated under a range of ethnicities: Arakan Muslims if their origins stemmed from the 16th and 17th centuries of mostly forced migration, Kaman if they were descendants of Shah Shujah, Zerbaidi if they were of mixed descent, Chittagonian if they were migrants from the Chittagong Region of Bengal, Bengalis if they came from further afield in Bengal, Myedu if they were Muslim warriors originally settled near Mandalay.
The term Rohingya was unknown to the British and local Burmese enumerators – over 124 years of occupation they never came across a single person who claimed to be Rohingya, though almost every other designation imaginable came up at census time.
The so-called struggle for Rohingya by the Muslim political and clerical elite in the 1950s and 1960s is well reflected in this document.
As for the Burmese, after independence in 1948, by the 1970s they were using designations like Arakan-Chittagonian, Burmese Muslim as well as the British terms Kaman and Myedu, as this paper says.
I should explain that I am an 86-year-old retired British diplomat, and so quite content to indulge in iconoclastic debunking, to the fury of the ideologues. Hence, this piece.
It is quite an achievement to write about the origins of a people without once mentioning that 90% of them came, mostly legally but some illegally, from neighbouring Bengal over the last 150 years or so. – Derek Tonkin
Any knee-jerk reaction against Zakir Naik will make him a hero (“Why banning Islamic preacher Zakir Naik isn't a good way to defeat his bigotry”). I read his books and listened to his speeches in my college days. At that time too, he had many followers. My senior said five years ago that he is a hate monger. But he has many fans and has their support.
But, if the government seeks to arrest him, they should arrest similar hate-mongers of other communities too.
The worst part is, many of his fans are highly educated. – Gautam
Please listen to the complete speech and don't just pick a few words to tarnish a scholar’s image. No Muslim teacher of the Quran can urge any human being to kill innocent people. – Durranis
Assuming that TS Eliot’s poem was ahead of its time wouldn’t do justice to it (“Was ‘The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock’ actually about the angst of modern dating?”). The author of the article has somehow made a connection between his words and the current generation. People haven't much changed in 100 years, only their lifestyle has. This is not anachronous. We have descended from foragers.
What did love mean back then? What does it mean now? The culture of open dating may sound repulsive to many but every experience is subjective. Jumping to conclusions based on someone's experience is just naivety.
Art allows free interpretation, but this shows more of a bias and disregards poet's true intentions. – Abhilash Chaturvedi
I admire the writer’s analysis of this wretched game that most people of our generation have thrown themselves into. People have become devoid of emotions.
Just take the example of dating apps such as Tinder that encourage people to make snap judgements about people.
How shallow have we become, I wonder, to not fall in love with virtues of people we know, but to have become prey to the avenues of short spells of lust. – Vikas Srivastava
Reel vs real
In this article, while mentioning Tamil movies that glorify violence against women, the author says: “Madhavan indulges in serial domestic abuse in Ayudha Ezhuthu (surprise surprise, it’s a Mani Ratnam film!).” (“Swathi murder: Tamil cinema is a convenient villain, the roots of violence lie elsewhere”).
However, in this movie, Ratnam is depicting a sad reality. This is shown in a bad light – the movie doesn’t condone the violence – and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.
I think it’s important to understand the context of the movie before saying “surprise, surprise, it’s a Mani Ratnam film” just to make it relevant. – Sowmya
This article seems to biased. It's based on assumption that all men are sexist, ignorant and chauvinisitic. That men are the perpetrators and women are victims. It’s also written in a very condescending manner.
This is how it always happens. People take an extreme example, blow things out of proportion and then blame patriarchy and men.
I don't have any problem with men with feminine traits or women with masculine ones. Men like us do exist. I have come across many women who ask me to man up because I wasn't confident enough to handle them The next time you write an article, please make sure it is more gender neutral and stop demonising and vilifying one group or class of people. – Bala
While the movie Mohenjo Daro may have several inaccuracies as this article points out, the writer, too, has a flawed approach to history (“From horses to headgear, everything the ‘Mohenjo Daro’ trailer has got wrong”). She speaks about Aryans as though they were bequeathed to us by the western civilisation.
However, many historians have contended that the Aryans were native to India. Traces of the city of Khambhat and references to the Saraswati river in the Vedas suggest that neither the Aryans nor the Vedas were foreign to India. So why are we looking at history doled out from the western perspective? Most of the 19th-century Europeans who promoted this thought have never even been to India, but it’s shameful that our so-called erudite populace buys into it.
In light of this, several other theories in the article fall flat. – Anukul Rangarajan
As Bob Dylan said: “Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet” (“'Write from memory': What a young poet has to do to win a prize with his first book”).
I loved what I read of Rohan Chhetri’s poetry. It is extraordinary how he turns an ordinary experience into an extraordinary one. As a poet myself, I salute him. – Tanya Mendonsa
I remember when Salgaocar FC took to the field for the first time in Mumbai, they were greeted by a partisan crowd. That was Rover's Cup, mid-60s (“Photos: Salgaocar FC may have quit the I-League, but its glory days remain in football history”). But Salgaocar s' game silenced the spectators. The team showed Mumbaiites and India what football is all about. Viva Salgoacar! – Merwyn Rebello
Arvind Kejriwal loves to play the victim all the time (“Battle royale: Why Modi has launched such an energetic attack on Kejriwal and AAP”). The man who ditched his own mentor cannot be trusted. He is just another power- hungry, good-for-nothing politician.
The media likes to build up such stories but I assure you the people of Delhi are not happy with the AAP government. And please stop comparing Prime Minister Narendra Modi to a fool like Arvind Kejriwal. – Nilesh Madia
Even if we can accept sex work as just another way to earn a living, we can’t be blind to the potential for exploitation in it (“Sex work isn't illegal. So why has the Indian government blocked 240 escort websites?”). Poorly monitored prostitution, pornography or escort jobs can result in forced prostitution. So the governments need to be strict about monitoring and controlling such industries. – Nandu Venu
Junk the junk
A fat tax will not control obesity. Obesity is, in part, related to an idle state of mind that gives way to sensory obsessions towards junk food in the absence of other worthwhile pursuits, especially for children.
Physical drill and yoga should be compulsory in schools. Stalls selling junk food should be banned and replaced by healthy alternatives. A tax only fills government coffers and doesn’t solve the problem. – Chhanda Basu Mullick
Obesity is fast becoming a global health problem. India's public health system is not equipped to tackle the possible rammifications. A long-term strategy has to be devised to change the eating habits.
Instead of restricting people’s choices by imposing a fat tax, governments should create awareness about healthy food choices and lifestyle diseases. A moderate price increase will not deter people from satiating their cravings. Targeting high-end fast-food products such as pizza and burger, mostly eaten by those belonging to relatively well-to-do families, will not make a huge difference.
Information about lifestyle diseases should be included in school curricula. Along the line of anti-tobacco campaigns, the government must roll out ads to educate the younger generation of the harmful effects of processed junk foods. A healthy nation is key to healthy economy. – Gaurav Singhal
Monika Khangembam, a Manipuri woman, alleged racist behaviour by an immigration official at New Delhi’s IGI Airport (“Sushma Swaraj takes note after Manipur woman faces racism at Delhi airport's immigration desk”). It is shocking that officers sitting at the immigration desk and who interact with foreigners regularly have such a skewed mentality. Last month, India was widely criticised for attacks on African nationals.
Indians are racist, not just towards foreigners but also towards fellow countrymen. Indians from the North East have been discriminated against and called names time and again.
Indians need to be more accepting towards different races and this sensitisation needs to take place at the school level itself. – KB Dessai
This article is truly beautiful and so insightful (“Dhaka is crazy and beautiful. It should not cow down to mindless terror”)! I thank the writer for his faith in us Dhakaites. – Rukhsana Haider
First let us look at the need for AFSPA in Jammu and Kashmir and Manipur as separate issues (“1,528 fake encounters in Manipur alone: Why the Supreme Court judgement on AFSPA matters”). When is such a law needed? It is required only when the civil administration is unable to tackle the law and order situation in a state. That’s when the Army is called in for assistance.
Army men are content in their barracks or training and protecting the borders. Ideally, they should not be involved in internal law-and-order matters.
Terrorism or insurgency should be tackled by the government and it their failure to do so that is the problem. So let us tackle root cause and take corrective action. – PD Kulkarni
The use of this photo for the story is inaccurate because of the 1,528 cases of alleged extra-judicial killings, only a few involve the Army. For the most part, they pertain to the police and paramilitary forces, which, though led by Army officers, are under the deputation of the Ministry of Home Affairs. In that sense, the photo is unnecessarily sensational. – Deepak Sinha
Fanning the flames
This gentleman who goes by the name Harsh is really harsh. (“Gulberg Society case: When justice chooses to be blind – and the victim gets blamed”). By writing this piece, he is only stoking the fire and not doing anything to put it out.
You should have done a great service by not publishing the work of writers whose only agenda is to defame the popularly elected Prime Minister. I wonder why Scroll.in goes on publishing such incendiary articles. – JR Krishnan
Thanks for such a balanced article on Indian hockey (“Can PR Sreejesh be a better sardar for Indian men’s hockey than the old captain, Sardar Singh?”).
Much like in the past, the organisation missed the opportunity to make it easier for the outgoing captain Sardar Singh. But nobody can stay at the peak forever and roles and responsibilities must change based on individual performance and in the interest of the team.
I noticed, in one of the pictures, new captain PR Sreejesh was sitting with the dignitaries while the outgoing leader stood looking disappointed in the last row. I wish Sardar would have chosen to announce his successor. Thanks to the coach and Sreejesh who showed a ton of respect for the outgoing leader. – Gurinder
Your article fails to mention that the potential health benefits of all smokers switching to e-cigarettes, even if it does not lead them to quit nicotine altogether (“Should e-cigarettes be banned in India? Experts are divided”).
Granted, regulations should be in place to prevent the sale of e-cigarettes to minors and to prevent non-smokers from taking up the habit and such regulations already exist for controlled substances such as alcohol and tobacco.
Why not extend them to e-cigs as well? Banning them would be a counterproductive move that condemns smokers who are unable to quit to the many ill-effects that could be avoided with vapourisers. – Utkarsh Dalal
Violence in the Valley
It is undeniable that Kashmiris have been subjected to brutality and humiliation by the Armed Forces (“The rise of Burhan and the aftermath of his death show why the status quo in Kashmir is unacceptable”). But also spare a thought for the soldier on the street who does not know if he will be a militant’s next target but has been asked to show utmost restraint. Do you expect him to wait till he gets hit and then issue a warning before retaliating? It takes two hands to clap and all the blame cannot be put on the Armed Forces. – MR Raghunath
Before you publish articles for the whole world to see, please get your facts straight and do some research (“Two specialist bowlers and Brian Lara's cousin: how to describe the West Indies squad against India”). Miguel Cummins was added to the squad and fast bowler Brathwaite has a first class average bowling average of 22.93. So, in your expert opinion, which other fast bowler should the West Indians have picked? – DH DE Jager
The government has the tendency to regulate through levies, taxes, cess or fines (“Environment Ministry proposes green cess to make people more 'ecologically responsible'”). Such a tendency strengthens government, not governance and it deflects the focus from the real objectives to management of money.
The draft policy mentioned in this article exemplifies this tendency. It will result in the staff getting tied-up in assessing and collecting cess at the expense of giving much-needed attention to environment, forests and health. As the former chairman of the Central Pollution Control Board, I strongly advise against this. – Paritosh Tyagi
State of education
I'm an academic and I read your article on the National Achievement Survey with utmost interest (“45% in reading comprehension, 46% in maths: How India's Class 5 students fared in latest survey”).
India needs to shift the direction of education. For that, we need someone as dynamic as PVN Rao at the helm to revamp the system
The biggest problem is non-accountability of government-run institutions. We need to tackle nepotism, fraud in recruitments, incompetent faculty and poor research facilities in government institutions.
In the private sector, we need to tackle the absence of job security and meagre salaries. All these are crippling the education system. The level of corruption in education will surely exceed big scams like 2G and the like. – Krishnam Gupta