Words and action
This article, coming as it did before Independence Day, really made be think (“'My dear countrymen, what is wrong with you people?': The speech you won't hear on Independence Day”).

The first thing that people in the country are concerned about is the blatant misuse of public office by politicians and the rampant corruption in the country. Even 69 years after independence, if a political party uses caste as a factor to gain power in a state, this speaks volumes of the country’s development.

Poor people remain poor, the rich grow richer, millions do not have regular access to power and water and have to fight for food – this is not the picture of India that our so-called founding fathers had in mind.

Corruption is crippling the economy – and only 2.9% of the working population pays taxes. When one has to pay money to get things done, people start losing faith in the system. It is an evil that needs to be rooted out at the earliest.

Reservations should also only be used for those from economically weaker sections – not the so-called creamy later. I see extremely wealthy people from backward classes who own acres of land and property in their name using reservation to get jobs. Such a system deters people from hardwork since they know that they are going to get a government job easily in the end.

Many Indians do not seem to truly love their country. Once all these problems are sorted out, then we will be able to see the change in the outlook of people towards the country and India will certainly become a better place. – Pratik Basarkar


Transparency and women’s empowerment are two grounds on which the country is sorely lacking.

The poor stay poor and inequality prevails because of corruption and red-tape. People are cheated by the bureaucracy at all levels. Justice is often delayed or denied. – G Bhabani


At any other time of the year, I would have read this article and then forgotten about it but considering its timing – on the eve of India’s Independence Day – I believe it is too negative.

I am sure there are things that our freedom fighters did not foresee, but I believe that we deserve applause for standing the test of time and surviving hundreds and thousands of attacks on our democracy.

Secondly, the sort of freedom we have today is something not many nations can boast of, but I rarely find articles praising the country for what it has to offer.

This article is negative and depressing. Aditya Jandial


We salute the unknown freedom fighter and respect his comments on this Independence Day. The spirit of freedom that they fought for is still alive although it can't be seen most often. It is alive in our hearts, and we are ready to fight for our democracy and are currently doing so in our own fields currently. – Aditya Nahar

Freedom question
This article analysing Kashmir is laced with flaws (“For azadi for all, it is time to break the fiction of Jammu and Kashmir”).

Hyderabad state did not comprise of three parts. Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra were not a part of the erstwhile Hyderabad state and were directly ruled by British. Hyderabad state had four divisions: Warangal, Aurangabad, Gulbarga and Gulshanabad.

Further, state reorganisation, about which you are implicitly talking, has been based on language or administrative convenience in post-Independence India, not on religion – see the examples of Andhra, Gujarat, Punjab etc.

If you divide on basis of religion, you go back to the Raj and the Bengal partition of 1905.
Lastly, your rhetoric about "shared aspirations", "power to the people", "binding us together", and about imminent existential danger to Pakistan- were all laughable, indeed. Lastly, you can make your expert comments about feasibility but not desirability, as I think people of that land should have a say on that. – Harry Billing


This is such a beautiful article. I have always believed that most Indian politicians don’t understand the historical, cultural and political context of Jammu and Kashmir. Kashmiri politicians, with their narrow agendas, have always hegemonised the political discourse and have thus compromised the socio-economic development of Jammu and Ladakh. Hence separating Jammu and Ladakh from the Kashmir valley is imperative .

An experiment with a little political autonomy is the only solution if we are serious about settling this lingering dispute. – Rajeev


This is a well-written article, but the author seems to be unable to appreciate the issue of nationalities and aspirations of people for freedom against real and perceived domination.

The Kashmir story as has unfolded in the last seven or eight decades is not one of an amalgamated entity.

That a maharajah ruled it as one entity for some decades is another matter The tricky question is the identity of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir is permanently etched in stone strictly in accordance with the instrument of accession signed between India and the erstwhile maharajah.

When seen in this way, it is impossible to separate the Kashmir valley and other regions deal with the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Religion, ethnicity, geography, national and international politics all must take a back seat.

We must negotiate with the people of Kashmir and grant them reasonable autonomy to sort out issues of self governance within the boundaries of India, in accordance with the terms of the instrument of accession from which we cannot digress. – Damodardas

Olympic feat
I admire Dipa Karmakar and read your article with keen interest (“When a sensational Dipa Karmakar proved that a fourth place finish was worth its weight in gold”)

I agree that coming fourth in the Olympics is a great achievement and something all Indians should be proud of.

What I couldn’t understand was your use of certain words and phrases to describe her physique and personality.

One of them was “frail.”

Sample this line: “Supreme, sumptuous, and sensational, all wrapped in one frail, athletic body.”

Dipa is a world-class Olympic gymnast. Frail is the last thing she is. She is a strong, athletic woman and an inspiration to Indian women.

Are you worried that calling her strong would makes her unfeminine?

Then, with regard to her personality, the article said: “In the qualifications, the girl from Tripura had entered Rio’s gymnastics arena with confidence, yet a little timid and shy, a teenage girl at the grand ball of her school”

Being an Olympic athlete is as much about mental toughness as physical strength. Dipa, particularly as an Indian female gymnast with limited opportunities having trained on a vault made of old scooter parts!) is an example of determination, perseverance, single-minded devotion and doggedness. Rather than being shy and timid, she is a shining example of a confident, strong and resolute woman.

Why the compulsion to describe women frail, timid and shy? Is it easier to appeal to conventional notions of femininity? – Prutha Shetty

Rays of hope
This is a new and unique perspective on Partition and the havoc it played on the lives of people on both sides of the divide (“Remembering Punjab's little-known Schindlers, who saved many during Partition violence”). It shows us that in the utter darkness, there were rays of lights. The moving narrative strengthens my faith in humanity and this is a good effort to give tribute to unsung heroes of Partition. – Sabir Hadi

This is a partly honest analysis of the strong link between non-violence/ celibacy and the perpetuation of the caste system (“The hermit's smile: How celibacy, non-violence and purity work to establish patriarchy in India”).

However, the between patriarchy and the idea of lust, a natural and not a criminal impulse, appears to be forced and laboured, resting as it does on the false feminist-Marxist assumption of planned domination of women, and women being a targeted constituency, besides criminalising male lust and the idea of male attraction for women.

Haven't you heard of Indra and Krishna (in the male form, not as Mohini) projecting themselves as objects of lust to woo women (in this case, Ahalya and Rukmini) with purely romantic intentions? Lust is a natural instinct, not a power tool. – Ravi Menon


This piece was enlightening. It presented a macro view of society and life of the kind I had never seen before. There is so much that we overlook and take for granted. – Arun Iyer

History lesson
This article served as a good lesson on the history of Bombay of the ’80s (“How Mumbai's textile mill strikes led to the birth of Energee, the city's popular flavoured milk”). I would rather read such articles than far-left articles supporting Marxist ideas and Hindu-bashing.

I do not see that how you are positioning yourself as liberals by standing up for one community by bashing another? When will you post an article about the ills in Islam and all other religions? – Pranav S Kamath

History revisited
Sorry, but Iqbal never disowned his poem “Tarana-e Hindi” – the Indian Anthem (“My Discovery of India: August 15 is a day to remember our mistakes – and to pledge to correct them”). The poem, originally titled “Hamara Des” or Our Country was written in August 1904 for the inaugural meeting of the Young Men Indian Association established by a young Lala Hardayal at the Government College, Lahore.

Iqbal gave the poem its new title when he published it in his first collection in 1924. Some months later he wrote another poem, calling it “Mera Watan” or My Homeland, which he then retitled in 1924 as “The National Song of Indian Children.”

Yes, he did write a third poem titled “Tarana-e Milli,” or The Millat’s Anthem, sometime after 1908, but Millat always means the world-wide Muslim community. Any profound sense of belonging to it does not preclude an equally profound patriotic love for one’s land. Narrow territorial nationalism was as much despised by Iqbal as by Tagore. – CM Naim

Book worm
Being an avid reader myself, I was very interested to know the fate of Bookworm and its travails (“Remembering Anil Arora, whose Delhi bookshop Bookworm lives on in every book-lover”)! I find that most bookshops are owned by people who don't real love books but are more interested in the lucrative margins offered by publishers.

Also, most who opt for self-publishing books find it very difficult to recover their investments and as a result, feel let down. Foreign distributors tend to be more fair and responsible. I wonder when authors will receive their promised royalty. – HNS Myer

City of dreams
This is a wonderful story (“A former Mumbai street child has beaten all odds to open the café of his dreams”). I wish Amin Sheikh and his crew the very best. May they grow from strength to strength. I wish other children could read this story too. It may inspire them and show them that with lots of dedication and a little luck, anything is possible. – Bina Namjoshi


I wish other children could read this story. It would inspire them, they would see that with dedication to work, coupled with a small measure of luck, anything is possible.

This story touched my heart. Hats off to Amin and his team. May the god bless all your works and endeavours. – Lira Dunbar

Flight plan
The DGCA or the aviation ministry should give safety rankings to airlines and make public the number of pilots who tested positive for alcohol in the pre-flight tests (“A large number of Indian pilots are either too tired or too drunk – so why are they still flying?”). This will allow passengers to choose their airline on the basis of its safety record and force the operators to be more careful. – Srinivas Yvr

State of mismanagement
The biggest tragedy in Kashmir is that state and central government are not thinking and acting alike (“Why the Mehbooba flag fiasco is symbolic of the collapse of the state machinery in Kashmir”).

Both are indifferent to one another. Chief minister Mehbooba Mufti is in a half-hearted alliance with the BJP in Jammu and Kashmir – it’s just a political necessity – and is going through her term with zero governance as her tool to deal with this unnatural alliance to stretch things till a point where they have no choice but to break.

The BJP government at the Centre, meanwhile, instead of playing an active role and forcing Mufti to provide effective governance in the state, deal with mischief-makers and provide peaceful living conditions to the people at large, is allowing the alliance to continue even though its goes against state and national interests. Even the state police seem to be operating indifferently and ineffectively. – Kewal Vadhera

Screen time
I saw Rustom as well as Scroll.in’s review of the film (“Film review: ‘Rustom’ is a tacky timepasser about the historic Nanavati trial”). It would be interesting to further explore the “conspiracy” that the writer of this review calls “preposterous” and popular among “Mumbai residents of a certain vintage “.

Here are the facts:

VK Krishna Menon was high commissioner to the United Kingdom from 1947 until 1952. Commander KM Nanavati had worked as Menon’s defence attache.

Menon's intense distrust of the West extended to the United Kingdom as well and his frequent thwarting of British political manoeuvres eventually led MI5 to deem him a "serious menace to security". Clandestine surveillance intensified following Menon's 1946 meeting in Paris with Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov, and in 2007, hundreds of pages of MI5 files documenting their coverage of Menon were released, including transcripts of phone conversations and intercepted correspondences with other statesmen and Nehru himself.

During his tenure as the high commissioner, Menon was accused of being involved in the jeep scandal case of 1948, but the government closed the case in 1955, ignoring suggestion by the inquiry committee. His handling of the Indo-China war left much to be desired,

This was the time when Nanavati had grown close to the Nehrus. Also, during the entire phase of his trial and sentencing, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was the Prime Minister of India and Vijayalakshmi Pandit, his sister was the governor of the state of Maharashtra.

Vikrant joined the Indian Navy in 1961 but it had an older lineage. It was built in 1943 and joined the Royal British Navy in 1945 as HMS Hercules. A Majestic-class 20,000 tonnes displacement aircraft carrier, the refurbished Hercules was received at the Bombay harbour by India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1961.

Interestingly, all ships of the majestic class built in British shipyards were to serve in navies other than that of Great Britain. Two ships each served the Canadian and the Australian navies. Those four ships were decommissioned long ago and subsequently and scrapped.

The fifth, the Hercules, was bought by the Indian Navy and renamed the Vikrant. Work on the Majestic-class Hercules aircraft carrier was suspended in May 1946, with the ship about 75% complete. The carrier remained in an unfinished condition until January 1957, when she was purchased by the Indian Navy. Fitted with an angled flight deck, Hercules was
commissioned into the Indian Navy as INS Vikrant in 1961.

Nanavati was attached to the Indian Navy’s Fleet Air Arm and visited the United Kingdom on several occasions prior to the purchase of the subsequent re-fitting of Vikrant. It would be interesting to access Nanavati’s naval service record and his work responsibilities during his time with the Indian Navy, under the Freedom of Information Act.

It may turn out that it was a crime of passion after all, but at least, we can put the “conspiracy theory” to bed,

PS. I am a former resident of Mumbai and was born much later than the trial of Commander Nanavati, hence not of a “a certain vintage” – Raj Mody

Disease control
This article on providing nutrition supplements to tuberculosis patients in Chhattisgarh made for an interesting read (“Chhattisgarh's policy of feeding tuberculosis patients is paying off”). TB control has a long history in India. The biggest challenge to preventing TB has been nutrition and taking the complete course of medication.

I often took indigent patients, mostly bodi workers and people working in quarries, to the TB Hospital in Chennai.

Chennai's famous TB sanatorium has a policy of providing a high-protein diet to patients. When doctors prescribe medicines, they also provide dietary advice. Most often, people who have TB also have no financial means to get good food, rest and a clean environment. People get disheartened fail to complete the course of treatment.

This is not a new discovery and every district should have proper TB facilities like the one the British initiated in Chennai almost a century ago. I am glad Chattisgarh is finally waking up to this.

India must work to eradicate TB through better sanitation, nutrition, prevention early diagnosis and management of patients. – Sujata Mody

Valley violence
Parents of security personnel who had died in the violence in Kashmir should have been called for the Amnesty event too (“'Things got heated but not threatening': An eyewitness account of Amnesty's contentious Kashmir meet”). Then you can decide whose wailing is most painful. – Rahul Kumar


Thanks for publishing a factual account of the event. I do not understand how India can call itself a democracy if even such minimal discussion is criminalised. – Sudhir Katiyar

Capital issue
Not only a chief administrator, what Chandigarh needs is statehood and a local politician as chief minister who can understand the needs of the city and its people (“There was neither style nor substance in the row over the appointment of Chandigarh administrator”). Let Punjab and Haryana to create their own capitals. – Ashish Khera

Beyond words
Eminent novelist Gurdial Singh was a great source of inspiration. He was a wonderful writer and person who empathised with the sufferings of the downtrodden and put them in words in an excellent way (“Acclaimed Punjabi writer Gurdial Singh dies at 83”).

His literary contribution to Punjabi won him awards and citations reserved for rare talent. He was a simple soul with great ideas and deep understanding of the contemporary rural society. May his soul rest in peace. – Harbhaja Singh

Power of symbols
This is a brilliant article that goes to the heart of the issue (“Emirates crash: When you don't own your liberty and property, your possessions become most important”). The empty carton saved for just in case is, to me, symbolic of hope and promise.

It stood at the top of the cupboard as though telling the expatriate: “I am there for you. You go ahead and do your work... take a few months or years...but I’m always there for you."

I believe that it is a powerful symbolic language of love, understanding and partnership, rendered by an empty carton! Evangeline Anderson-Rajkumar


This article sums up my entire childhood as the child of a gulf immigrant family. I have seen both perspectives – that of a child in India awaiting his parents’ visit once in two years from Dubai and that of an expat the Gulf.

I have my own stories around carton boxes and passport pouches. I could not wait to get out of that place.

Thank you for a brilliantly worded article and for telling my story. – Shivayogi Gajare