What's in a surname?
I agree with Narendra Jadhav on benefits of dropping surname that are indicative of caste and the need to do away with caste-based hierarchies ("The Narendra Jadhav interview: 'Caste system is the most brilliantly administered scam in history'").

However, I am surprised that he kept citing Ambedkar’s reference with regard to reservation. I don’t think Ambedkar wanted reservations in perpetuity, just for a limited period.

Also, are all those who are not in the reserved category necessarily well off?

And are we and our children are supposed to suffer for wrongs done by our forefathers to such an extent that we, at times, can apply for less than 10% of the seats in jobs and education? – Harshad


Narendra Jadhav wants caste-based surnames to be removed, but wants caste-based reservation. This strikes me as paradoxical.

To make his case for reservations, Jadhav speaks of the plight of a child from a backward caste whose mother is a sweeper and father a peon.

But do you think all higher-caste members are financially well off? What happens to the child of a so-called high caste whose family lives below the poverty line?
Why should reservation be given in the name of caste? We live in an era, where not caste, not community, but economic status must be the criteria to avail of reservation. – Sitalakshmi


The right questions were put forth to Narendra Jadhav, evoking strong responses from him. All that he said is relevant and pertinent.

If we want India to function as a true democracy, we should erase all inequalities.

Once inequality ceases to exist in our mindsets, reservations can be done away with. – Thrinesh


At the outset, I would like to compliment Scroll.in for carrying this excellent interview of Narendra Jadhav. The issues raised are of immense importance and the views expressed by him are factual and realistic.

I wish him a great future and a success in his future endeavours. – Dev Swarup

Poor sport
Our performance in every Olympics highlights the debilitating status of India as a sporting nation (“Six ways to fix India's flawed, deluded, meandering, impractical Olympic strategy”).

A country that has the second-largest population in the world should be doing much better, but individual achievements apart, we lag behind most other countries in most sports.

India is the only major country of its size that is struggling to win even a single gold in Olympics. It speaks volumes about the state of sporting policy and infrastructure in our country. India has a lot of latent talent but it is struggling to get out the clutches of societal and economic constraints. We have to hunt for these hidden jewels and nurture them from a young age.

At the government level, we need a renewed sporting policy and increased monetary and budgetary support from the centre and states. Private-sector investment must be roped in for establishing world-class sporting infrastructure. The politico-bureaucratic nexus, however, is preventing any major overhaul of sporting clubs and federations.

Indian Olympic Association and other sporting bodies must be manned by experienced managerial minds of the sporting world. Moreover, talented athletes from both India and foreign countries must be employed as coaches and trainers. Gaurav Singhal


We congratulate the medal winners for bringing glory to the country as well as those who had near misses and those who put their best foot forward but couldn’t bring back medals.

All the athletes should be given monetary benefits as they represented India. This will also motivate them to work harder and enthuse more people into taking up sports. Giving the winners big rewards is justified, but the all others need our encouragement too.

Keep up the good work, athletes! – A Venkat

Right move
Bringing up the Balochistan issue has sent Pakistani officials into a tizzy and they are back to the drawing board looking for a proper response. (“Meet the men behind Modi's Balochistan statement”).

The statement has put Pakistan on the backfoot and India should not lose this opportunity to change the narrative of the Indo-Pak discourse – instead of focussing on Kashmir, it should now be about Balochistan and Pakistan occupied Kashmir. – K Murali

Tired tale
Mohan Guruswamy repeats the cliché propounded by government of India and its propagandists (“For azadi for all, it is time to break the fiction of Jammu and Kashmir”). It is premised on the belief that the azadi slogan finds traction only within the Kashmir Valley.

However, recent events have once more reinforced that Kashmir Valley has support from the Chenab Valley, Poonch, Rajouri, Ramban districts of Jammu and from Kargil in Ladakh. – Adil Hamid Kaloo

Sorry state
If, as the article states, “martyrdom has become an end in itself" in Kashmir, that is a very sad state of affairs (“The new wave of anger in Kashmir is not just about poor governance but about preserving an identity”).

We cannot keep by force those who do not want to live with India.

But most Indians outside of Kashmir feel that if it is allowed to separate from India, it will definitely become a willing vassal state for sale in the seeming war of attrition waged by Pakistan and China against India. So Indians will continue to support an oppressing force in that place. – Sriram

I represent MNC seed companies and also happen to be a farmer, so I have a slightly better insight into and understanding of agriculture and the farm economy compared to the average urban dweller (“Counterview: In GMO debate, Vandana Shiva has chosen fear-mongering and denialism”).

Whether it is GMOs, or specifically, Bt cotton or Golden Rice, these are issues on which I have had the opportunity to meet and speak to a number of stakeholders – including farmers, scientists, activists and the occasional politician.

I have been following what Vandana Shiva has been saying for more than two years now I am still shocked by the sheer glibness of what she routinely says.

It is, to put it simply, not backed by scientific fact. Unfortunately for those on the other side of the fence, primarily the agri-scientist community, it becomes an uphill battle to counter her as they often should. As her campaign is based on fear, uncertainty and doubt, it becomes extremely easy to pander to a scientifically illiterate audience.

The problem with Shiva and many other activists is that they paint everyone with the same brush. Anyone in agri-biotechnology talking about GM food or cash crops is depicted as a thief, a liar and anti-farmer.

While she defies basic logic, media platforms end up giving a lot of credence to what she says.

The fact is that GMOs can coexist with conventional farming (which is already happening everywhere) along with organic farming. Shiva and the rest of the country must realise that organic farming cannot feed the country, ensure food security and protect farm economics.

My note is not about giving GM crops a free reign. There are safety and regulatory norms to be followed. By all means we should follow them and if required, re-evaluate them. But to single out GMOs and say that this technology is unsafe for humans and nature is ludicrous. – Rahul Mishra


Girish Shahane's article is extremely one-sided and biased.

He entirely ignores the threat of Monsanto’s weedicide Roundup to humans. GMOs may be acceptable because they are "substantially equivalent" to the original crop, but the real threat is posed by the weedicide Roundup, or Glyphosate.

Glyphosate is absorbed into the human system because it can spread from the leaves and stem of the plants, not only from the roots, or, the crop.

Its presence has been detected in blood, urine, and mother's milk. Glyphosate has been associated with illnesses such as: Autism, Attention Deficit Disorder, cancer, Down's Syndrome and several other diseases by researchers in MIT such as Stephanie Seneff.

Seneff's studies have predicted that around 50% of children will be born with autism and ADD in the US in the near future because of the effects of Glyphosate. With the possible introduction of GMO okra, brinjal, corn, etc. we will be seeing such cases in our own homes.

Golden Rice has been an experiment that has been going on for 20 years without any significant progress. Experiments have proven that Golden Rice will contain only minuscule amounts of Vitamin A, which cannot fight deficiency.

With regard to farmer suicides, Shahane has not examined why they are prevalent and rising in cotton-growing areas of Maharashtra and Andhra. He, like Monstanto officials, quotes that suicide rates have remained the same in a big country like India, in spite of introduction of GMOs.

Does Shahane know about trans-gene contamination? Monsanto is suing US farmers for wrongful use of its seeds. The problem is they aren't using GMO seeds but their seeds have been genetically contaminated by GMO plants through wind, pollen, and water.

That's what Vandana Shiva calls ownership of seeds. If an innocent farmer's seeds are genetically contaminated by GMO seeds, without his knowledge, Monsanto can sue him. Any seed with a trace of GMO gene can be claimed as Monsanto property. He can be bullied and blackmailed to buy Monsanto seeds by company lawyers, as is happening in the US.

Monsanto is a powerful corporation which can buy its way through governments and scientific organisations. – John P Matthew

Root cause
Vandana Shiva has used false premises and false logic to build a flawed argument (“Why the government is right in controlling the price of Monsanto's Bt cotton seeds”).

Ideologies and opinions can differ and we must encourage diversity of views, but no one has a moral right to lie in order to attack other perspectives and further one's interests. Let me enlist some of these falsities.

The article claims that since Monsanto’s entry into India in 1998, the price of cotton seeds has increased by about 71,000%. To establish this, it falsely cites Rs 5 per kg as the cost of Bt Cotton at the time of its introduction. The truth is that regular seeds were already selling for about Rs 400 per packet when Bt cotton was first introduced. Ask any farmer!

Secondly, it is incorrect to compare the cost of Bt cotton to the cost of regular cotton seeds, since the Bt technology has saved farmers
Rs 5,000–Rs 8,000 per acre in the cost of pesticide application and added several thousands of rupees in terms of the yields protected. Shiva conveniently omits such details as they can destroy her premise.

The third flaw is the completely illogical comparison of the Bt gene to furniture in a house. The value of the furniture is usually insignificant in comparison to the value of the house. On the other hand, the value of the Bt technology, in terms of the pesticide cost it saves and the yield it protects, is much more.

With initial price controls, the technology had become much more accessible and farmers don’t stand much more to gain with further price reductions. The only people being benefited by the new regulations are Indian seed companies and that too, only in the short term.

The claim that Bt has resulted in increased farmer suicides owing to its high price has been rubbished by so many studies that it amazes me that anyone would continue to parrot it. The price of seeds today, at about Rs 800 per packet, is a fraction of the total cost of cultivation, which is upwards of Rs 25,000 per acre. Farmer suicides, an extremely unfortunate and horrible reality in India, are happening at the same rate with or without Bt cotton. The reality is that suicides happen in other crops too, where there is no GM technology. The reality is that even if Bt were to vanish, farmers suicides will continue till the underlying problems are not solved.

It would be a service to the farmers of India if editorial teams in key media properties understood the reality faced by them and weeded out dangerous untruths such as these. – Ravishankar Cherukuri

Flawed argument
Prashant Reddy's conclusions are not logical (“Counterview: Fact-checking Vandana Shiva's latest criticism of Monsanto and Bt cotton”).

Early in the article, he said the government's order to reduce seed prices did not affect Monsanto's royalty and only impacted seed companies.

Later in the article, he said the government slashed royalties payable to Monsanto.

If the seed prices are lowered, Monsanto and Indian seed companies will make less profit, period. Kannan Moudgalya

One-sided view
This is a wonderful article, but while it did capture the stories of the writers, it seemed too much of a Blitz and Russy Karanjia hagiography (“Blitz revisited: How P Sainath carried forward the legacy of one of India's greatest cultural icons”). The paper and its owner were both deeply flawed.

The paper became an unquestioning supporter of Indira and the Gandhi family even through the Emergency and there were always rumours of quid pro quos like paper allotments in the days of quotas. The writing and headlines were often screechy and examples of yellow journalism. This is not to denigrate the work of some fine writers who had columns there. I wish Scroll.in had done a better job on this. – Chris Mendes

Two sides
While I have sympathy for all those who have been killed or maimed in Kashmir because a few people have been fomenting trouble, you also need to meet the families of the police and army men killed or injured for life by militants and stone-pelting youth (“'Things got heated but not threatening': An eyewitness account of Amnesty's contentious Kashmir meet”). – Sivaraman Ramanathan

Balanced view
I congratulate Ajaz Ashraf for writing such a balanced and logical article on an issue that has been on the boil and a bone of contention between neighbours for close to 70 years (“The real tragedy: There will never be a solution to the Kashmir problem”). This is the best analysis of the situation that I have read so far.

You have very correctly pointed out that until the basic concepts of the problem are tackled, no amount of diplomatic or administrative effort can help.

But when will we arrive at the solution, especially when so many vested interests are involved? – JS Dugal

Storm after the coup
Right now, Turkey is in witnessing a witch hunt (“Coup 'mastermind' Gulen's terror organisation has infiltrated India, claims Turkey foreign minister”). The situation is just short of a political genocide.

Thousands of civilians, including doctors, teachers, housewives, academics and journalists have been detained and arrested based on lists that were clearly prepared well before the coup attempt – it is impossible to gather such intelligence in a matter of hours and days.

To see the extend of the human rights violations going on in Turkey, see www.turkeypurge.comreport.

The military coup in Turkey had been prevented, but Erdogan’s coup is in full swing right now. – Sri Goyal

Media frenzy
This article is ridiculous (“Why Gujarat appears to have fallen off the news map over the last two years”). It seems the anti-Modi journalism brigade is short-staffed, and hence, interns from various media-institutes are being roped in to fill the gap.

The article is insincere – the only sincerity one can discern in it is its objective, which, of course, to be anti-Modi. Each and every point can be debunked by citing parallel instances of the UPA regime as well as current scenario in non-BJP ruled sates.

The author’s assertion, that the media has succumbed to pressures from the government, is laughable. For those who expected the Una incident to spread like wildfire must be mighty disappointed that it turned out to be a damp squib – especially after the prime minister chose to condemn it in such an unequivocal manner.

The country knows that there are far worse examples of atrocities on Dalits that have taken place and are continuing to take place – Gujarat is not the first, nor will be the last such instance.

The author is naïve to believe that the media succumbs to government pressure or that it is easy for the government to manipulate it.

The media, especially those with a clear anti-Modi disposition, get their fund from sources based out of India and for them, advertising revenue or readership hardly matters. If it really was possible to control the media, then motivated campaigns on Dadri, award vapsi, stage- managed church attacks and the episodes in JNU and Hyderabad University would not have got the kind of mileage they did. – Chandrasekar VS


This article simply suggests that the Modi government – as any other government would be – is uncomfortable with news reports that paint it negatively. I don't understand the purpose of deliberating this. People are fed of such run-of-the-mill news items.

I would be more interested in economic information on beef consumption and related industries such as leather, the agony of people who depend on these trades for money and those who have suffered because of the beef ban, and what the government is doing to provide them alternative employment.

The media is right in downplaying this news, because they do not want any confrontation with ruling party as nothing will be gained through such an aimless agitation. – Chandrashekhar Deshpande

Art attack

I fear that the moment my comment goes live, I will be accused by hyper nationalists of being a liberal intellectual or anti-national (“The attacks on actors Ramya and Richa Chadha prove that art (unfortunately) does have borders”).

The lawyer who accused Ramya of sedition does not seem to understand the meaning of the word at all. Ramya has not praised the policies of the government of Pakistan or the terrorists there – she has just appreciated the country and its people.

It is time that people learn to differentiate between the state machinery and a country, between the government and the people. It is not only the question of art and artist and their boundaries. I like the toiling masses of the entire world. Does that sound seditious to our hyper nationalist friends? – Prateep Sengupta

Interpreting mythology
This seems to be the most inauthentic version of Krishna’s story I have ever read (“How Krishna was transformed from a tribal deity to a supreme god in the Puranic tradition”). If one cannot preserve, protect and glorify our past, culture, tradition, religion, god etc let us be silent – do not provide more ammunition to people opposing Hinduism and trying to malign our religion. If you don't believe or accept our scriptures as is, please be neutral and do not share your views with anybody. – Arvind Singh


I usually enjoy the articles about Indian mythology on Scroll.in as they explain in detail how today’s commonplace practice came into being. But this one felt too rushed – it tried to fill in way too many details in a small word count. Also, the author assumed that the reader would know many concepts beforehand. Can we get a longer article on this topic with smaller sentences and more background information? – Devavret

The ties that bind

I had read Ahtzaz Ahsan's Indus Saga and the making of Pakistan right after it was published in 1996 (“Beyond Harappa: Pakistanis struggle with the paradox of their Indian heritage”). Factual inaccuracies apart – and there are many – the senator has miserably failed to distinguish the Indus and the Gangetic identities in their historical or contemporary contexts.

Allama Iqbal never insisted on Pakistan as a sovereign national entity separate from India. He argued for a so-called Muslim India within India. Even Mohammad Ali Jinnah was in favour of a united India as a federation of states, including Muslim-majority states, with autonomy of all states in all matters except those pertaining to defence, communications, finance and foreign relations.

Pakistan's identity cannot be one of negation – I am Pakistani in the sense that I am not Indian. This leaves the Pakistani identity under-defined, if not undefined at least in the context of the shared past that today’s Pakistan has with yesterday’s India and vice-versa.

Acceptance of this will usher in a new dawn in neighbourhood ties. – NN Ojha

Power play
To blame the Centre for the lack of electrification of villages is not right (“92% of India's newly 'electrified' villages have homes without power”).

The government is doing a great job of electrifying villages. In less than two years, it has already electrified thousands of villages. State governments need to chip in and do their bit too. – Arun Pratap Singh

Political games
I completely agree with Amit Shah's observation (“The Daily Fix: Amit Shah believes the Una rally was '100% politically motivated'”). A concerted effort is being made to show the BJP in a bad light. This has been going on since 2002, when the Congress was itching to foment trouble in BJP-ruled states to take some pressure off it for the 1984 anti-Sikh riots – with the liberal assistance of the media, of course. – Chandran

Unique view
The article on the growing military influence in Venezuela is an accurate account of the state of affairs in the country (“It's not just about Maduro – Venezuela's army has been getting stronger since Hugo Chávez's days”). It especially pleases me that the article is from the international media, which sometimes tends to exaggerate things or view it with prejudice, and not a local publication.

I feel grateful for such coverage because we in Venezuela need to be taken seriously. The current situation is terrible, but people’s lives are going on.

Meanwhile, there’s an increasing number of people who seem to display a mentality that was similar to that of Hugo Chavez. The populace seems to have been brainwashed by him into having an anti-American perspective.

I am scared about the future of this country. Too many young and middle-aged people seem to have a point of view that I do not share and did not grow up with. I’m just 28, but in many ways I feel like I was born in another country.

This article spreads awareness about a horrible situation that a lot of people are either sidestepping or do not care to address. – Antonizuniaga