Systemic issues
In our system, meetings of the screening committee, departmental promotion committee and the like are a mere formality (“What the people defending former coal secretary HC Gupta are not telling you”). The chairman and members of the committee merely talk over snacks and beverages.

Investigations are carried out only if the chairman or a member have been approached by someone personally or are examining a case or person they know previously.

Normally a file submitted by a dealing clerk gets approved at the highest level even if it is manifestly wrong or illegal.

Ours is a system manned by mediocre people who are rated “outstanding” by their superiors year after year only because of personal biases and sycophancy. – SN Panigrahi

Bureaucratic tangle
M Rajshekhar is mistaken and his article will encourage young officers to be dishonest (“Why does the IAS Association defend HC Gupta but not Ashok Khemka?”). I think he doesn’t know much about honesty, simple living and high thinking.

Ashok Khemka's case cannot be compared to that of HC Gupta. Rajshekhar seems to be jealous of the support to a simple humble and saintly person. No one has challenged the working of Khemka, using the example of whom the writer is trying to distract from the main issue. – GD Singhal


HC Gupta may not have been corrupt, but he does seem to have been malleable.

These babus, who are paid huge salaries, not to speak of other perks, meant to serve the interests of the people or aid politicians in destroying the country?

One may have some sympathy for Gupta, but he needs to be prosecuted and punished in order to instil some fear in bureaucrats so that they can serve their true masters, the common citizens. – GMK Sharma

Different view

This article is outright wrong (“Looking back: The first Parliament attack took place in 1966 – and was carried out by gau rakshaks”).

The 1966 incident was an agitation and not an "attack" by any means. More than 100 Parliamentarians had supported the proposal. Thousands of people participated in the agitation. This cannot be equated to trained and armed terrorists attacking our Parliament with advanced firearms. – Saurabh


Cow slaughter for commercial purposes should be banned across the country.

In fact, slaughter of all meat should be done only in scientifically designed abattoirs and in a manner that causes minimal agony to the animal or bird being killed. The present method in India is cruel and gruesome, to say the least.

A healthy diet regime itself the world over, emphasises moving towards vegetarianism with minimal meat intake. That may continue to be encouraged in the interest of national health. – Deepak Adyanthaya

Bold move
Thank you for standing by a good thing done by the AAP government in Delhi (“Despite traders' fears, the Delhi government has done the right thing by hiking minimum wages”).

Getting the lieutenant governor’s consent on this issue could be a challenge. The trade lobby will use every trick in the book to halt these and other pro-people legislations of the government. However, this is a bold step by the AAP government.

No other party in this country would have the courage to touch minimum wages and thereby antagonise the trade and industry that are the main source of poll funds. – Rakesh Kr Sinha


Revision of minimum wages periodically is a normal process and is warranted. However, it should done keeping in mind various factors, such as cost of living, comparison with other sectors and states, and the financial capacity of the businesses or industries in question, so that development of state's economy and employment opportunities do not suffer. Decisions should not be hasty and politically motivated. – OP Kapur

Limited appeal
Liberals are a global minority (“Why Pakistani liberals are unable to resolve their Balochistan dilemma”). They are an exclusive breed fed on Western ideas that are not in vogue anywhere, including in the West. They claim and applaud themselves for successes which are not theirs, and are very few, if any.

Nations are led by leaders who have an emotional connect with people. The leaders cannot cut out this connect. A few who try to lead people to liberal values may have short term victories, but will eventually lose out.

The causes of the liberals arouse only a few elite who directly or indirectly benefit from them. The vast majority of masses take life as it comes. They do not set any bench marks and are motivated by immediate rewards.

The fate of Pakistani liberals and their causes will be no different from liberals in India. Liberals will get a bit of applause in few elite circles but it will be eventual doom for them. – Suman Gadhok

Poetic praise
Rakhshanda Jalil has done a great service to Hindi students and scholars by writing such an interesting account of the great poet Rahim (“Meet Abdur Rahim Khan-e-Khanan, who was also the ‘bhakta’ poet Rahim Das”). This should be a chapter in Hindi course books. How easily our great poets are forgotten! – Narendra K Sinha


This is a delightful article by Rakhshanda Jalil on Abdur-Raheem Khan-e-Khanan.

Abdur-Raheem and his father Bayram Khan were the children of princes of the Qara-Quyoon Lu tribe from Azerbaijan. They were Farsi speakers but knew good Arabic as they were Muslim.

Bayram Khan had accompanied Babur when he ventured from Central Asia into Indian sub-continent. After various battles with the rulers of the Lodhi Kingdom in Northern India, Babur set the foundation of the Mughal Empire of India which lasted until the British came and ravaged India.

Abdur-Raheem was indeed a linguistic genius. I read his Braj poetry in High School, many of his dohas have ligered in my memory all these years. His poetry is simple and uses the everyday language of his time. He uses the most mundane examples from human life to make the most profound and philosophical observations. – Syed-Mohsin Naquvi

Going to the roots
This article describes Yadavs as a clan but that was not the case (“How Krishna was transformed from a tribal deity to a supreme god in the Puranic tradition”). Servants and helpers of Yadu were called Yadavs. Yadu was a ruler of large lands.

He used to deal in milk and milk products. Later on Krishan, a descendant of Yadu, was very friendly with his servants, or Yadavs, and used to accompany them as they took animals to for grazing. It were the Yadavs who revered him later on and then most of those who reared animals in the country started calling themselves Yadavs. – Davendra

Fresh perspective
It is heartening to note the pride the residents of Olcott Urur Kuppam have in their village as well as in their efforts to educate their children about their heritage (“Media got it wrong in its coverage of TM Krishna's Magsaysay award, say fishing village residents”). This letter ought to be read by more people; it was an eye opener for me. – Kamakshi Narayanan

Apple and tree
BJP reconstructing its organisational structure to align it with the RSS is a good move and can bring much-needed electoral gains for the party in Uttar Pradesh (“BJP takes the first step to adopt the organisational structure of the RSS”).

It is great that alongside its quantitative growth coming from its position of power, the BJP has maintained its qualitative growth with inspiration from the RSS.

India needs a disciplined and patriotic organisation like the RSS which has not diluted any of the principles with which it was started. – Mahalingam K Iyer

Give and take
If Karnataka refuses to share water from the Cauvery, Tamil Nadu too should refuse to give sand, power from Koodankulam or coal from Neyveli with Karnataka (“As Tamil Nadu, Karnataka fight over sharing Cauvery's water, farmers struggle to grow summer crops”). State borders should be redrawn so that Tamil Nadu has one catchment area, or else rivers should be nationalised.

Tamil Nadu should be given a special status by an Act of Parliament and money should be pumped in to develop the state. – Balakumar MS

Unfair play
Extraordinary performance that gets wide publicity plus a little luck plus proximity to someone who can pull strings is what it takes to get this award (“What does it take to win a Khel Ratna? You're not alone, even the government does not seem to know”).

The first factor, extraordinary performance, can be made up for with pull and influence. – Purushi

Unrest in the Valley
This is an excellent write up (“The middle ground the PDP helped expand in Kashmir hasn't just shrunk – it has disappeared”). The writer, however, has ignored the complete lack of will displayed by National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah in pushing through his autonomy proposal.

In retrospect, one feels that had the then political dispensation shown grit and determination, Kashmir would have been saved much of what it has gone through since 2000. – Atif Malik

Ties that bind
This is probably what every Indian experiences when meeting a Pakistani in Pakistan or abroad (“#SeditionThis: Why I believe Pakistanis are the most gracious people in the world”).

Both Indians and Pakistanis are beautiful people and the harsh reality of their shared history and their respective regimes’ political posturing since 1947 makes their graciousness all the more precious and admirable. –Apratim Mukarji


I read this article with moist eyes and an aching heart. I left Allahabad more than 60 years ago and have visited a number of times since, but except my old uncle, no one gave me such a warm reception.

I now live in London and I am 80, but still think of my birth place and our village of Kakra across the Ganga. I wish I could build a small house with a thatched roof on the riverside and spent my winters there, in our lands and in the place where we were called “Thakur saheb

Alas! Even getting visa is difficult because I am a Britisher who once migrated to Pakistan. – Baqar Naqvi

No child’s play
Parental child abduction is nothing but a wilful, deliberate and determined intention to use a child to avenge or blackmail the estranged spouse (“Why domestic abuse victims are opposed to India's new bill on international child abduction”).

The child, sadly, gets caught in the crossfire between the warring couple who disregard their offspring’s interests and give their supposedly insurmountable differences priority.

Therefore, it is essential to keep children from erring parents who cannot accommodate or adjust with one another for the sake of the children.

Child abduction has to be considered a crime and a cognisable offence throughout the world. – Kunuthur Srinivasa Reddy

Art is boundless
This is absolute nonsense; music is already beyond caste (“Full text: Art must transcend caste barriers, says TM Krishna at the Magsaysay Awards ceremony”). Not all top vocalists and instrumentalists belong to a particular caste or community. Music is divine and to become a musician is not an easy task.

No teacher admits students solely on the basis of caste. Are all the Nadasvaram and Thavil Vidwans from a particular community? Did Jesudas belong to an upper caste? Was Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar partial to upper-class students? The answers to all are a resounding no.

A teacher (and not all music teachers are from upper castes) will look at the grasp and talent of students, not their caste. Were it not true, how would find thousands of top musicians who do not belong to the upper caste enthralling the audiences?

This gentleman is prejudiced against a set of musicians. To my mind, his accusations lack justification.

Merit gets recognised in one or the other forum. Having clout and strong recommendations alone cannot sustain an artist. Talent is paramount, not caste. – G Balasubramanian

Media and society
Reading an article by Devdutt Pattanaik is always an enriching experiences and this piece was no exception. (“Feudal trap: Why do Indians fear prostitutes and traders?”).

But I believe the role of today's press can be best compared with that of priests or monks, because today, spiritual knowledge has been replaced by information. It is important to have a fair, independent and honest press prevent our corrupt society from degrading further.

However, I appreciate how you pinpointed the ways in which society discriminates against women and insults their character as per their convenience. – Prerna

Messy truth
Congratulations to for publishing such a relevant and eye-opening article (“A little dirt is good for you: The myth of the anti-microbial hand sanitiser”). As a doctor, I always stress the importance of exposure to allergens so that our bodies develop immunity. I have quoted the Hygiene Hypothesis to my patients innumerable times. I hope parents will read this and allow their children to play in the dirt every now and then. – Jyothi NM

Birthing right

This is a well-written article that shows the ignorance and lack of understanding on the part of the government on surrogacy (“Surrogacy bill: India needs better background checks on parents and doctors, not blanket bans”).

However, I feel that couples in live-in relationships or single men and women should be encouraged to adopt, instead of opting for surrogacy. Surrogacy as a lifestyle should not be encouraged, our celebrities are already doing that.

I agree that there should be a “filtering mechanism to weed out medically or socially unfit parents,” as the article argues. But what would be the definition of “socially unfit parents”?

A woman, who had two healthy daughters, had to undergo a hysterectomy due to complication arising during her second pregnancy. She then wanted to explore surrogacy so the couple could try their luck at a getting a son. – because money can buy everything! Under the old bill, they would be eligible. But can they be called socially fit? – Pooja Gupta

A beautiful mind

I am very impressed by the detail with which Bhoshika Gupta studied Sudhir Phadke, his history and his treatment (“Meet Sudhir Phadke, the schizophrenic who works to help other mentally ill people”). I have met him many times and found him to be a nice person to talk to. Even if you meet him after a long time, he doesn’t forget. – Sudhir Khanna

Weakened forces
What the Indian Air Force Chief Marshal is saying is bunkum (“Pakistan-occupied Kashmir remains a 'thorn in our flesh', says IAF Chief Marshal Arup Raha”). The Armed Forces do not have the capability to deal with Pakistan.

Successive governments have weakened the defence forces over the years and no modernisation has taken place. – Parladh Randhawa


India seems to be heading down a dangerous path by having gentlemen like Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha head one of the country’s armed forces!

These guys are trained and appointed to do a job. They must do just that and wait for the political leadership to give them their tasks.

We the people of India have not given them the job to be our political thinkers and strategists or to decide to start or end wars and make or break other countries.

He said that "In 1947, immediately after independence, hordes of raiders from across the border, supported by the military and the government, tried to overrun the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The Indian Army on the ground was not strong enough, they didn't have enough boots on the ground to react to these raiders and prevent them from overrunning Indian territory."

He is so ignorant! What he calls the “not strong enough” Indian Army was actually a fully well-trained and battle hardened British Indian army that served the British crown in two great wars and won many victories!

The princely state of Jammu and Kashmir was a sovereign State, and not part of India. So when Pakistani troops tried to annexe it, there was no Indian Army or any other armed forces on the soil of that state. – Damodardas Subodhdas Deshaabhimaani

Food for thought
I believe that anyone with special dietary needs or preferences such as low music in ambiences that require loud music should not be allowed to review food establishments (“X@#*@! Why Indian restaurants are yelling back at negative online reviewers”).

Their opinions would be highly misleading to a person who does not have the same requirements. I have been reviewing restaurants for about five years now here in Panama and I rate a restaurant based on the dishes that are commonly ordered, not adventurous ones. Also, I always provide an explanation if I give something a bad review. I always prefer to provide informative and positive reviews and not hurt a business.

If I find something that I did not enjoy about the restaurant, I provide a friendly tip on how they could improve upon it. I would never insult a business or its owner – that is childish, demeaning and just makes you look like the bigger idiot. This is something India has not yet learned. My family has owned a restaurant and my cousin in India owns several.

My family and I have had received our fair share of bad reviews, but none about food; just about service. But in Panama, we have never received insulting reviews.

It's appalling to see people act in that insulting and horrendous manner. – Rakesh Khemlani

Opening doors
If you think that anyone can reform a community without belonging to that community, you are sadly mistaken (“Haji Ali verdict: Despite legal victory, some Muslim women say they won't enter the sanctum”). Also, if you think that being able to enter the sanctum sanctorum of a tomb is called reform for the Muslim women, you are, once again, sadly mistaken. – Mujahid Jafri

Limited reservations
Narendra Jhadav, as a Rajya Sabha member, is not just a representative of Dalits but the public at large (“The Narendra Jadhav interview: 'Caste system is the most brilliantly administered scam in history'”). So, he must look at holistic reform and not just a single-point programme.

To root out casteism, a level-playing field needs to be created. This is only possible if we ensure free and quality education for all, at least up to Class 12. If this cannot be done, reservation in jobs and for higher education will not be of help. Dropping of surnames that have implications is a good idea, but free and fair education is the only real solution.

Along with this, free preventive healthcare should also be provided at the school level.

Moreover, reservation cannot be permanent. It should be subject to review after every 10 years. Also, reservation should not be given to the for all those belonging to scheduled castes or tribes – the so-called creamy layer does not need this support. – Isaac Gomes