Champion spirit

What a depressing yet uplifting and incredibly insightful story (“What the heartbreaking story of an angry athlete on a medal podium tells us about Indian sport”)!

I sympathise with Aditi Mutatkar and all that she had to go through. I wish there was an easier way for sportspersons to get financial aid, regardless of whether or not they end up winning. Winning is not everything. Having the will and confidence to participate is the most important. I wish the young woman the best for all her future pursuits. She seems to have the determination and ability to go far. – Rajratna Jadhav

Many players on the badminton circuit, despite having great potential, leave the sport for similar reasons. Politics, administrative bias contribute to the dismal state of sports in India. – Sunil Malgave

Very good article. Thanks for your effort. – Srinivasarao Adusumalli


It's a tragedy and also a shame that deserving young players in India have to run pillar to post just to get financial support. The obsession with cricket needs to change – we can see how much money is being wasted on that sport. There are so many other wonderful games.
Maybe a separate fund should be set up for each sport. – Mukta Bapat


Aditi's story is heartwarming and one can feel her anguish. This shows us why India can never become a sporting nation.The government and corporates are very generous when it comes to rewarding Olympic medal winners but do nothing to create Sakshi Maliks and PV Sindhus.

Like Aditi said, giving crores to sportspersons after they have won a medal, though richly deserved, does not help create new champions. However, giving a few lakhs to talented youngsters so that they can train and compete, does. My son, 21-year-old Shlok Ramchandran, a badminton player currently ranked 80th in the world, is facing similar challenges. And with him, so am I, and scores of sportspersons and their parents.

The government should give attractive tax sops to corporates who support sports and sportsmen. CSR is a good initiative, but it is not enough. We need a sports-specific initiative with an incentive for private companies. Till such action is taken, India's 1.5 billion citizens will again be starved of a gold medal in 2020. – Manoj Ramchandran


Will these sportspersons do charity work, or sponsor other players when they become rich and famous? Will they stop advertising harmful products? In what way will they give back the nation if it helps them now? Every individual in every field struggles to rise up the ranks. These are your dreams, so you need to struggle to achieve them. – Satish Kuder


Sports is not given due importance in India. Sportspersons from humble backgrounds face the most difficulties.

The attitude towards sports in the country is changing for the better, but at a very slow pace. We need to change our mindsets if we have to win medals. – Kuldeep Sumbria

Past imperfect
It came as a big surprise that the Air Chief Marshal of India could get the country’s history so wrong (“How Air Chief Marshal Raha is wrong on Kashmir – and why it's vital to set the record straight”). The common man in India is not familiar with the details of what transpired and history is often distorted.

The narrative that most Indians have heard is that Kashmir belongs to India, it is under attack from Pakistan, and we must defend it at all costs. However, that is a very simplistic view of a very complex story. It's good to see articles like yours throwing light on the inaccuracies and giving us a more balanced view of things.

I don't really know what the ground realities in Kashmir are (as we seem to get a distorted picture from the media), but from what I have understood, I think we need to take a step back and actually consider what the people of the area want. – Aayush Agarwal


The author seems to have a score to settle with the forces and its officers. The article is informative but it has some glaring errors. – Dushyant


The distortion of history is an ongoing process. The Chinese are experts at it. The way they have twisted history to grab territories like Tibet or the South China Sea are outstanding examples. The distortions pointed out in may be correct but let them remain. There is no need to counter the air chief marshal on such technicalities. – SK

This was an outstanding and very well written article. It was a pleasure read the rebuttal to what IAF chief Arup Raha said. – Venugopal


Thanks for clearing certain misconceptions about the sequence of events in 1947 and '48.
I am sure the writer, Girish Shahan, would also happy to correct his own errors. I don’t understand why he has underplayed the role of formal Pakistani troops in the initial raid.

He indicates that the tribal militia had effectively blocked the Indian Army from October 1947 to April 1948, at which point the Pakistani Army joined the war. This is quite a misleading claim.

The article suggests that the UN was approached by India in January 1948 – but that would have been unnecessary if the Pakistan troops joined the war only in April 1948, immediately after which (as the article suggests) the UN passed a non-binding resolution.

This is quite a muddled account and is completely unacceptable from a person who has taken up the burden of proving someone else wrong. – Atul Chandra


Just like the nationalist rhetoric it seeks to lambaste, this article is also predictable and biased.

Information has been used selectively to put the writer’s points across and has been ignored when it doesn't suit the narrative.

While the writer makes sweeping assumptions regarding the success Pakistanis would have had, he discounts a serving air chief's own estimates and understanding. – Ashutosh


Air chief marshal Raha must know that he is not here to take political decision but to obey political decisions. Such military officers are a threat to democracy in every nation. They must be divested of their posts. — Natarajan R


It is most unfortunate that Air chief marshal Raha made such an irresponsible public statement. I do not think that he is naive enough to not have understood history; to me his statement seems politically motivated. Perhaps, he too is looking for a post-retirement engagement like that of VK Singh.

The BJP and their patrons have no icon who contributed to the country’s freedom struggle and hence their zealousness to project Sardar Patel favourably.

But one should be careful in what they are writing and saying these days as the so-called nationalists are ever eager to file sedition charges. – Rafi Ahmed.


This is a suggestion for the writer of this article, Girish Shahane.

The author seems to be nitpicking over the details of what Air Chief Marshal Raha said. He has approached the article with the intent to criticise events, phenomena and statements – or anything linked to the government.

Though the writing is exceptional, the ideas and approach are flawed. Here are some of the errors and anomalies in the piece.

When the air chief referred to the “Indian territory” in the context of Pakistan raiders, it seemed clear to me that he called it Indian keeping in mind the present context. Picking on this and calling it a horrendous error is to my mind not the act of someone setting the record straight but someone who is determined to find flaws.

Also, the Pakistani establishment was directly connected to the attack by tribesmen on the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Also, it was not Jinnah who looked the other way and did not get a response from Douglas Gracey in fact it was Gracey who told Jinnah it would be foolish to engage India on a full-scale war when Jinnah proposed the idea.

Moreover, there are military and strategic advantages in maintaining control over Kashmir, but then again, I would be repeating the point to a person who probably does not understand strategic valuations in polity and statecraft and international relations.

The author seems to be ok with the prospect of the Balkanisation of India. He does not seem to understand that secessionist movements keep cropping up mostly due to the mischievous intent of a few internal or external powers. – Amit

Country for all
It is time to have a uniform civil code for all Indians (“Muslim law board faces flak for saying triple talaq is ‘not appreciated’, but allowed under Shariat”).

India is neither a Hindu republic nor an Islamic one – it is just the Republic of India.

Those who are seeking to impose nomadic laws in India should observe and practice justice and equality for women and men.

The Republic of India has liberty, equality and justice for all its citizens. Anything to the contrary is non-Indian. – Sandhir RK

Judging a judgement
The writer of this article seems to either be completely ignorant or biased in his views on the Supreme Court (“Why it is difficult to take the Supreme Court’s remarks on Jayalalithaa seriously”).

The Honourable Supreme Court has found, in that particular case, a breach of "reasonable restrictions" imposed on the freedom of speech and expression and hence has been pleased to pronounce its award. The judgment may not be to the writer’s liking, but that does not mean it is devoid of reasoning.

Each judgment is pronounced on the facts and circumstances of the case and evidence on record before the court.

Hope the writer would in future put "reasonable restrictions" on the pejorative stance against the Supreme Court and tries to write some substantive articles instead of jotting down such a mediocre and politically motivated one. – Sumanta Roy Choudhury

Poetic praise
This is a beautiful piece on one of the most beautiful women in Indian literature (“The story of Amrita Pritam’s final love poem”). I congratulate Nirupama and I wish her the best for her future articles. – Hiranmayee

Money matters
The way Raghuram Rajan has been practically deified at the cost of the prime minister is alarming (“Report card: Raghuram Rajan managed to redefine the role of the RBI governor”).

Rajan might appear sexy to the Shobha De but to make him some sort of economic Messiah is too much. The aam aadmi has not benefitted from his economic magic wand. The cost of living has substantially gone up and those who deal in black money are having the last laugh.

Non-performing assets of public sector banks have gone up.ATM services are atrocious and rural banking has not gained any visibility. There is still a disconnect between the customer and the banks. Fake currency is still being distributed. – G Natesh

Border issue
Your outrage over Pakistan is hell (“Sacred geography: Why Hindus, Buddhist, Jains, Sikhs should object to Pakistan being called hell”). The statement on Pakistan being akin to hell talks about the current situation in the state. The monuments and places spoken of in this article go back to the past, when Pakistan was a part of India. Pakistan has opted to reject its past. – Vijay Thadani

Respecting faith
This article was sarcastic, condescending and spoke of the Catholic Church and our Pope as though they act carelessly (“How would the media be covering Mother Teresa's canonisation if she wasn't Catholic?”).

You make insinuations, mock the church, and make it sound like there’s some magic or imagination behind the process of sainthood. For your information, the church takes sainthood very seriously. – Maureen Oleary


I agree with the views expressed in this article and I also appreciate the author’s courage to put them forward. Imagine if such miracles were claimed by Hindus? Where are those rationalists? Why did the canonisation receive live coverage on all channels? Are media channels paid by Western interests? Why did one cover Pramukh Swami's last rites?

But what else can we expect from the media that can travel 10 miles to take a video recording of a man carrying his dead wife, but cannot help him out and give him a ride. – Dhiren Vaishnav

Voices heard
Thank you, Anumeha Yadav, for extensive documentation of the impact of the September 2 strike (“Millions go on day-long strike across India to protest dilution of workers' rights”). This is a job the dailies should have done, but most of them are inherently anti-labour and have been either downplaying or damning the strike. Congratulations for taking an unbiased view. So refreshing to read you! – Sujata Madhok

Head to toe
A woman’s body can be arousing for the outside world and therefore she is expected to protect herself from other men from seeing her “nakedness” ("SlutWalks and short skirts: When (and how) a woman’s modesty became linked to her clothes"). In the Jewish religion, this would be elbows, knees, the split between the legs, hair (after marriage), cleavage and the clavicle.

Depending on the community, we are allowed to choose how to cover our heads (using a scarf, hat, cap, beret, bandana; or partial or full coverage) along with variations of sleeve length and skirt length.

There is the letter of the law and the spirit of the law and a woman can choose how to follow them as her spirituality, community or family dictates.

Modest dressing is a reminder to women and a sign to men that an adulterous affair is off limits.

To be free to wear sexually stimulating clothing is a woman’s right, but she must also have guidance and moral conscience to keep society whole – which is not the way society in this generation is going. – Marci Rapp

Valley violence
It is known that Burhan Wani was a Hizbul Mujahideen commander but some people, rather than backing their own armed forces for neutralising a current or future threat, want to blame the government (“'They had rods and hammers': Army raid on Kashmir village last month didn’t even spare its own staff”).

The Opposition is also using the unrest in Kashmir as an opportunity to take digs at the Centre and state governments. This shows the sorry state of Indian politics. No government could have handled such a situation in any other way.

People should understand that these blame games have been played for way too long. The people of Kashmir need to see that being a part of Pakistan will not be better than being in India.

Only the youth of Kashmir can bring the valley out of its misery – and they should realise that the pen is mightier than guns. – Anupam Dudeja

Where the stars stayed
This makes for an extremely interesting read, especially for those who have lived in Ganga Vihar A block (“‘Every day was a party’: When a commune by the sea fed and housed film strugglers”).

Amitabhji used to live on the third floor as a paying guest and my family on the first. He often came over to make a phone call if their phone was not working.

My brother, Ehsaan Noorani, of Shankar Ehsaan Loy, also lived intermittently in Ganga Vihar, as did producer Shamin Desai. – Shama Noorani Choudhary.

State of prohibition
This story is in-depth and impartial (“Womaniya empowerment: How prohibition has overturned the gender dynamic in Bihar's villages”). It did glorify the achievement of the women, but at the same time, it did not ignore the male voice.

It discussed the economic impact of the liquor ban in Bihar on Mahadalits, which was very informative. A good journalist analyses all the facets of an issue. – Pradeep

India connection
Before reading this article, I would never have believed that rock ‘n’ roll had such close links to India (“'Freddie Mercury was a prodigy': Rock star's Panchgani school bandmates remember 'Bucky'”).

This is a great article and prompted me to mail my views. Thank you for this great piece of journalism. – Shrey


This was a great read. I was homophobic for many years as I was young, shy and working in the West End of Vancouver. Freddie Mercury was was so talented and he was my hero when I was young.

I didn't know what being gay meant until I was about 15 and later, learning that he was gay helped changed my perspective towards the queer in general. I now understand that sexual preferences are just one aspect of someone’s life and prejudices against them prevents people from seeing the real talent. – Paul Stephenson

Banking basics
After leaving the RBI, Raghuram Rajan seems to have realised that lowering interest rates alone cannot aid development (“Low interest rates are no substitute for policy reforms, says former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan”). However during his long tenure, there have been regular and frequent interest rate reductions, while the growth rate has all the while moved south.

Do subsequent governments need to choose US-returned academics to manage (or mismanaging) the RBI? When Arun Jaitley, who is so capable, is enjoying a political sabbatical of sorts as Minister of Finance and is supporting proven misfits like Rajan, nothing much is to be expected. – Chandra Shekhar AK

Icy truths
The melting of glaciers in the Himalayan region has been blown out of proportion (“Melting glaciers may impact hydropower projects planned in the Himalayas”). We must remember that even in extremely cold climates, glaciers do melt. This melting is yet to be quantified in contexts of the various glacial periods of the latest Pleistocene glaciation.

We do not know the future of glaciers – I doubt that they will all melt in next several thousand years. Also, a look at the deposition of sediments in Siwalik basin, the Great Indian Mollasic Basin or Indo Gangetic Plain and the sediment volume in the Ganga and Indus puts things in a different perspective. Thirdly, the volume of glacial ice is just 15%-20% of India’s annual rainfall.—AK Biyani

Monumental loss
I've lived near Junagadh and visited these monuments, so I'm glad your publication is trying to raise awareness about the state of neglect they are in (“Photos: In Gujarat, Junagadh's stunningly beautiful monuments are crumbling with neglect”). Having said that, I would like to request you to refrain from passing judgement on how a community chooses to conserve its heritage structures – in this case, your comment on how the Jama Masjid, the only well-protected structure here, has been painted “a ghastly green and yellow.”

To treat the only attempts at conservation of a living heritage with disdain is to privilege one way of thinking over another. I would request the author to pause and reflect on what gives him the right to pass such a judgement. – Hardika