Taking note

What happens to Indian students abroad who have rupee notes on them ("Rs 500, Rs 1,000 notes will not be legal tender starting November 9, says Narendra Modi)? I have with me Rs 5,000 in cash. Unfortunately, I can't reach India before March 31 as I am a college student and my sessions will only end in July. So , with due respect, I ask the government to extend the due date or find a solution for those studying abroad. – Tasung Yasmin


This is a foolish decision. One can't imagine the amount of difficulties it is going to create! Such a foolhardy prime minister and finance minister. Bhasi KM


Well done, Modiji! Keep it up. He should slowly bring about change in all departments. – AS Moorthy


A government known for its heavy-handedness would not know that winning the trust of its people is the key to revenue-generation – not demonetising bank notes. – Mujahid Jafri


This is a good decision by our prime minister. We are proud to have such a dynamic prime minister who dared to take such bold move. Jsaberi Mishra


This decision is meaningless. Abolishing Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes makes no sense. In order to curb corruption, the government should take other steps.

In the present scenario, living without these denominations even for a couple of days is not feasible. – Prajwal Manjunath Shanthappa


I am a bit confused by this decision. With the high cost of living and purchasing power today, many cash transactions run into thousands. This is very inconvenient and I feel it is an unwise decision. The government could have at least retained Rs 500 notes. – KSRC Murthy


This is a brave move. Eradicate corruption, bring back black money stashed abroad and ensure the government staff works sincerely for the fat salaries they take home. – Edwina Pereira

Free speech

Do you really believe that the press is working in the interests of the country (“‘The government is out to get us. So please be careful’: Is NDTV India being singled out?”)? What can be served by highlighting the differences in our society? After 70 years of democratic rule, we analyse every issue with great stress on religion, caste and sex. Are we okay with the news media expressing views and news that may harm the nation? – Prasada Salapaka


This article is well articulated and even though the NTDV India ban has been put on hold, this incident does not bode well for the future of democracy. However, the manner in which entire media united against the ban and the public outrage against it will force the BJP to think twice before implementing such a dangerous strategy. – Prashanta Kumar Nayak

Heating up

India needs to drastically change its lifestyle to combat climate change ("The end of nature: Why India is becoming a drier, hotter and angrier country"). We should stop, rather, boycott the use of private vehicles and opt for public transport only. Stop using air conditioners in malls and at home. The glass facade in commercial buildings and french window in housing societies should be banned. Diesel vehicles with high injection pressure should be scrapped as this cause pulmonary damage by emitting nano particles that go into blood stream. These are just some of the many changes that should be brought in. – Vasant Patil

View from the other side

The Dawn contributor needs to review his opinions on the similarities between India and Pakistan (“View from Dawn: Three questions from Pakistan that India needs to answer”).

Political dynasties may exist in India but have they also existed in the US, the beacon of democracy. The democratic process in India ensures that new parties and leaders are born regularly. Democracy ensures that majority support prevails while the minority is protected.

Corruption is prevalent but also regularly exposed – which is proof that democracy is at work. It is a sign of great strength that on exposure of these scams, there is a reversal of policy and removal of politicians.

Also, we need to correct misconceptions about India’s secular position. Mulsim Personal Law continues to exist and loudspeakers on mosques continue to call the faithful to prayer. Any form of pressure on the minority is exposed and any kind of act of extremism exposed and stopped. Beef is available and consumed where allowed, though a large majority do not wish it to be sold and be freely available. The RSS is a social organisation with specific goals of protecting India not just the Hindus and you will be happy to note that it does have Muslims in its ranks. There are strong Christian, Sikh and Buddhist communities too in India.

There may be some regions with increased polarisation, but I doubt it affects decision-making as a whole. The society at large does not dictate or get dictated by conservative views but a free discussion exists.

As far as the military is concerned, there is respect for the armed forces, but no one would be okay with military influence. Most in India have very poor awareness of the armed forces. In India, there will be no support for military rule or dictatorship. – Shiv Dugal


All three questions posed by the Dawn article are slightly inaccurate in that the situation being described is not what actually prevails here in India. Yes, we have corrupt politicians, but we can and do throw them out regularly. In the end, they are scared of us, not the other way round.

Religion is not as serious an issue as it is made out to be. And the military is by no means the main pillar of our nationalistic faith. – GR Desiraju


Indians and Pakistanis are both are from the same gene pool and are therefore afflicted with similar diseases. Fortunately for India, the democratic core is supported by mind-boggling cultural and linguistic diversity, ensuring that the afflictions you mentioned are treatable. However, this requires sustained effort and will be a long shot.

India does face the problems highlighted in this article, but it does not have a school curriculum disowning our common ancestry and distorted history. Targeted and sustained attacks on a particular religion are also uncommon. Our religious minorities didn't shrink like in Pakistan, which helped us to sustain our diversity and vibrancy. The influence of religious leaders on daily life is probably also less intense. – Mathew Jacob


These questions are relevant to all of humanity and not just India and Pakistan.

Yes, democracy has not prevented the corrupt from being in power. But India's democracy is vibrant despite its political class. Society and intellectuals continue to ask questions and the corrupt do not enjoy respect, nor can they suppress the dissent.

The army is respected in most countries because it guards the country against foreign enemies and also comes to the rescue of civilians in times of calamities. If army becomes political party it will be equally despised. The police, on the other hand, engage too closely with the common citizens and their fallacies are too visible.

Intolerance is relatively recent because some in present government want to project a macho image – and what better way to do that than whip up anti-Islamic sentiment.

Everything said, there never was any significant difference between social and cultural life of Indian and Pakistani. We love Pakistani artists, music and food. Unlike Pakistan, in India it will never be possible for one group to dictate life and that’s why its democracy will flourish. The chaos, colours and all flavours will coexist. – Sanjiv Singh


India and Pakistan share a common gene pool and ancestry. Politics reflect societal values, therefore politicians in India and Pakistan are both corrupt. It has nothing to do with religion or democracy being interrupted by military rule. Having said that, we are the seventh-largest economy in the world in nominal terms and Pakistan the 38th. Having a stable democracy has obviously helped India.

Also, the Hindu population in Pakistan has declined since 1947 to present in percentage terms. Muslim population in India has grown from 9.8% in 1951 to 14.5% at present. This reflects are tolerance.

We have never gone to war first, not even in 1971 when Pakistan was committing genocide at an unprecedented scale in East Pakistan. We have always retaliated to attacks. We have a stated no-first-use policy for nukes, which Pakistan does not. We are not militaristic. If India is committing genocide in Kashmir, on principle, Pakistan should declare war on India openly. But they will only send terrorists and jihadists. They will not declare war. – Ankon Mitra

Right to question

Ravish Kumar has given us an excellent piece of satire in his prime-time show (“Is the Ravish Kumar video news? Theatre? Or art?”). I have been an ardent admirer of his thought-provoking shows and his unique style of anchoring and asking tough, uncomfortable questions.

Having worked as a journalist for close to a decade, I respect every journalist’s – in fact, every citizen’s – right to ask questions.

I am highly circumspect about the government’s stated reasons (of the Pathankot attacks coverage) for attempting to impose the one-day ban they on NDTV India.

As a concerned citizen, I ask myself: Why and how did I find myself in a fractured and deeply polarised society?

I grew up in a society that seemed as pluralistic as it gets. When in school, I was aware of my religion, but it had little bearing on my social interactions. But I realised things had started changing when I heard my school-going son utter an objectionable word against a particular community. I asked him where he picked up this vocabulary from – he told me he learnt it from his friends.

I tried to trace the reasons for the change and I realised that it all started when the Congress started openly doing votebank politics by overruling the Supreme Court's judgement in the Shah Bano case. The floodgates of divisive politics were opened with that masterstroke by a supposedly secular party. Sadly, there was neither Ravish Kumar then nor social media activism.

An entire generation of trolls fed on divisive politics was created by none other than the Congress party. The demolition of Babri Masjid was also a fallout of this so called troll mentality.

Society doesn't exist in a vacuum. If a certain section of society feels they have been short-changed, they too will ask questions.

The media should also introspect over whether they have been a shade biased towards a certain political party. Ask questions, ask some more to those you don't like but must tolerate because they are in power, but you can't snatch away rights of those who have a contrarian view. That is real democracy. – Lipika Saha

Tough problem

It is nice of Scroll.in to give Mr CK Raju a say but any article that contains sentences like "This failure of the West to understand even science, because of bad metaphysics, will once and for all kill the story of Western superiority" is not very believable (“'The dishonest gatekeepers of bad knowledge': The Conversation should not have taken down my article”). Raju uses just enough jargon, some of his own creation, to confuse us. A point-by-point deconstruction will require familiarity with the jargon and my guess is that those who are competent to write one have other things to do. In any case, going by past evidence – I came across Raju on another website – a deconstruction is unlikely to silence him. He will just keep arguing.

I can only hope that Raju does not begin to influence school or university education. That would be a tragedy. – Suresh M

Time for change

It is significant that Monday was the first time that Vice-President Rahul Gandhi presided over the Congress Working Committee meet and he was endorsed for the post of party president that day (“Rahul Gandhi's proposed elevation is hardly surprising, but that doesn't make his job any easier”).

This is a historic endorsement by the top body of the party and it echoes a long-pending demand of the party’s rank and file .

They should now lose no time in effecting the re-shuffle in the All India Congress Committee.

Maharashtra, Gujarat , Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh are the most important states for the Congress.

The performance of state chiefs and general secretaries in charge of these states should be assessed. The AICC should have a general secretary reporting directly to Rahul Gandhi, who can be the bridge between the to-be president and the state leaders. The ideal choice for this role would be a young turk like Jitendra Singh, who has worked with Rahul Gandhi earlier. – Manohar Yadav

Women at work

This article on women architects in India is quite enjoyable (“Behind India's successful women architects are unconventional ideas and mothers-in-law”). I believe that women are good at combining design sensibilities and the aesthetic dimension. D Subrahmanyam