More money, less problems?

It is bizarre to hear of such a wedding in times of demonetisation
(“No demonetisation blues here: The obscenely opulent Reddy wedding shows us the politics of money”). It shows that the rich in India can do anything at any time. They can blatantly disregard the system with their money power. At a time when common citizens are running from banks to ATMs to access their own money for weddings, health emergencies and other such big and small expenses, this wedding took place at an unprecedented scale. This shows that the rich and poor occupy different worlds. – Vijayachandran P


In the article titled “Informal credit systems: Modi has crippled a very Indian way of doing business”, the writer says:

”In fact, 50,421 bank branches service India’s 6,38,596 villages. This means there is a bank outlet every 12.66 villages. This should provide a glimpse into the havoc the demonetisation policy is still to wreak on rural India, the story of which we haven’t yet heard.”

However, he has conveniently forgotten the presence of 1.54 lakh spot offices across India, of which 1.39 lakh branches happen to be in the rural heartland. You can read about this here and here.

This completely changes the perspective and significantly reduces the ratio of financial institution to villages ratio as well as fear-mongering. – Mandar


The demonetisation move will undoubtedly be marked as a big moment in the economic history of India, but its implementation has not been up to the mark. The December 30 is too relaxed a deadline and gives black-money hoarders enough time to secure their stash.

Also, points of exchange/withdrawal of money should have been increased by setting up temporary counters at schools and government offices, to ease the liquidity crunch. The aim of the exercise should have been to distribute new currency notes as fast as possible, giving no time to black-money hoarders to find a way out.

A dynamic software and database, capable of tracking each and every transaction, should have been developed and the frequency with which someone accesses their account must be checked. This will certainly help crack down on illegal wealth. – Abhishek Kumar


Hats off to Dr EAS Sarma
(“Full text: Former bureaucrat EAS Sarma writes to Modi on 5 steps to take against black money”). Everybody should support his views because he is non political. If Narendra Modi really wants his surgical strikes on black money to succeed, he should not leave out those like Vijay Mallya. Chandra Sekhar Rao Pulluru

False equivalence

This article on the comparisons between Rahul Gandhi and Hillary Clinton was interesting but ultimately unconvincing (“Hillary Clinton’s Democratic Party is more like Rahul Gandhi’s Congress than we realise”). While it is true that in both India and the US (as well as other parts of the world) moderate-centre parties have lost popular support, the analysis presented here is something of a stretch. Moreover, comparing Hillary Clinton to Rahul Gandhi reduces the significance of a competent candidate who fought a tough battle against a racist sexist bully.

Comparing Clinton and her campaign to Rahul is like comparing something that is positive, alive, and forward looking to something moribund. The Democratic Party campaign operated with that message: stronger together in a diverse dynamic society. The Indian National Congress, on the other hand, had no such vision or rallying cry for India; sadly, it still doesn’t. More importantly, Clinton did actually win the popular vote. Rahul Gandhi has never had that kind of popular support.

The writer J Daniel Elam rightly suggests that “Rahul Gandhi represented the accumulative authority that the Congress believed it possessed, and the concomitant faith in the institution of the bureaucratic welfare state. Clinton represented slowly acquired knowledge, and the related belief that facts and expertise were values in the service of public welfare.” But these are two entirely different things. The Congress was riding on a redundant historical legacy, the Democrats and Clinton were fighting for the primacy of knowledge, mutual respect and coexistence in an increasingly diverse society, and were backed by a very real, recent legacy of President Obama, who remains one of America’s most popular presidents. The Democrats will certainly need to rethink their strategies in the next four years but they are hardly redundant is the same way that the Indian National Congress has become today.

Most importantly, the comparison overshadows the truth of Clinton’s very real qualifications for the job. Clinton has spent 30 years of her career in public office and had earned the position for which she was running. The same cannot be said about Gandhi. Clinton’s family name, while a privilege, does not carry the same entitlement of birth as Gandhi’s and if anything, her husband’s actions in fact proved harmful to her campaign. – Aparna Kapadia

Mistry ouster

I know Cyrus Mistry personally and, being married to a Parsi myself, I know they are fine people, to say the least (“Being Cyrus Mistry: Ashwin Sanghi on his school friend”). I still remember, sometime around 1994, Cyrus and his wife, Rohika, were visiting us in the US and my brother asked me to make his favourite dishes – chicken makhni, kaali dal and some vegetable. I was thrilled to do so. I vividly remember that after lunch, as we were clearing up, Cyrus, picked up the garbage and asked me where he should put it! I marveled at the humility and upbringing of this super-wealthy youngster.

Cyrus, you are an exemplary human being and so is Rohika. Reading about you were treated by the mighty Tata Industries breaks my heart! – Manu Kapadia

By the book

Your story on the departure of Karthika VK from HarperCollins was interesting, but seemed to unequivocaly praise her (“In a shock move, HarperCollins India publisher Karthika VK quits after ten years in the job”). I am not a writer, but as a reader I can tell you that she had not brought enough talent in her time.

Readability in fiction suffered and this is why HarperCollins books failed to sell widely. Karthika lacks the worldly experience needed to select good and best-selling books. Many Indian publishers lack such literary experience and exposure. – R Sreedharan