End of an era

This is an absolutely fantastic piece on Jayalalithaa (J Jayalalithaa (1948-2016): The doughty fighter who earned her place in the Dravidian pantheon). Brilliant research, top notch execution. My best wishes to the author. – Kaushik


With the passing away o Jfayalalithaa, Tamil Nadu has lost one of its most iconic chief ministers who created a frenzy among her followers and was known as Amma.

As “Amma”, she created an image unparalleled to that of any other chief minister in India, generating mass support, which could be seen by the swell of grieving citizens around her during her funeral, which brought the state to a standstill.

Paradoxically, Jayalalithaa was also one of the most corrupt chief ministers of the state, and this unflinching support for her defies logic.

More surprising still was the Kerala government’s decision to declare a holiday to mourn Jayalilithaa’s death as she and Karunanidhi have fought tooth and nail against Kerala over the reconstruction of the Mulaperiyar dam. This doesn’t augur well for the Left government in the state who seems to be relying on vote-bank politics by popularising a chief minister who ruled with an iron fist and amassed crores and crores of public money. – Devadas V

An enigma?

There is no mystery about Jayalalithaa’s life (“Jayalalithaa: The woman who everyone knew, yet no one really did”). She was a self-made woman. Circumstances pushed her into the treacherous worlds of film and politics where one has two options: either be successful or perish.

Being a woman gifted with multiple aptitudes, she strived for excellence in both worlds. Her path to success was strewn with thorns. But she learnt to cure her wounds and outwit challengers. It seems she always worked to a plan and remained detached from whatever she did. P Vijayachandran

Idolising leaders

Even though politics in Tamil Nadu are primarily driven by blind faith, it cannot be denied that Jayalalithaa had created a socially inclined administration in which every last need was met (“The Daily Fix: Jayalalithaa’s illness underscores India’s thriving politics of the personality cult”). People are mostly driven by emotion and this type of worship will stay while the divide among people persists. – Karthik

Health update

The author seems to have overlooked an important distinction between the private life of a person and his responsibility as one holding a public office (“Information flow: How hospitals deal with medical emergencies of political bigwigs”). The former is not obliged to disclose his medical condition unless it directly affects the general public, while the latter has a duty to do so as the public has a right to know how far his or her medical condition would affect the proper discharge of his public duties. The public servant could still exercise privacy rights to the extent he need not give all the gory details but only the broad outlines of his medical history and treatment.

Very few know the entirety of Sharad Pawar’s condition. It is said to be under medical control, nevertheless he has periodically to undergo treatment.

If we go further back in time there is the case of Mohamed Ali Jinnah who, some time before Partition, was diagnosed with tuberculosis which had advanced to a terminal state. The doctors gave him just a few years left to live. But this was kept a secret from the public and companions and it was only known to his some of his family members and the doctors treating him. If it was then known to the public then maybe history would have taken another course. – R Joseph

Patriotism test

Since I live in Maharashtra, the Supreme Court’s national anthem ruling doesn’t change anything (“National anthem must be played in all Indian cinema halls before a movie, orders Supreme Court”). All of us here are used to it, even though it is forceful to all and some people, including those differently-abled, have been beaten up for standing for the national anthem.

But this is just a superficial display of nationalism. Why should anyone be forced to show their nationalism and why does anyone have to be threatened into it?

I too cannot see my country being disrespected by its own people. But I think the solution is to make them respect their nation by themselves.

I don’t think the decision is wrong, but the place is wrong. – Ali V Shaikh


This is a welcome decision. However, what disturbs many of us is the quality of films that are screened after playing the national anthem. Most of these are block-busters filled with obscenity and violence. Won’t the sanctity of the national anthem be lost if it is played in such a charged atmosphere? – Vijayachandran P


The ruling implies that Indians must carry their patriotism up their sleeve. Merely playing the national anthem in cinema halls and standing up while it is being played will not instil patriotism in the minds of all Indians. Surely, there are other criteria for judging someone’s patriotism.

What will you call a person who performs all his duties (pays the taxes, is environmentally conscious) but refuses to stand up to the national anthem?

It is the latest trend that mere criticism of the government has become a ground for being hounded. Isn’t tolerance a part of our preamble?
Pray, doesn’t the Indian guarantee that a person is deemed innocent unless proved guilty? – Lata Venkateshwaran

In chains

Keshava Guha, in his article on press freedom, has totally missed the bigger picture and is not aware of the pulse of the people (“The BJP’s head of information technology just issued a warning to every journalist in the country”). The solidarity among journalists that he alludes to is an unholy nexus that has taken a toll on the credibility of the entire journalistic fraternity.

This article shows that he has no real argument. One can criticise the likes of Arnab Goswami, and I am not a fan of his, but instead of looking at him, journalists from rival channels should look inwards and introspect why they did not get that kind of following.

If only monologues could bring them TRPs, they would have had them by now, as many had been trying to imitate him. But it is about substance, which is completely missing.

I fully condemn such biased articles and it is not helping the credibility of your blog. – Vikas


When an article is published as an opinion piece, there should a big and visible disclaimer stating that this just fiction and a contrived opinion.

However, the opinion tag you have on top is barely noticeable.

At the top of the article, you should have said “Opinion by Keshava Guha”, in a big and bold font – bigger than the article headline, if possible. Please try not to mislead today’s so-called Gen Y which believes that everything published online is real news. – Ravindra K


Don’t worry, by next term Modi will clamp down on all your illegal funding from the West and then we will see how you publish not so true stories.

I don’t see why you interpreted his message as a warning – she has been convicted for defamation. But instead, this story, about one BJP guy said something about journalistic ethics. – Praneeth


I have only one thing to say about your article on Amit Malviya’s comment – that you have taken him a bit too seriously and have given it undue importance. – Pradeep


A free press does not mean one that can print anything. Freedom can’t be without responsibility. Now it has become a trend in our country to write irresponsibly in the name of freedom of press.

Add to this the slow rate at which court cases proceed. This article is one- sided and doesn’t take into account the victim’s plight. Not all journalists are alike. This article is bad in taste and is biased. – Ajay Kumar


This is a stupid article. Gouri Lankesh is a yellow journalist. You can’t just write anything that comes to mind. – Radhakrishna Upadya


This is an unnecessary overreaction to Amit Malviya’s comment. I refuse to see his comment as a threat.
It is time we journalists better equip ourselves with facts and evidence, when we make serious allegations against people in public life. Let us not create sensation with our hit-and-run tendencies, a bad habit picked up from our netas. When journalists write or speak, the world should take them seriously. As an old-school journalist, I believe we must strive to achieve a high degree of credibility. – Prathima


Why hasn’t the background of the case been explained in the article? Political parties should be criticised for what they are, but journalists should not lose their values in doing so. Hope you do better articles than this. – Saran


Such a warning is s national shame. Freedom of speech and of the press must be defended. – Wahiduzzaman Zaman


Journalists need to stay within their limits. They should not blame or defame anyone without basis or without verifying the facts. – Mayur Desai

Great leveler

The government has indeed done something historic (“The lure of collective suffering: Why India’s poor are embracing the pain of demonetisation”). Not unprecedented, but historic. The best way to unite a divided people is to invent or create a common enemy and to convince people of their collective suffering. In most cases, the enemy is quite overwhelmingly real. That was how a country became a nation and freed itself from the British Raj. And that is how the enemy (black money, in this case) has united the most affected and convinced them of their shared misery and of demonetisation being a great leveller that inconveniences everyone.

However, just as the concretisation of abstractions always entail, there are the select few who proudly escape the consequences of such measures taken to fight the enemy. And this select few are none other than the decision makers, the leaders, the people in power. These are also the ones who capitalise on the naïveté and the sensitivity of the idea of common suffering.

The leaders laud their endurance, stand by them at opportune moments of their struggle and hail them as heroes sacrificing the personal for the greater good. People unite against a shared cause. They barely realise that this channelling of a common misery is actually instrumental to achieving greater gains for the people in power. – Hiya Chatterjee.

Taking stock

Thanks for enlightening regarding e-wallets for those who do not have any idea (“Demonetisation making you reach for an e-wallet? Here are five things you should keep in mind”). – HS Iyer

Terror target

So many similar terror attacks are taking place at army camps, with similar modus operandi (“Intelligence ignored: Why is Indian army being caught napping time and again?”). Can any high-tech solution be found by the plethora of talent in our country? Some small device or chip could be embedded uniforms, for instance. – Jayanthi Jaisimha


It’s good that you are informing readers about the situation in our army, but I have an issue with the headline.

This implies that the Indian army is complacent and have been caught napping several times. While it’s true that the Nagrota attack could have been handled better, telling your readers that our army men have been caught napping time and again is just a blatant misuse of your public reach. – Gaurav Tyagi

Same-sex love

I think this article takes a very one-dimensional, narrow-minded and dismissive view of the video, which it mistakenly pegs as Monica Dogra’s work – she has just acted in it. (“Will Monica Dogra’s new same-sex video really make the world more sensitive to LGBTQ concerns?”). The video is the brainchild of the composer of the song.

Yes, the video is risque and erotic and there’s a big chance it won’t do much for the rights of the LGBT community as a whole but as a gay woman, I am delighted that it was made. Every individual who identifies with an alternate sexuality essentially wants to be accepted as someone normal, mundane and ordinary. YouTube is full of videos depicting heterosexual love in all its glory so why be so critical of one that depicts two women being physically intimate with each other? It’s aesthetic, sensual and erotic and for all we know, it has been made just to grab eyeballs – but that’s the best part of it!

When heterosexuality does this on a regular basis, why condemn one video that’s (tastefully) using same-sex intimacy for the same purpose? Every single thing related to the LGBT community need not be a political statement, it need not fight for rights or have to change perceptions. Sometimes same-sex love being considered normal and mundane and everyday is as good as anything for us.

I don’t care whether this video changes perceptions (although the comments have been very pro-LGBT), I’m thoroughly delighted such a video was made in the first place. And I hope many more artists follow this example. The more commonplace we become, the more “acceptable and normal” we will seem. – Advaita