Reserved bank

Thank you for this opinion piece (“Because of demonetisation, the Reserve Bank has lost a good deal of its biggest asset – credibility”). To me, the erosion of RBI’s credibility is a far bigger concern than demonetisation itself. You have explained this position in the article so well. The larger worry is that, one day, we will have Uncle Namo as the local Uncle Sam. – Bala V Shastry

Bull dose

This is an excellent article and presents a strong analysis (“Not just Tamil pride: Jallikattu supporters are hitting back at Centre’s cultural imperialism”). I think this is the beginning of a new social movement. It needs to grow and mature quickly in order to save India from the clutches of fundamentalism, and an over centralised Delhi-centric perspective. – M Matheswaran


Breed concerns

Jersey cows produce a high quality and quantity of A2 milk (“Fact-check: Little evidence that ‘foreign’ A1 alternative to jallikattu cattle milk causes cancer”). The inaccurate and malicious statements about Jersey cows by advocates of native Indian breeds is unwarranted and scandalous, to say the least.These statements by these self-styled desi cow experts often fail to cite research or scientific data to support their unfounded allegations.

Having bred and reared Jersey cows overseas and in India and with Jersey-desi hybrids, I have hands on experience and knowledge about the benefits that Jersey bloodlines bring to Indian milk production. Commentators often fail to take into account the smaller size, the economics involved, the quality and quantity of milk produced and the gentle temperament of Jersey cows although Jersey bulls are notorious for their aggression. Jersey cows also have shown the ability to adapt to a hotter climate as well as lower scale and quality of feed in India and yet produce reasonable amounts of milk compared to desi breeds. – Suba Sinniah


Identity politics

Not just in Tamil Nadu, similar issues and discontent exists in other parts of the country too (“On the fringes of jallikattu protests, Tamil nationalism attempts to emerge”). For instance, Manipur only comes in the news when there is a blockade. There are certain contentious issues between states. It is for the union government to cement any fissures and fully embrace the diversity of the nation. – Karthik


Back to the roots

The article by Aparna Rajagopal on the need for organic farming practices puts a lots of things in perspective (“The solution to saving native cattle breeds lies in organic farming practices, not jallikattu”). It tells us why we need to put dung over dairy, opt for a traditional agrarian system over mechanised agriculture and organic farming over jallikattu.

I am seriously visiting the local farm here or turning vegan. – Sudharsanan


Law of the land

I am also a Tamilian and I too share the views expressed in this article on jallikattu (“I am a Tamilian and I support the Supreme Court’s jallikattu ban”). I have expressed my opinions on some websites and have been abused over them by netizens, but I don’t care.

It is sad that students have been misguided to believe that jallikattu is Tamil tradition. Even if we assume that it is Tamil tradition, I would like to tell the students of some more of our traditions, according to which a girl attaining puberty should be subjected to some rituals and should be kept separate during menstruation; she should be married to her maternal uncle and should be married at the age of 13. Will the girls sitting on Marina Beach accept these traditions? Are they not wearing churidars, which is not Tamil tradition. They have accepted that all traditions need not be adhered to. But unfortunately, there are vested interests driving these protests, whose motive is to create hatred for the Centre.

It is a fact that people who cried hoarse against Vinayaka Chaturthy procession (also a Tamil tradition) passing by mosques in Triplicane are now holding the microphone in these protests and proclaiming that although they belong to other religions, they are supporting jallikattu. I am branded as a fanatic for pointing out this on a TV portal. – Newtamilian


Fresh voice

I am happy to see at long last some honest and bold views in the present atmosphere, where every celebrity wants to join the the bandwagon of outraging against the jallikattu ban (“The TM Krishna column: I am uncomfortable with jallikattu but I am not a votary of bans”). That reason has gone for a toss is obvious when nobody wants to even trust the highest court of justice. – V Murali


Losing fizz

Definitely ban all the corporations you can (“Adding fizz to the jallikattu protest, Tamil Nadu now wants Coke and Pepsi out”). Pepsi and Coke are very unhealthy drinks and the companies use all your resources at their whims.

The corporations want to control all the world markets to their benefit. India must protect its people and culture. The corporations have no regard for either. They feel they are above the law and accountable to no one. Their desire is to exploit resources and increase market share however they can.

If you want to see a country controlled by international corporations, just look to the US. International corporations erode democracy without a doubt. – Jane

Great decline

This is a thought-provoking article and the failure to uphold “liberal constitutionalism” is alarming (“Why is illiberalism on the rise in the great democracies of India, Germany and US?”).

Though, as the writer says, “part of the blame must also be borne by lawyers and legal academics”, the problem is that some court rulings do not appear to be reasonable.

I am not surpised that India’s 68th Republic Day was “observed with a large military parade”. Authorities on jurisprudencel ike Salmond and others have stressed that the primary function of the State are “Defence against external enemies, and the maintenance (or rather imposing) Justice”. Hence military might has to be inseparable part of a Republic. – Dr Rajeev Joshi


It is a consequence of too much liberalism. The torch bearers of liberalism lost sight of the opaque views of some people on how people should live, bringing the efforts of people like Ambedkar, Sardar Patel and others to naught. – Krishnan VC

Leading the way

The article seems to prove a hypothesis by citing Dalit icon Bant Singh and unnamed Left activists (“Dalit icon Bant Singh’s shift to AAP in Punjab symbolises the Left’s electoral irrelevance”). Wider and deeper research is needed before we can accept its conclusions.

Bant Singh really is an icon – but icon of what? He is an icon of Dalit resistance, of a battle by Dalit agrarian poor of Punjab’s Malwa against the violence and atrocities meted out by the the upper-caste landed community. This battle was fought under the banner of CPIL-ML liberation.

The CPI-ML was of the view that with the battle won, new fronts opened up, and more battles have to be won to attain the goal of emancipation of the Dalits as well as other struggling people. These battles include that for homestead land, the fight against the corruption in ration depos, the MNREGA, for a share in panchayat land and above all, redistribution of the total cultivable land. The struggle for all these is already going on in Punjab. Bant Singh not only fought against the injustice met out to himself, but also continued to be the brave part of the struggles that intensified after the attack upon him.

But now, he has joined AAP, which may have larger electoral gains in Punjab, but the challenges remain. Bant Singh and the Dalits of punjab cannot do without solutions to the issues mentioned above. The author of the article should have categorically asked Bant about the redistribution of lands and measures for safeguarding the dignity of Dalits, and what he expects on these counts from the AAP if it comes to power. Bant Singh’s answers should have then been contrasted with those of senior AAP leaders on these issues. The conclusions may then have been dramatically different.

The “syllabus” taught by CPI-ML is still the natural syllabus of the Dalits and the landless poor. Bant Singh and many others may be giving the AAP a try to see if it can better fulfill their desires. But can we conclude that they have reached their goal, or that Kejriwal is the mesiah they were looking for?

The revolutionary Left offers a space for the tireless struggles for people’s rights, a mass resistance to oppression, and for extreme sacrifices for a cause. This space has not even been claimed, leave aside, taken over by the AAP.

Last, but not the least, I am 36-year-old full-time CPI ML activist. Many of my colleagues and I are astonished by the conclusion drawn by the unidentified Left activist on the disillusionment of the youth from the Left. We assert that a struggle for a change is an uphill path. The conclusions drawn by Ajaz Ashraf come too soon and are shallow.

Bant will come back, with a richer conclusion – that perhaps nothing short of open struggle can free us from the fetters of exploitation. – Kanwaljeet


This story is really good and the writer has done a great job. It offers multiple perspectives and impels the reader to think and reflect. Not sure if it could have been done better.
Thank you and thank you Ajaz Ashraf. We need more journalists like you. – Saurabh

Aryan debate

Elst has written a piece that doesn’t really answer the fundamental questions (“Even the greatest specialists have failed to prove the Aryan invasion theory: Koenraad Elst”). What is clear is that the Indo-European language family exists and is very large. This means that its expansion was fuelled by something that allowed these languages to displace others. From this, two questions arise: what drove the spread of the Indo-European language family and from where did it start?

India is at the geographic edge of the territorial expanse of the language family. If the origin of the language family lies in India – and if Sanskrit originated in India, then the Indo-European language family had to emerge from there. One has to explain why the language family spread all the way to Ireland, but not to Burma or South India. Hence, geographícally, an origin on the Russian steppes makes far more sense. David Anthony has put together a strong case for that, both linguistically and archaeologically, because he identifies the Yamnaya culture as the likely speaker of proto-Indo-European and believes that this culture domesticated the horse, which gave it an overwhelming military and economic advantage – this explains the expansion.

The only other plausible explanation is that the languages originated in Eastern Anatolia, with the invention of agriculture being the driver. That is Colin Renfrew’s thesis, but it does not fit the linguistic evidence nearly as well, and since agriculture was seemingy invented independently in India, the theory does not work well in this regard too.

For Elst to be taken seriously, he has to explain why the Indo-European languages spread from India only westward, and what drove the expansion. Until he does that, I’ll stick to the theory that the Harappan civilisation was probably Dravidian, that it declined on its own before the Aryans arrived on the scene, and that the Aryans arrived with horses from the Russian steppes via Afghanistan. Whether this was invasion or a migration is not clear, and it also seems clear that they were not responsible for the demise of Harappa – so this part of the invasion theory has indeed been discarded long ago. – Siegfried Herzog


I followed this article and the points it made quite seriously, until I reached the last paragraph. I found that Elst has his own biases. Moreover, the language used is rather unscholarly and fringes on anger mixed with desperation. This is hardly a hallmark of an accomplished scholar. – Yasir Rizvi

Close cousins

This is really more a divide between the right radicals and left radicals (“Free speech debates need to go beyond the ‘radicals’ vs ‘liberals’ divide”). A liberal, by definition, believes in liberty. Freedom of speech is one of the core tenets of liberty. To quote Evelyn Beatrice Hall “I disapprove of what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it.There exists an illiberal Left, social justice warriors who want to censor people as much as the religious Right. If equality and fairness are what drive you then liberty will take a back seat. – Arjun Krishnan

Pinch of turmeric

I do believe in the medicinal value of tumeric, having seen the proof of it (“The truth about turmeric: The yellow powder is a medical red herring”). It works very well for inflammation and the pain associated with it. I do not like to use pain killers unless absolutely necessary. I always used it when I have to undergo any medical procedure where they advise you to take an pain medicine, I have had no problem with swelling and pain.

Eye-opener deserves appreciation for bringing such eye-opening facts into the public domain (“Interview: Arvind Kejriwal’s principal secretary on how he was hounded, humiliated and maligned”). It will not only help Rajendra Kumar feel better about putting out his version but will also inform a large number of people concerned about our governance about the workings of law- enforcement agencies. – Viresh

Caste and society

Having been a victim of similar caste prejudice, though of a lower maginitude, it hurts me to agree that discrimination does occur in educational institutions (“Could having more Dalit professors increase sensitivity to scheduled caste students at IITs?”).

I would like to tell that I completed my B Tech in four years. Yes, some students from the scheduled caste. scheduled tribe or OBC categories are unable to get their degrees in time, but most of them are also from economically disadvantaged families. In my batch, about 25 out of 80 students were offered campus placement letters and none of them was from the scheduled caste, though despite many of the students had higher grades than general category students. – Kanishk Kumar

Going strong

I admire a relentless fighter like Teesta Setalvad, more so because of the government’s attacks she’s endured (“Teesta Setalvad has written her memoir, and it’s every bit as chilling as you might imagine”). I wish there were more citizens like her, across the world. – Fazal Kamal

Power of art

Devdutt Pattanaik is a true researcher (“How to spot a lesbian in sacred Indian art“). I am always fascinated by his work and thinking. He has transcended the realm of sacredness, where we don’t allow ourselves to ask uncomfortable questions. His propositions might or might not be true, but that he has taken uncomfortable possibilities ahead is itself remarkable. – Aditya Piratla


The depiction of lesbians in Indian mythology is a mystery to me and so is the path of finding one’s sexuality. This article widened my perspective and also comes as a relief. It makes me proud to know that our culture, contrary to popular opinion, is not a narrow-minded one but is very open and modern. Thank you for the article. – Yamini Raj


I started reading this piece by Apoorvanand with great interest (“The real problem with Jaipur Lit Fest is not the participation of RSS ideologues – it’s the sponsor”). But when I finished it, I deduced that it was a small article with the regular agenda of his ilk. He is also not a bold plain-speaking author. He shows screen shots of Zee News Channel and stop short of naming it, which itself is hypocritical.

He and similar type of people mislead students of prestigious universities to the extent that they shout slogans about cutting their own motherland into pieces. I wonder why you people are indulging in these dangerous and unethical things. We all are mature enough to know the kind of media we have had for decades.

It is not a secret that Congress Party was the only prominent political party in India and it had the halo of associated with the freedom movement. Obviously the party dominated the national affairs in every sphere and had the opportunity to be friendly and mutually cooperative with different sections of the society and governance. – Venu Nallore

Preventible deaths

Tripti Sharan, the author of Chronicles of a Gynecologist here seems to be underscoring the callous treatment of women by their families in a patriarchal society, but I couldn’t help but find the patriarchy of the medical system equally troubling (“How pregnancy and anaemia kills in India when coupled with neglect”). It is possible, however, that Sharan means for us to find the hospital and its doctors as complicit in the woman’s death.

By complicity, I mean that doctors are consistently engaging with the woman’s husband for consent in what they deem is life-saving medical care. Not being familiar with the procedures at Indian hospitals, I have to wonder: why is the woman herself not being asked for consent? Is it not callous of the hospital to demand payment for blood before and/or instead of giving her the blood she needs?

It appears to me that the neglect by the husband and his family bemoaned by the writer is also applicable to the behavior of the medical system, which knew that the woman was not receiving life-saving – or even adequate – care, but continued to seek the consent of someone they knew would refuse. If her death was preventable, it was not just the fault of her husband or brothers.

This incident strongly reminded me of Munshi Premchand’s Kafan. The story opens with a pregnant village woman dying in agony in childbirth, while her husband and father-in-law sit idly by. The story chronicles the men spending the money they’ve begged for the dead woman’s funeral on alcohol. It is a depressing tale because of this poor woman’s suffering and her married family’s apparent indifference to her death. However, one interpretation of Premchand’s story is that it attempts to question why the reader feels so uncomfortable with the idea that these poor men would use the money they’ve gained as a result of the woman’s suffering on worldly pleasures and whether or not their own poverty is so consuming and wretched as to forgive this.

The author of this excerpt has sketched a dichotomy between tradition and modernity, between patriarchy and enlightenment. However, I don’t agree with her vision of enlightenment; the doctors are unable to see past the patriarchy or provincialism of the would-be patient’s husband (since apparently he is the only one but wholly entrusted with her care) and truly engage with or educate him. Instead, they spar. The result is, “a woman died of a preventable cause.” – Harper Sutherland

Hollywood debut

I found this article on Deepuka Padukone to be rude (“Deepika Padukone takes her Bollywood self to ‘The Ellen Show’”). And regarding the headline: what were you thinking? I watched the video and was not embarrassed by Deepika at all. I thought she was pleasant and charming. It is terrible that your bigotry or self hate attaches a negative value to Indian accents and the movie industry and equates both with a lack of sophistication or civilisation. Next time, critique the movie instead of letting lose a series of low blows. – S Thek

Wrong target

Let Arun Shourie say anything he wants to (“Why we must all be wary of Arun Shourie when he attacks Narendra Modi next”). We are neither objecting to him nor are we moved by his comments on Modiji. Even Modiji does not have the time to respond to these opportunists. So, instead of writing such a long essay on Shourie and Modi, you could have just made it short and conveyed your agenda against Modi, saying he is the biggest evil on earth. – Murali B

Intolerant city

This article succinctly conveys what the average Muslim goes through when moving to Mumbai or Pune for work (“No room for Muslims or single women: Housing bias is eroding Mumbai’s multicultural nature”). In 2012, despite my late father’s strong disapproval, I moved to Pune from Bengaluru as I got a job there. It was a nice place to work and people were wonderful. Nonetheless, my first two months were harrowing. I moved to a house in the up-scale neighbourhood of Koregaon Park only to be asked by the owner to vacate it the next day. When I protested, he gave me varied and inconsistent answers. I asked him to let me stay for a month while I look for another house.

I found another decent apartment in Kalyani Nagar and deposited the advance too, only to be called the next day and told that my to-be flatmate, who, ironically, works at a client location in the Middle East has problems sharing the house with a Muslim.

In another instance, I was asked to come and check out a house but when the owners heard my full name, the timings were changed multiple times, sudden tennis plans sprung up and I finally managed to secure an appointment only to be informed by one fellow already residing there “Yar, muslim ho, rehne do.”

Surprisingly, I found a place to live in a Maharashtrian family’s home near Kalyani Nagar. They were kind and respectful. But many years and countries later, this still remains an unpleasant memory. – Yaseer Rizwan

Cast aside

It is a habit of the media, especially the English media, to ignore any positive news from Bihar or give it a political colour (“Bihar breaks world record with 11,000-km human chain – but India’s English media barely reported it”). I hope that unbiased media will emerge. And that it will report based on hard data and not perception. I appreciate that reported on this issue. –Rajiv Pandey

Pharma’s win

This is a very sad ruling that with several negative consequences. (“Ethical minefield: Pharma industry’s gifts to doctors can be tax deductable, rules tribunal”). Oh India, I thought you were smarter than the West. But no, big Pharma is the new world order.

Cat control

Instead of killing feral cats, it would be better to return them to their natural habitat (“Video: Why Australia and New Zealand have declared ‘war’ on feral cats”). Cats do not overpopulate in their natural habitat and eat healthier food than KFC, which is being used to bait them in these countries. – Kay Gidney

Simmering South

Allowing such protests when there was a Supreme Court ban on jallikattu is unacceptable (“Has Tamil Nadu become more democratic after Jayalalithaa’s death?”). Youngsters are immature in their and no one should break the law, whether they are politicians or film stars. One must educate the youngsters on what is right and wrong. If the Tamilians continue to worship film stars, the state will be ruined. – Nathan Ganesh

Heroes and villains

In this article, why did you publish the image of a terrorist instead of the award-winning soldiers (“Three Rashtriya Rifles unit personnel awarded Sena medal for killing Hizbul militant Burhan Wani”)? Can you tell me who the hero of this story is? Your website has excellent content. I even like some articles that you publish on our neighbour, Pakistan. But why do you glorify some terrorists instead of our soldiers? – Nitesh Rathore