Poll plank

It took years for the BJP to do away with its communal image after the Godhra carnage tarnished its credibility (“The Daily Fix: Running out of ideas, the BJP has fallen back on Hindutva in UP”). The recent focus on the Ram Mandir issue in its manifesto for the upcoming Uttar Pradesh polls has once again revealed the party’s communal face, though Amit Shah carefully hid the fangs of hatred for Muslims by reiterating that a very Constitutional step will be taken for the reconstruction of the temple. The pseudo, tailor-made definition of nationalism that was born after the party came to power has irked the liberals of the country. Such steps will give a chance to Opposition parties to scratch out the BJP’s true colours of the party. It is high time they stop taking things for granted, as 2019 is not too far away! – Utsav Basu

Closed doors

Thank you for this piece on the travel ban and the role of South Asians (“Why I joined protests at JFK against Trump’s immigration order – and all Indian-Americans should“). As it stands, these restrictions will be in place for four months, ostensibly to work out how to vet immigrants.

Barring the fact some countries have been identified by the Trump administration, such vetting happens at every border. Trump is a non-politician and hence may be acting too early on this or other ideas, but he is acting. The US is not banning all Muslims and presumably, in four months, some measures other than keeping everyone out may be adopted.

I advocate everyone to be vigilant but one can do by in other ways rather than protests and
violence. Why not apply to sponsor refuges from these seven countries now, or send money and support to them?

Our responsibility is to love. Instead of protest, why not love those countries and their governors and their people? Start schools, orphanages, businesses hospitals, infrastructure projects and so on, so that refugees are not created, only immigrants.

Let us view history from a different lens than that of fear alone. – John Van Egmond


I am with you on actions against all immigrants in the US. – Yashpal Chepuri


The Indian-origin people in the US are there not as refugees but by choice. These people hate everything about India expect for the option of investing in property markets here. So, though they are taking on the guise of adopting a moral high ground on the travel ban, these Indians are worried they will have to go back to India, which according to them is dirty and the most populated democracy.

I am a Indian living in India by choice, though I have a lot of relatives in the US and Europe. I have travelled across the world, but I appreciate my country despite all its shortcomings. Expats look down on Indians and India. They believe that if they bring their children to India, the kids will fall ill. I very much hope that the Indians are also banned from travelling to the US. But guess what: even if India welcomes them back with open arms, they will head to Europe seeking asylum. Trump, please ban Indians and in fact, all people of Indian origin with US citizenship should be asked to leave. – Dilip


Home truths

I am an American woman who has been living and working in Uttar Pradesh for the past three years and I want to thank you for this article from the bottom of my heart (“Think Trump’s ‘Muslim ban’ is unacceptable? Here’s how India deals with refugees”).

I was in Varanasi during the last Indian election. I paid attention to it and attended rallies of both Modi and Kejriwal. Like most of the world and my country, I have watched in disbelief and horror as the principles we in America hold so dearly seem to crumble around us.

I have also been inundated with asinine accusations from my Indian friends about American politics; blissfully unaware of the realities in my country and their own. All of a sudden, apparently, everyone is a political expert and everyone has lots of critiques about something they don’t really understand in a place they’ve never been, all the while failing to read about the protocol at home.

I will never be the first person to blindly defend the US, our global policies, or many of our historical choices. But I have also watched local leaders in Uttar Pradesh do things that have curdled the blood in my veins (while remaining silent, because I am a foreigner), and have watched India’s responses to global issues over time (because it’s literally my job to be aware of what’s going on in the world...but I often stay quiet, because I’m a foreigner).

I am truly, deeply, inarticulably sorry for and disgusted by the nonsese that is likely to be released from my corner of the world in the next few years. But also, I have to thank you for a systematic critique of this situation. – Tara

War on cash

The RBI will soon be a Navaratna Company. Billions currency notes are being printed everyday and are in circulation (“Understanding demonetisation: Who is behind the war on cash (and why)“). Who is paying for this exercise? We, the taxpayers, are.

Think of the workload of the RBI and what are they getting back. Who is using this currency and benefiting from it? Printing and distribution of currency is a costly affair and is a service done by the RBI and the government. NITI Aayog found a shortcut, that is demonetisation and promotion of plastic money, encouraged by NaMo, and we can call it NaMonitisation!

Until November 8, a citizen using a Rs 100 note received the full value of that currency always, irrespective of the number of transactions with that piece of paper. Now, when that same amount is electronically transferred, you pay an extra fee or service charge. Soon the government will take a portion of this service charge and the RBI too will get a share, which, though a small amount, will help fill the state coffers. Think about what will happen when India goes fully cashless – the RBI will become the most sought after Navaratna.
We must be proud those think tanks at NITI Aayog. India will soon become a first world country! – Kishore Kumar

Destination Goa

AAP is and will be a rank outsider (“For a rank outsider, AAP is making inroads in Goa. But will its work translate into votes?”). The main contest no doubt will be between the BJP, which may bag 12-16 seats, and the Congress, whose prospects are bright in 16-18 constituencies. The Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party could bag three to four seats. AAP and some others can be clubbed together as also-ran. – Orville Ridrigues

Star power

I have lost all respect for Ashley Judd after her nasty woman speech (“Ashley Judd in Kolkata: ‘I am going to do something that may shock you’’)! Never have I been so insulted by a bunch of nasty women who already have rights. There are millions of us who work, raise children and do so quietly, without having to insult and demean others.

I am a professional who just retired after 43 years of working hard as an RN in all the high-risk areas of medicine. Nobody has to pat me on the back and tell me how great to help me with my self esteem. Get a life Ms Judd! – Norah Sereno

Joining forces

Over the past decade, we have been crying that the status of the armed forces is being degraded successively (“The Army is not the nation’s conscience keeper”). This is because the bureaucrats never wanted the armed forces to be a force to reckon with. Not realising that the traditions and the history of the Indian Army, in particular, and the armed forces are so strong that we can chisel any material into our size and shape.

We also know that our deficiencies in manpower and equipment are alarming, but we have not lowered our standards that much. The officer cadre has to be of a very high standard as they handle human beings and not machines. Politicians and bureaucrats need to stop playing with the fire, else they’ll get burnt. Please give us the good material and we will give you a strong defence structure. – Vinod

We do not import our soldiers or officers from other countries, true, but we do select the best after tough scrutiny. Most of the imagined aberrations are not common in our army. The author requires to reconditioning from his biased opinions. – Manohar


Amid the chaos and ruckus of the paid content and irresponsible coverage, I came across this unbiased piece that encapsulates the true essence of journalism. – A Muqtadar


The motto of the Army, as written in the Indian Miltary Academy is: “The country comes first,your subordinates next and you, last and every time.” This is not the motto of any other organisation in the world.

It clearly states that an army officer has to be loyal, faithful, dedicated and selfless.He lives and dies for the nation and its people. Again, no other organisation in the world expects this from their employees. An army man is not only a professional soldier, leader, manager and officer but also a hero.

India is not a homogenous country where everyone is of the same kind. India has good and bad, educated and uneducated, big and small, honest and dishonest, etc. So,trying to quote it as an alibi for for our shortcomings is equal to finding excuses and justifying it. To that extent, I do not agree to the views of the author.

Let the world be whatever it is – I shall be upright. That’s what every soldier must say. My father was an ICS Officer and he set very high standards for all of us to follow. I tried to maintain these while in service and also outside the service. – Naga

Grain drain

I am interested in pigeon peas and the yo-yo effect poorly implemented government policies have on small local farmers (“Food production in Karnataka may drop 40% this year”). Most people understand and seem to accept corruption by independent brokers and throughout the government ranks.

Allow me to lay aside the less-than-ideal local practices and share how it affects us on a global scale with regard to India’s food security. I am a pigeon pea grower in the US and want to export to India to help fill in some of the shortfalls in supply there. As an outsider, I have been impressed by the prime minister’s direct involvement in publicised commodity aquisition programs to help stabilise a future food supply for India.

But it seems as though the trickle down effect gets blocked somewhere, which causes a lot of harm. When I read about farmers’ suicide rates, I cry. – Alex

Manufacturing history

Thank you very much for sharing this wonderfully written piece (“The Sardar Patel statue is part of an attempt to manufacture a respectable genealogy for the RSS”). It is wonderful not just for the way it is constructed but also for the frightening levels of historical distortion it forewarns.

“Dharam before Dharma”– that is what best describes organisations like the RSS. There are many more such pretenders like them. History has always been distorted and re-written by the victor. Sadly, this time, a lot of blood (good and bad) will be spilt before the course changes again. – Avik Chattopadhyay

New home

This is a very distorted and one-sided report on the immigrant community from India (“How did Indian immigrants to the US become a ‘model minority’?”).

What the author has conveniently ignored is that this group carries the same mindset
on India, based on state and language loyalties, casteism and the
old divisions, that has been a curse for more than several centuries. India continues
to be a divided republic and remains disorganised and this hurts its economic growth. –Niladri Mantena

Yoga debate

This is not so well research and I don’t quite agree with the author’s observations. Yoga has been attributed to Shiva and that goes far beyond a couple of thousand years. By the way, it comes from the Vedic tradition. Even the word Hindu is of later denomination, which naturally tends to limit the core and antiquity of wisdom. – MG

Dark horse

Your article on the substitute Kala Ghoda in Mumbai was unpersuasive (“The new horse statue in Kala Ghoda embodies Mumbai’s efforts to create a false memory”). When I came to Mumbai from Britain in 1961 to work for the Indian Express, I was surprised to find the real Kala Ghoda still in place, along with other relics of British rule: trivially, the name of Victoria Terminus, say and far deeper, the overtly whites-only Breach Candy swimming pool and club –surely offensive to any Indian, I felt, as indeed to me (not that that view stopped me and my infant children using it; it was three minutes from our flat, and hypocrisy is a deep-seated human trait).

Still, the Kala Ghoda statue was already universally known by that name. I wondered, and wonder, how many Mumbaiites even knew that the grandee on top was a British one? It was in place for about 18 years post-Indepedence and then too was only moved to Byculla.

I disprove of the claim that Mumbai is “particularly phobic” of the colonial past.

Sure, the new horse “adds to urban clutter”. Ah, but a horse complete with arse and penis! Horror! Stallions do have those things. Should the sculptor have added some giant fig-leaves? From the sweep of history to equine anatomy your contributor strikes me as too sensitive. – Stephen Hugh-Jones

Ailing sector

I endorse K Sujata Rao’s views, which come from her rich experience as health secretary (“Interview: Why is India investing in insurance schemes instead of primary healthcare?”). The state of Indian healthcare is precarious and at a crossroads, but correctional measures can still change things for the better. Another failed Budget and de-allocations wil do such harm that recovery may not be possible thereafter. I lead a large healthcare setup that caters to a cross-section of the Indian population. Based on my experience, I think the following things should be done:

For one, the present emphasis on selling primary healthcare to private players and buying tertiary healthcare from then at a price, will sound the death knell for the overall healthcare status of the country. India continues to be the leprosy and malaria capital of the world. To that, India has added some more distinctions on such as road traffic accidents, cardiac diseases and psychiatric illness. This changing epidemiological profile is not being picked up by policy makers to formulate a preventive strategy. I fear that we are on the cusps of a major lifestyle disease epidemic that we will find difficult to cope with.

Second, the malignant spread of corporate hospitals must be regulated . Their business paradigms are profit-driven and are attractive enough to divert vital manpower away from the public system where it is urgent. The expensive tertiary care and five star facilities have targeted to the rich and insured . The poor are left to manage with a depleted public system.

Third, the plan to allocate post-graduate education to private corporate hospitals will prove detrimental to the long term quality of expertise. Much greater emphasis must be given to the public health system by the government and non-profit medical sector. Ethics, teaching and research need much greater emphasis as well, than what is given now. – Sunil Chandy