Letters to the editor

Readers' comments: Modi's remarks about Ramzan and Diwali in UP weren't objectionable

A selection of readers'

Controversial comment

I heard the video and did not find anything objectionable in Narendra Modi’s comment (“Modi’s electricity discrimination remarks may sound harmless but they are dangerous”). He spoke about caste-based discrimination and then went on to talk about discrimination on religion. He repeatedly talked about equal opportunity to all.

Unfortunately, decades of Congress rule has conditioned us to think that it is okay to speak of religion with regard to offering sops to minority communities, but the moment the majority religion is mentioned, alarm bells begin to ring. The party succeeded in winning elections over five decades by dividing the voters based on their interest groups and appeasing them.

It is exactly this kind of commentary, lead by the predominantly liberal media, and politics that has resulted in the election of Donald Trump in the US. If you swing a pendulum too far in one direction, it swings too far the other way as well.

I am by no means Right wing but I appreciate balanced observations. After years, we have a man who believes in governance and is trying to root out corruption that pervades every aspect of Indian society.

Yes, he may be a bit of a megalomaniac and has an authoritarian streak, but that is where the other branches of government can come in and provide a balance. – Naresh

***

Why didn’t the prime minister furnish relevant data to bolster his claim? How many villages are there that have no cremation grounds and how many have burial grounds? In how many villages was there discrimination while providing electricity?

A statement that alleges discrimination without any concrete data amounts to dishonesty. I condemn the prime minister for this. – Prakash

***

In his Fatehpur speech, Modi also said that if there is electricity during Holi, it should also be there during Eid. I don’t know how does this sentence is polarising. He just seems to be talking about discrimination. – Amit Agrawal

Biased view

This pompous article made me to delete the Scroll.in bookmark from my browser (“The Daily Fix: With Ramzan and Diwali, Modi has brought back communalism to UP politics”). I no longer has an appetite for this website if it supports such biased articles.

The bias can be seen right from the beginning of the article. It calls the chief of India, the prime minister, communal. That’s not good journalism or a good way of portraying him. He was elected by a vast majority.

If your article starts in a biased way and takes a concrete position, I consider you no different from a bigot.
Why do you want to paint Modi as communal? Just because he asked for amenities that the other community has?

Why don’t you come out of your shell and tell us something positive, something we can take pride in? – Mukund Nampally

Municipal polls

This story on the deadly cocktail of drugs, crime and unemployment in Mumbai’s deprived municipal ward should serve as a reminder of the poverty and municipal neglect of the ubran poor for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (“Give us homes, give us schools, give us gardens, say residents of Mumbai’s poorest slums”). The civic body has tremendous resources but no political or bureaucratic will to serve the deprived. The media’s neglect of this reality exacerbates the problem. Thank you for focusing on such issues.

Choice or compulsion?

The voter has the right to decide whether to vote (“By not allowing citizens a choice, compulsory voting hits at the core of democracy”). To make Indian democracy more meaningful and effective, civil society organisations should work towards helping voters understand our electoral process and promote stakeholder participation at all levels. Active involvement of the voters at all levels will increase voting percentages. – Suresh Pramar

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Compulsory voting will encourage people to be more involved in the democratic process. Many people in India don’t question elected representatives about their election promises. –Nishant Kale

Kashmir question

It is nauseating to see separatists and other anti-India people being fed and protected by Indian taxpayers (“Counterpoint: General Rawat has only stated the obvious about fighting fire with fire in Kashmir”). Politicians who support them are traitors to the motherland. Any terrorist or thief may change colours but does not change their intentions. It’s a universal truth that they cannot be dealth with using kid gloves. The earlier the government realises this basic truth, the better it is for for the country and the people of Kashmir. – Krish

***

This article by Ajai Sahni is a lot of bombast. Let’s examine his claims:

He says that “ a false narrative of human rights and the ‘innocence of the
Kashmiri people’ has undermined every principal of the rule of law in
Kashmir.’’ Unfortunately, it it the Indian State itself that has repeatedly and
with impunity undermined its own Constitution, sabotaged rule of law
through enforced disappearances, revolving door incarcerations,
refusal to punish security forces accused of human rights violations and complete
disregard to the democratic rights of the Kashmiri people.

The author further claims that “there are clearly no “political solutions” currently available to magically bring a Pakistan-backed terrorist movement to its end in Jammu and Kashmir.‘’ You don’t require magic to do this, you just require sincerity. How about trying a sincere structured dialogue with so-called separatists? Why the refusal to engage in concrete talks?

Third, Sahni says, “Kashmir will see violence for a long time to come, irrespective of
what New Delhi or Srinagar-Jammu do.” No, it won’t – that is, if analysts like Sahni remove their blinkers and start advocating a structured dialogue with separatists.

He further says: “The women (and men) who are pelting stones at the security forces in full confidence that they will not be fired on...’’ Sahni hasn’t done his homework. He doesn’t even know that women, men (and children) are regularly fired upon in Kashmir. – Adil Hamid Kaloo

***

Decades of inaction and cowardliness by the Congress, the high priest of vote bank politics, has brought the Kashmir situation to such a sorry pass and has compelled even a strong man like Modi to take half-hearted and knee-jerk measures there. Modi and the Army chief have to pull up their socks and bring those rascal elements to their knees. – Raphael

***

This is a very thoughtful and insightful article. I agree with that people who are against violence and stone-pelting have been targeted by terrorists. However, I fail to understand why the Indian government has not given economic assistance and security to these people.

Has radicalism taken over sane minds and their ability to stand up to the miscreants and terrorists? It seems weird that people supported by separatists and terrorists, and of course, Pakistan, seem to be so powerful in our country. I hope a situation doesn’t arise where the Indian army is forced to launch heavy military operations against radicals as several innocent lives will also be lost. – Aditya Chowdhury

***

Local support

While in complete agreement with our Army chief about the tacit support that locals are giving terrorists, we also need to look at how we can tackle this local support (“Local people are helping militants escape in Kashmir, says Army chief”). This support not only shows that there sympathy towards terrorists but also negates the efforts of bringing people into the mainstream.

There is a sustained campaign by the Hurriyat and its affiliates to spark hatred towards India and its Army. The political class has paid no heed to this and the Hurriyat has, over a period of years, partially succeeded in stoking anti-India sentiment. – Akshay Kumar

Syncetrism attacked

This was an evocative portrait of evenings at Sindh’s Lal Shahwaz Qalandar Shrine. (“Pakistan suicide bombing: Why ISIS feels so threatened by Sindh’s Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine”). A wonderful evening turned into a horiffic one with the attack on the shrine on February 16. The shrine is important because of its religious syncretism and the attack on it can be seen as an attempt to destroy its identity. The ISIS has registered its presence in Pakistan, which was already home to several fanatic elements. – Mohammad Suhail

Slow death

Oh come on, Shiv Visvanathan: you don’t actually believe this government is so illiberal that it poses some new grave threat to India’s liberal values (“India’s liberal bubble has shrunk to irrelevance in the age of Narendra Modi”)? Let me give you the benefit of the doubt and say that this government maybe harder on free speech warriors, intellectuals and journalists than other governments. But in reality, liberal values have been steadily eroding long before dear Modi arrived on the scene.

The split in the Congress, the transformation of a party that fought for national freedom into a family inheritance to be passed down generations, imposition of Emergency, the ‘84 anti-Sikh riots, the move to overturn the Supreme Court verdict on the Shah Bano case and the ban on Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses are just a few examples of illiberalism in the years past.

All this while, liberalism merely paced around, stomped it feet, shook its head and frowned a bit. My intention is not to indulge in whataboutery, rather it is to point out that long before illiberalism came to don the saffron cloak, it had sat on the palm of a hand, sometimes brandished a sickle, sometimes a pen, sometimes an AK 47 and sometimes a uniform. – Akash

No comment

Is this view on the Rohith Vemula case the author’s or the website’s (“The Daily Fix: As with the Dadri beef lynching, the Rohith Vemula case has been maliciously inverted”)? All digital media offer readers the option to comment on an article. Why don’t you give that? Do you want to force your views on everyone? Do you know meaning of journalism? – Srikanth Reddy

Undeserving of sympathy

I am shocked to see the word “victim” being used for delinquent students who resorted to illegal (read criminal) means to clear a very competitive exam (“Vyapam scam: Stripped of their qualifications by SC, students ask why big fish are roaming free”). If they want the kingpins to be sent behind bars, why don’t they name culprits whom they liaised with?

Its ironic that the big culprits are demanding action against the smaller culprits. I hold students more responsible because by soliciting help through illegal means, they set he ball rolling.

And please spare a thought for the deserving candidates who did not get selected because of these culprits. In my opinion, these students are the real victims. Please publish this letter on your website to inculcate better sense in the minds of readers and avoid any material that shows unnecessary sympathy these criminals. I am eagerly waiting action against these so- called victims and their wealthy parents. – Yogendra Shrivastava

Different lens

I learnt so much about the Bene Israel community through this beautiful and informative piece (“Photos: India’s incredible shrinking Bene Israel community, through an outsider’s lens”) .This community seems to have gotten amalgamated in our Indian culture, which is why such few of us know about it. As a Catholic, I was always curious about the Jewish community, After reading this article, I would like to explore more about them. – Jithin George

Freedom under threat

Our Constitution guarantees freedom of expression, but some bigots in our political system are trying to project themselves as sacrosanct (“Jodhpur: University professor suspended for inviting JNU’s Nivedita Menon to a conference”). They are harming the very social fabric of the country. It is remnisicent of the days of Indira Raj. – Gautam Bharadwaj

Fatal attraction

Everyday, I struggle to see how many of this addictions to convenience I can renounce (“We are addicted to convenience, and it’s a fatal attraction both for us and the planet”). When it comes to food, it seems to be fashionable to make renunciations – people boat of giving up diary or becoming vegan, for instance.

In earlier times, Hindus undergoing the Kashi Yatra would renounce one item of food they were fond of. A similar culture of renouncement should be made fashionable in other avenues of life too; a celebrity could perhaps promote it. – Sita Naik

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These days, we are only concerned about comfort and convenience. We only looking to adopt technology that will make our lives more comfortable and there are no limitations to our comfort zone. – Mahendra Thakur

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Wonderful! Thank you for this very insightful article. – Heinz Brummel

Journalism on the line

Strongly condemn the retrenchment of about 750 workers, journalists and reporters of Ananda Bazar Patrika group of newspapers of Kolkata on February, 7, 2017, with only two hours notice.

Express solidarity with the retrenched workers, journalists and their affected families.
This was first reported in December 2016, but the news was systematically suppressed.

It is learnt that The Telegraph and its associated newspapers are being taken over by a powerful business group. It is also learnt that Reliance-Mukesh Ambani group is taking over the ownership of what is perhaps India’s biggest newspaper and a sentinel of the freedom struggle, the Hindustan Times, from the April, 1, 2017. Ambani is already the owner of many media outlets, including CNN-IBN.

The strengthening of monopoly capital in the newspaper industry and the media in general is a great threat to the freedom of the press and a weakening of democracy itself. This will only hasten the spread of corporate-communal fascism in the country, which has already reared its ugly head.

A clarion call needs to be sounded for a movement to bring about the control of monopoly capital. The unfettered growth of industrial monopoly in the media, press, transport, telecommunications, power generation and financial institutions is a great danger to Indian Democracy. It needs to be curbed urgently with all the peoples’ might. – Aurobindo Ghose, General Secretary, Peoples’ Rights Organisation

Identical minds

It seems a little misleading to say that NCERT books have been made mandatory in CBSE schools when in fact the circular only talks about provisions being made to supply these books to CBSE-affiliated schools (“Government-published textbooks made mandatory for all CBSE schools from 2017-2018 session”).

I think it would be great if Scroll.in gets an experts to write an in-depth article on whether a uniform (read centralised) curriculum is the best thing for students, or whether the government (especially this one with all its vested interests and industrial lobbies) should be allowed to have a monopoly on what children study.

Cheaper textbooks are welcome, yes, but at the cost of government encroachment on yet another aspect of our personal lives? I’m not so sure. – Anindhita R

For the people?

Abhishek Dey’s article on Ajit Doval’s village was excellent and painted a true and detailed picture of its condition (“Uttarakhand polls: In Ajit Doval’s Garhwal village, a plea for education, healthcare and jobs”). The Congress is certainly hopeless! – Aditya Singh

Nothing new

Scroll.in’s staff writers have missed a key nuance in this piece – that Shepherd Smith has always been known for his objective reporting amidst the the swamp that is Fox News (“Watch: Even Fox News is ranting against Donald Trump’s alternate facts”). This has never been an issue for the channel and they probably deliberately encourage it.

During Obama’s term he had on innumerable occasions corrected and criticised his fellow Fox reporters for their misleading or outright false reporting. I would be surprised if Fox is changing any time soon, as your headline suggests.

Scratching the surface

I was disappointed by the lack of depth of this article (“India just launched 104 satellites, but is still a long way from becoming a global space player”). It’s easy to Google some facts, draw simple plots and then conclude that the Indian space agency needs to do more to become a global player. Being an aerospace engineer myself, I did not enjoy such a simplistic conclusion. If you want to cover the performance of the space agency, try to get somebody from the aerospace industry to write something better. – Priyesh

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
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