Letters to the editor

Readers' comments: Umar Khalid and his friends are actually waging an intellectual war against India

A selection of readers' opinions.

Don’t speak

Articles like these that give me courage and hope (“No talking in the Hindu Rashtra: Lessons from the disruptions at Delhi’s Ramjas College”). I look for that hope in Scroll.in as we can see conventional media driven by different compulsions. Scroll team: keep at it. India needs you. – Geeta Ramakrishnan

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I don’t think Umar Khalid is just somebody with a Muslim name. He is someone who espouses the division of India. Given that our soldiers were dying in Kashmir even as this drama was being played out at Ramjas college reveals that irrespective of the author’s attempts to paint him out as a martyr of some sort, Khalid and his ilk are actually waging an intellectual war against India. They are a dangerous fifth column who back the enemy in our ongoing war with Pakistan. Those sharing a platform with him should be investigated. So should those pretending that the ones calling him out from the Hindu Right. That fig leaf has been worn by the enemies of India for too long, it doesn’t fool anyone any more. – Aniruddha Biswas

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What is the way out of this nationalist, patriotic , Hindutvavadi swamp that we have got ourselves into? I shudder to imagine the future of our open, syncretic and reasonably tolerant society if hatred-based politics are allowed to go on. – Cmde Mukh

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Why are you slinging mud at ABVP? I am in no way connected to it, but your opinion view does not address why anti-national slogans and elements are being allowed on campuses. – Praveen Vaddepally

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Growing reach

Your article is one-sided (“Ramjas College: ABVP and AISA clash during protest against cancellation of Umar Khalid’s talk”). You have deliberately ignored the anti-India statements. The elements of JNU who wish to break India are trying to gain a foothold in Delhi University also. – Shiv Khare

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Most writers on your website discussing the naked fascism of the Sangh parivar seem to think this is an abstract phenomenon in this country. They need to study the works of the second RSS chief MS Golwalkar, mostly contained in his seminal books: We or our nationhood defined and Bunch of thoughts. Here’s a quote from them:

“All those not belonging to the National ie Hindu race, religion, culture and language, naturally fall out of the pale of real ‘National’ life. We repeat in Hindustan, the land of the Hindus, lives and should live the Hindu Nation – satisfying all the five essential requirements of the scientific nation concept of the modern world. Consequently only those movements are truly ‘National’ as aim at rebuilding, revitalising, emancipating from its present stupor, the Hindu Nation. Those only are nationalist patriots, who, with the aspiration to glorify the Hindu race and Nation next to their heart, are prompted into activity and strive to achieve that goal. All others are either traitors and enemies to the National cause, or to take a charitable view, idiots.”     

– R Joseph

Unholy nexus

The article on Vasudev Jaggi’s hunger for real estate around Coimbatore is further proof of the clout that modern-day mendicants hold over the establishment (“With Modi set to unveil 112-foot Shiva statue in Coimbatore, protests against Isha gather steam”). With our political clans perpetually beholden to these dalals of spirituality, activists and upright citizens will increasingly face threat from the combine. The as yet independent institutions like National Green Tribunal and Supreme Court are the only hope to rein in these peddlers of god and better living. – TR Bhat

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What’s wrong in building Shiva’s statute in a Hindu country? Come and live in a Muslim country. I’ve been living in one all my life. What freedoms do we have? Nothing! We receive step-motherly treatment.

Hindus are the greatest enemies of Hindus in a Hindu country. Come and see the Muslims here, they are so united. We Hindus better die. – Jayshree

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It is good – noble even – to spread spiritual awareness, but I fail to understand why a statue meant for this purpose has to be 112 feet tall and weigh 500 tonnes, installed in the Western Ghats! This is bound to cause environmental damage. This brings to mind the saying: “One man’ s food is another man’ s poison.”

Why should something to do with spirituality and going inwards have to be so grandiose and imposing. This smacks commercialism and a desire to play to the gallery. In simplicity and smallness lies beauty, isn’t it? – Dinesh Hemdev

Model MLA

What a touching story of an MLA who performed emergency surgery on a woman whose life was hanging in the balance (“Mizoram MLA performs emergency surgery on woman in district surgeon’s absence: HT report”). We hope and pray to have more legislators and Parliament who also serve as role models.

Sadly, most of the mainstream media did not find this story worthy of highlighting. For them, big news is who said what against the prime minister. Citizens should learn from this incident and ensure they only elect people who are really worthy of this post. – PK Shankhdhar

Speaking in tongue

While it’s good to see Scroll.in celebrating International Mother Language Day with a video of a song performed in 12 languages, the languages chosen were remarkably mainstream (“Watch: This song celebrates the right to speak in one’s mother tongue in 12 different languages”). Russian, Mandarin Chinese, English and French, for instance, are very widely spoken and rarely suppressed. These “national” languages, at some point in history, have been imposed on millions of non-native speakers.

Where were the languages of the oppressed in this compilation? Why no Kurdish, Uyghur, Bidayuh, Basque, Ainu, Apache, Berber and other indigenous languages that are suppressed or under threat of extinction? Disappointing! – Bruce Humes

Re-evaluating Aurangzeb

Any justification of Aurangzeb’s violence against places of worship does not hold scrutiny (“What Aurangzeb did to preserve Hindu temples (and protect non-Muslim religious leaders”)

. It just shows he had no respect for any religion. He was a selfish and bigoted person who contrary to this country’s cultural and religious ethos. Attempt to argue otherwise is pathetic and sickening.

Hindutva historians, in their bid to tarnish the image of Mughal rulers, have distorted history and divided people. Painting Aurangzeb as a tyrant out to annihilate the Hindus is one such example of this. – Jailanibasha

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Despite your editorial policy of muzzling letters that point out the problem with your pieces, I still do feel that you articles are generally more interesting and intelligent. But sometimes, I am left wondering what your intent really is.

Take, for instance, the recent piece on Aurangzeb. What the book excerpt says is nothing new nor unknown. The problem is the lack of contextualisation.

For example, if someone looked at, say, Haj Subsidy and claimed that the BJP government too gave this subsidy which proves its love for Muslims. Or that the earlier BJP government appointed APJ Kalam as the president of India Or that it has Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi or Shahnawaz Khan as party spokespersons.

Surely, you get the drift? How is this any different from Aurangzeb and his alleged benevolence towards Hindus? The point is merely that despite such expedient and token gestures, the overall bigotry is well-known and established. Your efforts to paint Aurangzeb puts you in a similar category of apologists for the BJP. – Shabnam Ali

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Aurangzeb was an evil man. One should read Sikh history for details on how cruel he was. – Harpreet Sethi

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If Aurangzeb was keen on protecting religious institutions and people, why did he order the beheading of Guru Tegh Bahadur and many others? This is not well researched. – Ranbir Talwar

Captive animals

The animal behaviour of repetition spoken of in this article is not limited to zoos (“An Indian photographer knows why a trapped monkey mimics and a caged bird flies in a circle”). Many animals display this even after they’ve been rescued and rehabilitated. I some footage (from 2014) of rescued sloth bears exhibiting classic stereotypic behaviour long after they’d been rehabilitated. In one clip, a sloth bear is swaying manically so close to a wall that I was afraid he might hit his head against it!

While there is a growing awareness about the problem with zoos, and a rising tide of opinion favouring their closure, what about animals that have been rescued from other forms of captivity. Is there a programme to help these animals overcome these behavioural abnormalities? – Kunal Vohra

Evolving city

This is an interesting article on the changing face of Dadar and throws light on a lot of changes in the city as a whole that have gone unnoticed (“Is Dadar, Mumbai’s first planned suburb, becoming hipster cool? (And at what cost?)“). I wish you had included a map of the area to better understand what is being described in the article. Other than that, great stuff as always! – Shravanthi Kanekal

Demolishing history

The article on the demolition of Pragati Maidan buildings is thought-provoking and disturbing (“Bulldozing Pragati Maidan’s buildings will extinguish our shared heritage and a million memories”). The government is clearly trying to erase all memories of the Nehru era, to consolidate a new political ideology. No other explanation can be offered for the demolition of what is globally recognised as an important landmark of modern Asian resurgence.

I studied these buildings as part of my architectural education 25 ago and I know that they are studied by students of architecture and design across the world even now. They are part of the global discourse on the history of modern architecture.

To demolish such buildings under the garb of development is foolish. It shows the ignorance of the authorities, especially when upgradation through the use of the many modern design possibilities is a more economical and viable option. Such wastage of the taxpayers’ money must be condemned in the strongest terms. – Rajratna Jadhav

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One has to be mad to destroy our memories and achievements. Power corrupts everything. – R Subramanian

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I am an architect and loved your article and video on the likelihood of the demolition of Pragati Maidan buildings, including Raj Rewal’s Hall of Nations. There was eye-opening information in the video (“Watch: Pragati Maidan’s buildings will be demolished. Here’s why they’re important to architecture”).

Only an insensitive dispensation devoid of a sense of History would harbour thoughts of demolishing such collectively owned milestones and symbols of the modern world. This is much like the demolition for dominance done by marauding invaders in an earlier era. – Anil Noronha

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