Letters to the editor

Readers' comments: The patriotism of Indian nationalists is hypocritical

A selection of readers' opinions.

Silence please

Never before has this country lacked more in leadership (“Virender Sehwag and Randeep Hooda mock daughter of soldier who died in Kargil. Minister defends them”). All these so-called gentlemen are misogynists. What if it had been their daughter who got rape threats? Why are men so threatened by women who voice an opinion? I am sure their mothers, sisters and grandmothers would be ashamed of their behaviour. Patriarchy is showing its ugly face . It is so deep seated in our country. Never have we been more in the need of a revolution and good leaders. – Surabhi Baijal

***

Gurumehar Kaur does not realise how philosophical her statement was. Emperor Ashoka, after the Kalinga war, did not say his sword killed people. Hatred and war had killed them. He embraced Buddhism and denounced war. Politicians create war-like situations for their own self-interests and to delude people. Only a brave girl could have made such a statement. But cowards make perverted remarks. – GK Shet

Colonial connections

The responses to the ABVP-orchestrated Ramjas College violence in Delhi and to Gurmehar Kaur’s post are a tragic reflection of where we as a nation are headed, and have been heading since the BJP came to power (“BJP MP compares Kargil soldier’s daughter to Dawood Ibrahim for taking an anti-war stand”). Instead of unequivocal and universal condemnation of the ABVP, and by extension the BJP, it is shocking to see that educated and enlightened people are supporting the curtailment of free speech, thought and criticism and are willingly and shamelessly dancing to the tune of jingoism and ultra-nationalism that’s being played by the BJP and its cohorts.

Since when has free and frank expression become “anti-national”? And if so, then how is the BJP different from the British? This was not the situation before 2014. The jingoistic vitriol spewed by the BJP and friends, armed by Twitter as a convenient medium for waging war against any form of dissent, has created a toxic combination that is causing our nation to slide down a slippery slope to the death of democracy. It is up to us – ordinary citizens of this country – to recognise and acknowledge this, and then to stop it. – Arnab Basak

***

Bounds of bravery

Gurmehar Kaur should not be afraid of any one. But by keeping company with Umar Khalid and people like him who are openly challenging the unity of the country, she will be opposed. My advise to you, young lady, is that you concentrate on your studies. It is too early for you to get sucked in the cesspool of Indian politics.

My father abandoned his studies to join freedom struggle in 1942. Though I was born later, my mother and my siblings suffered hunger and deprivation for decades as my father did not have employable skills and there was no land or property to fall back on. I am an old man now and have grandson your age. Just reflect on this, young lady. – Gopal D

***

Nationalism views

Gurmehar is making an important point, if one discounts the exaggerated and silly rhetoric (“The abuse of soldier’s daughter Gurmehar Kaur shows that Savarkarite nationalism is on the rise”). War is not glamorous – they are serious and have many unintended consequences. A country as powerful as the US is still struggling with the fallout of the second Iraq war. A civilised government therefore ought to think very carefully before exercising this option.

The frightening thing about the BJP government is that it gives the impression that it could use war as a first resort. Many of its supporters certainly think that way. In a neighbourhood full of nuclear weapons, this should frighten all of us.

Moreover, threatening someone with rape is disgusting even if it did not involve the daughter of a soldier who laid down his life for the country. This shows two things. First, the Indian male’s attitudes have remained mostly unchanged even after the Nirbhaya case and that makes me pessimistic about them ever changing.

Secondly, the patriotism of Indian nationalists is hypocritical. Let alone fight for the country; they can’t even respect a soldier who sacrificed his life for the country. – Suresh M

***

I partly agree with your views in the article. But I would like you to read Vinayak Damodar Savarkar’s literature before you write on Savarkarite nationalism. Their true nationalism is very very practical and difficult to follow. – Prashant Joshi

***

Even though Communists have the least amount of popular support, they tend to grab the headlines in an infected media and make some noise. But in the end, they do not matter. Communist are a spent force, their time has passed. They can only mislead students. The public is smarter. Moreover, if Ms Kaur has freedom of expression, so do the others. Communist ideology and activities are not going to prevail all the time and will not go unresponded. – Ashok Bhagat

***

The author has failed to understand Savarkar, who has never mixed the fight against Britons and the Hindu faith. Savarkar’s definition of a nation includes whoever stays in Bharat.

I think the writer should read Savarkar with an open mind. Such a conclusion about Savarkar’s ideology shows a shallow and prejudiced thinking. – Ashok Agashe

***

Toeing the line

This is the first article on Scroll.in that smacks of bias instead of using facts to build a story (“In trolling Gurmehar Kaur, Sehwag is merely following the establishment line. And he is not alone”).

By drawing a parallel between the activism of athletes and Trump’s presidency and Gurmehar Kaur, the article is comparing apples to oranges. With Trump, you have a hugely decisive political leader with very strong views against the values that the US was built on. With the latter, it may just be disillusionment on the part of the Ramjas college students against the political outfit (ABVP in this case).

It’s common knowledge that student outfits of all political parties are a breeding ground for political aspirants who like to force the hardline ideology on whoever cares to listen to them. While the ABVP is at the centre of the current controversy, the NSUI is no different.

Indian sportsmen have just given their view on the government’s policy. That the view also supports the government at the Centre is not an argument against them voicing their opinion.

I do hope that Scroll.in is not headed down the same path as several other websites where we only find highly bigoted views learning towards a particular political ideology. – Sameer

Debating ‘Arthashastra’

Professor Patrick Olivelle knows Sanskrit but has no clue about Indian culture (“The ‘Arthaśāstra’ is a manual of statecraft. It is neither a Hindu nor a moral treatise”). He has been working overtime to distort history of Indian thought. He may read my book: Kautilya: The True Founder of Economics, published in 2014. Kautilya’s Arthashastra may actually be called Dharmanomics – ethics-based economics. Kautilya may also be called co-founder of accounting.

Whatever Aristotle wrote, he wrote sitting on the shoulders of the slaves. Kautilya was ethical, secular, far-sighted and foresighted. Please read chapter 6 in my book and there are my 28 articles published in various journals on Kautilya’s contributions. Olivelle has no background in economics and cannot appreciate Kautilya’s contributions. – Balbir Sihag

Sad state

Everyone knows about the use of “alternative facts” by Modi and various people have reported on it too, so why does it continue (“UP polls could change the future of India’s post-truth era (and its leading light Narendra Modi)“) If the media can do fact checks and point out the flaws in his statements, why have Opposition parties failed to do so convincingly? Does it imply that no other leader in this country has strong oratory skills?

Truth doesn’t need much convincing to be accepted but lies do and the biggest threat today to our democracy is an Opposition that has failed us by being silent and not having any ideas. Our country fails today because what Modi says resonates with the subconscious thoughts of each Indian.

Leaders will come and go but our attraction to authoritarian rule over democracy and liberal values is lasting. The widespread public support for this regime is what we need to fear the most. However hard Trump may try, it will be very difficult to destroy American liberal values as there is resistance which is entirely lacking in our country.

Our nation is just waiting for someone like Hitler to come in the future and we will very happily become his subjects. – Sandeep

***

It is a short-sighted strategy to rely on half-truths. The credibility of nation is at stake. One cannot imagine unverified statements coming from the prime minister. Surely some heads will roll, should the results be not in the BJP’s favour. – GK Manucha

Remembering a carnage

Even though I despise Modi, you guys really need to find something else to cry about (“‘Preplanned inhuman collective violent act of terrorism’: What Modi got away with in the Godhra case”). How long are you going to stretch this? It’s gone, it’s over. The case is closed. Modi was acquitted. Does that not mean anything to you?

Stop ranting and find some real news to write about. Go to slums, villages, farmers and find something useful for humanity write about it. Stop stretching things like chewing gum. –Shivam Singh

***

Manoj Mitta is an man of courage. Articles like these restore our hope for this country. Thank you for publishing this. – Izhar Syed

***

Saluting heroism

I thank Harsh Mander to take the effort to tell this story (“The woman who lost 25 members of her family in the 2002 riots and went on to help other widows”). Naseeb, my gratitude for you boundless and hence, I address this letter to you.

My heart is with you. The loss of a loved one is unfathomably painful. To lose so many of the people you care about to senseless and vile communal violence is just incomprehensible. The human heart should not be be able to endure this, but here you are, living this life with the weight of all that loss with remarkable bravery and fortitude. With the gentle hope of restoring that compassion to the community you call home – this mission of mercy is a gift to us all.

My prayers are with the family you lost. They are also with you in your resilience. For raising your son with the “two hearts that beat within your breasts” and for being a standing testament to strength that lies within us is to see beyond religion, caste and class – the humanity that exists but seems to be forgotten. – Tanya

Politics of appeasement

It’s a good effort by the writer to highlight the disproportionate influence of religion on matters of the state (“For the love of god: As KCR and Naidu compete over religious displays, is anyone pleased?”). Some of these things, like giving too importance to vaastu, are worrisome but it would have been appropriate for the writer to highlight the festival benefits extended by KCR for Muslims and Christians in the form of free dresses and an honorarium. In the absence of this information, people who are not aware of this may believe that KCR gives preference to one religion only. – Vasu Deva

***

Both these people have a common goal: to stay in power at any cost. KCR knew that common people don’t dare to question any thing done in the name of religion. Naidu is learning from him. It’s a shame to have as heads of Telegu states people who don’t address the real problems of people in a serious manner. – Rajendra Prasad Chimata

Save the world

The interview of Dr George Schaller is interesting and informative (“‘India has far too casually allowed development in nature reserves’: Biologist George Schaller”). We need many more Schallers to save the blue planet. The legend rightly explains the moral duties of a scientist. – Bhushan Pandya

333 debacle

This is a superb analysis (“These two tables show that India were not as bad as the 333-run loss margin in Pune suggests”). Luck does not last for ever, but skill doe. Also, losing by a narrow margin, like in 77-78, does not awaken a team’s fighting spirit. Under Virat, India will surely reclaim glory. – Milind Joshi

Star wars

For the sake of buttering up Shah Rukh Khan there is no need to insult actors like Arun Govil or Alok Nath (“The DD Files: Shah Rukh Khan’s first steps under the big top in ‘Circus’”). It want not only insulting but also downright stupid to compare their characters with that of Shah Rukh Khan. The next time you write an article, try to write one like a journalist and not a fan or a filmy job seeker. – Shivam Singh

Flawed argument

Talking about Naga agitation with regard to a uniform civil code seems to be a misplaced argument (“The Nagaland turmoil shows why a uniform civil code is neither possible nor desirable in India”). The issue in no way has religious overtones, as argued by author.

The issue is about giving 33% reservation to women in urban local bodies and tackling the patriarchal mindset. Its non-implementation will only hurt Nagaland’s cities that will have to miss out on the funds and grants that the implementation of 74th Amendment Act provide. So I think implementation of the Act will only take the state one step forward. Opposing reform for the sake of opposition hinders common welfare. – Harshad Misal

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
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