Letters to the editor

Readers' comments: 'Can only imagine the pain and agony Umar Khalid and his family have endured'

A selection of readers' opinions.

Trial by media

It is high time the media introspects and starts playing its real role in a democratic society (“‘Many TV studios are again playing the role of a lynch mob’: Umar Khalid’s open letter to the media”). Ever since the BJP formed the government, there has been a great boost to the sycophantic trends and the media has jumped to the forefront. All dissent is called anti-national.

The people at the helm, the ministers, and also some bureaucrats try to curb dissent by calling it sedition. In such a circumstances, it is only the media, the fourth pillar of the democracy, that can stand with the people and their fundamental rights. Instead, it falling fallen prey to the ruling party.

One can feel the pain and agony that Umar Khalid and his family have endured through the year. I don’t believe that the prejudiced media will budge, but I hope this marvellous article will at least open the the eyes right-thinking people. – SM Mallick

***

For a long time, I have been wondering why no one files a defamation suit against some media channels and anchors. A letter like this, though important, will only prolong a pseudo debate raging on social and mainstream media. Only when someone is called upon to pay a hefty fine for defamation will they wake up to reality. Why should Umar Khalid and his family suffer humiliation just because some crazy journalist or media house wish to give them a bad name and incite the youngsters of this country to serve their perceived interests? – Kalyan Chatterjee

***

I appreciate your letter to the media and the anxiety your mother is feeling. Beta, I really think that you should concentrate on your research and produce a first-class thesis. In the current environment, it is better for you to not be so publicly visible and controversial.

Take it easy and just do your own work as a research scholar and don’t court controversy.
You will get plenty of opportunities to improve the condition of Adivasis once you have complete your PhD and then work in tribal belts to bring about a paradigm shift. – Mrs Das

***

Does Umar Khalid think that all those who saw him shouting anti-India slogans were blind? Now that he is going to be arrested, which we all hope happens very soon, he is writing to the media to blame them and show that he is innocent. Please don’t say “JNU scholar” before his name. – Moorthy D

***

Your fear and agony are quite understandable. You must expose as much you as you have at your command. Finally, truth will prevail. Moreover, there is the Almighty who is omniscient and omnipotent, from whom these so-called natinalists cannot save their hidden intent and deeds. Believe in him. I will also pray for you and your dear ones. – Rakesh Kumar Vohra

***

I am sorry for all that you had to go through. I cannot begin to imagine the atrocities you had to suffer – still have to, as a matter of fact. I apologise to you on behalf of the nation and as common citizen. – Tripti Kumar

Nation above all

It is immaterial whether Kanhaiya Kumar raised anti-India slogans
(“Kanhaiya Kumar did not shout anti-India slogans at JNU last year, reveals investigation: India Today”). He will be rightly acquitted if he did not. But it was an act of cowardice on part of those who chanted slogans seeking azadi and then, as an afterthought and for good measure, said they were seeking freedom from poverty and the like. By buying into this claim, intellectuals embolden them. Let opposition to BJP not translate into taking anti-national positions. Parties are not permanent but the nation is. – Satyanarayanaa Kasthala

Demonetisation boom

There seems to be a problem here, and that is a theory known as “demonetisation is a failure”
(“GDP growth: It feels like our government has taken lessons from the Soviet Union in massaging data”). Right from the day after demonetisation was announced, you followed this theory and and all was good – for a while.

After a few months, there were polls and the results showed people’s support for demonetisation. You were then at a loss and tried to explain this by saying that the people have been fooled.

And then, the data started coming in, and you were in bigger trouble. Because data from RBI and other agencies showed that demonetisation did not really have that much of a negative impact across a variety of sectors such as industrial activity, influx of foreign tourists etc.

But you kept denying that data in the hope that somehow, somewhere, your theory will come good. But now it seems even GDP data indicates that demonetisation has not had that much of a negative impact.

So, in order to fit observations to your theory, you have now started twisting those observations according to your whim. Good going, sir! – Sanjoy Chanda

***

With all due respect to Girish Shahane’s knowledge, I do think there was some historic and wild shopping spree. Many people (obviously flush with hoarded cash) went and bought fancy and costly things (such as luxury watches, jewellery and such accessories).

I hear that people rushed to payoff their old debt (obviously taken in cash) which in turn led to extra cash with lenders that had to be disposed of. Some of these were covered by popular media.

While I can’t say this kind of spending accounted for GDP growth or not, I do think some wild buying did take place, especially in the first two weeks after November 8. Required and sufficient data only can prove or disprove this. – Naveen

Wrong way

Perhaps instead of detailing his career – which casts his life in a sympathetic light – the article could focus on the far more serious issue of the sexual harassment charge against him (“The rise and fall of Amit Singhal, the former Google star who has been fired by Uber”). Perhaps the article would have been more worthy of my time if it informed the readers what the case against him is. – Lauhona Ganguly

Rules of freedom

Freedom of speech in all free societies comes with unstated but clear caveats (“Don’t join those pouring cold water on Gurmehar Kaur’s hopes, Shashi Tharoor tells Sehwag”). You shall not cross the red lines that give offence to a significant section. I’m no card-carrying member of the RSS and hold no brief for ABVP but I find slogans asking for the disintegration of my country deeply offensive. Stupidity and insensitivity come to mind rather than sedition. And shouldn’t the students including Gurmehar Kaur focus on their studies instead of becoming pawns at the hands of politicians? – Satish Kalra

Techie trouble

This is an interesting story, but I have some points to add (“Engineered to fail: Are IT recruits untrainable because they cheat in college?”). Some students take up information technology or engineering because of parental pressure. But the fact is employers too look for engineers or at least prefer them to others. Second, the syllabus is not contemporary at all. This is a field that changes rapidly and we do not keep pace with that.

Ideally, we should be anticipating how trends are likely to shape up and prepare students based on these. But many professors themselves are not good programmers. Also, once we have identified the limitations of professors, what do we do? Do we get outsiders to come and teach? No, because no institute wants to spend money on that.

They expect students to join private coaching classes, which are even more pathetic. Institutes do not even reccomend good courses for students online. Most importantly, no proffesor or institute teaches that programming is inevitable in the future of the corporate world. This will excite students to study and take this profession seriously. Also, do institutes check what kind of work their students, who were placed through campus recruitments, are being made to do?

I reluctantly chose this as a career 30 years. I did my post graduation in this. I joined as a trainee programmer, but learnt on my own and also developed my own methodology of learning. In 22 years, I went from being coder to CEO/MD of a company. – L Sundar

***

I appreciate your work on this article. I want you to research further the coding skills of hired coders, both freelancers as well as full-time employees in IT firms. I strongly believe most coders in India have very poor skills. But in the domestic market, these workers are overpaid in because of the low awareness of the clients in this gigantic and confusing industry. – Padmanabham Salla

Women at work

It feels great to hear that such a documentary has been made (“‘Velvet Revolution’ documentary maps the hard but necessary journey of female journalists”). Not only it is the need of the hour but also a strong foothold for the women journalists out there who consequently put their lives at stake and fight the atrocities without fail.More power to women journalists. – Gauri Bansal

Right or wrong

Ever since the BJP has come into power, it has thought that those who follow their ideology are nationalists and others are anti-national (“Threats to Gurmehar Kaur show how politicians use the deaths of soldiers as fodder for jingoism”). They are not ready to listen any one who does not follow them. – Jaswinder Gill

Name-changer

This is very positive. Now that we have the facts in hand, we must expedite the process of renaming the Indus Valley Civilization to Sarasvati-Indus Civilization (“Indus Valley should now be called the Sarasvati river civilisation, says Haryana: Indian Express”). Kudos to all who have done work to achieve this. – Subrata Paul

American dream

This article is absolute nonsense and smacks of ignorance (“Donald Trump has done the impossible: Reversed India’s decades-old preference for US-based grooms”). The writer has not done any proper research nor has she bothered to find out the exact situation. What Donald Trump wants is quality people and he has said so clearly in his first speech in the Congress. Trump has filtered the wheat from the chaff.

I am am very sad to tell you that 95% of engineers who have gone to the US from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana fall into the latter. They have no merit or quality. They just want to reach the American shores desperately for a better life and if not that then at least to get a good bride and big fat some dowry. Now it is a clear testing time. The people who can still stay in the US despite all the strict Trumps criteria are the wheat. – Surya Prakash

***

The intro to the article, which says: “The attack on two Indian engineers in Kansas last week, in which one was killed, is likely to accelerate this trend,” bothers me. One can write what he or she wants but this is really sad and unsettling.
Prathamesh Modsing

***

Why do parents have to find a match for these educated girls? High unemployment and under employment is the root cause of all our social divisions. Once bring the unemployment rate below 5%, like in the Western countries, we will break all social barriers like inter-caste, inter-religious marriages. – Madhusudhu Reddy

Money on the mind

This is a well-written article on the pyschological effects of demonetisation (“Glee, denial, sadness: Mental health experts analyse India in the time of demonetisation”). The economic consequences are dwarfed in comparison to the anxiety and trauma people underwent. The indifference of most people, including the political leadership, is surprising. – Karthik G

Poll battle

I am sure the BJP will lose the Uttar Pradesh elections (“Grassroots outreach strategy that BJP debuted in UP in 2014 may be less effective this time”). I am a follower of the BJP, but arrogance will be its Waterloo. – Ashu

Tough questions

Poor Lance Naik Roy Mathew (“Soldier who exposed ‘sahayak system’ in Army found dead near Nashik camp”). He complained about a system that is prevalent in the Army, about soldiers taking dogs for a walk or children to school. His seniors could not accept that because they are bullies! – Anne Ullal

Meal deal

There are a few things on which you should work before posting articles like this (“This is shameful: India will deny children food because they don’t have an Aadhaar number”). I am currently working in government school in Rajasthan and so I know its functioning closely. It is the duty of the school staff to take Aadhaar card numbers. No one is saying that students alone have to go and apply for the card.

Second, do you really think mid-day meals works as incentive for parents to send their children to school? Also, if the government is asking for Aadhar card numbers and giving four months of time for that, what’s wrong? Fourth, school staff are also human beings and they never refuse a child their mid-day meal. They love those children more than you and me. Also, local authorities will also help the staff in this.

This rule is important because many school staff are manipulating students data and taking more grocery from the government. – Anshul Ashok Goyal

***

This government shows no concern for the poor and the marginalised. During demonetisation, “sacrifices” were demanded from the most vulnerable sections of our society. Now, again on technicalities, little children will be denied a basic necessity – food. It’s more than just shameful, it is shameless and cruel. – Neha Singh

***

We can cry ourselves hoarse but this government will not listen. The only voice they hear are votes. – Rajan Srinivasan

***

I laud your efforts in reporting about Aadhaar. Please keep up the great work! Clearly, data privacy and protecting vulnerable groups is not a priority for this government.

I (and many others) would be very interested in knowing more about what legal actions could be taken to push the government to legislate these weaknesses out of the system.

We need legislation to make the UIDAI report data-breaches immediately to affected individuals. We also need a bounty system to report firms that illegally store biometrics if required. Moreover, Aadhaar should not be a requirement to receive government benefits and minors should be enrolled into the system only via a guardian.

I am no expert on these matters, but I am very worried that we are becoming an Orwellian society. – Aditya M

***

The whole premise of the article is that if a child is not able to produce an Aadhaar card, he or she could be refused a meal. This is an illogical conclusion. First, the action of not feeding a child isn’t a subgame perfect Nash equilibrium, meaning that if a child doesn’t have Aadhaar card but comes to school, you will have to feed them. No democratic government in their right mind will aim to lose the vote of the children and parents of a mostly young country .

The only incentive here is that the fear of not getting the mid-day meal may make more people enrol for Aadhaar cards, which is a worthy aim. – Kritarth

***

It’s disgusting to see such negative article. You should encourage village children to take Aadhar cards rather than accusing the government. In fact, you should put pressure on the government for such activities. – Rakesh

***

What is your problem? My understanding is that you, the media, so-called NGOs and the judiciary are hell bent on thwarting any sane government moves that aim to bring some semblance of discipline in government schemes. – Ranganathan Seetharaman

City halted

The real reason for traffic problems in my beautiful city is the citizens-bureaucracy-politicians nexus (“Saving face: Why Karnataka Congress had to kill Bengaluru steel flyover”). Every citizen who wants approvals to construct a building, residential or commercial, submits his plan to the municipal corporation. It is mandatory to make parking provisions for the project, but by paying a bribe, citizens sidestep that. And so, we find vehicles parked on footpaths or on the road. Moreover, the footpath is taken over by illegal hoardings or vendors.

Since we do not have strict enforcement, citizen get away with murdering the rules in broad daylight, in connivance with ever-willing corrupt politicians and municipal officials. If the rules are enforced in Bengaluru, there will be no congrestion and we will not need a flyover or a Metro. – Sharath Ahuja

***

Saving whose face? That face was lost long back! Next Assembly elections will show which face is lost for good. – Rao

Playing spoiler

This article reveals crucial plot points and readers should have been warned that there are spoilers ahead (“‘Rangoon’ may have tanked at the box office but the flashback film is thriving”). It is always a good practice not to have spoilers or at least warn the readers if you are including them, so that they can choose not to read. It does not matter if the movie is new or old. – Ashutosh Rai

Blasphemy law

How sad that once again the author is once using the media to promote her left wing views (“The shrine for Salman Taseer’s killer embodies the real danger Pakistan faces from within”). Very shameful that for a few rupees, you are spreading hatred towards a shaheed who gave up his life in order to protect the name and dignity of our blessed Prophet. Remember, we have to leave this mortal world and return to our Lord. So I think you should start educating your self so u can clearly distinguish between right and wrong. – Shabana Rashid

For the country

I am a retired defence personnel and I signed up for the Indian Navy before I was even eligible to vote (“As Ramjas students are accused of sedition, a reminder: There is still no charge sheet for JNU”). When my civilian counterparts were enjoying college and having fun, I was out with my coursemates, sinking to the bottom of the pool.

While they learned about words like country, freedom and courage, I experienced them. I left my family so I could serve my country. Where were they while we were evacuating our citizens from Lebanon and Yemen to save them from the brutal hands of extremist? Where were they while I were evacuating people while it was raining bullets and bombs? Where were they while I lost all my hair at sea searching for pirates? Have I have given up my freedom just so that they can trample on the flag of my country? My brothers sink to the bottom of the sea and all we have asked for in return is some respect. Is that too much to ask for?

I will stand vigil till I am dead. I shall not be gone,for when the bugle calls we shall rise again and fight. I am the unknown. I don’t need recognition or honour. Just a little bit of respect to my family when I am gone. I might be just a school graduate but you with your fancy degree from JNU, IIM, IIT and the like have done nothing to boast of! I cannot justify the martyrdom of Afzal Guru, I can never justify “aazadi” of Kashmir. So I stand with my country, firm, unbiased, selfless and silent – even without my freedom of expression. – Santosh

***

You really want a JNU chargesheet? Digest the leniency please and don’t force the authorities too much. – Vijay Chib

Army pride

This so-called journalist is doing exactly what he is supposed to do as a journalist (“These tales of bravery of the Indian army would have been better with less bias and more accuracy”). He can’t do good, so why not throw some garbage? Who can stop them? JNU is an example of misuse of Constitutional rights. I have faith in Modiji. He will settle the account with such traitors. Who ever tarnished the image of our great defecse forces of our great nation will rot in hell. – Roy

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