Letters to the editor

Readers' comments: 'Pouring venom on Yogi Adityanath will only strengthen his resolve to work'

A selection of readers' opinions.

Yogi yug

The arguments given against Adityanath are pretty baseless (“Yogi Adityanath: ‘Give him a chance’ and six other meaningless arguments busted”). Do you know that a Muslim orphan once came to Adityanath and he adopted the kid and still lives with him happily? If you go to Gorakhpur, you can find a lot of Muslims openly supporting Adityanath, which further proves that he is not anti-Muslim.

People erroneously assume that pro-Hindutva means anti-Muslim. This is a big myth that must be busted. Some also think that Adityanath cannot bring development to Uttar Pradesh. This is yet another myth. Gorakhpur once again stands as proof – the work done by Adityanath here has benefited all communities. Uttar Pradesh, after suffering for the last 10 years, need someone a strong leader with vision for the development of state – most importantly, development for all without discrimination. – Chinmay Sarupria

These arguments were on the basis of his image and rhetoric. It would be insightful and helpful if there were ground reports from his constituency on the work he has done, on the the position of social indicators and other ground realities there. – Manraj Singh

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Yes and on the other hand, we have a mother-son duo accused and out on bail in a massive corruption case leading another national party that dons the garb of secularism. I would love to see an article on Scroll.in on those two as well. – Sri Kotti

***

This is an excellent analysis of Adityanath being appointed chief minister of Uttar Pradesh.
I agree with Praveen Swamy when he says that it is like an arsonist being appointed head teacher. But this is a masterstroke by the BJP. The ploy is to appoint a gangster as a policeman, so that he will have to focus attention on maintaining peace instead of committing crimes. – VRH

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People who voted in favour of the BJP and Adityanath are fools and the MLAs who unanimously chose him as leader are fool. Only writer of this article is wise, it appears.

The writer may have preferred the likes of Rahul Gandhi, Owaisi, Kejriwal, Rabri Devi, Lalu Yadav , Salman Khursid, Gulam Nabi Azad, Kanhaiya Kumar or Umar Khalid as the Uttar Pradesh chief minister.

Perhaps the writer not have faith in democracy, electoral procedures and provisions of Constitution. – Danendra Jain

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Pouring venom like this will only strengthen his resolve to carry out his task. Why can not we expect him to do better things with the new responsibility? These are coloured views. – Madhu

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It will not be surprising if all the cases against Adityanath were dropped, as was the case with Modi’s 2002 riots cases as well (“Yogi Adityanath as Uttar Pradesh chief minister: What happens to the cases against him?”). Or then, witnesses may recant or not turn up in court. This will be the method in all cases against any BJP official. – SN Iyer

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The author has a holier than thou attitude (“Yogi Adityanath and Ramdev are the new BJP model of development-plus”). Does he have a solution to the religious anarchy in India in the name of secularism? We need food, water and shelter for all Indians. We don’t need lectures but action and development, which we have not seen since Independence. We are still a third-world country. We don’t need gods, just simple and honest Indians. – Subash Kumar

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The author, Shiv Visvanathan, must be be aware that India is a democratic country and those in power have been democratically elected by the majority? Now if the majority has no problem with their leaders, who are you nincompoops to question their leadership? – Nitin Raval

Beyond belief

This is yet another comment from an ignorant and condescending moron trying to portray himself as a progressive and secular, writing about a crazy sect has nothing do with Hinduism (“Tempest in a teapot: A rebuttal to Reza Aslan’s critics from someone who’s lived with Aghoris”). The author clearly exhibits his utter bias against Hinduism and their believers both in India and US. They should not be allowed to vent their biases on Scroll.in. Let Reza Aslam and CNN produce a similar show on Islam to prove themselves impartial. – Mohan Ramaswami

***

This is the kind of well-argued response we need for discussions on religion and freedom of speech. The article exposes the jingoistic and casteist roots of the outrage against Reza Aslan while also calling him out for the exoticisation. Alongside, it also captures the spirituality and terribilità of the Aghoris! – Sonika Gupta

***

Interesting view. I’m also interested to see how Aslan speaks the purported truths of Islam. Will he talk about how modern Muslims in significant numbers support IS and still practice beheading? Will he talk in length about the Jizya tax on non-Muslims? Will he show a good old fashioned Islamic stoning? I am sure he will not, as there would be a fatwa against him and he will seek refuge in a non-Muslim country. – Satesh

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Reza Aslan’s The Believer sensationalises the fringe movements of a great religion. His show is make-believe at best and mediocre at worst.

As someone who grew up in a Christian home in India and was raised by two liberal thinkers, I have always honoured the spirituality of any devout practitioner of a faith, in all its myriad and hybrid ways. Yet, it was difficult to watch the profanities of the Aghoris and believe that they do what they do to “transmute and ultimately transcend base sensations like fear, hatred or disgust”, as this article claims. In a limited world, with limited understanding of each other, we as a collective, have dualistic notions of right and wrong so that we will not be subject to relativism or to expediency. “Even God has boundaries,” my grandmother used to say, meaning, the Universe with all its pragmatic computations require their own algorithms.

I am touched to read that Aslan is “spiritually curious” (self-proclaimed, that is.) His attempt to understand Christianity, as detailed in his book, The Zealot is just that: an attempt. But I am confident that in time, given enough support, he will begin to understand the different ways of being in this world. – Sosanna Kuruvila

Nothing new

You should, almost always, believe in relativity. Should I infer that such a thing never happened before (“‘We aren’t scared’: A week after posters asked them to leave, Bareilly Muslims stand their ground”)? No, it has always happened in Uttar Pradesh during regime change. Get a grip! – Ashutosh Mishra

Taking a stand

Just when will the world learn to stand up against tyrants (“Thailand’s new king is moving the country away from being a constitutional monarchy”)? I refuse to refer to Bhumibol or his son, Rama X as king,. I simply do not respect by demand – I respect people who respect people.

Thailand has been cursed since June 9, 1946, when Thailand’s last, true ruler, King Ananda, was shot in his bed. Bhumi, his brother who was made king just hours later, has been quiet about the circumstances of King Ananda’s death ever since. No doubt, he’d been made keep quiet. Nevertheless, he had many chances to come forward. But instead, he enjoyed the respect he was being granted and the wealth he’d collected ever since be took the throne.

It is a shame on humanity itself, but most of all to Thailand’s population, to accept and respect such most despicable tyrant acts. Most Thai refer to Bhumi as their god, but if you ask them why, they wouldn’t be able tell you. That being said, who wouldn’t love someone when the price for disagreeing is so high? Think about it. Hitler was loved too. – Norbert Harms

Leading the way

This story reflects not just the difficulties this Dalit woman had to face, being widowed at a young age, but also the sufferings of agriculture labourers and their financial troubles (“How a Dalit woman found success as a farmer, years after her debt-ridden husband took his life”). She is a role model to the Dalit community in particular and poor agriculture workers in general. – Sheshu Kilambi

Spiritual questions

For a non-Baba lover, the writer has done a pretty good job on giving information about Meher Baba (“A Parsi baba who inspired The Who and met Gandhi is still drawing foreign believers to Maharashtra”). However, I do think you missed the part where years later, Mr Brunton reassessed his evaluation of Meher Baba and asserted He was a great spiritual master whom he respected.

You were also inaccurate, I believe, (and I spent over 20 years reading everything there was to know about Meher Baba) in saying that he occasionally ate mutton. To my knowledge, he never ate mutton and the only time he ate any meat was when it was presented to him on a flight – and it was spam, at that. His disciples were astonished and horrified that he was eating it and he made it a teaching moment. He said: “It is more important what comes out of your mouth (how you speak), than what goes into your mouth.”

Also, Baba-lovers do not go to India in the hopes that he will solve all their pains, as you said. Rather, they go to India to pledge inwardly to him that they will do all they can to love him more and to show him that they are leading the life he asked them to – by showing love to all around them! – David Bullock

Poaching controversy

Lewis Evans needs to get his head out of the sand (“Wildlife conservation needs a more humane approach than Kaziranga’s shoot-at-sight policy”)! It’s people like him, who hold all human life as sacrosanct, that contribute more to the problems of this planet. It doesn’t matter to Evans if these humans are evil murderers who will stop at nothing. Has Evans heard of the rhino orphanage, where indigenous people were caring for orphaned rhinos, that was broken into by poachers who shot and hacked off the horns of rescued babies (who had already experienced and survived the slaughtering of their mothers)? The poachers them beat and raped the women who were taking care of the rhinos for good measure, before leaving with their prizes.

But it would be inhumane and medieval to shoot people like that on sight, right? I wouldn’t want anyone with Evans’ views anywhere near me if I were a tribal woman working at a rhino orphanage. More people on this planet need to hold the lives of animals (and those that protect and treasure them) as important. Animals are more deserving of our protection than the parasites called humans that have taken over and are ruining the planet bit by bit, every day, by eliminating one creature at a time. – Wendy Kester

Negative view

It is a shame that the award has gone to Ravish Kumar (“‘We have become the consumers of tragedy’: Ravish Kumar on the Indian media’s political agenda”). It is a paid award. He is one of the most negative journalists. The same thing applies to your magazine. You are anti- establishment. We look forward to a frank but truthful journalism and not paid and biased like yours. – KYP Kulkarni

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The award has been bestowed upon someone who is biased towards the Gandhi family. His every word is against the volunteer family or in your words, the Hindutva brigade.

We have seen his cowardly attitude during demonetisation, when asked the crowd what problems they faced because of the note ban but the people didn’t care for him. – Praseetha Shashidharan

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Ravish Kumar is absolutely correct. The revival of the Congress and the Left parties is desperately needed to keep Indian polity balanced. The current environment is highly polarised. It’s a pity that most of the Indian media blindly panders to to the present establishment. – Varsha Varadarajan

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It is not that we consume tragedy. The truth is that we are also masters at manufacturing tragedy. We take pride in portraying what is appreciated by our one-dimension view.
What you tell the public is what you believe and not what the public believes in. That is why a Modi happens or a Yogi comes along. – Pranesh Nagri

Surrogacy debate

Let us take the example of Karan Johar (“The surrogacy story: Beyond the Bollywood babies is an industry that needs regulation”). The producer has an elderly mother at home and no doubt has the resources to hire the best domestic and nursing help but is there someone else who will have parent-like attachment for the twins?

My wife and I love our grandchildren but we realised after our daughter’s ‎first child was born that we do not have the bandwidth to look after a small baby. We could some time in intervals loving and petting the baby but cleaning the baby, making its feed, carrying it for long spells and staying up late was beyond us. My daughter, a frail girl, who had not any domestic work all her life slipped into the role of mother seamlessly. This went on for nearly three years. She was sleep-deprived and dead tired but still says that these were the best years of her life.

She’s had a second child at 40 and is reliving this process with the same dedication and devotion. This is a mother for you. My daughter is no different from any Indian mother. In the Indian context, depriving a child of the mother’s care is cruel. A man having a surrogate child ‎in these circumstances is selfish.

A surrogate baby has a mother. Depriving the child of this mother’s care is immoral. In India this cannot be allowed. – JP Murty

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
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“My body instantly craves chai and samosa”

German expats talk about adapting to India, and the surprising similarities between the two cultures.

The cultural similarities between Germany and India are well known, especially with regards to the language. Linguists believe that Sanskrit and German share the same Indo-Germanic heritage of languages. A quick comparison indeed holds up theory - ratha in Sanskrit (chariot) is rad in German, aksha (axle) in Sanskrit is achse in German and so on. Germans have long held a fascination for Indology and Sanskrit. While Max Müller is still admired for his translation of ancient Indian scriptures, other German intellectuals such as Goethe, Herder and Schlegel were deeply influenced by Kalidasa. His poetry is said to have informed Goethe’s plays, and inspired Schlegel to eventually introduce formal Indology in Germany. Beyond the arts and academia, Indian influences even found their way into German fast food! Indians would recognise the famous German curry powder as a modification of the Indian masala mix. It’s most popular application is the currywurst - fried sausage covered in curried ketchup.

It is no wonder then that German travellers in India find a quite a lot in common between the two cultures, even today. Some, especially those who’ve settled here, even confess to Indian culture growing on them with time. Isabelle, like most travellers, first came to India to explore the country’s rich heritage. She returned the following year as an exchange student, and a couple of years later found herself working for an Indian consultancy firm. When asked what prompted her to stay on, Isabelle said, “I love the market dynamics here, working here is so much fun. Anywhere else would seem boring compared to India.” Having cofounded a company, she eventually realised her entrepreneurial dream here and now resides in Goa with her husband.

Isabelle says there are several aspects of life in India that remind her of home. “How we interact with our everyday life is similar in both Germany and India. Separate house slippers to wear at home, the celebration of food and festivals, the importance of friendship…” She feels Germany and India share the same spirit especially in terms of festivities. “We love food and we love celebrating food. There is an entire countdown to Christmas. Every day there is some dinner or get-together,” much like how Indians excitedly countdown to Navratri or Diwali. Franziska, who was born in India to German parents, adds that both the countries exhibit the same kind of passion for their favourite sport. “In India, they support cricket like anything while in Germany it would be football.”

Having lived in India for almost a decade, Isabelle has also noticed some broad similarities in the way children are brought up in the two countries. “We have a saying in South Germany ‘Schaffe Schaffe Hausle baue’ that loosely translates to ‘work, work, work and build a house’. I found that parents here have a similar outlook…to teach their children to work hard. They feel that they’ve fulfilled their duty only once the children have moved out or gotten married. Also, my mother never let me leave the house without a big breakfast. It’s the same here.” The importance given to the care of the family is one similarity that came up again and again in conversations with all German expats.

While most people wouldn’t draw parallels between German and Indian discipline (or lack thereof), Germans married to Indians have found a way to bridge the gap. Take for example, Ilka, who thinks that the famed differences of discipline between the two cultures actually works to her marital advantage. She sees the difference as Germans being highly planning-oriented; while Indians are more flexible in their approach. Ilka and her husband balance each other out in several ways. She says, like most Germans, she too tends to get stressed when her plans don’t work out, but her husband calms her down.

Consequently, Ilka feels India is “so full of life. The social life here is more happening; people smile at you, bond over food and are much more relaxed.” Isabelle, too, can attest to Indians’ friendliness. When asked about an Indian characteristic that makes her feel most at home, she quickly answers “humour.” “Whether it’s a taxi driver or someone I’m meeting professionally, I’ve learnt that it’s easy to lighten the mood here by just cracking a few jokes. Indians love to laugh,” she adds.

Indeed, these Germans-who-never-left as just diehard Indophiles are more Indian than you’d guess at first, having even developed some classic Indian skills with time. Ilka assures us that her husband can’t bargain as well as she does, and that she can even drape a saree on her own.

Isabelle, meanwhile, feels some amount of Indianness has seeped into her because “whenever its raining, my body instantly craves chai and samosa”.

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This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Lufthansa as part of their More Indian Than You Think initiative and not by the Scroll editorial team.