Letters to the editor

Readers' comments: Aadhaar has too many positives to be doubted over hypothetical privacy concerns

A selection of readers' opinions.

Identity question

The author’s argument that the way the Aadhaar project has been implemented defies our Constitution and how the BJP is using its majority to suit its needs is sensible (“The end of privacy: Aadhaar is being converted into the world’s biggest surveillance engine”). This is an alarming situation that needs sterner opposition from all quarters.

At the same time, the article fails to convince me that Aadhaar poses an alarming privacy threat. If the fact that an organisation has access to information on you is a massive threat, then the author is also questioning the use of internet, Facebook and even the national census. The Aadhaar number has far too many advantages to be called into question over a very hypothetical scenario. – Samyak Pradhan

***

Don’t I give my photographs, date of birth and address proof for all government and non government documents. The only added thing in Aadhaar is biometric data. So what is problem here. In fact, already, CCTV cameras in every nook and coners of cities are taking away our privacy. – Shailendra Gupta

***

We have lost many army personnel at the border to terrorism. A lot of money has also been spent on national security to combat cross-border and internal terrorism. So, the country’s security is the government’s top priority.

Each honest and patriotic citizen should believe the government when it says this Unique Identity project will be utilised for eradication of terrorism from outside and within the country. Because we are one of the largest democratic countries in the world, with unity in diversity. We should be role model for other countries. If we think positively, Aadhaar is a must for the welfare of the citizens and to eradicate corruption as well. – Valluvan

***

I am surprised by how much importance the government is now giving to Aadhaar, which Modi had ridiculed during the UPA government’s rule. The government should explain this turnaround. – Prakash Shetty

This article on Aadhaar appears to mislead the reader on several counts (“Privacy, security and legality are not the only serious problems with Aadhaar. Here are four more”). First, Aadhaar never claimed to be an address proof and no government department considers it as one. Aadhaar is one of the means of verifying what the applicant has self-declared as their address. Moreover, the author tries to convey that eKYC is about address verification, when it is not. The KYC process require banks to verify the identity of the customer. For this, there is no alternative to Aadhaar as it is biometric-based.

The alternate documents required for verification of address such as Driving License, Ration Card, election card or passports are also bound to have more issues rather than Aadhaar.

The claim that Aadhaar is used as an ID card for railway and flight tickets also has little substance. The card is used simply to check the passenger’s name and photo against the actual passenger. The author’s attempt to link this with the printing of card by a third party which is unwarranted.

Lastly, has been made clear from the day one that Aadhaar is not proof of citizenship, but every citizen can get an Aadhaar card, and hence it is only appropriate for the passport authority to claim that an Aadhaar card will speed up the process of issuing passports. However, I agree with the author when he says that the government should spread awareness that the unique identity number is not to be publicised. – Ratna Krishnan

Raw deal

The comparison of the Babri question to the Versailles treaty is superficial. Instead, it should be likened to the humiliating terms the German empire imposed on Tsarist Russia in 1917 and on France in the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian War (“What Babri offer means: Compelling Muslims to accept the guilt for temples converted into mosques”). The main reason the Allies wanted to punish Germany was because they started the war and the cost of losing was too high and the terms were still benign compared to the concessions extracted by the Germans from the Bolsheviks. Do remember Weimar Germany retained 80% of the industrial and territorial borders of the German Empire. – Ajay Srinivasan

***

If this conversation between the author and the Leftist friend is not manufactured, then it shows that Leftist ideas are stinking like a corpse. If Muslims feel like Germany after the Versailles treaty, then Kashmiri Pandits would be feeling like victims or the blitzkrieg as would Hindus in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Get well soon Ajaz Ashraf, India is still a wonderful country. – Harsh Pandey

***

I’m an Indian by birth and Hindu by religion. The RSS, BJP or anyone else do not know first hand where Lord Ram was born. Also, if we build a temple at the spot where it is believed he was born, we are conveying that all it’s not all of Ayodhya but that particular place that is holy.

If we could as Ram his views on this, he would surely tell us not to make a temple, because he resides in people’s hearts. Or, he may seek that the money that would go into making the temple be used for something else, like a government-run old-age home. He may alternatively want the government to build a temple and a mosque there, to give the people the message to the people that they do not believe in religion, they believe in humanity. – Karanveer Jaggi

Divide and rule

The world has moved miles ahead but politicians are only bothered with Hindu Rashtra and about communal divisions (“Does Yogi Adityanath’s appointment as UP chief minister herald the coming of a Hindu Rashtra?”). Just see the issues the country is facing, forget about being Hindu or Muslim, be a human being first and make humanity our religion. Worry about the climate and global warning. Where will you practice religion if the world you live in ceases to exist?

Democracy and secularism are India’s strengths. Why divide the country based on religion?

How can the people of India choose such a government? There is one one creator and he has made all of us. It is we who have divided ourselves into religions. – Ruqaiyah Engineer

Beef politics

If the VHP and its Bihar and Jharkhand chief truly care about improving the condition of cows, they can start by working to improve waste disposal in the cities and towns (“After Uttar Pradesh, VHP wants illegal slaughterhouses sealed in Jharkhand along with a beef ban”). I have seen cows grazing on dirty nappies, discarded medicines, and plastic bags, among other things. Quite obviously, the VHP does not truly care about cow welfare at all. They are interested in power, money and dominance.

Their twisted ideology leads them to believe that they can impose their views on others. Ranchi happens to be Munda country, home to various tribes that eat beef. The VHP, most likely comprised of second/third generation immigrants to the Munda country, should recognise that they are incomers, should respect local customs. If the VHP wants to improve the lives of cows, they could start by cleaning up their own waste. – Anon

Upper house matters

The above article turns a blind eye to how the Rajya Sabha has become inefficient for years (“The Daily Fix: By expanding scope of the Finance Bill, Modi government is mocking Indian democracy”). There are 30-40 bills pending for approval for over a decade. The UK Parliament too has a Rajya Sabha equivalent, but any bill pending for more than a year due to stubbornness of the members is deemed to have been cleared. India is not doing it and India can’t stop growing. Do not offer one-sided opinions. As a media outlet, you need to touch upon all aspects instead of just saying it is bad for democracy. Write an article on how the Rajya Sabha is not working in the nation’s best interests. – Kiran

***

I have been an ardent follower of the articles and the content created by you. But lately, I have observed a bias in the articles, which only show the government in bad light, despite the continuous improvement of the country under them. People in power, like anyone else, would love some appreciation. You should start presenting more balanced views or rope in writers who show us the the other side of the coin. I am not connected to any political party, I just want this country to improve and will support those who are actually doing something, unlike the previous political party who has just looted and plundered our country like the British and are now trying to disrupt whatever progress has been made by this government. – Paras

Religious tangle

A very lucid narrative about the bizarre proposal by the Chief Justice of India on the Ayodhya dispute (“The Ayodhya evasion: Why is the Supreme Court reluctant to pronounce verdict on a property dispute?”). The highest judicial body in the country has apparently abdicated its duty to the nation. The reason for the reluctance to take the bull by their horns can be speculated. I thank Girish Shahane for giving us a clearer picture about the history and the current politics behind Babri Masjid tangle. – K Mukherjee

***

This is a totally biased article coddling Muslim minorities. You know fully well that that the apex court of the country is caught between a rock and a hard place. A negotiated peace is the right way ahead. – Krishna and Uma

***

This is an apt assessment of the Babri Masjid and Ram Janmabhoomi dispute. It is a very sad day for us that the Supreme Court, instead of adjudicating, prefers to play mediator. – M Quraishi

***

In the third paragraph of this piece, the author says, “A negotiated settlement – with the current imbalance of power between the two sides – would help in the establishment of a Ram temple. This explains the BJP’s support for this strategy” (“The Daily Fix: The Babri Masjid dispute does not need an ‘amicable solution’ – it needs justice”).

​As a reader, I felt that the writer assumed that I knew what he meant by “the current imbalance of power between the two sides”. I imagine he means between the Muslim Babri Masjid Action Committee and the Hindu Right Wing, more specifically, the BJP and the parties who are named in the case. ​

While his article goes on to suggest what the imbalance of power might be, linking to a piece that spells this out more clearly would help. Alternately, devoting a section of the piece to this or writing another piece altogether would certainly benefit readers. – Subuhi

***

You people don’t know anything about the Ramjanmaboomi issue. Your ideas may be populist, but that is not law. Subramanian Swamy is not stupid. He knows what he is talking about. The Allahabad High Court also made the judgement with sound logic. You have no respect for Hindus. You believe in the existence of a mosque but refuse to acknowledge the possibility of temple having been there.

The land on which the temple stood can be taken back even if it stood in others’ hands for a long time. There is a sanctity attached to a place in Hinduism and the law acknowledges that, even if you don’t.

So, don’t show your ignorance by saying the temple can be built elsewhere or build a hospital there. It is a curb on my fundamental right to worship. – Pavankumar Ratnakaram

One-sided view

I was utterly disappointed by this article (“Does Yogi Adityanath’s appointment as UP chief minister herald the coming of a Hindu Rashtra?”). You have not even seen how he will function as chief minister and are already making assumptions about what he is going to do.

Secondly, you do not have any idea about the fear that Hindus are living with, in India (which is named after them: “Hindustan”). Why does every terrorist hail from the same religion? Have you found any Christian, Hindu or Parsi terrorists till now? Why is that Hindus were not talked about in elections at all?

Why is that while we want prosperity, money, peaceful living, better health and we help them whenever we can, all they want is Jihad? Why is that there are always Muslim voices are demanding freedom in India despite the fact that they have more rights here than in any other country in the world? Why is that none of the Muslims interviewed shared something good they did for any Hindu?

We do so many things for them, but it is never enough for them. And Hindus have now realised this and we are frankly fed up of being targeted and scared for the wellbeing of our loved ones. They want us to change, but they will need to do the same first. If it is going to turn into the story of survival of the fittest then so be it. – Nishant Sharma

***

This article is one-sided and is an example of fear-mongering. Write this article after observing the new Uttar Pradesh government for six months. You need to respect the large mandate for the BJP.

In the meanwhile, dwell on the record of Azam Khan, Owaisi or Salman Khursid. Report on them threadbare. Also analyze what is wrong with Muslim psyche in India. You will be doing some good to the society. – Vivek Singh

***

People like you communalise the narrative of elections by looking at the electorate as a chunk based on religion or caste. Also, radical Islam is real and needs to be tackled. Now unless some moderate Muslims come ahead start addressing this, the problem wont go away. As a reaction, some sections of Hindu populace may also get radicalised. Imagine a scenerio where millions of people getting radicalised. That will paralyse the whole system. – Vitthal Patil

***

I would also like to see a well researched piece on why the way the Muslim leadership has guided people in the recent past. India cannot get rid of their Muslims any more than America can get rid of blacks. Living together amicably as good and law-abiding citizens, all treated equally and under a truly secular constitution, is not not only common sense but also the only realistic solution.

Muslim intellectuals in India should highlight the recent revolutions in Tunisia, Morocco, and Egypt, where the common people, without an elected leadership or any political or military leaders, accomplished their goals. – R Nanduri

Meat matters

I don’t know why there is such a hue and cry over this move (“UP: Meat shops set ablaze in Hathras even as Yogi Adityanath orders closure of slaughterhouses”). We have absolutely no right to kill anyone – why cows alone? What is the sense of having a well-developed brain if we logic and compassion? – Sudha Duggal

***

We do hope the Uttar Pradesh administration shows the same zeal in shutting down the numerous illegal dairies and wine shops operating unhindered in residential colonies in the state. Only then will the right message be sent to citizens that the administration is not being biased against a particular community and believes sabka sath, sabka vikaas. Shoeb

I think this article is a skewed and an inaccurate description of the voters’ desires (“In charts: How the BJP stole Goa against the wishes of its people”). A glance at the voting percentages is enough to show that the majority of Goans wanted the BJP to come to power. This article further talks about how certain pockets did not want the BJP. That by no means discounts the popular vote. – Samyak Pradhan

Blockades and road blocks

The BJP appears to be addressing the Naga blockade issue, but one should remember that they too are Meitei (“In Manipur, the blockade has lifted, leaving both government and Nagas in the mood for talks”). The main reason for the creation of seven new districts is to suppress the framework agreement between the government of India and NSCM IM and the Naga assertion in Southern nagaland. Therefore, it remains to be seen how the BJP govt will address the main agenda of United Naga Council, which is the rollback of the plan to create districts. Chungminthang Singson

Body politics

I was deeply touched by this article on Mallika Taneja (“‘I was tired of hiding’: Delhi-based actor Mallika Taneja turns onstage nudity into act of protest”). The human body is the outward expression of our inner being. We can tell a lot about a person from the way he or she dresses up. What may be obscene for one person may be normal for another. For many communities and tribes, nudity is a way of life and there’s nothing obscene about it..

In this case, the actor is using nudity as a a revolt, as a way to make voices heard. Her body is the reflection of her inner self. The naked body symbolises the soul stripped of all coverings. It also reflects the pain that the actor wants to convey strongly and boldly. I wonder how many people will understand the real meaning of the actor’s protest and will support her. It is time we understood, so that our women don’t have to bare themselves to make us understand. I have great respect for Mallika Taneja. – Vishal Joseph

Money move

The last paragraph of this piece by Sanjay Srivastava, titled “The lure of collective suffering: Why India’s poor are embracing the pain of demonetisation” says:

Is it not an odd thing that at a time when – as the latest Credit Suisse Group AG report points out – 1% of Indians own around 58% of the country’s wealth, so many appear to share a feeling of togetherness? The key question is this: does it make any sense to focus on the economic when matters of economy are expressed in the language of the social and cultural? This is where critics of demonetisation, particularly the Left, have failed to grasp the meanings that move people. Cultural arguments can only be countered through an equally vehement recourse to culture. It isn’t money that makes the world go around. It’s being convinced that the way the world goes around is the right way.

It is hardly voluntary or willful collective suffering if the government introduces a blanket rule that takes away peoples’ spending power. But, it would be a mistake to do so. The author quotes two people from a Bazaar. He believes this is the general belief of all of India’s poor. This is hardly the case with a lot of people. This may be collective suffering, but only for those who support this policy. The author’s generalisation of the poor’s support to this policy is wrong.

Further, the author seems to be suggesting that the nation required socio-economic restructuring. But a majority of the of the wealth – and, by extension, black money – is with 1% of the population. Collective suffering seems to be a farce when the policy could have been directed at this population. This only suggests to me that the policy was lazy and farcical.

The policy, as it is, did not address that black wealth is stored in other forms such as land or gold.

Collective Suffering can be laudable and admirable when it is necessary. The Demonetisation fiasco was a bad policy that jolted everyone, if those who did not deserve it. – RV Srikara Prasad

Judiciary review

I support the issues raised by Justice Karnan (“Justice Karnan is a standing monument to the failure of the collegium system, claims former judge”). Lately, it has become a habit to blame the Centre for everything wrong in the judiciary. It is high time we cleanse the judiciary and relieve the common man. I am also victim of corrupt judiciary but I grin and bear it as there is no mechanism to voice our protest. – Asha Rao

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
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