Letters to the editor

Readers' comments: Scroll.in's articles do not touch upon the nuances of the meat ban issue

A selection of readers' opinions.

Meat issue

Sunita Narain, in her article about non-vegetarianism in India, talks about the link between meat and agricultural production and global warming (“‘Why I don’t advocate vegetarianism’: Indian environmentalist Sunita Narain explains her position”).

Please note that it is industrial agriculture and industrial meat production that is the culprit. When you miss out that important differentiation, it sends out out a very very wrong message to larger public. Small-scale farming and small-scale meat production do not create these issues. Please ensure that this crucial point is kept in mind when you publish articles. – Abhilash

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I am not sure if misinformed or half-informed cow saviours of this land have the ability to understand this truth. I used to feel helpless when, despite my best efforts, even people with modest sense would stick to their stand even as I tried to convince them otherwise. The best of the best will fall flat in front of their ignorance. God save India. – Manjappan Kannan

***

This is such an immature stand. Instead of playing a role in educating livestock farmers on the ills of rearing animals and the damage it causes to the environment or working with NGOs and the government to provide them alternative livelihoods, this so-called environmentalist decides not to advocate vegetarianism, even as she should be advocating veganism. One can’t be an environmentalist unless they are vegan. Obviously she doesn’t care much about the cruelty involved in the meat trade, or about the animals. In the 21st century, with all the science at hand, and the UN advocating and encouraging vegan diets, it’s quite silly to give importance to such an ignorant statement. – Kedar Tembe

***

The sources we derive our news from often play an integral role in our intellectual nourishment, in shaping our views and in turn influencing the tempers of the milieus we engage in. Good news, in the sense that it is authentic, non-partisan or not sensational frivolity is hard to come across. The internet, thus, has an array of possibilities to save reader.

Publications like yours offer a spectrum of news and more nuanced news rather than say, some TV channels and the websites filled with clickbait articles. You have even been so open as to give voices of dissent against your articles a platform on your page.

However, this might become a thing of the past. I have eye for detail and I have noticed a rather annoying pattern in your posts on the topic of the meat industry in India. It would be childish for me to go off on a rant about how you are perhaps an office of dogmatic carnists or have some sort of alignment with a meat-packers’ nexus based. That kind of vitriol is probably reserved for the comments section.

But, you do clearly have strong sentiments on anti-meat consumption activities in this nation, which to an extent is fair, considering the way it impinges on one’s freedom of choice of diet and reflects the two-faced political agendas of the ruling party.

However, your headlines conveniently and misleadingly veer away relevant fact to the issue – particularly in the case of articles on meat. Your article failed to cogently explain why a crackdown on illegal slaughterhouses is unjustified in the first place because you’re so busy simply focusing on the “we want to have our beef and eat it” narrative.

Secondly, none of your articles have even touched upon the nuances of the issue. Why are right wingers so touchy about cows or meat in general? Why do a lot of people who don’t eat meat cringe at the practice? You even seem to have found a pro-meat consumption environmentalist in one article. Very poorly written and stated once again.

Are there any ethical and environmental considerations to meat consumption that you’ve grossly undervalued? Meat doesn’t grow on trees you know. It comes from sentient docile beings that are grossly mistreated their entire lives only to end up in an abattoir to fuel a raging appetite for a hamburger.

Employment generation and all that aside, admittedly the core purpose of meat rearing is for food. For those more privileged such as yourselves it is more about taste. My mission is not to convert you to vegetarianism or veganism through this letter. As a lawyer, I fully understand and respect the freedoms enshrined in our constitution.

In fact, l am not even against the consumption of meat with the caveats that I despise the cruelties and peverseness associated with factory farming and the environmental ramifications of large scale meat production. This is why when someone like Memphis Meats or Impossible Foods comes up with a sustainable, cruelty-free alternative, I applaud the loudest.

By the way, the Logical Indian posted an article about how we will soon be growing more food to feed animals than ourselves to sustain meat-based diets. Have you ever posted an article on a perspective like that?

Introspect a little. Is your reporting on this complex issue as holistic as it should b? Is there something you’ve missed out on? Why are you going on a one-track rampage? Have you proposed any harmonious solutions?

Because not doing so makes you no less polarised and dogmatic than those who you so voraciously criticise. It doesn’t make you cool and liberal, it simply makes you an alternative flavour of hypocrite.

Also, here is a story on the cruelty in the dairy industry. This is what is, eventually your food, so it doesn’t hurt to have a little respect for it, and a more deep understanding of where it comes from.

Widen your horizons just a little. – Divya

National song

It would have been helpful if the author took the topic to a logical conclusion (“History revisited: ‘Bande Mataram’ was written as a song about Bengal – not India”). History, by itself, has no meaning. I assume the author is trying to ask: why make a fuss about something that was not written for India in the first place?

That being a valid point, he should have traced the history till a later period. The song, in its entirety, has not been accepted as our national song, only the first two sections – refer to resolutions by congress in 1937, and later agreed by the first Parliament.

The only contention was the interpretation of the word “Vande”, or “Bande”, as the author may prefer. The question was whether it meant to praise the motherland or pray to it. There have been different opinions. But that is a non-issue; one may interpret it whichever way they chose and get on with life. (I also don’t understand the concept of forcing someone to respect, if that is possible at all! But that is a different subject altogether). – Srinivas

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Why don’t we modify the song to end the controversy? Instead of making it about bowing down to the motherland, let us change it to bowing down to the creator of the motherland. This will please both parties and make sure there are no further politics regarding this. – Nazrul Haque

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I remember that Tagore originally wrote Jana Gana Mana, the national anthem, as a tribute to a British monarch. Should India eschew it for this reason? When will we get over the narrow regionalism and religious divisiveness that allowed a great nation to be taken over by a bunch of scruffy Europeans? – Promodh Malhotra

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There is a line in this article: “Bande Mataram became the war cry of Bengali revolutionary terrorists.” If you consider freedom fighters equivalent to terrorists then shame on you. By that logic, everyone fighting for their motherland, even Gandhi, Mandela and Martin Luther King, are terrorists. – Ravi Pandey

Valley violence

Why is there no mention of the fact that people are being paid Rs 7,000 and being given food and shoes for pelting stones (“Anger, protests and young lives lost: Why Kashmir is on the brink of another hot summer”)? When you report on an issue you should state all the facts. – Moorthy D

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What a biased report! Why are you not saying that those stone-pelting terrorists hurt 60 of our jawans before the Army had to take action to disperse them (“‘Going to an encounter site is as good as committing suicide,’ J&K Police urge youths to stay away”). Jai Hind! – Sanjay Tripathi

Tension in Gujarat

This is very sad indeed and I hope peace prevails (“Violence in Gujarat village was planned attack on Muslims – not the result of a scuffle, says report”). In other reports I’ve read that the police acted quite quickly to control the situation unlike the police in West Bengal, who witness such riots everyday and nobody cares. – Sanjay Tripathi

Examining a protest

It is strange for Scroll.in to be focusing the entire article on Muslim protesters, while barely touching upon the background information of the provocateur, whose name is all that is disclosed (“Mumbai police station attack: How did anger over a Facebook post go out of control?”). Scroll.in should have done a deeper investigative story on the provocateur, going into his history and his affiliations, political and/or societal. What instigated him to this negative pursuit? Can he be identified with any larger group that is under police surveillance? An objective chronicle should not confine to only one side of an event. – Ghulam Muhammed

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While this was a local problem and could have been contained if local ulemas had been proactive and tried to defuse the situation, a longer term view has to be taken. There should be proper communication between police and public.
With all due respect to the Mumbai police and police forces all over the country, it is imperative that candidates of all religions should be recruited to the forces. But we see predominantly one community in the police force in most states.
This is a police reform that has been suggested but has never been implemented. – Daniel Fernandes

Protecting violence victims

I appreciate your well-written article on the Domestic Violence Act and your observations about protection officers (“Twelve years since the Domestic Violence Act, how well do protection officers help women in need?”). I am an advocate and I met some of these protection officers in an awareness programme on Domestic Violence conducted by Delhi Legal Services Authority, during which they proudly claimed they have no knowledge about the Act and legal provisions. Before they are engaged in the important role of saving the lives of violence victims, they should be trained properly. They need to be taught how to talk to victims – in a friendly way politely and without ego – and how to use their emotional intelligence to win the hearts of victims. I have heard them to yell and shout at the victims and call them “problem creators”. – Meeta Choudhury

Stepping into history

I was delighted to find the review of Victoria Lautman’s book on stepwells as the first item on your website (“A photographer’s deep dive into India’s stepwells: ‘It was like discovering a new galaxy’”). I’m a great fan of stepwells and have spent several trips to India locating and visiting them. As a guide, I used the books by Lautman’s predecessors, Jutta Jain-Neubauer’s Stepwells of Gujarat (1981) and Morna Livingston’s Steps to Water - The Ancient Stepwells of India (2002). They certainly deserve to be mentioned along with Lautman’s book. The interesting thing about these books is that all three authors are foreigners and are women.

Many stepwells were funded by women – queens or rich gentlewomen – and water was considered to be a woman’s element. India is a treasure house of architectural jewels. It’s a pity that the Indians are often not aware of this and that these jewels are not always treated with the respect they deserve. – Annemarie Pestalozzi

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I’m an avid traveller with a keen interest in history. Stepwells have always held my awe like no other structure from the era gone by. I find them one of the best marvels of ancient architecture. I was impressed to find the article on stepwells, but somehow it’s a let down.
The magnificent pushkarnis of Hampi find no mention in it. They are not only marvelous but also come from a very very ancient times. Some even have the aquaducts intact. – History on Pedals

***

It is really a unique and beautifully written article about the stepwells. This is the first time when I read such an elaborate article on it. – Ganauri Vishwakarma

Aussie clash

India has a different culture – we think before we talk and so we don’t need to retract our statements (“By not accepting Australia’s olive branch, Virat Kohli has set a poor example for sportsmanship”). To criticise Kohli for not accepting the offer of a team of poor losers is lame. The present coach had a similar experience in Australia, when he captained a side in a series there. And to praise the stand-in captain for the victory in the last Test, thereby indirectly hitting at Kohli, is cheap. – Pakkam S Dilipkumar

***

If Virat Kohli has any sense, he will apologise to the Australian cricket team, and say he is friends with them. As captain of the team, he should not forget that cricket is a sport. – Kanwal Nain Sethi

Court code

Lawyers and judges have a dress code while others don’t (“Is it ‘Bombay culture’ to wear jeans and T-shirts to court, judge asks reporters”). The difference is intentional. Can the aam aadmi be compelled to wear clothes he dislikes just because he has go to court as a litigant? Jeans represent a culture, no doubt. I am 58. I am a lawyer. I have never worn jeans all these years. My colleagues don’t wear jeans to court in Kerala. But many litigants and visitors do. I believe they have the freedom to do so. – KG Balasubramanian

Student suicides

Modified fans and sirens, although a welcome move, are not going to end students’ suicides (“Kota hostels to attach springs and siren sensors to ceiling fans to stop student suicides”). Depressed students who feel they have no means of escape will find another way to end their lives. What these places need is a counsellor, and not the kinds who bullies students but one who is truly interested in helping them out and can create a fruitful dialogue between parents and children. Kids are not dying because of faulty fans, they are dying because of faulty parenting. – Purva Diwanji

Opaque agencies

The GST Network action is reeks of arrogance and is an example of the dominance shown by the finance minister in misleading the nation to believe that the network will be an authority that supports government actions and will be open to scrutiny by the CAG (“CAG approaches Finance Ministry after GST Network denies access to taxpayers’ data for audit”).

Also, at no point in the Parliament did the finance minister say that the governments at state level will obey the GST council. – Muralidharan Nair

Turbulent flight

The row over the Sena MP who misbehaved on an Air India flight reminds me of an incident with David Cameron (“Shiv Sena’s Ravindra Gaikwad tries to book flights under various aliases, AI continues to block him”). The former British prime minister was snapped at by a waitress when he jumped the line for coffee because he was in a hurry. The lady had not recognisedhim. Not only did he politely wait but the very fact that he went to get the coffee himself says a lot. We all know how such an incident would have panned out in India. Why is India so afflicted with the VIP syndrome? This is the biggest undoing of our society. I respect Air India and other airlines for standing firm on their decision and now bowing down to political pressure. – Vashti Suantak

Sangam era

There is no such secular Tamil civilisation (“Transfer of archaeologist from history-defining Sangam era site leads to uproar in Tamil Nadu”). Sangam Literature abounds of episodes in Puranas. The Opposition is clearly wrong in accusing the BJP government. A routine transfer as per rules is being twisted to throw mud on the Centre. –Krishnan

Account trouble

People of this country are being coerced into accepting one unlilateral decision by the government after another (“SBI will penalise account holders for not maintaining minimum balance from today”). People with accounts in government banks are mostly from the lower middle class and cannot afford to maintain a huge balance in private bank accounts. Wasn’t demonetisation demonic enough? I think the government is hell bent on adopting random anti-people measures in the name of development and financial inclusion. There is no national public debate on any of these, and if at all there is, its never highlighted in the media. – Lee Macqueen

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
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