Letters to the editor

Readers' comments: Why does the media turn the other way when politicians woo minorities?

A selection of readers' opinions.

Mirror of democracy

This is a very well-written and thought-provoking piece on the nature of democracy (“Through Yogi Adityanath’s rise, democracy has held up a mirror to us. Now, it’s our turn to reflect”). While I do not support Adityanath or any other such personality, I fail to understand why our media and intelligentsia turn the other way when politicians and parties woo only a particular religion or community for votes. These politicians go to any length to be partisan towards a particular community, at least in words if not in action. Had it not been so, then Eastern Uttar Pradesh would not have been what it is even after 70 years of rule by mainstream elements. I request the author to comment on this aspect. – Sanjeev Dalal

***

Why does a non-corrupt Hindu leader in India pose a threat to democracy? If Mamata Banerjee appears in a hijab in posters that is good, but if someone wears saffron robes he becomes non-secular. You also publish nonsense against Modi but praise Mayawati’s votebank politics with all your might.

You need to look deep within. You may be Hindu, but you need ghar vaapsi the most. – Vikram Rajput

***

When Vice President Hamid Ansari did not salute the national flag in 2015, where were all the pseudo-secularists? The Uttar Pradesh chief minister has stated clearly in all his speeches that he will work for all. Is it wrong, according to you, for someone to work on preserving Indian culture and tradition? I am a fan of you as an artist but in opposition otherwise. – Hari Ramakrishnan

***

Democracy is a convenient form of participative governance. The checks and balances are provided by the Constitution as a Republic. But the writer has argued very pertinently that elections provide a mirror to how we, as a nation, vote and allow people to be elected and how those with the majority votes do not necessarily reflect what the real majority wants. Winning an election by 30% or 40% of the votes can hardly be called a majority. – SN Iyer

Living on in song

I read this tribute to Kishori Amonkar with great interest (“‘How do artists stay inspired in a chaotic world?’: A critic’s long association with Kishori Amonkar”). I hadn’t been reduced to tears this way in a long long time. I haven’t wept like this even when my sister passed away few months back. I could feel Veejay Sai’s pain and his love for the legend. I read the article for a second time and cried again. What a powerful memoir.

I got a chance to listen to Amonkar live just once in my life, some 40 years ago in Bhopal. Her powerful presence and aura were too strong for me to go near her. As she walked off the stage, I bowed my head down to the ground on which she walked. I remember having tears in my eyes that night. And here you have this writer holding hands with her! What great karma he has! Such a blessing!

I clicked on this writer’s name and found many more articles of his, to my surprise. One gem brighter than the next. What a rich bank of cultural experiences he has! His expertise on classical music, classical dance and allied areas is exemplary. A complete academic scholar and aesthete he seems, by his writings.

I chanced upon your website only recently. I belong to the world that still reads only print media. But your website was a revelation. I have become a fan of it and have not reading this and other articles in your cultural section. Please do publish more stories by Sai and others regularly. – Ranga

***

“Gaan Saraswati” Kishoritai Amonkar is no more. Kishoritai upheld the dignity of Hindustani classical music and was known for her no-nonsense and straight-forward attitude. – KB Dessai

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I have seen Kishori Amonkar performing in Delhi. She was such a committed vocalist that once, she scolded her accompanying artist on stage! – Umesh Chandola

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This is a very well-written article. I read it with teary eyes. Thank you. – Swathi Srikrishna

***

A simple and touching article. – Neha Muthiyan

River row

This is an informative and brought out the various customs associated with the mighty Bramhaputra (“The new Brahmaputra: A river festival in Assam draws criticism for promoting ‘RSS brand of Hindutva’”). However, it appears as though Scroll.in and some of the writers are obsessed with opposing whatever the BJP government does. Moreover, they bring RSS into every aspect, as though they are from an enemy country. Perhaps this negative mindset is helping BJP to get the support of the general public.

Most of the media, for obvious reasons, does not talk about the activities of Christian missionaries in the North East. Are the customs they preach also connected to the original customs of the Assamese? I hope you accommodate the views of the majority. – Vasu Deva

Valley view

This is a well written piece analysing Modi’s “terrorism or tourism” comment (“‘Tourism or terrorism’: To bring peace, Narendra Modi needs to see Kashmir beyond catchphrases”). India is trying to ignore the ground realities of Kashmir by only focusing on the rhetoric of tourism and development. A plebiscite was promised to the people but it never took place. Indian rule in Valley is based on deception. – Mir Zain

***

I found this article biased. It is indeed true that the unemployment rate in Kashmir is high, but that is also the case in the rest of India.

You talk of engineering graduates who do not have jobs. It would have been better had you questioned their skills. Having a high rate of unemployment is no reason to take a provocative line, pelt stones or kill innocent people. This article poses the following question: “Where do these youth fit in?”

This question should be asked not in the context of unemployed Kashmiri youth but to those who, instead of working towards building a peaceful and progressive environment for these youth, are are leaving no stone unturned to push them further into darkness. – Shubham Rajput

Highway liquor ban

Without any supporting scientific or statistical study, members of the judiciary think they know best how far liquor shops should be from highways to prevent accidents or how tall the human pyramid should be during Dahi Handi celebrations, or that cancelling a match in -Mumbai will help drought-hit people in Latur (“Supreme Court explains why its highway liquor shop verdict is not judicial overreach”).

The beauty of the situation is that they are not later accountable to check if indeed these measures have helped. The bureaucracy too has now liability or accountability. I am a confused citizen now. – Rajendra H Chourse

Meat politics

I appreciate Scroll.in’s efforts to highlight the condition of the Qureshi community in light of the beef ban (“Two years after Maharashtra’s beef ban, Mumbai’s Qureshi butcher community struggles with poverty”). I believe that that poor economic condition of the Indian Muslim community is a result of organised efforts by Hindutva groups.

I believe these groups are not targetting beef or fostering cow protection but are targetting young Muslims to ensure the community does not progress. This will be followed by similar plans for other backward classes too. – Mohammed Ali

***

What ruined an otherwise great piece was the writer’s use of averages to compare meat consumption (“‘Why I don’t advocate vegetarianism’: Indian environmentalist Sunita Narain explains her position”). The article says:

“ A recent global assessment, for instance, finds that Americans on an average eat 122 kg per year per person and Indians 3-5 kg per year per person. This high meat consumption is bad for health and the environment. In fact, the average American consumption of meat is 1.5 times the average protein requirement.”

The sentence above is misleading because a higher proportion of the American Population eats meat than in India. To this effect, if you divide total meat consumption by the population of each country, you will get a higher average for America as compared to India. What would be an accurate comparative measure is the average meat consumed in a year by the meat- eating population in each of the countries. Data is probably hard to come by on this, since a lot would depend on dodgy household surveys where people often under or overestimate the quantities due to various heuristics and biases but even so, I’d find it hard to believe that the variance would be 119 kg between the countries as the writer’s statement suggests.

This is not only misleading but also lulls most Indian meat eaters into a false sense of security about the long term impact of their meat consumption. The amount of meat we consume in India is probably closer to the 40-45 kg per person, which is the world average. – Salil

Coastal crisis

Goa, once a paradise for tourists and nature lovers, seems to be at a crossroads (“The sea breeze will bring more coal dust into Goa – if the government has its way”). The future will depend on how Goans express themselves, and how well their expression reaches far away readers through articles such as this. – Amol Gokhale

Movie view

The review of The Salesman is off the mark (“‘The Salesman’ film review: The home-invasion thriller gets the gritty treatment”). I doubt that the reviewer has seen the film. The movie provides different moralistic views on the molestation of a woman by an old man in her house. The woman’s husband seeks to settle scores with this man, who is apologetic and suffers from a heart condition. The woman, surprisingly, is sympathetic towards the old man. She is ready to forgive him, while husband wants him dead. This is a moral battle between the maternal, feminine instinct to forgive and the paternal, masculine instinct to punish. There is no doubt that the film resolves the issue in favour of the former. It is unfortunate that your reviewer was unable to see these layers. – Ravi Shanker

EVM row

Several studies have shown that EVMs can be tampered with (“Madhya Pradesh: EC orders probe into reports that SP vote went to BJP during EVM demonstration”). Most democratic countries have banned the use of EVMs and put their faith on secret ballot papers. So why is the government of India not taking this issue seriously?

Let citizens be assured that their extremely valuable votes are going to the intended party. –Anjan Kumar Samal

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EVMs will always remain vulnerable. How many experts will the election commission employ? It is highly advisable to stop using these machines and use ballot papers. – SN Ahmad

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As an Information Technology expert, I know that it is neither difficult nor impossible to programme the chip of an EVM such that all the votes, no matter which button is pressed, go to a certain candidate. The integrity of an EVM can be verified only through forensic investigation of its chip by an independent third party. – Ujjwal Bhattacharya

Strong brew

I have always appreciated the articles on Scroll.in and I recently came across this excellent one (“An ex-Army man in Jaipur is making incredible specialty coffee that’s part science, part art”).

I have saved this article as I’m a big coffee lover. I also like how you prefer any feedback via email rather than as comments, which I sometimes regard as a clutter around something beautiful. – Manoj Bhaskaran Unni

Off court

Most disappointing behaviour from Mirka and the Miami crowd (“Mirka Federer criticised after jeeringly whistling at husband Roger’s opponent Nick Kyrgios”). It is not acceptable in the 21st century. No other tennis crowd has shown such despicable and shameful behaviour towards any player. I was so disgusted by it I did not want to watch the rest of the game. Do all Americans behave like this? I hope not! As for Mirka, it is not the first time she has disappointed her husband.She should be banned from future games. – Chandra

Mapping mosquitoes

As an epidemiologist and community medicine professional I want to express my views about dengue mapping in the community by yet another method – Ovitrap for dengue mosquito (“Medical researchers are building India’s first map of infectious diseases, one patient at a time”). It can be added as another option to the spot map and can add weightage to detecting highly dense dengue mosquito pockets. – Dr Sachin Desai

Sensitive take

I would like to commend your staff on this piece (“Watch: There’s a reason the staff at this Mumbai restaurant won’t speak to you in your language”). The deaf are very sensitive to they way they are portrayed and spoken about. I am not deaf but I am an active member of the community for 13+ years now. The article was eloquently written. The definition and explanations couldn’t have been more accurate, sensitive and easily understood. Thank you very much. – Alejandro

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