Letters to the editor

Readers’ comments: India should make every effort to save Kulbhushan Jadhav’s life

A selection of readers’ opinions.

Pakistani provocation

We condemn Pakistan’s act of sentencing Kulbhushan Jadhav to death (“Death sentence for Kulbhushan Jadhav: A Pakistani provocation”). We need to make every effort to save his life. It is also important to cleanse territories in Kashmir and give a befitting reply to the rogue nation. – Mahesh Ilmulwar

Yogi’s rise

I was aware of some the information that Marrewa-Karwoski provides in this article; the rest is indeed enlightening (“Far from Hindutva, Yogi Adityanath’s sect comes from a tradition that was neither Hindu nor Muslim”). Not in terms of lifestyle, of course, but theologically, Naths have struck me as closer to Sikhism than to either Muslim or Hindu thought. Anyway, since the Naths moulded themselves to support Hindu as well as Muslim rulers, what a pity that they did not also interpret themselves as Christian during the days of the Raj. Indian and indeed British (and perhaps world) history might then have been different. – Prabhu Guptara

***

This article is a thinly veiled attempt to slander the new chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. But it will not succeed in this, because Hindus have at last discovered the hidden and not-so-hidden agenda of mercenary writers and the traitorous English media. – Shreevalsan

***

What an absurd analysis! Every sensible Hindu knows the greatness of Hinduism, which gives room to every type of belief system, atheism too. How can you compare barbaric Islam with Hinduism?

One day, Islam in the Indian subcontinent has to be subsumed into larger, accommodating Hindu ideological fold. In the process of protecting the mother faith, many smaller faiths have emerged like Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and the like. Absolutely every person in India is Hindu by birth. It accommodates everyone so it can’t be defeated easily by any external force. – Prashanth Reddy Thudi

***

This is a brief but crucial account that helps understand the expanding influence of yogis. The selection of Yogi Adityanath as Uttar Pradesh chief minister confirms the credibility of the clan and the inherent mystic powers of yogis. I hope the natural virtues of the yogi clan delivers goods to India. – Muzaffer Hussain Talib

***

This is what happens when an American writes about Indian history. Anyone with even a little knowledge of Indian culture would know that Goraknath is none other than Bholenath, or Shiv, and no one else. Kindly carry in-depth research by natives and not by aliens. – Deepak Shukla

***

Irrespective of their history, the Naths have taken the initiative to safeguard Hinduism since the 20th century or even earlier. – Ramesh Chaubey

***

Do not ask a Yogi, a saint, a learned person or a Rishi what his caste, creed or religion is. They are far above these bondages. – Ashmi Tripathi

***

This land is known for being home to seekers, yogis, siddhas and asetics. Common people have always yearned for mukti. Hinduism is a diverse tradition with a purpose of mukti. A mukta is always know as yogi. So a yogi has always been free. A yogi is a result of hindu culture only. Can somebody be mukta in any other religion? No, they don’t even have this concept.

As far as Mughals appreciating yogis is concerned, it was not for their tradition but for their power and accomplishments. Nath is a tradition linked to Lord Shiva. Therefore Nath Parampara is very much a part of Hindu Culture. – Rajeev Ranjan

Liquor bans

Prohibition has failed everywhere in the world and India is no exception (“Madhya Pradesh stares at prohibition as CM says all liquor shops will slowly be shut down”). Take the example of countries like Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan. Why can’t the government opt for a permit system in which the individual is given a certain quota every month? The government could also look at at is removing liquor shops in villages but keep them in cities.

People will keep making absurd demands but that does not mean that the government should take such extreme steps. Liquor prohibition is an outdated concept, but politicians keep trying to implement it in the name of Mahatma Gandhi. But the bitter truth is that even in Gandhi’s time it had failed completely. – Dhaval Jhaveri

Bye-polls bungle

It is the primary duty of the election commission of India to disqualify the erring candidates and to file a police complaint against the offenders, no matter how influential they may be (“Why merely .ountermanding polls is an ineffectual way to beat electoral malpractice”).

Meat attack

Even as recently as the days of the Vijayanagara empire, the great royal patrons used to have elaborate sacrifices during Navratras, thus debunking tradition of fasting and having only vegetarian food during those days (“From Ramayana to the scriptures, it’s clear India has a long history of eating meat”). Hampi royals had a Mahanavmi Dibba, a huge platform where they used to perform these gory rites.

Hampi royals were creators of what today is the grand Tirupati endowment. As a qualified historian, I appreciate your essay. But in common public this may create serious disaffection and adverse reactions. – Venkatesh

***

Why are we living on past templates? Today we can survive on an a plant-based diet. Animal meat being sold today is laced with antibiotics and harmful chemicals. Is that not enough reason to give up meat? – Sachin

Community dynamics

The recent political events after BJP’s victory in Uttar Pradesh elections and the appointment of Yogi Adityanath as chief minister of the state have made many people, especially in Lucknow’s Shia community, to turn sides (“Lucknow: Shia Muslim youths form ‘Gau Raksha Dal’, vow to end cow slaughter”).

Before the elections, a group lead by cleric Kalbe Jawwad had asked the people of the state, especially the Shias, to vote for the Bahujan Samaj Party. A few days ago, a group announced a Shia Gau Rakshak Dal along the lines of the cow vigilante groups running amok across the Hindi heartland.

As a Shia Muslim, I denounce the support for the group and the people behind its formation. I would like to clarify that it’s just a few (handful) of the people from the community who are doing such antics by aligning with BJP. These are just fringe elements and do not represent the entire Shia community from Lucknow.

I would also like to clarify that we do not encourage cow slaughter and our spiritual leaders from Iraq and Iran had previously issued fatwas not to consume beef (cow) in a region if it hurts the sentiments of any other religious group. We Shia Muslims respect the sentiments of our Hindu brothers. So, we abide by the Fatwas, spiritual and political guidance of our leaders.

But the group behind the Shia Gau Rakshaks are doing this simply for a political purpose. As Muslims. we stand united against an ideology that tries to divide us. And this group is part of a strategy to de-stabilise the Shia-Sunni brotherhood in Lucknow.

For us the words of Imam Hussain, the grandson of the Holy Prophet of Islam, stand tall when he said that “a person like him can never accept the allegiance of someone like Yazid”. Yazid was a tyrant caliph against whose oppression Imam Hussain fought in the desert of Karbala and got martyred in along with his family. – Uzair

Gandhi’s legacy

It is saddening to see a journalist of this stature become blind to all the muck in politics just to be perceived as secular (“Going back to Gandhi: Can Nitish Kumar counter Modi by redefining secularism?”). Nitish Kumar is a good administrator but he aligned himself with one of the most corrupt politicians in independent India, which this article fails to mention.

How can they be Gandhian if they espouse that caste arithmetic is the only way to win elections? So stop invoking Gandhiji and sullying his memories. – Binayak Das

Water wars

The author has either ignored the facts or is unaware of the reservoir levels in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu (“Will farm loan waivers hurt the finances of Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh?”). The deficient monsoon affected both the states and storage levels are low in reservoirs across the Cauvery.

The article states the following: “Tamil Nadu’s situation is worrying. Both the southwest and the northeast monsoons failed in the state last year. Despite the Supreme Court orders, Karnataka refused to release Tamil Nadu’s share of Cauvery water. This led to a complete halt in agriculture activity in the state between September and December, forcing the government to declare a state-wide drought in January.”

But what about the situation in Karnataka? The deficiency is so high that Karnataka does not even have enough to meet drinking water needs of its population until next monsoon. Despite that, it released water to the extent possible to Tamil Nadu, on the others of the Supreme Court. It is not journalism to write about one side while ignoring the other. The fact that the Centre released drought relief package for both states stands testimony to the fact that both are starved for water. – Pranesh

Eye on journalism

This is a hard-hitting and brutally honest speech from a journalist I admire (“Rajdeep Sardesai on the media: Sense has been replaced by sensation, news by noise”). I hope India sees more like him. – Manoj Patel

***

Rajdeep you are the noise creator. You are the one spreading negativity. – Srichand Raheja

***

Rajdeep Sardesai once asked Suhel Seth how the latter felt driving a Ferrari. Seth retorted by asking Sardesai how it felt to live in a ₹35 crore bungalow in Delhi with 12 violations of building laws,ably assisted by a Congresswoman, when the UPA was in power.
So the likes of Sardesau, Barkha Dutt and Prannoy Roy, Radhika Roy, Nidhi Razdan and many others
sold their souls to the previous government and enjoyed the finer things in life. Who started the rot? Can we expect an honest answer? – Mahesh Nayak

***

Before holding forth on journalism and ethics, Rajdeep Sardesai should explain why he did not air the cash-for-votes tapes given to him by the BJP on the Manmohan Singh confidence vote day. He deliberately held it back to save the UPA govt. It was a black day for Indian journalism. – Bala Krishnan

***

Couldn’t the organisers find a journalist who is unbiased and impartial rather than someone who has spent much of his life maligning a great patriot and spreading rubbish about our prime minister, who is single-handedly is taking our nation of billlion people to glory? – Shashikant Behere

***

It is good that you realised the ills that plague journalism today. You should have led from the front. But at times, who created a bad image for yourself on account of your arrogance. Look at how several other channels present the news coolly, without shouting, and without a loud background music that hurts our ears and heads. – Chakresh Jain

***

Rajdeep Sardesai has taken a principled stand in expressing concerns about the decline in journalistic standards. Let us hope for more such journalists. – Nagaraj

EVM storm

Why is no legal action being taken against the publication that misreported the EVM trial and why are its reporters not being hauled up (“It was not Lotus-Lotus: How misreporting led to a controversy over EVMs in Madhya Pradesh”)? The reporters especially should be jailed and the publication made to cough up a huge fine. – MN Rao

***

I am happy to know that reporters like Abhishek Dey, who investigate thoroughly and have courage to report the facts, also exist in India even as many so-called national newspapers fall for the herd mentality. – Reeta

***

Nice report. Thumbs up to Abhishek Dey for bringing the truth to the fore. This incident shows how misreporting can spark a controversy that has the potential to damage the people’s faith in our democracy. – Shubham Tiwari

Neighbourhood ties

This is a very convenient way of looking at things (“Sheikh Hasina visit: To improve India-Bangladesh relations, Delhi must have Kolkata on board”). It is well known who sabotaged the Teesta accord at the last minute.

The author also gloats over how India is finding it hard to compete with China’s deep pockets when it comes to building ties with neighbouring countries True. But who deserves the blame for the sorry state of the country’s economy, and its resultant weakness in foreign relations? It starts with the blue-eyed boy of the progressives, Nehru himself.

We can take a sympathetic view that the idealistic hero got caught up in the aura of socialism that pervaded the era and may have never expected that his economic policies would ultimately lead the country a begging bowl. But what about his successors, Indira Gandhi in particular? It is safe to say that no Indian leader ever had the gift of foresight that Deng Xiaoping had in unchaining his country’s economic potential and letting ideological concerns to take a back seat. The behemoth we are dealing with now is Deng’s China, not Mao’s.

Finally the author also laments the economic state of West Bengal vis-a-vis its eastern neighbour and says its hope is in latching on to China’s OBOR initiative. But we know who is to be blamed for that too, isn’t it?

When states like Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu were quick to grab the opportunity that came their way and became manufacturing powerhouses of the country, West Bengal lost in its overbearing legacy of Left politics. And Mamata Banerjee, the star of Singur agitation, did not do anything better either after she managed to dislodge the incumbents. – Vineeth Gopalakrishnan

Religious choices

It was the Hindu Yuva Vahini that forcefully entered the church, where people were being willingly converted (“UP: Yogi Adityanath’s Hindu Yuva Vahini disrupts church meet alleging forced religious conversions”). Christians comprise just 2% of the population in India and how will it threaten the majority population if a few people know Jesus and convert? – Sumedh James Murthy

Strong brew

This is an amazing article (“An ex-Army man in Jaipur is making incredible specialty coffee that’s part science, part art”). Thanks for this. – Mehul

Fact and fiction

I understand the point this article makes about Padmavat being a work of fiction but I also know that the people who attacked Sanjay Leela Bhansali and vandalised the sets of Padmavati are not interested in history (“The epic poem Padmavat is fiction. To claim it as history would be the real tampering of history”). They are neither interested in nor even capable of understanding it.

But what is even more deplorable is that a majority of the political class, instead of allaying these misconceptions, is furthering them, in the hope of reaping some political gains. But this is a slippery slope. – Himanshu Bhardwaj

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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”.

Like the long-settled German expats in India, the German airline, Lufthansa, too has incorporated some quintessential aspects of Indian culture in its service. Recognising the centuries-old cultural affinity between the two countries, Lufthansa now provides a rich experience of Indian hospitality to all flyers on board its flights to and from India. You can expect a greeting of Namaste by an all-Indian crew, Indian food, and popular Indian in-flight entertainment options. And as the video shows, India’s culture and hospitality have been internalized by Lufthansa to the extent that they are More Indian Than You Think. To experience Lufthansa’s hospitality on your next trip abroad, click here.

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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.