Letters to the editor

Readers’ comments: Delhi gangrape convicts got what they deserved, there was no mitigating argument

A selection of readers’ opinions.

Welcome verdict

The author is very biased by and is speaking only for the convicts (“Death penalty for December 2012 gang rape convicts is inconsistent with Supreme Court’s past record”). There is no mitigating argument when it comes to the ordeal of the victim. We, as law-abiding citizens, are not convinced that they can be rehabilitated. Please understand that they will be spending their time in the company of other criminals and not saints! There is no scope to reform such perverts.

This is one of the best judgements and can send a message to society at large because in India, crimes against women are on the rise and the conviction rate is very poor.

Please stop pleading for such anti-social elements. If only Nirbhaya was alive today her contribution to the society would be many times more than than that of these six put together. – Indira Sampath

***

The author makes a bizarre argument of “mitigating circumstances”. The too young or too old clause under this caveat doesn’t apply because the convicts are of prime age to discern the cruelty of their act. That only holds for the juvenile offender, who got off easy, but the author should take the trouble of finding out whether the juvenile has reformed now, which many people strongly doubt. – Sampath Sampath

***

The Supreme Court may have been inconsistent but the Indian public unanimously believes that any rape calls for the highest penalty and this case is no exception. – NS Neelakantan

***

How do you not see this as a misogynistic article? Just because the courts don’t recognise the underlying misogyny in their attitude towards women, that doesn’t mean your publication should reflect more on the pieces it choses to post.

Is saving rapist and murderers and giving them the benefit of the doubt more important than the rape and murder of girls and young women? I’m abhorred by the article and your inability to point out the misogyny in the Indian legal system! – Gurveen

Kashmir crisis

Please stop giving space to anti-India actors in your publication (“Why does India consistently push the (false) narrative of radicalisation in Kashmir?”). Who cares what the history of the movement is? Soldiers and Indian citizens are paying for terrorism with their lives. If the people of Kashmir want political change, they are welcome to join the political process by contesting elections. And what is with the headline? At least try to be balanced in your commentary. Your Left-wing liberalism is going way too far. Stop, just stop. – Naresh Podila

***

This is nothing but orchestrated violence by politically irrelevant Hurriyat leaders. A few Kashmiris think that they are not free and they are demonstrating what they would do if they came to power.
If you just let the civil government function, things will be alright. In any case, if you think that you are occupied by India then remember that it is our land. There is no crime in occupying our own home. If you don’t find solution to your so-called problem within the Indian democratic system then it is obvious that you are part of the problem. – Milind Kale

Baby steps

Ante-natal care is the perfect time to think about the importance of breast milk and learn the skills of nursing (“The nine months of pregnancy is the right time to start thinking about how to feed a baby”). It is important that mothers learn about the nipple or breast conditions before she delivers and understand that flat nipples or inverted nipples are absolutely okay as baby has to press on the areole of the breast and not on the nipple. Ante-natal care is also the perfect time to understand about colostrum and the amount mothers get. Most mothers feel that not enough milk comes in the first three days and they start formulas or milk powder. – Rupal Dalal

***

I completely agree with the views expressed in this article. As a nutritionist and a professor of nutrition in a girls’ college, I do impart the required information through activities for our budding nutritionists and dietitians’ from time to time, which they share with many other women during their rural and urban extension activities. This year too we have planned a training programme on lactation management for Breast Feeding Week, for our teaching and non- teaching staff , students as well as for vendors in the area.

As you rightly said, every woman can breastfeed her child and she needs to be given that confidence.Timely counselling when she faces any difficulty is extremely important. Infant milk formulae and complementary feeding before six months should be a strict no and if there is no other option, mothers should be educated on the correct procedures to be followed so that there is no microbial contamination.

People fail to understand that many still don’t know the right technique. – Veena Yardi

***

I want to thank you for your great articles on breastfeeding and childbirth. Thank you for taking on such a crucial topic for mothers, children and families in India. You are able to get leaders in the field to express what leaders across India need to hear and examine. We can truly move forward if we debate and collaborate on such issues.
However, though the content of this article is excellent, the team has chosen an image of a baby feeding from a bottle. If we want to normalise and promote breastfeeding, then we need to choose images that convey this message. Even without reading the article, your audience and readers are getting the message that bottle feeding is okay.
We want the article to send the message that breastfeeding is the first and best choice, so this needs to be conveyed in the image too. – Dana Hardy

Done right

Much as I may hate the anti-Hindu and pro-minority slant of a lot of mainstream media channels and organisations, this article is a great example of what journalism should be all about (“Gujarat riots victim Bilkis Bano’s hard-fought victory holds out hope at a time of fear and hate”). These stories show us the difficulties of getting justice in our society. I would encourage Scroll.in and all media organisations to learn to speak the truth at all times, no matter whether it may be against the majority community or the minority. – Venkata Akashdeep Vinnakota

***

I appreciate this detailed article. It gives us a glimpse of the pathetic legal and law enforcement system in India, sometimes referred to as the “biggest democracy”, which it is not.

It’s a farcical democracy run by a mafia of corrupt, extortionist, manipulative bureaucrats and their political masters, who resort to all sorts of cunning methods, including using their called so-called premier investigative and intelligence agencies like the CBI and and Enforcement Directorate to implicate others for extortion and corruption. – Rajeev Verma

Grand alliance

There should surely be an active Opposition in a democratic country (“Lalu Prasad, the hidden hand behind Mayawati’s decision to consider joining an anti-BJP front”). But it has been often observed that Mayawati, Lalu Yadav and Mamata Banerjee have made minority appeasement and looking after their own interests (as is seen in all the ill-gotten wealth) their main focus. They have to be answerable about this to the common man. The Congress has nothing to deliver as Rahul Gandhi is not connected with Indians. – Gangadhar Darvandar

Past battles

I agree with your view that role of the British Indian Army is a regrettable chapter in our history (“From Haifa to Jallianwallah Bagh: Celebrating the Raj’s military history will open a can of worms”). There’s no cause for celebration. – Anita Kar

Stumbling blocks

These facts on coal block allocations are startling (“Stumbling blocks: Centre does not have much to show for its coal block allocations”). Modi still talks of Coalgate. But it appears scams in present allocations are being suppressed false statements are being made about increased production transparency. Can we ever trust this government and the media, which laps up their lies? – SN Iyer

***

If the government is finding no takers for coal blocks, there are many ways in which the resource can be used. If the coal is available, there will be takers. One can use gas technology or underground coal gasification technology, which is available in Germany, Australia and the US.

It is more a matter of administration and management. – PG Sheth

Back with a bang

I welcome Arnab Goswamy and Republic TV and congratulate them on their first-day telecast (“BJP leaders commend Arnab Goswami as he launches Republic TV with a Lalu Prasad-Shahabuddin exposé”). Best wishes to Arnab and his team. We are sure he will uphold the tradition of a true and free press and continue to gives us news and opinion on issues of national and international importance. – Balakrishnan KK

***

Republic TV’s first day was devoted to the alleged Lalu-Shahabuddin tapes and many senior BJP leaders have gone to town condemning the Bihar leader’s alliance with a criminal. But Lalu and Nitish Kumar have maintained a deathly silence on this issue. Is that an admission of guilt by Lalu and embarrassment by Nitish? – Satyendra Puri

Bad loans

It is the government that compels banks to sanction loans to companies performing poorly (“With more power to RBI to tackle non-performing assets, could India’s big bad loan problem end soon?”). The situation will be fixed if politicians are. Therefore, this move will not the purpose. – RP Jaiswal

Pitched battles

I appreciate the writer’s effort, especially because there are so many who blindly say that we have to should drop our ego and show leadership by participating (“Understanding BCCI’s tiff with ICC and why India’s Champions Trophy participation is in doubt”). Those who hold this view clearly don’t care about the Rs 100 million or Rs 150 million that we rightfully deserve and can be put to good use for managing our Indian cricket infrastructure. No one wants to pull out of the of ICC tournaments including the administrators, but international cricket communities have a responsibility to treat India fairly and wisely. Opportunism may help them in a short run but cricket needs India in the long-run. So, reasoning with India also makes business sense. – Roy Arasu

Flight plan

This is a good way to to ensure their are no delays (“Air India formulates rules for unruly passengers, will slap fines for delaying flights”). There needs to be a similar regulation to delays caused by airlines too, especially when there is no information about the delay and no communication from the airline. Sitting in the airport for long hours, wondering what is happening with the flight, is not fun at all. When airlines expect passengers to report three hours before the scheduled departure, they also need to give us something in return.

I travel a lot and taking flights has become a nightmare, especially with Indian airlines. I have been harassed and insulted several times, but there was nothing I could do and I was disgusted with the airline’s high-handedness. Their common reply to anything is that it is their airline’s policy, but not once I have seen this document.

The rights of passengers and the legal recourse available to them should be displayed openly. – Venkat

Snake-charming days

It is not the British Raj that should be blamed (“Where have all the snake-charmers and street magicians gone? A Raj-era law might be to blame”). It is the Brown Sahibs of today. These wonderful entertainments were commonly enjoyed by us before 1947. – CM Naim

Temple run

The writer, Ruchir Joshi, either envies Chetan Bhagat’s popularity or has cultivated in himself a deep-rooted hatred against him, which found an outlet in this article (“Dear Chetan Bhagat, here’s why we do not need a new Ram temple in Ayodhya”). The write-up is childish, to say the least. You have extolled Hinduism to its deserved heights. This is a safe move otherwise you would have faced a backlash from the very first paragraph.

Secondly, you show all Hindutva leaders in a bad light. This is perhaps a heinous crime. There is a wide spectrum of Hindutva leaders, including politicians, priests and heads of maths. So, these are the various stakeholders involved in the Ayodhya temple question. You cannot just put them all in one category of “Hindutva leaders”, because each of them have their own agenda.

While the agenda of the political leaders may not be acceptable to all sections of the society (though I would still argue in its favor) there is no reason we must doubt the motive of the others stakeholders, as it is a pious motive.

And do you really think the Hindutva political leaders are so bad? Listen to the speeches of any Muslim leaders and you will understand the importance of these leaders. With the Muslim population growing at such an alarming rate, India will soon fall in the same category as Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq. Forget about the West Asian nations, in our neighbouring country of Pakistan, the Hindu Minority has reduced to a mere 4% since independence.

These Hindutva leaders may not have the same agenda but protecting their own community in their own country is not a crime. If banning beef-eating is a crime perpetuated by these Hindutva leaders, then what about the scores of diseases arising from the unhygienic practices involved in the meat-cutting. The infamous blood rivers of Bangladesh are still fresh in the memory. – Jay

Canine capture

I am a dog lover and equate dog meat eaters with cannibals, but why are someone else’s food habits an issue (“Assam Police rescue 75 dogs being smuggled to Nagaland for meat”)? Why a law against dog meat? Law against beef is understandable as it has religious significance (though it is absurd in a democratic country) but what is your problem if someone is eating dog meat? Unless we become a vegan country, nobody has any right to say who can eat what. Don’t eat if you find the idea abhorrent but do not impose your beliefs on someone. – Shino

Personnel crunch

The article fails to mention the fact that the disparity with the Army and the IPS is a major reason for the decision to not join the Central Armed Police Forces (“Sixteen of 28 officers selected for BSF reject the job: Report”). They are made to serve under junior IPS officers, which is demotivating for a gazetted officer, and promotions are also erratic. – Atulesh Jha

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
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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.

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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.

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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.