Letters to the editor

Readers’ comments: ‘The Army, government need our moral support for showing restraint in Kashmir’

A selection of readers’ opinions.

Burning Valley

I’m not surprised with this article, seeing your track record (Footballer to stone-pelter: What made Afshan Ashiq, the woman in blue, pick up that rock?”). You have highlighted instances of the police misbehaving with the girl, but did not say a word about those who pelt stones, the ones who fund them, and why they are trying to keep tourists away from Kashmir to hurt its economy. – Shiv Khare

***

Not just Pakistan, Kashmir’s parties and the Congress too have helped keep the separatist movement alive in Kashmir for political gains. The solution is to remove Article 370 and have the complete accession Jammy and Kashmir, just like any other Indian states.

Put all separatists or terrorists and such organisations in front of a military firing squad and shoot them dead. Next, all stonepelters, irrespective of gender or age, should be shot at whenever they throw stones.

Finally, investigate which political party, politicians, journalist or secular left liberals are instigating and or helping these stonepelters, separatists and terrorists.
Once the list is made, send them to the gallows without further delay. Make all understand that anybody or any organisation that dares to go against the interest of the country, will be seriously dealt with and might get the death penalty. – Shyamol Roychoudhury

***

We Indians salute our brave army and the CRPF. A video circulated recently should a group of young Kashmiris humiliating CRPF personnel who, despite being armed, showed exemplary restraint and did not react. There was another video showing the Army using a man as a human shield against stone pelters. But even within the Army, this was termed an aberration. This was disapproved by all with even army declaring it was an aberration.

Such incidents, understandably, generate extreme anger among many of us outside Kashmir. We want the CRPF personnel to shoot these stone pelters, use human shields if necessary and we want the government to scrap Article 370.

But let us all take a step back and imagine what the consequences of such measures would be. If we unleash all our force against stone pelters and become ruthless, the demand for independence will only grow and will snowball into a mass movement. And as history has shown us, no power on earth can stop such a mass revolt from achieving its goal.

For 70 years we have kept Kashmir with us and have not allowed Pakistan and separatists to succeed in their designs. This has happened because of our policy of restraint and accommodation while dealing with the Kashmir issue. There is absolutely no discrimination against Kashmiris in jobs or in business. Kashmiris are carrying out their professions in different states very peacefully, without hindrance.

Contrast this with what Pakistan did to Bangladesh before its liberation. They discriminated against Bangladeshis and inflicted many atrocities on them.

So, though things in Kashmir are bad, it is the duty of all citizens of our great India to give our armed forces and government moral support. They need to be encouraged for their policy of restraint and for being accomodating towards our own people of Kashmir. – Deepak Desai

***

These separatists are making life miserable for brave children like Afshan. She is very right about Pakistan. Everyone knows what they did with people and specially girls in erstwhile East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). – Vijendra Singh Rathore

Judicial clean-up

Yes, the Supreme Court is taking an easy way out (“By sending Justice Karnan to jail, has the Supreme Court taken the easy way out?”). I don’t think Karnan should be charged with contempt of court. The judiciary acts all high and mighty. They don’t take responsibility of many inadequacies. Karnan merely stated the obvious and suddenly became the villain.

He may be behaving erratically but he isn’t wrong: the judiciary is grappling corruption and casteism. – Deepti Ssonkar

Everyone knows how corrupt the Indian judiciary is. The corruption is rampant and the higher you go, the greater it is. However, it becomes exceedingly difficult to expose corruption in high offices. The reverence given to judges allows them near-immunity from investigation.

Whistle blowers who plan to take on the judiciary would need to be prepared for harakiri. The legal mafia will join forces to decisively demolish and defeat dissent or complaint. The root of all corruption in our country lies in the Judiciary and is nourished by it for maintaining its stranglehold on the public and the government. A huge movement is necessary to clean up this all-important pillar of Indian democracy.

If he truly cares about the well-being of ordinary citizens, the prime minister should direct his efforts towards this. The GST and other histrionics can wait. – A Uppal

***

In the larger interest of the judiciary, Justice Karnan should exit gracefully. – Bala Krishnan

***

Justice Karnan lost respect by making a mockery of the judiciary. How can anyone trust him to give sound judgments any more? Also, he is misusing the Dalit card. – Anthony Fernandes

***

One is tempted to ask: are our judges really incorruptible? Karnan seems to have overplayed his hand, but our films show us, though crudely, how judges have their palms greased. Cinema is a reflection of society. – Vakkalanka Venkataramana

***

The ills in the judicial system require immediate remedy. As rightly pointed out by Justice Chandru, the law relating to contempt of court does not go well with the democratic principles. The judges and the judiciary should be accountable to the people and judicial appointments should be subjected to scrutiny. – Jayanand Rao

Lady justice

We are deeply saddened by the loss of Justice Leila Seth (“How Leila Seth co-wrote the law that convicted the Delhi gang rape and murder criminals”). I will always remember her for her contributions to women’s rights, including her guidance and and words of wisdom as a member of the the Legal Expert Committee at the National Commission for Women, where I worked as a law officer. May her soul rest in peace. – Dr Syed Sadiq

Man of science

This article on a great scientist and his exceptional contributions is an eye opener (“How a Madras scientist won the global race in the ’50s to crack the structure of collagen”). Scientists from the West used his discovery but conveniently forgot to mention him. The Nobel committee was also in dark about the contirbution about the great Indian scientist. A great injustice has been done to GNR and the global science community needs to make up for it. The Indian Science Association and the government should form a committee to apprise the world of GNR’s contributions so he can earn his rightful place. – Mohan

NEET shocker

The incident at a NEET centre in Kerala, where a female candidate was asked to remove her bra before appearing for the exams, is shocking (“Bras with metal hooks, dark pants banned? CBSE dress code for medical test aspirants is ambiguous”). It is a violation of human as well as fundamental rights. Such mistreatment and humiliation adversely impacts students personally as well as professionally. It won’t be a surprise if this torturous act affects the candidate’s ability to perform well in the exam.

Strict protocols for exams are a must, but lack of common sense leading to disrespect and embarrassment is inexcusable.
I appeal to the concern authorities and HRD Minister Prakash Javdekar to intervene and make strict protocols in order to avoid such instances henceforth. – Prafful Sarda

Designer babies

The Bishnoi community of Rajasthan also practices something similar and more scandalous (“RSS’ grand plan to help Indians bear fair, bespoke babies exposes Hindutva’s obsession with race”). Tall and healthy males are designated as community studs sleep with any and all women in the community. This is encouraged for getting taller fairer children.

Today the community will deny this practice and some may claim it never existed. Nobody seems to have spoken on record about its existence but if you speak to males of other communities in the area they will readily confirm it. – Himanshu Desai

***

A disclaimer: I am not a BJP or RSS apologist. I happen to be an allopathic doctor. So, I read this article with amusement and some irritation. While rightly pointing out the absurdity of the RSS trying to bring back outdated ideas of race into the mainstream, the article tends to be misleading.
The original report in the Indian Express talks about Garbh Vidnynan Sanskara. The methods proposed include “purification”, diet, intercourse at specific periods and other things. While the scientific basis for this may be doubtful, nowhere does this mean custom-made babies as being made as per the needs of parents.

At best, the methods suggested may be good for the overall health of the baby, nothing more – they’re akin to advising pregnant woman to eat lots of fruit, for instance. There is no element of “customisation”, with its sinister implications. Did the word “sanskara”, with its Hindu overtones, raise the author’s hackles?

In another place, the word eugenics is used. Now, eugenics is defined as: “The science of improving a population by controlled breeding to increase the occurrence of desirable heritable characteristics”. There is hardly any “controlled breeding” here.

And while it is not exactly desirable to try and produce babies of fair complexion (even if it were possible), we live in age where advertisements by celebrities for fairness creams are continually thrust upon us during prime-time TV – something that has a far more widespread and undesirable influence on society than the ramblings of some RSS men.

Also, the phrase “Uttam Santati” mentioned in the Express report is not the same as “customised babies”. It only means good, healthy babies – an objective hardly worthy of criticism.

Having said that, these are difficult times. Society is increasingly polarised and sane voices are few and far between. – Ajey Hardeekar

***

I was shocked to read about the RSS’ plans to create custom babies. Regardless of the dubious science behind this, the plan reeks of a deep-rooted caste bias. The BJP claims to look out for the welfare of Dalits and OBCs and is at the same time promoting a fair-skin agenda. The Health and Family Welfare Ministry must take cognisance of this and immediately stop such racist propaganda. – Anjali Venugopalan

***

Did you really make any effort to get a response from the office bearers of the organisation you have criticised with abandon? If not, then reaching on a conclusion based on a newspaper report is highly unethical and intellectually diabolical.

I hope your esteemed publication shall rely on first-hand reporting rather than gleaning selective biased facts to reach to a self-obsessed conclusion. Reporting must also be devoid of Nazi traits. – Prashant Mishra

Rise of the Right

This is an informative and well-written piece (“Devdutt Pattanaik: Historians too should share the blame for the rise of religious radicalism”). In my opinion too, the Leftists are indirectly responsible for the rise of Hindutva brigade, as many middle-of-the-road Hindus were fed up with the one-sided narrative. My congratulations to the author. – Rajeev and Uma Joshi

***

What a pathetic apology for the misdeeds of today! – R Gandhy

Reimagining Sita

This is a very interesting interview of Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni and brings out intriguing information (“‘Women don’t have to be good to be the hero’: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, whose next book is on Sita”).

Sita’s will be a challenging construction.The women characters in the male-dominated mythology seem incidental; one wonders if they were defined at all? Let’s hope the thougtful author brings the character out: unravels, deconstructs, goes beyond the superficial myth and its banal, often, trivialising, modern interpretations. Best wishes to her and thanks to Scroll.in – VC

Exploitative industry

Many thanks for this series on Bengaluru’s garment workers (“‘Locals have become too aware of their rights’: Why Bengaluru garment factories are hiring migrants”). The articles are eye-opening and need to be read by everyone, especially the middle classes and consumers of the products that come from these exploitative industries. There has to be a shift in consumer behaviour. Pressure from consumer forums is the only way to change attitudes and behaviour of these proprietors. We cannot expect much from our corrupt governments, which only safeguard their pockets. – Srikanth N

Pitch imperfect

I went to the KKR vs RCB match and saw Sunil Narine and Chris Lynn hammer the last two nails in the RCB coffin, albeit with their bats (“Is Sunil Narine the Sanath Jayasuriya of Twenty20 cricket?”). After seeing all the home games, I’ve concluded that the RCB was clueless this season. Both Virat Kohli and AB De Villiers were nursing injuries and did not play up to their potential. The others were just lack-lustre, with the exception of Yuzvendra Chahal. It’s a pity he’s been neglected year after year and has not find a place in the Indian Team.

I’ve been to English Premier League matches in England and the respect that players have for their fans is wonderful. Alas, Kohli and the RCB team have never had the decency to do a lap of honour to thank their fans who spent their hard-earned money and braved harsh weather conditions and the terrible traffic of Namma Bengaluru to cheer for their home team. – Sharath Ahuja

Ram mandir

The Ram temple at Ayodhya must be built immediately (“Amit Shah, Yogi Adityanath meet NRI donors pressing for work to begin on Ram temple in Ayodhya”). We do not want to wait for a Supreme court order. India is Hindustan and Hindus have the priority right to build a temple to their god. – Vidhya Balu

Ayurveda way

There’s no need for deregulation of medicine prices (“PM Modi promises more affordable medicines but NITI Aayog actually wants fewer controls on prices”). The role of medicines is limited in healthcare. Most health problems are because of over-nutrition or under-nutrition. Ayurveda understands nutrition best and the Niti Aayog should focus on Ayurvedic nutrition. – Ashok Singhania

Poor frame

I read about this last week in the Times interview referred to in your piece (“Souvid Datta’s photos of sex workers have many problems – plagiarism is just one of them”). In my opinion, Mr Datta’s mealy-mouthed Mea Culpa is only half of the story. The young lad was handed multiple awards and grants before he really understood what he was doing with a camera and Photoshop. He is both perpetrator and victim; a victim of those who, in their desperate bid to grab a piece of the next “big thing” and thereby enhance their own reputations, supplied him with gongs and cash, thus encouraging him to go further.

If the likes of Getty, Magnum and LensCulture had bided their time and allowed the boy to learn, Datta’s photography career might just have grown into something to admire rather than become the car wreck it is, drawing the rubbernecking stares of us passers-by. – Mick Holland

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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.