Letters to the editor

Readers’ comments: There is a clear sign of bias in the report on human rights in Kashmir

A selection of readers’ opinions.

Valley report

I found some errors in this report (“Kashmir: Security forces conducted targeted killings during 2016 protests, alleges citizens report”). The writers spoke only with victims and compiled the report entirely from their point of view, without getting the version of the “agressors”. This is a clear sign of bias. Most reports that lean Left are actually criticism by an average public because they only criticise but do not suggest or recommend any practical solutions. A solution, if presented, is usually idealistic and impractical. For instance, they just state the end result without any roadmap to get there. This report belongs in that realm. – Pranav Menon

***

Dear Scroll.in, thank you for such an informative article. I salute the people who traveled through the Valley at great risk and in such chaos. You have spoken of human rights violations and captured the suffering of the youth. But this article also seems to be your opinion of the police as evil villains. Why did your team not meet a single member of the security forces? – Suraj Pang

Karnan controversy

The author is trying to defend the indefensible by invoking legal jurisprudence when she herself accepts that the law in this extraordinary case is vague and hardly with any precedent (“Justice Karnan case: A bigger problem than his conduct is how the court has dealt with the issue”). But this case goes far beyond just being a debate on points of law. A hearing by a five-judge bench or seven-judge bench is irrelevant to me. A larger bench at least allows for wider viewpoints compared to, say, a single-judge bench. The comparison with Vijay Mallya’s case is disingenuous – alleged financial fraud versus making a mockery of the judiciary. More disturbing is the conduct of the judge himself. He refused to defend himself and instead invoked his caste and misused the very law (Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Prevention of Atrocities Act) he was sworn to uphold.

Impeachment by Parliament would have been another joke. Can you by any stretch of the imagination foresee our parliamentarians having a dispassionate and meaningful debate on the merits of a case (especially one involving a member of the Dalit community)?

The gag order on the press in this case is justifiable because the judge was projecting himself as a martyr because of his caste and making a media spectacle of himself. Other than making accusations, denying his insanity and hiding, there is not a single sane or lawful action he has taken so far. The only point I agree with the author on is how he was appointed in the first place.

The judges would do well to introspect on reforms from within and move towards greater transparency. The process of judicial appointments would be a place to start. – P Raghavendra

***

The honourable apex court bench has pronounced an order of six months jail to Calcutta High Court judge CS Karnan for contempt of court (“SC sentences Justice Karnan to 6 months for contempt, bars media from reporting on his judgments”). This is an assassination of the character of an individual and of all Dalits in a great democracy. – Nanjundaiah Ningappa

***

Is alleging corruption against 20 judges contempt of court (“Karnan case: The Supreme Court has acted like Humpty Dumpty in its gag order on press”)? A judge is not a court. Allegations against a judge of misuse of power for pecuniary gain are solely against that judge’s personal integrity? This is not against a court. The Supreme Court has erred so badly that there seems to be complete ignorance of the constitutional rights of citizens and no distinction has been made between contempt of court and contempt of a judge. A judge cannot be a court for a court is a permanent feature of a democracy whereas a judge is a temporary part of a court.

The allegation is made by a brother judge and not by any common man. Hence, the allegation has to be taken seriously and the allegedly corrupt judges must be investigated as swiftly as possible as the passage of time would cause irreversible damage to an important arm of democracy.

Hence, judges who do not make a distinction between an officer of the court and the court have themselves committed contempt of court. – Sunil Gupta

Roadside dentists

They have been doing a great service for decades (“‘We’re doing social work’: The twists and turns in the lives of Bengaluru’s roadside dentists”). They should receive help and encouragement so that they can continue their work. The rich of India can and should provide resources to these dentists who are making a modest living and serving the poor. God bless them. – Ahmed

Sarangi series

Excellent articles (“Listen: These performances show Pakistani sarangi maestro Nathu Khan’s mastery over the technique”). It might be worth posting the signature tune of Radio Pakistan. It was played by Hamid Hussain, a sarangi player who migrated from Rampur. A beautiful and haunting tune. – Jyoti Pande

Hindus in Pakistan

I am not sure about the veracity of this account (“The story of Sita, a Pakistani woman who lost her faith and family”). But if it is verifiably true, then it should go to the United Nations Human Rights Commission. Or at a more mundane level, should there be another exchange of the Muslim population in Kashmir with Hindus in all of Pakistan? – Madras Sivaraman

Brief history

All this is well, but I still do not know the etymology of langot and banyaan (“Watch: A ‘brief’ history of men’s underwear in India, from langots to boxers”). For example, does the latter have anything to do with “baniyaa”? – Prabhu Guitar

***

You actually think a four-paragraph story on underwear is newsworthy? Does this story have any redeeming quality or value or does it mean you ran out of ideas and did not know what else to cover? Come on, you can do better than this. What is sadder than you printing the story is that I spent time reading it. – Usman Madha

Partition love story

Wow, this is the first time I am hearing this immortal love story (“Partition tragedy: Buried in an ancient Lahore graveyard is a Sikh man known as a martyr to love”). I had heard the story of Tara Singh in the late 1950s. I think a number of movies are made of Tara Singh’s love story. Gadar is one of them. Let’s all pray that the soul of this Sikh man rests in peace. – Rajinder Saini

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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.

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.

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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.