Letters to the editor

Readers’ comments: We middle-class Hindus are not aggressive – we are now assertive

A selection of readers’ opinions.

Modi-versary

You Left-leaning intellectuals are still trying to make excuses about the phenomenon that is Modi (“Shiv Visvanathan: Four ways I was wrong about Narendra Modi three years ago”). Democracy may mean plurality but if the majority community is left feeling unwanted and is seeing its hard-earned money and rights being taken away in front of its eyes, then there is bound to be trouble.

Democracy is when all communities are treated equally, without bias. The web of lies built by the Gandhi-Nehru family finally unraveled. The favourite argument of intellectuals, that India, a peace-loving country has become an aggressive one, is nonsense. We middle-class Hindus are not aggressive, we are now assertive. Our government is equally assertive and proactive as well as inventive in its functioning. – Dex IQ

***

We misjudged Modi in more than four ways. I voted for the BJP – and Modi, to be precise – and was happy that he won. But three years down the line, I believe we are headed for disaster. The idea of India has definitely been radicalised.

People think we are moving towards an authoritarian society, but I think we’re heading towards a dystopian one. The wheels have been set in motion. All kinds of propaganda and jingoism is being used to strengthen the majority (which I belong to) and the state machinery is being used to dismantle all kinds of opposition. The government tightened the noose around NGOs using clauses regarding foreign donations, to send them the message that if you go against our interests, we will bleed you dry. They sent vigilante groups after rationalists and many thinkers are dead. The result? No dares question their policies.

The government used investigative agencies to target the political opposition and got them embroiled in various cases. As a result, there is hardly any opposition to government policy, only lip service.

The cow and the Army are becoming the new symbols of nationalism. Aadhaar is the new surveillance system. The internet was the last bastion of free speech, but it has been taken over by paid trolls. The truth is BJP is fighting a war against everyone who doesn’t believe in their idea of Akhand Bharat. – Sukhen Bhowmick

***

The author and his ilk need more creative stories (perhaps the intolerance debate and award wapsi are past their sell-by date). Secondly, pluralism is dying. Therefore, they need to hark back to the secular concept of minority appeasement (case in point: the stony silence from the secularists, liberals and intellectuals on the issue of triple talaq). This is the only way we can defeat the majoritarian evil.

Thirdly, they projected Modi as a demagogue and failed miserably; therefore, they need the idea of resurrecting the glorious years of secularism .

Fourthly, we need our own versions of Mao Zedong and Kim-Il Sung, to name a few: Rahul Gandhi (failing him Priyanka Gandhi), Mamata Banerjee, Arvind Kejriwal and perhaps Lalu Yadav are contenders.

People, in the past, have rejected authoritarianism and incompetency in equal measure. They will do so again if Modi fails to deliver. Witch-hunting and fear-mongering are not the solutions. – P Raghavendra

***

The author seems to suggest that India was like heaven and its citizens in a state of bliss before Modi took over. The normalisation of violence and lynching is not a sudden phenomena, it is the consequence of the failure of our justice delivery system.

I don’t know if we Indians were more pluralist and secular before 2014. The only difference I see is that ordinary people like me have been empowered by social media to voice our opinion or angst. – Amit Agarwal

***

Shiv Vishwanathan is accepting his mistaken evaluation, but this is just a cover-up. If he were a true intellectual, he would also look at his own judgment of India, of the notion of secularism that he seems to defend and of the choices available to the middle-class then and now. There’s no sign that he has introspected on what he stood for and where he stands now.

He also says something very shallow: “The second phenomenon we did not understand was the Indian ability to normalise violence and be happy with authoritarianism.” Germans of the 1930s normalised far greater violence and were actually quite happy with Hitler. It’s not an Indian phenomenon by any means. A good quick look at the history of the 20th century will give him more examples.

Another line in the article says: “It was not ideology that he mastered but the power of communication systems, the uses of performative language, where saying becomes a form of doing, where the articulation of a mere utterance evokes a sense of competence.” All politicians do this. Some do it better than others.

An article like this results when a fairly mediocre thinker tries to dress up as an intellectual. – Shashi Warrier

***

Continuing to underestimate Modi is going to disastrous. Slowly and steadily, Modi has united people. The results to the recent Assembly election results are a clear reflection of his performance. Courageous decisions have been taken in almost all fields and there is no longer a policy paralysis. Hence, this article is out of context, poorly analysed and biased. – SP Surana

***

You might have underestimated Modi, but you are overestimating yourselves. You have every right to remain in your golden cage. Good luck! – Venkataramani Sathanur Krishnamurthy

***

Shiv Visvanathan is still wrong. He states: “Modi responds to power. Modi loves power, and wants more of it. In their love for power, Modi and his right-hand man Amit Shah work in tandem. They are ideological when they need to be, but it is the pragmatism of the BJP that has surprised this commentator”.

Visvanathan gives no evidence for his claim. I’m sure he will proclaim it as self-evident, as many intellectuals of his type do. What Modi has is love for the country. That is what I have seen reflected in his actions from day one. He wants to clean up the government and make it more efficient, asking for nothing in return but a commitment from his fellow politicians. – Krishnan Narayan

Talent pool

This article should serve as an eye-opener for the government as well as the medical fraternity (“India has one of the smallest pools of anaesthesiologists in the world”). The government must cancel diplomas and increase MD degrees. Anaesthesiologists spend as much time as surgeons and more than consultant surgeons when post-operative care is required, but are paid poorly. This scenario where anaesthesiologists are neither recognised nor paid properly discourages students from taking up this branch. – Devulapalli Praveen

Cattle slaughter rules

This is a welcome decision, but why has the government left out sheep (“Will the new rules on animal markets result in an unofficial ban on cattle slaughter?”)? Are they not innocent animals too? Thousands of them are slaughtered every day. What is the government doing about this?

***

People mostly abide by the law but lawmakers must give due consideration to the vast differences in culture and food habits in a diverse country like India. It may be that no one is above law but it is also true that no law can transcend the will of the people. India is not under a dictatorship or a fascist regime. Be it prohibition or ban on cattle slaughter, a regulation that is not enforceable in a democratic polity is not sustainable. I am saying this not because the governmental measure is impinging on any of my preferences as I am a vegetarian and a teetotaler. But if there are others want to be tipplers and meat-eaters, I am fine with it. It should be the same with any government.

Despite these aberrations, I believe the current dispensation is far better than any Congress governments we have had. The economy is doing well, infrastructure is developing, business-friendly policies are being initiated, there are welfare measures addressing the needs of economically backward classes and the country has an aggressive foreign policy to successfully grapple with enormous challenges on the external front. There is also far, far less corruption in sharp contrast with previous regime.

This is all the more reason why the present government must, instead of persisting with the diktat and alienating people in predominantly meat-consuming states, revoke the ban and focus on development and social welfare. – G Rajagopalan Nair

Unholy alliance

The people of India perceive the coming together of Opposition parties as an alliance of thieves (“At Sonia’s lunch, Opposition leaders aim for show of unity that will last beyond Presidential poll”). They will only vote against such opportunistic alliances. This is what happened in Uttar Pradesh in March.

Such unethical alliances will only drive more people towards the BJP. – VG

Revisiting history

I am saddened to know of the vitriol Audrey Truschke received for her work (“‘Some of the hate mail is chilling’: Historian Audrey Truschke on the backlash to her Aurangzeb book”). I plan to buy her book and historians like her need to know that there are many who support brave authors and journalists who are work to uncover the truth and are not afraid to tell it. – Roshan

***

I appreciate her efforts and scholarship as evident in this article (though I have not read the book). A historian has to holistically look at the facts and fearlessly reveal the truth, come what may. So, I really appreciate her for swimming against the tide. If she has written something wrong, let some other better writer repudiate it with more evidence and reason but hate-mail, physical attacks or defamation are not the answer.

I also feel that Scroll.in should allow readers to post their comments below articles. The lack of this shows a somewhat secretive or fearful attitude. – I Mallikarjuna Sharma

***

I have extensively researched this topic (because it has vexed me for decades and hits close to home) Aurangzeb, first and foremost, considered himself a Muslim – and that self-identification in those times was all about treating the “kaffirs” badly. In this day and age, it seems that non-Hindus alone have the credentials to discuss Hindus and in the process belittle or dismiss atrocities that Hindus have had to deal with throughout the history of Bharat. God Forbid Hindus want to get in on the discussion of their own history. What a Kal Yuga we live in. – M Victoria

Ode to Sachin

This is an amazing movie, a must-see (“‘Sachin: A Billion Dreams’ review: Nothing you don’t already know – and that’s a good thing”). People who did not like Sachin will not appreciate it, but it’s good to learn of so many personal details about him that he never shared. We also see his early years of struggle followed by record after record. His fans too were very tense during his bad patch, but his comeback was depicted very well in the movie. – Prafful Sarda

Off-track

This is an excellent article that has only one problem (“Tejas Express vandalised: Why are Indians incapable of preserving public goods?”). Anjali Mody fails to point out that we Indians feel that flouting the rules and laws of our country is a mark of how strong or powerful we are. The malaise can be seen in small things like skipping queues and jumping signals and far graver instances like the most important man in the country openly disregarding the Supreme Court. – Prabhu Guptara

***

Indians are the filthiest people on earth and only understand force. Our politicians have been instrumental in making the electorate expect everything for Free. And our age-old so called law and order system has collapsed so there is no deterrent.

Strict punishments and heavy fines will not work because of corruption everywhere. Sometimes, I feel that this great country has been damaged beyond repair and needs a Martial Law for at least 10 years for some improvement in the psyche of people. – Pradip Nawthe

Doctors defence

With regard to the article “Behind the self-defence lessons for AIIMS doctors lies the failure of Indian medical education”, your writer has got it all wrong.

It is never the patients that come from afar for treatment who create a ruckus in hospitals. It is always locals, in association with goons or political mafia who do so. Whenever you try to trace the roots of any such incidents of violence against doctors, you will find this one person who is the instigator and forerunner who is politically connected.

Many patients who come from afar are struggling to pay for their healthcare and patiently listen to the doctor and follow advise. Many times, I have seen my colleagues and seniors paying for the treatment of such patients, sometimes even treating them for free if need be. These patients do not cause any kind of brouhaha in the hospital.

All across the country, I have colleagues who have been bad mouthed or beaten up for reasons such as the non-availability of oxygen cylinder in the hospital and lack of beds, or because a patient is referred to another facility because the hospital doesn’t have provisions for some procedures.

There may be a few doctors who do wrong but their actions are not a reflection of then entire community. – Arundhati Dalai

Burma connection

In the article titled “Rangoon has never been too far away from Madras – ask Kollywood”, the author says: “The Chettiar community, in particular, played a key role in developing the credit economy.“ With all due respect to her, the above claim is absolutely false. The money-lending Chettiars were doing nothing but giving out unethical or immoral monetary loans at usurious rates that unfairly enriched themselves. The Chettiars became big landholders through this, which was one of the causes of Burmese resentment towards all Indians. I know this because I was born and raised in Rangoon. – Usman Madha

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