Letters to the editor

Readers’ comments: When will politicians get to the root of the farm crisis, beyond the optics?

A selection of readers’ opinions.

Agrarian crisis

When it comes to the farmers agitation, or any other problem, the Opposition and ruling party use it as an opportunity to gain political mileage (“The Daily Fix: Loan waivers offer temporary relief to farmers. Desperately needed is price stability”). When will they go to the root of the problem instead of looking at the optics of it? They need to look beyond political gains. I haven’t seen anyone from either side come out with actual solutions. The bottom line is that Indian politicians are power-hungry, corrupt and selfish, be they in the government or in the Opposition. – Nitin Raosaheb Deshmukh

***

Why shouldn’t farming be introduced as a business, roping in private players, in the form of contract farming? A small village could be used to run this as a pilot project. A farming company should sign farmers under a contract, provide them with modern equipment to farmers and pay them Rs 5,000 as a monthly salary. They could also provide their children free schooling. – Nitin Raosaheb Deshmukh

***

Most people do not care about 15 million farmers losing their livelihood (“Watch: P Sainath lays bare the agrarian crisis behind farmer protests in India”). It is an abstract concept for them. They will say “how sad” and move on. However, if farmers stop farming, how am I going to get food to eat? If that question is asked, everyone identifies with it. So, someone should do a study to obtain a projection of how many farmers will leave farming and what our food production will be 10 years from now. – Jaya Lakshmi

***

The agrarian crisis will only deepen (“Watch: P Sainath lays bare the agrarian crisis behind farmer protests in India”). Men are being replaced by machines and they are more efficient producers of all items of mass consumption, including agricultural produce. Our rampant population growth is going to be a demographic disaster, not a demographic dividend. The government does not have any magic wand to create jobs. Our unemployment figures are considerably understated as on our farms, 10 people do the job that one person does in the West. We need population reduction, not growth. – Rohit Chand

Hindu Rashtra

I am strictly against the idea of declaring India a Hindu Rashtra or the Bhagavad Gita as its supreme text (“Inside the Hindu mind, a battle for a Hindu nation”). This would be same as Islamic fundamentalism, which does not respect other belief systems. But the secular forces in India are largely incompetent to tackle these kinds of fringe and ultra-Right groups. This is not the fault of the secular forces per se. A majority of Hindus believe that secular and Left-leaning people (clubbed under the same bracket) are partial towards Islam. It is is true that some of them are soft on Islamic extremism and issues like triple talaq and polygamy, which they have failed to unequivocally condemn. This is one of the biggest reasons for the weakening of secular forces not just India but around the globe. – Rahul Gupta

***

The author has vented his feelings based on idiotic statements of a very few Hindus. I do not know what the author means by a Hindu Rashtra and I doubt he does too. It just seems like an imaginary dark place where non-Hindus and Dalits will be killed, cattle will have cosmic energy and peacocks will procreate by crying. The only Hindu Rashtra I know of is erstwhile Nepal, and nothing of this sort happened there. – Kishore Asthana

***

What an effective piece by Samar Halarnkar on the silence of the good, written in his usual style that is gentle yet packs a punch. More power to his pen. – Elsa Eapen

Debating press freedom

I had the pleasure of listening to Fali S Nariman’s brilliant speech (“Full text: Fali Nariman explains why the CBI raid on NDTV was an attack on press freedom”). I was amazed that a person of that age could speak to distinctly. I have great regard for Nariman, his legal acumen and integrity. However, some of his observations do not seem to be factual, given the exhaustive Caravan article on the NDTV finances. I am sure that had he been aware of these, he would not have so easily given a clean chit to Prannoy Roy.

It is well known that the press in India is not impartial and they have to take care not to offend the views of the private companies that own them. Many senior journalists in India, apart from having various prejudices,accept benefits given to them by those in power and from business groups. No doubt, Arun Shourie belongs to a different class and his integrity had never been in question. He, however, seems to detest Modi for some reason. His speech that day in the Press Club was coloured by his prejudices and hence could not convince me. If no cognisance was taken by the CBI and other investigating agencies of a case pertaining to the year 2007-’08 , it was because the present regime came to power only in the 2014 ! The case against NDTV is not only about the loan transaction with ICICI bank but covers many other aspects. – A Chandramouliswaran.

***

It is utterly shameful and disgraceful that the Modi government is seeking to intimidate the Indian press. By attacking the basic principles of democracy, they are bringing their own end. Freedom of speech is a fundamental right of every Indian and if any agency denies it, the day of their defeat is not too far. – Robert V Kumar

NDTV raids and beyond

This article shows a deep understanding of the situation by Ashish Chetan (“Ashish Khetan: Look beyond the CBI raids on NDTV. Indian democracy itself is under siege”). But then, why don’t the Opposition parties come together, give up their differences, and put up a united fight? No government has used investigation agencies and court cases to the maximum as is being done by this government. – Dakshayani Prasad

***

There is no denying the fact that the present government has hounded various non-governmental organisations, non-partisan media agencies and civil rights activists, but any attempt at becoming a dissent-free, Opposition-free, one-party state or one-leader nation is still a distant dream (“Ashish Khetan: Look beyond the CBI raids on NDTV. Indian democracy itself is under siege”). There is no undeclared emergency as such and the situation is not as deplorable as suggested by the writer. The Emergency era was different. It is also true that today, in the age of high-speed internet connectivity, especially in urban India, technology has become a double-edged sword – on the one hand, it can communicate a message efficiently and effectively, but on the other, it can distort the message all together and spread fake news. The nation today desperately needs a strong Opposition like never before to put a check on the ruling dispensation, but the irony is that the Opposition parties and their leaders are not ready for dialogue with the masses and concentrate their energies only on targeting the government, one party or one leader. The Opposition mindset of spreading negativity has to change if they are really concerned about saving the idea of India. – Kush Mehndiratta

Rewriting history

I am relieved to hear that at least we have someone who is rewriting history (“Stolen memory: Under the pretext of uncovering hidden history, the BJP is rewriting it”). Till date, no media, whether mainstream has reported about this rewriting. I look forward to buying the new history textbooks again to refresh my knowledge and also unlearn the wrong history we were fed all these years. – Chandran Kr

***

This article is another example of the fear psychosis that the so-called secular intellectuals want spread out through the country. It is a matter of concern that the Congress has been fooling the national for years by giving a lopsided history of India, especially that of of the Indian freedom struggle.

The sins and errors committed by Congress during the freedom struggle under the leadership of MK Gandhi have been carefully covered up to maintain a rosy picture in front of the nation.

The story of intolerant Muslim rulers who demolished Hindu temples and forced millions to convert must be exposed. The author takes a secular view of the freedom struggle, which is incorrect. The British had encouraged the formation of the Congress by keeping Muslims away. Later, some qualified and modern Muslims did join the party, but a majority of them stayed away from their movements. Though Gandhiji did try to join hands with some Muslim leaders like Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, there was no real endeavour on the part of the Congress towards greater inclusion of Muslims in the mainstream.

This goes to show how the Hindu-Muslim divide was very prominent during freedom struggle, which eventually led to a violent Partition.The only person who could perhaps have bridged the religious divide was Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose who, unlike Gandhi, was popular among all, irrespective of cast, creed or religion.But we all know how Gandhi and Nehru played dirty to sideline Bose. Post-Independence, we see how the Congress continued to play the religion card to stay in power. Till date, not a single perpetrator of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots has been penalised. – J Datta

***

I thank the author for providing insight into the irrelevant Leftist nonsense that prevails in JNU. Most of her assertions, were no doubt automatically accepted by those in her intellectual circlces, are nonetheless toxic fantasies. I am glad that the voters of India don’t pay attention to academic white elephants like Ms Dey. They know ab honest government when they see it. What Leftist intellectuals say doesn’t matter. – Subhash Garg

Darjeeling violence

The current agitation called by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha is not related to the language issue even though it is being portrayed as such (“Reviving Gorkhaland: How language identity and ethnic strife is driving violence in Darjeeling”). While there are several ethnic groups in the hills that are in fact not Gorkha, it has become an umbrella term for those hill communities who speak Nepali. The plains of North Bengal too are not free from demands of greater autonomy or statehood. – Vivan Eyben

Up in the air

Nobody really cares about the poor, but in time for the next general elections, they will find a temporary solution to ensure the poor vote is secured (“Modi’s pet Ujjawala scheme wobbles as many beneficiaries drop out after their first LPG cylinder”). Of course, as a result, there are some unintended benefits for the poor – for instance, the poor woman who have given a government-built toilet that she could use as a granary. – NC Thomas

Ailing healthcare

In most of the smaller hospitals and clinics in Bengaluru, the first person you see when you enter is a bouncer (“Behind the self-defence lessons for AIIMS doctors lies the failure of Indian medical education”). As a country, we have to figure how we spend just about 1% of GDP on public health. Is it surprising, then, that there is a crisis? I am reminded of Martin Luther King Jr said aat the annual meeting of the Medical Committee for Human Rights in 1966: “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and the most inhuman because it often results in physical death.” – Vijay Chandru

Flip flop

Rahul Gandhi should give up politics, which he is clearly not cut out for (“‘Absolutely wrong’, says Rahul Gandhi on Sandeep Dikshit calling Army Chief ‘goon on the street’”). He should know that the BJP government is not going to be nice to him, no matter how much he tries to portray himself as Right and rational thinking. What is he trying to prove? First he condemned and suspended his supporters over the beef party in Kerala and now he is taking a stance in favour of the Army. Is he sucking up to the BJP? The very reason the Congress did so horribly is because it has no backbone. – Shino

Poll panel’s powers

The Election Commissioner wants special powers (“The Daily Fix: The Election Commission does not need autocratic contempt powers to secure itself”). Why can’t it approach the court like everyone else does, as it is most eligible to do? Is there any legal provision that prevents it from doing so? The Commission tracks so many violations during elections, but we never hear of what action has been taken. It is imperative that the Election Commission exercises the powers it has. – SN Iyer

Military-masculinity

The reaction to Delhi University student Gurmehar Kaur, and the relentless trolling she was subjected to illustrated very well what the writer is saying (“Middle-class militarisation: Media warriors have turned jingoistic nationalism into an art form”). – Nalini Nayak

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An incisive insight into middle-class hypocrisy (“Middle-class militarisation: Media warriors have turned jingoistic nationalism into an art form”). – Yogesh Vajpeyi

Healthcare for all

As a doctor it causes me anguish to read about the effective privatisation of the Udupi district hospital (“Fixing what isn’t broken: Why is Udupi’s well-run district hospital getting new private management?”). As things stand, India’s public healthcare infrastructure is extremely insufficient for it’s population. Thousands of studies across the world have time and again proven that the most effective form of public healthcare is universal public health access. A vast majority of the very poorest – migrants, the destitute, slum-dwellers – would be left out of a system that places the criteria of being below the poverty line for free treatment. This is simply because of the fact that they would not have a ration card or any other documentation. This is something that we see everyday as MD trainees in a large Central government institute in Chandigarh. Public health can never be replaced by private care. That is a lesson the whole world has learnt. But, sadly, we are choosing to ignore that. – Amal Joseph Jolly

Cricket rules

Regarding this loophole in the cricketing rules mentioned in your article (“Yes, Kieron Pollard deliberately ran a short run. But did he cheat or just exploit a weak law?”), would it not be simple to get batsmen to change ends to account for a short run? It would remove any judgement needed on intentional versus unintentional. – Arun Narayan

Federer fan

I just love Roger Federer’s play (“I wouldn’t have had a chance against Rafa Nadal in the French Open, says Roger Federer”). He is an artiste; even his most difficult shots are played with such élan. Brilliant. There will never be anyone like him. – Kiran Segal

Assam solution

Thank you for the short but precise article (“In Assam’s Dima Hasao, militants turned politicians – only to be convicted for terror funding”). That was the problem of the district. I hope your next article would be on the solution. – Thanglun Haolai

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
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