State of media
Many among the public agree that the media, especially the Hindi language dominated media, has become kind of partial while presenting news (“Media in the Modi era: How did India’s watchdog press become so docile?”). They have chosen to ignore a number of issues: some examples being the farmers’ agitation that has been going on for some time but only receives attention when people die, loan waivers for farmer and rising farmer suicides, dwindling jobs across sectors, the Pakistan-China threat, slow infrastructure growth that the government had promised to speed up, lack of concrete action on new projects announced. Right now, what matters to the Bharatiya Janata Party is winning, but how long can negative things be kept hidden? This is not China for sure. – Rahul More
I lived during the Emergency and have seen the Communist rule in Kerala (first hand) and Bengal. There is no comparison. This is just scaremongering and in my view, highly irresponsible. – Srirangachary Varadachary
Farm loan waivers
This is with reference to your article (“Far from being a solution, farm loan waivers pose serious moral, political and economic problems”). One of the most well-researched books on the subject is Undermining Rural Development With Cheap Credit, published way back in the early 1980s based on research in over two dozen countries by a number of researchers working independently, over the previous couple of decades. The book logically argues the widespread negative consequences of cheap credit through loan waivers, subsidised interest rates or directed credit, and gives some practical policy directives. It is extremely shameful that in the last 30 years, we are nowhere near even appreciating the logic presented, let alone following even a part of it. – Sushil Prasad
Tamil Nadu drought
The serious problems encountered by people are not at all addressed by the ruling party and the Opposition parties (“Not everyone gets a monsoon: Tamil Nadu is still reeling from the worst drought in 140 years”). Instead, they keep quarrelling over petty issues. Water for irrigation and for drinking is the need of the hour. There is no long-term plan to tackle the issue. There has to be a contingency policy to preserve rainwater and for the interlinking of state rivers. Only a mass people’s movement will awaken politicians and the government from their slumber. – R Pasupathi
Ashish Khetan’s article on the CBI raids on NDTV truly cautions of the hidden danger to democracy in India (“Ashish Khetan: Look beyond the CBI raids on NDTV. Indian democracy itself is under siege”). I fully agree with his view. – Ravindran Misra
Vaishnav Jan To
The writer has, on the pretext of reviewing TM Krishna’s concert, misused her pen to stray into non-musical territory (“Why Gandhi’s favourite bhajan ‘Vaishnav Jan To’ is so important in Modi’s hate-filled India”). She has not-so-cleverly used the SPIC MACAY concert and TM Krishna’s languidly etherial singing to lament on hate-filled India or what she thinks of present India as hate-filled. SPIC MACAY concerts are not playing fields or platforms for political players. How I wish Scroll.in had eschewed politics from music reviews and edited the so-called review. But then, there is this point about writers’ freedom, I suppose. Music and politics are poles apart. – CS Panchamakesan
Radical and extremist ideology is fraught with danger in a diverse ethos. Vaishnav Jan To is an all pervading, all encompassing philosophy that is a panacea to all the ills of our diverse society. – krishenkhosa
This article brought tears to my eyes. I am glad that someone is fearlessly writing this. – Vijayalakshmi Kannan
I am a 20-year-old mass media student from Mumbai. I read your article on Scroll.in and listened to both YouTube videos. Your article portrays the exact fear this government is spreading. But, unfortunately, most Indians, including the majority of the youth, are either apathetic in politics or blind supporters of the Modi regime. – Hrushikesh Patil
It was a most interesting report (“The ‘Banksy of Bangladesh’ is asking someone called Subodh to run away, but why?”). However, a tiny point does arise in my mind: why do some of the commenters think Subodh does not include Muslims? Are people in Bangladesh, irrespective of religion, caste, race, colour, not marginalised? Not abandoned? Not oppressed? What is this other than tunnel-visioned discrimination (which sadly a few tend to believe demonstrates their genuine secularism). – Fazal Kamal
Nowadays, there is a hullabaloo about Reliance Communication and its high debt, and the chances of it becoming a non-performing asset (“Bad loans: RBI is finally in the driver’s seat – but the ride is long and full of potholes.”) However, from the MCA 21 site we see that some banks are still giving loans to this company. One of these banks is understood to be Dena Bank, which has sanctioned loans of Rs 250 crores. The said bank is on the verge of collapse, if media reports are to be believed. It might become another IDBI Bank-Kingfisher type of case. It appears that none of the government banks have learnt any lesson and till they learn a lesson or are taught one, nothing will change. – Steven King
Economics versus humanity
We might argue that Narendra Modi is good/bad at sloganeering, but the undeniable fact is that he lies and confuses the people (“Counterview: By voting for Modi, did Gurcharan Das place economics over the values of humanity?”). Please note his take on Aadhaar, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, the goods and services tax, and job creation. While asking for votes, he said we should keep aside divisive politics and just focus on economic growth. Sabka saath, sabka vikas. But then he bought in divisive cow politics, taking away the livelihoods of tannery workers and shoemakers without creating any job alternatives. – Anwar K Khan
With reference to the video (“This video of a lactating elephant forced to haul logs in Assam sparks outrage, and an investigation”), this road runs alongside the Dehing-Patkai wildlife sanctuary while one travels from Tinsukia district in Assam to Deomali in Arunachal Pradesh. The road is dilapidated and has huge potholes, so the local populace prefers to take the Deomali-Margarita road to go to Digboi/Dibrugarh/Tinsukia. Therefore, movement of people is sparse here and limited to public transport. I wouldn’t be shocked if the motorist has unknowingly captured the live smuggling of timber. The wood being hauled is most probably from the Hollong trees, which are very expensive timber. Usually, such large logs of wood are floated along the Dehing river but probably because of the summer, when the water runs very fast, elephants are being used for their transportation.
The reason I write this email is to apprise Scroll.in about the situation, in case it wants to pursue this story further. It would be worth asking the forest department where the wood is being hauled to from the reserve area and by whom. – Anubhav
Education in India
Gautam Patel raises important issues and questions on our education system in his article (“India can overcome chronic low learning outcomes in private and public primary schools by innovating”). Effective teaching requires effective methodology that is closely monitored and implemented. This is so often not prioritised as the business of running schools is carried on. Schools and parents should also ask themselves why parallel education through tuitions is required even by the best students of the best known schools? Crucial questions raised. A must read. – Ira Lohani
In defence of Kota
I am deeply pained by the boy’s death (“Success and suicides: The two sides of the IIT-JEE story reflect the failure of the education system”). But I want to tell you that I, too, am a medical aspirant who joined coaching in Class 9. In my first attempt, I could not get through the exam. But when I saw the question paper, I immediately knew that had I not joined coaching, I would not even have been able to understand the questions, let alone answer them.
Kota’s coaching centres are being wrongly targeted for student suicides. We all know the terror people feel when the names of exams like NEET And JEE-Mains and JEE-Advance are taken. Is it the coaching centres that set such difficult question papers and high cut-offs for students? No, it is the exam boards. Coaching only helps children enhance their performance and makes better doctors and engineers out of them.
We see children from across India with a dream to study, gain knowledge, achieve something in life. Not all of them are selected and not all of them commit suicide. They accept that they may not have the potential to crack those exams and look for other career options.
For these suicides, parents may be to blame, especially those who constantly put pressure on their children.
Coaching only provides us with a medium to survive better in the world. – Arpa Srivastava
Fighting a dowry case
With reference to your article on counselling under Section 498A (“Forced counselling, moralising: The difficulties of filing dowry harassment cases under Section 498A”), I would like to say that a victim can approach the mahila court in case of police inaction.
I, too, am a victim of dowry, domestic violence and NRI fraud. My entire case was one of “breach of trust”, but the police did not support me. I approached the Crimes Against Women cell with a general complaint for reconciliation and constantly asked the officials to investigate the matter, question my in-laws, approach my husband and ask him to join the mediation, but it was of no use. I asked them to refer the matter to a senior officer. The senior officer did email my husband to join the mediation. But my husband replied, refusing to do so. Thus, the complaint moved to an FIR.
But it was another painful experience getting the Crimes Against Women cell to file the FIR. Ideally, it should not take more than a week but in my case, they held my complaint for 20 days for no reason. When I visited their office, the officers started quarrelling with me. It was only when I recorded a video of their behaviour on my phone and showed it to them that they apologised and processed my file. They asked me to delete the video and filed my FIR within two days.
It has been seven months since my FIR. For the first four months, there was no progress in the matter. It was only when I approached the mahila court and the court sought a status report in 20 days that the police started taking action.
A victim must fight, be alert/attentive and use common sense because the police, by my experience, will try to drag the matter so that the victim gets exhausted and gives up. – Megha Gulati
12 years of Nitish Kumar
Why has Bihar failed (“Bihar’s Nitish Kumar has been in power for 12 years. Why has he failed to change its fortunes?”)? The answer is in the text itself.
Answer: “The social justice plank, comprising Dalits, Muslims and other backward castes, put Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Lalu Prasad Yadav in power between 1990 and 2005. He was followed by Nitish Kumar who led the Janata Dal (United)-Bharatiya Janata Party coalition supported by, respectively, extremely backward castes and upper castes. Since 2015, the state has been ruled by a coalition of extremely backward castes and backward castes led by Kumar and Yadav”.
Add to the above the Yadav offsprings who have been included in Nitish Kumar’s ministry. As for Nitish Kumar, he seems to now be more interested in his prohibition policy despite its adverse effect by way of increasing drug addiction in the state. Udta Bihar! – MN Rao