Letters to the editor

Readers’ comments: If demands for azadi in Kashmir are free speech, so are demands for Hindu Rashtra

A selection of readers’ opinions.

Hindu Rashtra demand

This meeting was not a one-off. It reflects the underlying programme of the RSS (“‘Establish a Hindu Rashtra by 2023’: What 132 Right-Wing Hindu organisations demanded in Goa”). This will certainly create a dichotomy between what the government projects and what the RSS and those who demand a Hindu Rashtra say. How Modi solves this problem will determine the future of this government? – SN Iyer

***

We are marching towards authoritarian fanaticism. – Paramjit S Basi

***

A more appropriate headline for this piece would have been: RSS stays away from the All-India Hindu Convention”. But then it wouldn’t fit Scroll.in’s narrative, would it?

About 132 Hindu groups gathered at this meet, of which I’m sure only a handful are even known. By no stretch of imagination can claim to speak for a majority of the Hindu community. Also, if sloganeering by leftists in JNU and other institutions demanding azadi for Kashmir and Bastar is justified in the name of freedom of expression, so should the various so-called demands made at the meet? – P Raghavendra

Forgotten poet

I am very touched by the plight of Asrar Jamayee (“An 80-year-old Urdu poet declared dead by the Delhi government is struggling to survive”). Not only has a great injustice been done to him, his situation is demeaning to all poets and writers. Could we help him to get his pension, and start a small fund to assist him and other artists? – Sujatha Mathai

***

It is sad to hear about the fate of poet Asrar Jamayee and the government’s indifference. The videos show his spirit. How can he be helped? – Hena Hassan

***

The government must help this poet, who believed in the system. Declaring a person dead and depriving him of his rights is the worst possible way to treat any citizen and even more so an eminent poet. The government should recompense him for his losses and pay him each and every penny due to him for all this years. – Aashish

***

It is truly heartbreaking how our artists have to struggle and suffer and I would love to help Asrar Jamayee in any way possible. –Tarannum

Caste clout

It is the prime duty of the state government to maintain harmony (“Dalits in this Kerala village are refusing to bury the dead of upper caste Hindus”). A new society should be developed uner the banner of Dr Ambedkar, one where all social and economic needs are served within the society. The caste system is deep-rooted in Indian society. The only solution to it is to claim our Constitutional rights in a democratic way through adequate government representation of Dalits. – Bipin Gajbhiye

Beef politics

The person who made such a hate speech should be hanged first (“Hang those who eat beef, preacher Sadhvi Saraswati urges Narendra Modi government”). What she said goes against our Constitution as it is against the spirit of secularism. Sadhvi Saraswati is against the North East because all of us here depend on cows. She should first keep in mind that the North East was never a part of India originally, so how will the BJP make us follow the Hindutva ideology here? Are we all Hindu? We are not Indians to follow the Hindutva ideology. – Nehemiah Urailang Narzary

Peace appeal

I am sorry to see so much hatred for the BJP. It’s only because of organisations like that and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh that we can continue to exist as Hindus (“Why Gandhi’s favourite bhajan ‘Vaishnav Jan To’ is so important in Modi’s hate-filled India”). Please understand that this is not an anti-other religions but a pro-Hindu way of life. You must be very narrow-minded to blame the BJP or the RSS for every incident caused by the fringe elements. A better understanding of the RSS’s philosophy is required. – Dilip Badami

***

This was a very well-written piece. Narsinh Mehta’s composition represents the essence of the syncretic and inclusive bhakti tradition, which started in the deep South of this sub-continent in the 6th and 7th century CE, with the Alwars and Nayanmars who wrote in Tamil, and swept through the rest of the country through the Dasara Padas of the Dasa tradition, the Abhangs of Sant Gyaneswar and Sant Tukaram, Mehta’s song, the dohas of Kabir and Rahim, the poems of Surdas and Tulsidas, and the songs of Namdev and Ramananda.

Mahatma Gandhi took this one step further. He was perhaps the first true Indian transcendentalist, whose religion went beyond the boundaries of this sub continent. He spoke of a dharma that transcended all religions and incorporated elements of various religions in his daily morning prayers. It is no coincidence that Vaishnav Jan To was his favourite. He had often gone on record to say that the upliftment of lower castes was of far greater importance to him than independence from the British.

Since TM Krishna is heir to the Vaishnava tradition of the South (not merely by birth but because of his convictions) it was apt that he chose to sing this composition as his concluding piece. It was perhaps also apt that he started the composition in what is quintessentially a Carnatic raga - Suruti before segueing through other ragas to arrive at the Khamaj, the original raga in which Vaishnav Jan To is set. By doing this, was TM Krishna trying to trace the history of the Bhakti movement and thereby communicate an alternative an inclusive view of religion that Gandhi had propounded, and which leaders of the present ruling dispensation will never understand? – S Bhashyam

Animal cruelty

This cruelty against animals has got to stop (“This video of a lactating elephant forced to haul logs in Assam sparks outrage, and an investigation”). The poor elephant was suffering and yet pulling that log. The explanation about not being able to get any vehicle into the forest is ridiculous. They use the elephants because it’s cheap labour and do not care about how much the animal has to suffer. Something must be done to stop this cruelty. – June Carmichael

Big battle

It’s not that the present Pakistan team played an outstanding game (“Why Indian cricket supporters must remember to applaud Pakistan in the final”). We appreciate their spirit to fight and come from behind. However, their victory against England was aided by the fact that the opposing team dropped two simple catches. Anyway, cricket is a game of uncertainty. Bravo to the Pakistan team if they play an honest game.But the odds are in favour of India. – Madhu

Media watch

Strings are being pulled from all directions to strangle the media on the name of nationalism and patriotism (“45 years of Watergate: Why the journalism of the Washington Post-NYT holds lessons for today’s media”). – Paramjit S Basi

Ramdev’s remarks

Ramdev has just echoed what was in many of our hearts (“Ramdev faces arrest for threatening to behead those who refuse to say ‘Bharat mata ki jai’”). The arrest warrant should be nullified. There is no question of breach of peace. India is a secular country and people from different religions and castes are staying here with proper documentation. Those who are anti-India who criticise the country and refuse to say “Bharat mata ki jai” should be beheaded by law – this has nothing to do with religion. – Tuhin Das

Pushing Aadhaar

The Aadhaar programme is meant for those who are getting subsidised LPG, ration and provisions from fare price shops (“If Supreme Court made PAN-Aadhaar partly optional, how can a bank-Aadhaar link be mandatory?”). If the government wants to make it mandatory for other things, it should be passed by both houses of Parliament. Enforcing systems through executive orders, bypassing the Parliament, is undemocratic. – BSN

Autism awareness

You are an amazing mother, Tulika, and my heart fills with positivity when I read your articles (“How to navigate a children’s party when your child has autism”). I too faced similar problems at parties till about six months ago, and would like to share what helped my son. Apart from the things this artilce mentioned, we also made visualised the event for our son, by drawing a picture of the party. That to give him a visual image of what to expect over the next few hours. We would draw children, cake, balloons, lots of mothers and fathers, birthday presents and the like. We found that this drastically changed his response towards parties as he was more prepared and less stressed out.

Also, we always tried to get to the parties early, when there were just a few people so that my son is not overloaded with sensory or auditory stimuli. And as the crowd would built up, he would slowly get adapted to it with some help from us. – Meenakshi Pawar

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Tracing the formation of Al Qaeda and its path to 9/11

A new show looks at some of the crucial moments leading up to the attack.

“The end of the world war had bought America victory but not security” - this quote from Lawrence Wright’s Pulitzer-Prize winning book, ‘The Looming Tower’, gives a sense of the growing threat to America from Al Qaeda and the series of events that led to 9/11. Based on extensive interviews, including with Bin Laden’s best friend in college and the former White House counterterrorism chief, ‘The Looming Tower’ provides an intimate perspective of the 9/11 attack.

Lawrence Wright chronicles the formative years of Al Qaeda, giving an insight in to Bin Laden’s war against America. The book covers in detail, the radicalisation of Osama Bin Laden and his association with Ayman Al Zawahri, an Egyptian doctor who preached that only violence could change history. In an interview with Amazon, Wright shared, “I talked to 600-something people, but many of those people I talked to again and again for a period of five years, some of them dozens of times.” Wright’s book was selected by TIME as one of the all-time 100 best nonfiction books for its “thoroughly researched and incisively written” account of the road to 9/11 and is considered an essential read for understanding Islam’s war on the West as it developed in the Middle East.

‘The Looming Tower’ also dwells on the response of key US officials to the rising Al Qaeda threat, particularly exploring the turf wars between the FBI and the CIA. This has now been dramatized in a 10-part mini-series of the same name. Adapted by Dan Futterman (of Foxcatcher fame), the series mainly focuses on the hostilities between the FBI and the CIA. Some major characters are based on real people - such as John O’ Neill (FBI’s foul-mouthed counterterrorism chief played by Jeff Daniels) and Ali Soufan (O’ Neill’s Arabic-speaking mentee who successfully interrogated captured Islamic terrorists after 9/11, played by Tahar Rahim). Some are composite characters, such as Martin Schmidt (O’Neill’s CIA counterpart, played by Peter Sarsgaard).

The series, most crucially, captures just how close US intelligence agencies had come to foiling Al Qaeda’s plans, just to come up short due to internal turf wars. It follows the FBI and the CIA as they independently follow intelligence leads in the crises leading up to 9/11 – the US Embassy bombings in East Africa and the attack on US warship USS Cole in Yemen – but fail to update each other. The most glaring example is of how the CIA withheld critical information – Al Qaeda operatives being hunted by the FBI had entered the United States - under the misguided notion that the CIA was the only government agency authorised to deal with terrorism threats.

The depth of information in the book has translated into a realistic recreation of the pre-9/11 years on screen. The drama is even interspersed with actual footage from the 9/11 conspiracy, attack and the 2004 Commission Hearing, linking together the myriad developments leading up to 9/11 with chilling hindsight. Watch the trailer of this gripping show below.

Play

The Looming Tower is available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video, along with a host of Amazon originals and popular movies and TV shows. To enjoy unlimited ad free streaming anytime, anywhere, subscribe to Amazon Prime Video.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Amazon Prime Video and not by the Scroll editorial team.