Letters to the editor

Readers’ comments: We need a mass movement to halt the madness of hatred engulfing India

A selection of readers’ opinions.

Not in my name

This is a bold article and I too believe that only the Hindu majority that believes in an India for all can stem this environment of hatred and discrimination (“Not In My Name: I refuse to cede Hinduism to those who want to make India a Hindu rashtra”). Hindu fundamentalists who have developed such virulent hatred for other religions are emboldened by the people in power to spew venom openly and the silence of the government is deafening. We will need a mass movement to halt the madness engulfing our nation. – Raymond Fernandes

***

While I am deeply saddened by this lynching, I wonder why no such protests are being organised against the lynching of the police officer in Kashmir. The least that could be done is condemn both in the same breath. – Ramesh V

Fatal silence

While the premise and content of this article hit the nail on the head, the title is misleading and polarising (“A story of two lynchings – and the silence of Hindu India”). While you talk about a failure to rouse the collective conscience, the title demonises one religion. Do we as journalists really need to stoke the fire of communal hatred that the government has already lit? It seems irresponsible.

To be fair and for context, had the same incident taken place in the South, there would be mass protests, irrespective of religion. Isn’t the issue about the silence of India – Hindus, the Christians, the Jains etc? – Lakshmi Sivadas

***

Both these episodes are disgraceful. Humanity has been shattered. – Ashok Sharma

***

The headline makes it clear that the author has an agenda that clouds his judgement. If a few people commit a crime, where are all Hindus blamed? One could say this is payback for Islamophobia, but that is illogical. Under no circumstances are these vile acts acceptable. How many Hindu organisations supported the lynching of the 15-year-old? Are these acts related to any so-called Hindu Terror outfits?

The misguided Left of India has long abandoned Marx and has allied itself with the most reactionary elements of theology. The idea of Hindu Terror has been created by of our colonial atavistic scholars to stay relevant.

Before the Left loses all credibility, it must reassess its roots. – Arun Jetli

***

An incorrect and ill-conceived analysis. The media should be positive instead of spreading propaganda. Such an analysis will only cause the ill feelings in society to escalate. These killings are certainly condemnable, but you seem to ignore the good things happening in society. – Iyer Sivaramakrishnan

***

How did this trend begin and who started it? It’s always the so-called secularists or communists who speak up only when Muslims are killed. I am not making excuses of what the men did but one has to accept that Hindus are blamed for everything that goes on. A Hindu is never taught to hurt people or animals. Those who commit such acts work against the real Hindus and are used by politicians. – Sheela Prabhu

***

This are really sad events. I used to praise the Hindu religion to my relatives and friends because of its inclusiveness and support to all faiths.

Muslims across India are living with insecurity. There have no leader, no direction, no defense – no one to raise their voice. Even the media is not supportive. In fact, the media is creating an environment that increases the fear in the community. – Rizwan Patel

***

Kudos to Scroll.in for allowing voices that are ignored by mainstream media, which is either in line with the ruling party’s agenda or motivated by the Opposition to pull it down.

I was deeply disturbed to hear of Junaid’s death at the hands of a mob. But I am also upset at the media’s misreporting of the issue and the playing up of the beef angle because that sells better than an altercation over seats in a train. I am also disturbed by the callous use of such stories for political gains, as is evident by the tweets cited in your article, and the fact that the railway police and co-passengers did not intervene to help the boys.

If Hindus are expecting the Muslim community to come forward and actively denounce act of terrorism committed in the name of jihad, they should also come forward and actively condemn the crime committed in the name of cow protection or imposing food choices in the country. – Prashant Verma

***

It’s gut-wrenching to think of where India is headed. However, it would have been better if the words “silent majority” were used throughout the article as opposed to “silent Hindus”. That’s because our entire population, irrespective of religion, should speak up against such atrocities, but a majority are silent, across religions. By speaking only of Hindus, you are narrowing the responsibility of speaking up to just one group and absolving others.

Most importantly, by using the term Hindu, you run the risk of alienating the mainstream Hindu population by clubbing them with the extreme Right, which I would like to assume is still a minority in India, and thereby playing into the hands of extremist forces. – Anindya B

***

This is a strong and poignant analysis (“Why 200 people did not see a dead Muslim teenager on a railway platform in North India”). The need of the hour is to stand up for the rights of the minorities and the rule of law and to disassociate from inhuman ideologies. – Rosa

Statehood demand

The article is right – the power to create states and redraw state boundaries lies solely with Parliament (“Pressure Modi, not Mamata: The Gorkhaland agitation is directed at the wrong regime”). The case of Telangana’s creation shows that state governments need not even be consulted. Moreover, the Darjeeling Hills fufill all the basic criteria for the creation of states, on linguistic, cultural, ethnic or even geographical bases. – Vivan Eyben

***

Krishna Ananth has very justifiably highlighted the century-old aspiration of Gorkha people for the creation of Gorkhaland. Prime Minister Modi, in his last visit to Darjeeling, had supported the community and their aspirations. Gorkha people all over India are eagerly and impatiently looking forward to their long-cherished dream coming true. – SN Pradhan

***

If Gorkhas are really serious about the demand for Gorkhaland, they should press the Centre to give them some land within the National Capital Region, which will ensure a much better future and more prosperity. JK Chakrabarty

Snob club

This incident highlights the plight of our North Eastern brothers across India (“Delhi Golf Club asks Meghalaya woman wearing traditional dress to leave for ‘looking like a maid’”). Culturally, India takes great pride in its diversity, but when it comes to the North East, we have considered them outsiders. The recent interview with Matin Rey Tangu (from the movie Tubelight), where he was asked if this was his first visit to India, further emphasises the situation. This calls for immediate recognition and acceptance of the North Eastern culture. – Girish Nair

Vote issue

Is the Andhra chief minister trying to threaten people (“Won’t hesitate to ignore villages that don’t vote for TDP, says Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu”)? This is a democratic nation and it is not correct to threaten to neglect those who don’t vote for one person or party. People will vote if you do good work for them. – Harish Vucchuru

Modi-Trump embrace

This piece misses an important point – the strategic challenge faced by the world in assuring that failed states (like Syria) and nuclear-armed states like North Korea and Pakistan do not disrupt world peace (“Modi-Trump meet: Why some Americans have a grouse against India’s business-friendly prime minister”).

The convergence of India’s interest those of of the US, China and Russia for developing strategies to deal with Jihadist elements in Pakistan is the greatest under Prime Minister Modi. None of these major powers alone is in a position to stop Pakistan from playing them against each other. With a large Muslim population, India has the potential to assist the US, China and Russia in defining positive strategies for the well-being of the Muslim civil society and thereby the world.

As US President Trump urgently needs to define and execute strategies to deal with these nation states, not discussing this topic would be an important omission. – Harish Mehta

Majority wins

I strongly agree that there are millions who stand against a Hindutva state (“Never mind the lifeless opposition. The real challenge to Modi and Shah comes from ordinary Indians”). Sadly many of us are branded anti-nationals for speaking up against the government, while there are in fact people who deserve that tag. This country needs massive reforms not just to its economy but also to its functioning. It needs a party that is unlike the Congress or BJP or any other that exists at present. – Pranav Kumar

***

I don’t see how intellectuals and the media can challenge the Modi-Shah duo. After the politically motivated award-wapsi, intellectuals and artists have no credibility left. What you say in this article is just wishful thinking. You may want non-political people to stand up to the BJP, and they may do it too, but it’s hard to see that making any impact on the ground. – Akash

***

This article very forcefully puts forward the author Ramchandra Guha’s views but one thing he forgets is that the monsters were created by the corrupt Congress regime and its policies. If Hindus feel safe under the BJP, why the saffron party?

Nehru did give direction to nation but failed miserably on Kashmir, China, Pakistan and Tibet. No generation can pardon him for his follies. Guha has also forgotten how the Congress has undermining the roles of other freedom fighters by only highlighting the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. – Vishwas Wadekar

Breaking boundaries

Not just this year but every year on Eid, black bands should be worn as a sign of protest (“Why Indians who still believe in morality must wear black bands this Eid”). This article makes strong arguments and should make all Indians, irrespective of religion and caste, shed the narrow and limited view of themselves and others. I would like all of us to remember a simple truth about all our actions, which is that we cannot escape their consequences. – Manu

***

I couldn’t agree more with the author, Ajaz Ashraf. It’s a beautifully written appeal. We saw Partition happen as a result of the divisions created by the British. Let us not do the same to one another. People of all religions and castes have the right to live in peace, liberty and happiness in India. – Umi Sinha

False case

Thank you for highlighting the truth at a time when it is running scarce because of arrogant and corrupt politicians and governments (“‘I was scared’: MP man says police made him sign false report saying Muslims celebrated Pakistan win”). Unfortunately the victims are the poor and innocent people. Where is my India heading? – Tahseen Mohammad

***

I feel deeply pained and ashamed by this. I belong to the first generation of free Indians and can say without any hesitation that this was not the society we struggled to build. – Yashwant Thorat

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

How sustainable farming practices can secure India's food for the future

India is home to 15% of the world’s undernourished population.

Food security is a pressing problem in India and in the world. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), it is estimated that over 190 million people go hungry every day in the country.

Evidence for India’s food challenge can be found in the fact that the yield per hectare of rice, one of India’s principal crops, is 2177 kgs per hectare, lagging behind countries such as China and Brazil that have yield rates of 4263 kgs/hectare and 3265 kgs/hectare respectively. The cereal yield per hectare in the country is also 2,981 kgs per hectare, lagging far behind countries such as China, Japan and the US.

The slow growth of agricultural production in India can be attributed to an inefficient rural transport system, lack of awareness about the treatment of crops, limited access to modern farming technology and the shrinking agricultural land due to urbanization. Add to that, an irregular monsoon and the fact that 63% of agricultural land is dependent on rainfall further increase the difficulties we face.

Despite these odds, there is huge potential for India to increase its agricultural productivity to meet the food requirements of its growing population.

The good news is that experience in India and other countries shows that the adoption of sustainable farming practices can increase both productivity and reduce ecological harm.

Sustainable agriculture techniques enable higher resource efficiency – they help produce greater agricultural output while using lesser land, water and energy, ensuring profitability for the farmer. These essentially include methods that, among other things, protect and enhance the crops and the soil, improve water absorption and use efficient seed treatments. While Indian farmers have traditionally followed these principles, new technology now makes them more effective.

For example, for soil enhancement, certified biodegradable mulch films are now available. A mulch film is a layer of protective material applied to soil to conserve moisture and fertility. Most mulch films used in agriculture today are made of polyethylene (PE), which has the unwanted overhead of disposal. It is a labour intensive and time-consuming process to remove the PE mulch film after usage. If not done, it affects soil quality and hence, crop yield. An independently certified biodegradable mulch film, on the other hand, is directly absorbed by the microorganisms in the soil. It conserves the soil properties, eliminates soil contamination, and saves the labor cost that comes with PE mulch films.

The other perpetual challenge for India’s farms is the availability of water. Many food crops like rice and sugarcane have a high-water requirement. In a country like India, where majority of the agricultural land is rain-fed, low rainfall years can wreak havoc for crops and cause a slew of other problems - a surge in crop prices and a reduction in access to essential food items. Again, Indian farmers have long experience in water conservation that can now be enhanced through technology.

Seeds can now be treated with enhancements that help them improve their root systems. This leads to more efficient water absorption.

In addition to soil and water management, the third big factor, better seed treatment, can also significantly improve crop health and boost productivity. These solutions include application of fungicides and insecticides that protect the seed from unwanted fungi and parasites that can damage crops or hinder growth, and increase productivity.

While sustainable agriculture through soil, water and seed management can increase crop yields, an efficient warehousing and distribution system is also necessary to ensure that the output reaches the consumers. According to a study by CIPHET, Indian government’s harvest-research body, up to 67 million tons of food get wasted every year — a quantity equivalent to that consumed by the entire state of Bihar in a year. Perishables, such as fruits and vegetables, end up rotting in store houses or during transportation due to pests, erratic weather and the lack of modern storage facilities. In fact, simply bringing down food wastage and increasing the efficiency in distribution alone can significantly help improve food security. Innovations such as special tarpaulins, that keep perishables cool during transit, and more efficient insulation solutions can reduce rotting and reduce energy usage in cold storage.

Thus, all three aspects — production, storage, and distribution — need to be optimized if India is to feed its ever-growing population.

One company working to drive increased sustainability down the entire agriculture value chain is BASF. For example, the company offers cutting edge seed treatments that protect crops from disease and provide plant health benefits such as enhanced vitality and better tolerance for stress and cold. In addition, BASF has developed a biodegradable mulch film from its ecovio® bioplastic that is certified compostable – meaning farmers can reap the benefits of better soil without risk of contamination or increased labor costs. These and more of the company’s innovations are helping farmers in India achieve higher and more sustainable yields.

Of course, products are only one part of the solution. The company also recognizes the importance of training farmers in sustainable farming practices and in the safe use of its products. To this end, BASF engaged in a widespread farmer outreach program called Samruddhi from 2007 to 2014. Their ‘Suraksha Hamesha’ (safety always) program reached over 23,000 farmers and 4,000 spray men across India in 2016 alone. In addition to training, the company also offers a ‘Sanrakshan® Kit’ to farmers that includes personal protection tools and equipment. All these efforts serve to spread awareness about the sustainable and responsible use of crop protection products – ensuring that farmers stay safe while producing good quality food.

Interested in learning more about BASF’s work in sustainable agriculture? See here.

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