Letters to the editor

Readers’ comments: India should offer passports in language of choice, not Hindi alone

A selection of readers’ opinions.

Language debate

Excellent article disputing Sushma Swaraj’s attempt to introduce passports in Hindi (“Hindi in passports is yet another step towards imposing a single language on a multilingual India”). Punjabi has also steamrolled over in favour of Hindi. – Yudhvir

***

I think if India should survive as a nation, all languages should be given equal opportunity. If our honorable foreign minister wants to incorporate any other languages on the passport, it should be the language of applicants choice, so that people who do not understand English can read the content in their vernacular language. Also, Delhi should introduce a compulsory third language (that is currently being spoken) in schools as English and Hindi are the only languages in the state. Also, in most central government offices in various states, sign boards are in English and Hindi, but in some of these states there are very few who can read or understand Hindi. Hence, they should have their signs in English and the local language. – Gopinandan Dey

***

From where does the author get the statistic that shows that Hindi is the mother tongue of less than 30% Indians? The 2001 Census suggested that 41.03% of the population consider Hindi their first language and the number of people who speak Hindi was 53.60% of the population. The author’s point still holds, but if a statistic is used without a source or is selectively used, it allows a well-thought opinion to be disregarded as sensationalism or propaganda. – Dustin Silgardo

Editor’s note: The source of the statistic can be found here.

***

The author keeps pointing out New Delhi’s mistakes and even sends out a warning citing the liberation of Bangladesh, but has kept silent on what the West Bengal government is doing in North Bengal. Why should Bangla be imposed on Gorkhas? Isn’t that tyranny too?

Hindi is not my mother tongue, Maithili is, a language more ancient than Bangla as well as Hindi, so I agree with the author’s argument, but by not mentioning Mamata Banerjee’s misdeeds, it is diluted. If Urdu is made compulsory in Bihar, we too will ask for a Mithilanchal but until then we are at peace making whatever little contribution to the peace and prosperity of the Indian Union. – Kshitija Shandilya

Star power

This is a good piece bringing back golden memories (“PT Usha’s tryst with the Asian Championships, the event that shaped her legacy”). KP sir, there is still fire in your pen. Sports journalists nowadays don’t write such golden stories which are always inspirational for youngsters. – PT Usha

Dealing with GST

This is a well-researched piece that says a lot even through the things left unsaid (“GST effect: Delhi’s kirana store owners are worried about shrinking profits”). But I have a substantially different theory. It’s not the indirect tax structure that is worrying traders, it’s the fear of coming into the tax net. Their modus operandi till now was to write just enough bills at the end of month to justify an adequate and non-suspicious amount of income and sales, for direct as well as indirect taxes. That’ll change now, and drastically so. – Sachin

Gag order

It is a good idea to bar retired people from going public with their comments (“Why is Air India attempting to gag its former employees?”). As a retiree myself, I have seen that all people turn experts and best performers after retirement. Even the most useless people start to believe that they had performed very well and that the present employees are no good. They then run the risk of publicly degrading the institutions they worked for. – MN Rao

New friendships

The writer paints Israel in a negative light (“Modi’s Israel visit: India must be wary – arms deals with Tel Aviv always carry hidden burdens”). Any country needs to make some sacrifices to achieve their goals.So, building a long-term relationship may require complying with some of their conditions. Modi is pragmatic and only has national interest in mind, so he will not accept any conditions that could hurt India. Hence, the apprehensions in the article are unfounded. – Jayanand Rao

***

India has been supportive of the Palestine and Arab cause for a long time, but what did it get in return? The formentin of Wahabism, promotion of Muslim extremism and an anti-Indian stance in all international forums by Arab states and even the Palestinian authority. International relations are not one-way street. India is taking the right step by getting closer to Israel. Criticism of India’s moves to curb terror activities is hypocritical. Nothing else can be expected from Scroll.in. – Ashok Bhagat

Cattle care

Ajaz Ashraf has betrayed his agenda of supporting cow slaughter and beef consumption by selectively quoting from Swami Sahajanand’s memoirs (“‘Hindus are 100% responsible for cow slaughter’: A sanyasi freedom fighter’s claim still holds true”). It should also be noted that he quotes from an edited version produced by a foreigner. Despite claims to the contrary, history is seldom based on facts. It is driven by the agenda and convictions of the historian. In India’s case, it is well known that Europeans distorted history to suit themselves. Later, Indian historians, particularly Leftists and Muslims, continue the trend. Scroll.in provides a platform to those who have only hatred and contempt for Hinduism and Hindu culture. – Pankaj Kumar

Crazy cricket

The author’s positive take on Dhoni’s poor performance and his optimistic attitude is commendable (“Let’s not sugarcoat it: MS Dhoni messed it up. But, really, that’s all right”). Not many writers have such an approach to professional sports and athletes, especially when legends are concerned. – Jahanavi Tol

Hinduism debate

This is one again a case of an armchair critic judging a population of a billion-plus (“Not In My Name: I refuse to cede Hinduism to those who want to make India a Hindu rashtra”). To condemn the vandalism carried out by miscreants, one need not be ashamed of one’s own beliefs. Also, without proper evidence, linking every assault to one vested interest is wrong. The third problem is the absence of proper state machinery to solve cases efficiently. In so many years of Independence, if we have not developed an efficient police force then instead of asking people to abuse their dogmas, try stirring the powers that be to create free and fair institutions. – Anurag Srivastava

Doors closed

Darjeeling-Kurseong was historically a part of the Kingdom of Sikkim (“Ma, mati, manush and my mother tongue: Bengal’s language politics is behind the unrest in Darjeeling”). England committed fraud to occupy South Sikkim on “lease”. The Sikkimese constantly protested against this fraud. Under England, the Nepalese began to settle in Darjeeling-Kurseong in South Sikkim. After India’s Independence, Sikkim’s American-born queen repeated the demand that India evacuated and restore South Sikkim. Indira Gandhi was provoked by this demand to instigate Nepalese citizens in Sikkim to demand democracy and to invade and annex the Kingdom of Sikkim, an act of patent and aggravated illegality and criminality then and now. India then demonstrated hypocrisy when it helped the Kingdom of Bhutan to suppress the demand for democracy from Nepalese settlers-colonialists in Bhutan, and helped it expel the bulk of the foreigners, in sharp contrast to its actions in Sikkim.

The Nepalese people and languages were and are foreign to Sikkim and in South Sikkim (Darjeeling-Kurseong), as foreign as Bengali is. The argument for a Gorkhaland is farce and fraudulent. If the BJP supports this, it should at the very least not call the new state Gorkhaland, but call it new Nepal and hand it over to Nepal. – Lucio Mascarenhas

Communal cauldron

The article may be factually correct but facts have been put just to make a point in favour of a particular community (“Fear and loathing in Chhapra: How a peaceful Bihar town became a communal tinderbox”). There’s no smoke without fire. Circumstances should not be ignored or twisted. – K Mohan

Highs and lows

It’s heartbreaking to read about my former workplace where I spent all my working years (“A history lesson for the Tatas [and Indigo] as they consider buying out Air India”). I was fortunate to work under the father of aviation in India, JRD Tata. The work-culture was different under our former boss, as the author has pointed out.

The powers that be should hopefully realise their mistakes that made our great airline what it is today and make an attempt to revive it. – Satyendra Verma

Such a long journey

Urvashi Bahuguna’s article about Rohinton Mistry was a treat to read (“Rohinton Mistry turns 65: How has he struck a fine balance in his long journey as a writer?”). However, the author ended it the not-so-important question of whether he will write another book. The real question is, have we learnt anything from his three decades or work? I think about the same question when I come across characters from his novels and short stories in everyday life.

The first of Mistry’s works I read was A Fine Balance and I thought about my parents during the Emergency and asked them whether they or anyone they knew went through same ordeal as the characters in the book. Fortunately, they did not.

We must study Rohinton Mistry’s works, especially given the situation in India today where communal divisions have peaked. – Rinzin Ngodup

Taking stock

Saikat Datta is a dear friend and writes well-researched articles but this one seems to miss the main problem (“Why is the Indian Army still using outdated assault rifles designed in the 1980s?”). Who controls the procurement? Who is responsible for our national security? It’s not the the armed forces but the bureaucrats. Responsibility and accountability must rightly be fixed. – Pradeep Sharma

Cutting corners

This practice of taking cuts for referrals to labs and hospitals has even spread to prescription medicines (“Patients pay a heavy price as India’s doctors continue with the corrupt ‘cut practice’”). There are many companies who have approached me to prescribe their medicines on a commission basis. Many doctors are indulging in this practice. – Sanjeev Dhaumya

***

Human values and ethics have eroded. Even the law enforcement will be of little help. The law against sex determination has not stopped the practice and has only made it more profitable for those who do offer it. – Sudhir Sharma

***

My friend in Delhi was given angioplasty by a very famous heart surgeon but ended up getting even more sick after that. He was told that everything was fine with his heart but had to later dole out another Rs 5 lakh on getting it fixed. The operating doctor did not even meet for follow ups. – Shiv Khare

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