Letters to the editor

Readers’ comments: Dhoti and kurta are India’s traditional attire, must always be respected

A selection of readers’ opinions.

Dress discrimination

This incident is outrageous (“Social apartheid: I was barred from entering a Kolkata mall because I was wearing a dhoti”). The Quest Mall management must be taught that dhoti and kurta are a part of our traditional attire and must always be respected. The chief minister should insist an apology by issued to the filmmaker or people should stop going to this mall. Remember, Mahatma Gandhi, who were a dhoti for much of his life, brought the British empire to its knees. – Binoy Roy


Nothing will happen to the owner of the mall. If at all, security person may be taken to task for not handling the situation smartly. The mall doesn’t have any notice on dress code so what right do they have to bar people based on the clothes they wear? But as we have seen, no action is taken in such cases. What happened in the Delhi Golf Club after a woman in a traditional dress was asked to leave? Nothing. – Ashim


The stereotypical responses of the gatekeepers of our society is indeed alarming. Every staffer at the mall should be encouraged to wear the ethnic attire of their state or village. Stylish ethnic uniforms can be designed to sensitise the workforce about the diverse culture in our country. – Srikanth Kashyap

Debating the row

Thank you, Scroll.in, for this well analysed and worded rejoinder to filmmaker Ashish Avikunthak’s experience at a Kolkata mall (“Counterpoint: Why I object to a Kolkata filmmaker’s account of how he was barred entry from a mall”). The episode was a ridiculous misrepresentation of reality, possibly to inflate one’s self worth and more get mileage out of an already tender socio-political situation.

I stay very close to Quest Mall and I’m a regular visitor there. The mall serves one of the most diverse populaces one can get in the city and is very sensitively and ably handled by whoever runs it. People of every description, religion, community, class, nationality and attire swarm the mall.

I’d like to as the filmmaker: Being a filmmaker of a certain intellectual persuasion Quest Mall certainly has nothing which could be remotely of any interest to him, so what was he doing there? The mall or any shop reserves the right to ask a guest what he has come there for.

If he was so conscious of his egalitarianism, why did he chose to talk down to a hapless security guard in English instead of an Indian tongue, in keeping with his principles which led him to wear a dhoti to a mall in the first place?

Also, how many times has he actually been denied entry into Kolkata clubs because he was clad in a dhoti( this being an acceptable dress code in the swankiest of Kolkata clubs?

In my opinion, the episode reeks of artifice and collusion. – Sunita Chowdhurie


Bravo. Well argued and sensible. – Amit Kumar Bose

Noida row

Scroll.in has coloured the problem as a “class conflict” (“In the class conflict unfolding in Noida, union minister makes it clear he stands with flat owners”). The “conflict” was actually an attempt by the domestic help to mask her wrongdoing. CCTV footage shows that she was not held captive. Then sensationalise the matter?

Moreover, much has been written about the rights and livelihood of workers. But does Scroll.in realise that president of the society also has rights. Does it not realise that an attack by the domestic workers amounts to taking the law into their hands? Does Scroll.in want the attackers to got scot-free? – Pankaj Arora


This clearly shows that the government is not with the underprivileged. – Yousuf Ali


Many Bangladeshi migrants have managed to get an Aadhar number and PAN card also. NOIDA authorties should thoroughly scrutinise all the help. Our need for cheaper domestic help should not lead to us ignoring the safety of our country. – Shivraj Bhargava

Identity project

The government has now also made Aadhaar mandatory for mobile connections (“Interview: ‘Aadhaar is not a secret number like your password or PIN,’ says UIDAI chief”). But at the showroom of a leading mobile operator, I saw that many people, especially senior citizens, were not being able to get connections as their finger impressions were not being picked up by the sensor machines . There are also concerns about Aadhaar details being leaked. The government could possibly introduce a provision wherein instead of fingerprints, just Aadhaar numbers would suffice, especially for senior citizens. – SS Mani


What about those senior citizens whose biometrics have failed due to old age and hence could not enrol for Aadhaar? – Anil Malhotra

Change of guard

Paranjoy Guha Thakurta used to host AIR FM Gold’s 6.30 pm business news in very dignified manner, simplifying commerce and economic jargon in a lucid manner (“Paranjoy Guha Thakurta quits as editor of Economic and Political Weekly over differences with board”). I was a regular listener of him in Delhi till 2009. He is a very learned, unassuming and dignified person. – Bhaskar Dewasthale


Paranjoy Guha Thakurta is fearless. I will always support of him. – Sital Adwani

Captivity concerns

The elephant should definitely be retired. In her last years, she must have tranquility and autonomy again (“For the record: Should the world’s oldest captive elephant in Kerala be retired?”). She may be well taken care of physically at the temple but statements like the one made by the vet quoted in your article are worrying. Dr T Rajeev, her vet, said “There is nothing wrong in taking out a fit elephant in old age for a parade,” he said. “I feel it is too early for Dakshayani to retire. Festivals will only cheer her up.”

If there were no loud noises and elephants would make just a brief appearance during festivals, it may not have been a problem. But the pachyderms are made to stand for hours, in the heat, amid lots of noise. Despite her old age, Dakshayani spends the year lending herself to human benefit and leading this wholly unnatural life. It is really sad that so much money is made from the temple elephants and so little given back to them.

Finally, the claim in the article that captive elephants live longer is a very broad one. Captive elephants in all the industries that employ them normally die much younger than they would do in the wild. How many temple elephants have died so far this year? Or lost their composure whilst being paraded in festivals and then been killed? How many temple elephants have very bad foot infections? Dakshayani should be freed and put in the company of elephants, with expert care, as a small thank you for all the years she has served for humans. – Carey Ostrer


The Modi government seems to have been inspired by the fascist Nazi government. The systematical strangulation of voices of disagreement is part of an agenda. – Simon Mo

Weight worries

I am surprised with the uncritical use of an excerpt from this book (“Can’t lose weight? Blame it on middle age and your hormones”). Weight gain has more to do with high fat food and a sedentary lifestyle than middle-age and hormones. There is plenty of medical opinion that says that. At least for the sake of balance, the expert should have accompanied by quotes by some experts. My husband and I have both managed to reverse our weight gain and return to the weight we had in our 20s by eating a whole foods plant-based diet. – A Mukherjee

Water woes

The Delhi Jal Board is not required to be financially sustainable, which robs it of any incentive to be accountable (“Why some neighbourhoods in Delhi have access to water for just one to two hours a day”). Moreover, the under pricing or free distribution of water robs consumers at all levels of any incentive to use it judiciously. This vicious cycle has been going on for many decades and will continue till the time we have a leader who has the courage to look at the problem and take a contrarian stand.

Legally wed

The article says that the law ministry had “suggested linking marriage registration with Aadhaar”, implying that having the unique identity number is not mandatory for marriage registrations in the country (“Should marriage registration be mandatory? Only if the process is simplified, say couples”). However, this is not the case in Mumbai and Bengaluru, where officials demand a printout of the Aadhaar registration form for certifying marriages. The state is showing, deliberately or otherwise, that it does not care so much about registering marriages as it does about coercing people to enrol with the Aadhaar programme. – Vickram Crishna

Second chance

This is a wonderful initiative and should serve as an example to other states (“At an all-women petrol pump in Hyderabad, ex-cons get to kick-start a new life”). CCTV cameras must be operational 24x7. – Sivaraman Iyer

The other side

Born Behind Bars is a heart-warming documentary by Malati Rao (“‘All that matters to them is the world around their mother’: documentary on children born in prison”). All of us should know about the journeys of human beings from all walks of our lives, including these children who are going to be mistreated by society for no fault of theirs. Thank you, Scroll.in and Malati Rao. – Vinati

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
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