Letters to the editor

Readers’ comments: It’s not fair to project cow-related violence as a consequence of Hindutva

A selection of readers’ opinions.

French connection

It is good that the French media is covering issues related to India (“A French comic book uses India’s war on beef to illustrate the dangers of Hindutva”). Yes,there have been instances of violence in the name of the cow in India recently and the government needs to look into this and bring perpetrators to book. However, to project the problem as a result of the rise of Hindutva or suppression of other religions by Hindus is to exaggerate and sensationalise it. The media continues to use terms like fascism and genocide too loosely, without understanding their real significance. The media needs to play the role of an honest and unbiased conscious keeper of society instead of seeking instant gratification with such reports. – Tejaswi TJ


Gau rakshaks’ actions defeat the purpose of not just vegetarianism but also Hinduism. But as important as the plea of ageing farmers losing their livelihood because of restrictions on cattle slaughter and Muslims living in fear is the debate that human beings do not have the right to take any other living thing’s life. We should all embrace vegetarianism and eliminate the urge and though of killing and eating another living thing. Yes, gau rakshaks methods will never bring in the above change, but the media, apart from criticising vigilantism as a way to enforce a meat ban, should also talk about moving towards the path towards vegetarianism through awareness and education. – Sandhya KC


The French need to look at their own problems first before imposing a western perspective on India! For the first time in history, India has a chance to find its collective history and there will be hurdles and mistakes along the way. That’s how democracy works.

France needs to look at how it treats its citizens from Corsica and Basque and and the ongoing state of emergency and impositional secularism with the ban of other cultural identities in that country.

Also, the usage of the term Hindutva is incorrect semantically. Condemning the action of those who lynch and organisations that back them is fine but using the term Hindutva so lightly indicates sensationalism, stereotyping, and prejudice. Let India make its mistakes. A country that has not been colonised will not understand what a post-colonial national identity crsis is. If India doesn’t want to be secular it must have the choice to do this just as Israel, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Mexico, China and the Vatican have had their choice of being non-secular. – Kenneth Hopkins

Noida fracas

I’m a resident of Mahagun Moderne and would like to know: who gives someone the permission to vandalise, loot and spread anarchy (“Behind closed doors: Noida society row shows the ugly truth of how India’s elite view their ‘help’”)? That’s a bigger threat to our society.

In this case, Zohra Bibi, on being confronted about stealing money from her former employers, ran away and stayed overnight in another resident’s flat. You can check with the police. You should always present both sides of the story. – Kamal Deo Prasad


It is a shame that in today’s globalised world and at a time when we claim we are a fast-growing economy, humanity is still trailing far behind. What happened in Mahagun Moderne shows how the downtrodden can rise against oppression. – Khursheed Ahmed

Pockets full

The MLAs have stolen enough money from the State (“Tamil Nadu MLAs get a near-100% salary hike, pension raised to Rs 20,000”). Why should they get a further salary hike? This is nothing but highway robbery. Someone should file a petition in the court. – Vijay Kapnadak

Privacy question

I have no objections to Aadhaar but I appeal to the Supreme Court to consider the following , while making a judgement on the privacy question (“Aadhaar petitions: Supreme Court hears arguments on a ‘right to privacy’”). If our biometric information is leaked, it can have massive repurcussions on our life. So if the government takes my private information without proper security measures, it is a crime against the nation. Only one of the two details – iris scan or fingerprint – should be taken for documentation. That is in the best interests of the nation. – Animon Surendran


A government that provides complete secrecy to big corporate loan defaulters and tax evaders now says that ordinary citizens do not have a right to privacy. If we do not have a right to privacym then we have become a police state and are certainly not a democracy. – R Joseph

Statehood movements

I am deeply saddened to read the article by Aqui Thami (“The Gorkhaland demand is valid – and the racism I face in mainland India reinforces this view”). I am from Kerala, but North Bengal and Darjeeling have been part of my life and that of my family for more than a decade. I looked after a milk cooperative union that worked in the hills in Darjeeling for three years before the troubles started. I was later posted to Darjeeling as the Deputy Commissioner during the period that Thami speaks about and was right in the middle of some of the tragic events she writes about. I was in Kurseong all night on May 5, 1986, just after the firing she talks about.

I understand the complex reasons underlying the demand for a separate State. The demand became more urgent after the attack on Nepali-speaking people in Meghalaya in the early ’80s. Gorkha National Liberation Front leader Subhash Ghising’s campaign built on the humiliation that the hill people endured. Mothers saw in Gorkhaland the prospect of a better future for their children.

The tragedy is now being played out again. Neither the Centre nor the state seem to have any ideas or solutions. Mamata Banerjee’s government will resolutely object to the division of West Bengal. Some have sought the help of the chief minister of Sikkim to mediate in the dispute. Sikkim is directly affected by the recurrent disturbances in Darjeeling as their lifeline for supplies and transport runs through the district. It may be be too much of a stretch to undo the decision of 1835, when Darjeeling was separated from Sikkim by the British, but a linguistic commonality does exist between these two parts of the country and given the geographical contiguity as well, it may be time to at least talk about a reconfiguration of the state boundaries as a solution.

The situation in this vulnerable part of the nation cannot be allowed to slip into further chaos. We read about the regular deployment of the Army for maintaining peace. This is fraught with danger particularly as the area is so close to the Doklam tri-junction where China is flexing muscles and raising the pitch. We cannot afford to wait and watch. – Gopalan Balagopal

Sino-Indian freeze

The deterioration relationship between India and China is sad (“Doklam crisis: Not optimistic about prospects of an early settlement, says ex India envoy to China”). What we need is to reestablish our friendship with our neighbour instead of playing into the hands of the distant US. Here, culture can play and important role. And what better way to extend a hand of friendship than through films? It was wonderful that Aamir Khan’s Dangal had made such a big impression of Chinese youth. India needs to go back to her days of Non-Alignment Policy by playing her diplomatic cards well to keep her dignity and position in world affairs intact . India needs China to be her friend economically as well as strategically. – Bobbeeta Sharma


Mixing of astrology and vastu with yoga is a dangerous trend (“Fact check: That ‘astro-OPD’ that MP is planning to open? It’s in a yoga centre, not a hospital”). Yoga has scientifically proven to be good for health, but the same cannot be said about astrology or vastu. – Kandarpa Kalita

Take a break

Very well said. The concept of a break works well in all careers, not just sports. It especially comes in handy when changing fields or combating burnout (“The most important lesson Roger Federer’s Wimbledon win has taught us has nothing to do with tennis”). I took a forced break from running and as I get back to it now, I can feel the difference. – Ashwini

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