Letters to the editor

Readers’ comments: It doesn’t matter what Shiva ate, vegetarian diets are better for health

A selection of readers’ opinions.

Interpreting Shiva

Congratulations to the author for highlighting some beliefs of Shiva (“How Shiva was transformed from a meat-loving deity to a vegetarian god”). I have been trying to get some information on the real Shiva, without the usual heroism that all gods are associated with. A critical or at least realistic portrayal of some of them, who were really human originally with the usual human flaws, is welcome. Separating myth from reality will make us more grounded as a society and certainly more peaceful. – Rajratna Jadhav


It is also believed that Shiva had marijuana. But isn’t that illegal in India today? And don’t studies prove that a vegetarian diet is better for health? Don’t spread half-baked opinions to put Shiva or Hindus in a bad light. – Pankaj Sharma


Why does the author bring Brahmins into the controversy over Shiva’s food habits? Doesn’t she know that many Brahmins consume meat? Meat-eating is not banned by Hindu scriptures, it is only reccomended for a higher spiritual existence. The author is also wrong about Virshaivism. Virshaivas are all vegetarians.

Thank you for this academic article and for enlightening us about Lord Shiva. Please publish more such pieces. – Satish Jha


This was a good analysis on the food habits of Lord Shiva. Thank you. – K Sandeep


In South India “saivam” means not eating meat. I congratulate Ruchika Sharma for researching from obscure sources to prove that Shiva is a meat-eating deity. For an atheist like me, it is immaterial whether some deity is a vegetarian or not. This will not change my food habits. – R Venkat


It’s wrong for the author to support non-vegetarianism. Why can’t you write about the fact that scientifically, vegetarianism many times better than non-vegetarianism? – Vishal Sharma


Although I’m neither an Indian or a Hindu (I’m an American with Pakistani background), I’ve always found the intricacies of Hindu mythology fascinating. The endlessness of the deities and their stories is almost like the never-ending vastness of the galaxy. – Sonny

Magazine storm

The row at EPW begs the question: was due diligence done by the magazine before they published articles (“Opinion: Four major issues that need to be debated on the EPW crisis”)? Or were they shooting in the dark, hoping they could hit something of substance? I am sure EPW must have a legal department. Isn’t it the job of the that department to whet whatever the EPW publishes and either advise them on the legalities or prepare for a fusillade of lawsuits and defend themselves? And if they did have this practice in place, why was the board ignorant of this whole issue? – Mukund Dhananjay


Let’s for a moment gloss over the fact that the editor responded “on behalf of the trust” without the trustees’ knowledge and consent? Well then nothing is left in the “opinion” except outrage. Would Krishna Raj have done so? He was too wise for that. – Anil Manchanda

Reform gone wrong

It’s wrong to put the entire blame of the delay on Mumbai University’s Vice-Chancellor (“Mumbai University shows how not to do reforms as results are delayed by two months”). He initiated a reform, no doubt it had some problems, but it is also responsibility of colleges to see that all their faculty checks the required number of papers. It is difficult for University to keep track on every college, but if principals had been taken in confidence and charged with monitoring their faculty, the situation would have been better. – Poonam Bhatia

Identity project

Why should one have to part with their Biometric information to get a mobile connection (“Your BSNL mobile number will be deactivated unless linked with Aadhaar by February 2018”)? This information can be misused throughout the country.The Aadhaar was started for direct benefit transfer, why does it need biometric information? It seems that right to privacy is being questioned. – Martin Thomas

Taxing times

This article on GST fears seems to be based purely on inference of a few statements (“Why Jaitley is wrong to equate GST phobia with fear of mobile phones when they were first introduced”). For instance, it quotes the president of the association of automobile spare parts dealers as saying: “The demand for spare parts is, therefore, met by manufacturers operating in the grey or generic market. They work with small margins and operate in cash. If dealers do not follow suit, they are sunk.”

GST has been implemented to bring more people into the tax bracket and eliminate grey marketing. Implementing it may seem very difficult in the beginning but the results will pay off. When everybody honestly implements it and passes on the benefit to the consumers, products prices will also reduce.

However, people are not ready to understand how the regime works because they are so used to issuing kaccha bills to under report sales. But just because doing things the right way will take some effort does not mean it should not be implemented. Yes, no system is infallible, but what we need is to point out the flawed aspects so the government can find a solution. – Vipul Garg

Saffron surge

The Amit Shah-Modi combine may be able to conquer every other state in the country, but they will not be able to orm government in Tamil Nadu (“With Bihar in their pocket, Narendra Modi and Amit Shah have conquered the Hindi heartland”). That day will never come, BJP rule here is impossible. – VR Vamsi Reddy

Metro mayhem

Mumbai may lose one green lung to Metro construction but the infrastructure is necessary (“Watch: How Mumbai’s Metro is a threat to the city’s green cover and its Adivasi population”). It is eco-friendly to develop mass transit to move 10 million people. Media houses also need to look at the bigger picture. – Akshay Karwa

Kashmir question

I’d like to ask the author that raids on separatists have happened only now, so how is it that the Al-Qaeda has grown in prominence in Kashmir, with Zakir Musa as its head (“Opinion: New Delhi is playing with fire by attempting to discredit Kashmir’s separatist leadership”)? This only shows that the separatists, who claim to occupy a milder space, have been quite ineffective and largely irrelevant.


I love Kashmir and Kashmiris. However, I have always wanted to understand, what does azadi mean for the average Kashmiri? Do they want Kashmir to be an independent country? Or an autonomous region? Do they seek financial independence and greater administrative separation from India? Or do they want to continue enjoying special status and sharing development gains with India? Would they like to become a part of Pakistan? – Pradeep Sharan


I have found that opinion on this is sharply divided among Kashmiris and judgements are clouded by some incidents. The activities of security forces are a result of the situation and not the cause. Governance is the top concern for Kashmiris but long-term development has suffered. – Kiriti Sen

British raj

The contribution of native troops under the colonial armies will never be acknowledged because colonialism created a condition where conscription was the only way for the masses – they had to pledge their lives in exchange for survival (“‘Dunkirk’ and ‘The Longest Day’ have a connection that goes beyond the war theme”). They were not driven by belief but were mercenaries paid to fight and so there is no glory in it. Be it Haifa or Dunkirk, the role of Indian troops is not something to be proud of but instead a reminder of the effects of colonialism. – Karthik

Family politics

As is the case in India, in Pakistan too politics run in the family (“Down but not out: Nawaz Sharif is no longer prime minister but he will continue to rule Pakistan”). Democracy is just a special purpose vehicle to empower families. In India, almost all parties are family centric. In the BJP’s case. there may not be a family involved but it hardly functions democratically. Everything is Modi-centric. There has always been one person who calls the shots in the party. – Sadanand Krishnamoorthy

Last words

This was a befitting tribute by Rochelle Pinto to her beloved mentor and guide (“Eunice de Souza (1940-2017): Poet and inspirational teacher who lived with enjoyment and defiance”). To quote Elton John, Eunice’s “candles burnt out long before her legend ever will”. – Shirlene


Who I am today is so inspired by who she was.
Being yourself was what she taught me.
Pushed me to try my skills in art in different ways including story telling.
Held my hand whenever a quiet teen needed it.
Till we meet again ma’am. Thank you for everything. – Veena Jog


It was with great sadness that I learnt of the death of Eunice de Souza. Eunice was my mentor and friend. I was fortunate enough be a part of one of her earliest batches of students. Eunice was a fantastic teacher. Referencing was new to us. She taught us never to accept statements just because they were made by reputed writers. Instead she persuaded us to think, to question and come to our own conclusions.

She also encouraged us to apply these critical skills to novels, poems and movies. This influenced my outlook on ideas and beliefs that I had previous blindly accepted. It is also a quality I try to inculcate in my students – the courage to perceive and understand the world in one’s own unique fashion.

Eunice had faith in my ability to write and that gave me confidence. Her standards were impossibly high. She let you know, in no small terms, if she was dissatisfied with your work. If she was pleased with what you submitted, you felt like doing back flips all over the quadrangle! She could be unbelievably supportive if she felt you were sincerely making an effort.

She somehow found out that I did not have a particular text book. She also knew I could not stay on after lectures to refer to it in the library, because I had other commitments, so one day she handed me her personal copy of this text to use! After I graduated, we kept in touch and she gave unstintingly her time to read and comment on my poems, plays and short stories.
Eunice raised the toast at my wedding and wrote a foreward for my book of poems, Different Faces. When I spoke to her last January, on my last trip to India, interested and encouraging as ever, she wanted to read some of my work. told her, since coming to Australia, I seemed to have lost the poetry. Instead, I said, I had been concentrating on writing plays and songs for the school children I teach. Eunice asked me about the songs and I half sang/recited one of my favourite ones to her. “Don’t worry”, she said,“the poetry is still there!”

Eunice would have been 77 on August 1. Happy Birthday, Eunice! Wherever you are, I wish you wonder and beauty, humour and poetry. Thank you for being an important part of my memories and my life! – Marilyn Bayros Noronha

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