Letters to the editor

Readers’ comments: Why compare Modi and Nehru? India can have many great leaders

A selection of readers’ opinions.

Modi and Nehru

This is akin to flogging a dead horse (“Opinion: Is Modi the Mahmud Ghazni of the Nehruvian nation state?”). Nehru does not need testimonials. Whether one likes him or not, his accomplishments cannot be denied. Gandhi left the country in hands of Nehru and Patel as he knew and trusted that India would be safe with them. There is no question they lived up to the responsibility.

Nehru was no orator. He spoke as he thought and his thoughts rambled. When India became free, even razor blades, pencils, and erasers were imported. In about 20 years, India became an industrialised nation and the foundation was laid from which India has blossomed. Nobody can take this away from him and Prime Minister Modi knows this.
It does not matter if Nehru is praised or riled. He is gone as everyone does and will. What people don’t realise is that a country like India will have have several great leaders and he was one. – S Vas


Nehru was a strange combination of Ghori ,Ghazni,and Curzon. He discovered an India from the Cambridge History of India and thrust it upon the innocent people. – Ranjit Singh

Strange bedfellows

This is a brilliant article (“Why Nitish Kumar’s latest betrayal is no surprise – and no tragedy”). It is incisive and offers an excellent perspective on politics and ethics, the mockery of secularism that political parties have made and the tragedy of the Opposition today. – Vinita Singh


This new alliance is shameless one and is against the desire of common man (“An alliance with the BJP in Bihar was not the people’s mandate, says JD(U)’s Sharad Yadav”). – Prakash Paranjape

Data dive

The author has said that information or data is the raw material for the economic era and it won’t be wrong to say that we have entered into Data Age (“A critic’s case for Aadhaar: If our personal data is the ‘new oil’, pay us for it”). In the agrarian age, land was the most important asset and laws were developed to allow ownership and use of land. So, in the data age, we need to develop laws to address issues concerning the use of data. We might even have to question whether it can be owned at all. Frequent breaches of private data from both private and government handles makes this an even more pertinent issue.

Many modern day firms heavily rely on data, to gain insight into the business performance and strategic directions. Many have rightly said that data should be treated as an asset, though for various reasons, it may not be easy to ascertain a financial value to it. It is also the currency that we pay to various internet organisations in exchange for their services, like Facebook and Google, but in absence of the ascertainable value and superior bargaining position of these internet giants, it may be possible that user could be exploited to give more information that may not be required. But these internet applications have become integral part of our lives and leaving them may not be possible for various practical reasons. So, corporations are able to dictate their terms to users and very often overcharge them.

Thus, it is increasingly becoming desirable that the organisation collecting personal data tells users at the outset the explicit purpose for which it is being collected and how it will be used, with a guarantee that appropriate security measures will be taken for processing the same. Any backtracking, or negligence in this regard must be met by steep fines and harsh penalties. – Prakhar Gupta

Culture clashes

As Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said, we should not tolerate attack an attack on our language or culture (“Watch: Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah says people from outside the state should adapt to Kannada culture”). But we are still lagging behind several countries, which have gone way ahead of us. Despite this, we are fighting with one another in the name of language, region, culture and religion. Do we not have enough to do, for our selves, our families and our beloved nation?

In the process, we are losing lives, health and wealth, we are losing our future and our god-gifted beautiful nature. So Indians should stop fighting and discriminating. Instead, focus on our economy, development, our environment, our present and our future. – Naveed Ali Pallan


While I respect the use of Kannada signage everywhere, it should be remembered that we are part of India, a nation with diverse languages and cultures (“Karnataka government asks BMRCL to remove Hindi signs from Bengaluru’s metro stations”). So, at the very least, Hindi signage can be added below Kannada. – Francis Fabian

Refugee rights

As a Chakma, I really appreciate your concern towards the community as we are one of the most persecuted in the world (“50 years on, Chakma refugees from Bangladesh are still denied citizenship rights in Arunachal”). However I take object to the following lines in the article: “The Chakmas are now caught between competing versions of identity politics, one emanating from the Centre and the other from the region. Apart from Arunachal, there is fresh animosity from indigenous tribes towards the refugees in Mizoram, which created a Chakma Autonomous District Council in 1972. Tribal groups now agitate for the expulsion of all “Chakma foreigners” who entered the state after 1950.”

This is a false.While your intentions are, no doubt, good, this paragraph reflects the views of Mizo intellectuals that has been accepted without going deeper into the issue and seeing the facts. Please don’t buy the stories and statements given by hatemongers and biased NGOs. – Sumit Chakma


For more than a century, Gorkhas, who belong to this very land and have served it with utmost royalty and honesty, many of the stationed at the borders so that the rest of the country can sleep well, are still living like second-class citizens. Going by that, Chakma refugees will have to wait for centuries to be heard in this country. – Aneel Thapa

Better together

The formation of the Cyber Space and Special Forces Command was cleared a few years back (“The Indian military is once again trying to bring the three forces closer – but will it succeed?”). They were envisioned as separate commands, not as divisions or sub-divisions. But the integration of the Ministry of Defence and the services has always been sabotaged by bureaucrats. The military had never objected to it. But the bureaucracy did not want a uniformed officer sitting alongside them, having access to their files.

I have been privileged to hear Naresh Chandra, both while in service and after retirement too. Not one of his recommendations have been implemented in toto, which points to the sorry state of affairs.

The Ministry of Defence does not have any specialists amongst the bureaucracy and yet they offer “expert” opinions on why the Army, Air Force or Navy should not buy a particular weapon system. – Dhiraj Kukreja


Such exercises were proposed by Indian Military in the past too but were thwarted by military itself. However, the heads of the three services now understand that having an integrated command is imperative for national security.

Now, it is not the military but the well-entrenched bureaucracy that is thwarting such efforts, placing vested interests over national interests. It is amazing that the country’s political leadership has been unable to see their designs. Until the government wakes up to these issues, there won’t be any real progress and the Indian military will keep languishing. – AK Srivastava

Privacy debate

The arguments in the Supreme Court where the right to privacy is being debated shows that there is no understanding of the concept of rights (“Privacy cannot be treated as a fundamental right, Centre tells Supreme Court”). A right is a philosophical principle that sanctions the freedom to action of an individual. It prescribes freedom of the individual to act in a certain domain and proscribes the use of force. Its roots are based in metaphysics and epistemology.

Metaphysically, it stems from the identity of individual human beings who are living entities and act by certain means of survival. It is based on the law of identity. Epistemologically, it arises from the fact that an individual possesses free will and survives by reason. He has to choose to think in order to live and flourish. That reason is his means of survival.

From both arise the concept of individualism and philosophical individual rights.The basic right is the right to life. This arises from the fact that life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action. Since man is a rational being, his means of survival is through the use of his rational faculty. From this stems his right to liberty. He needs to be left free in order to think. He has to generate all the values necessary for his happiness. From this stems his right to pursuit of happiness.

Also, since man is not just a spirit but an entity of soul and body, he needs material goods to survive. From this arises the right to private property. These are the basic philosophical rights. By their nature, they are fundamental and absolute and inalienable. Each right entails the other and cannot be separated. There cannot be any human rights without property rights. All other rights, like the right to free speech or free trade, are derived from these. – Alampallam Venkatachalam

Success stories

Thank you for this beautiful and inspiring article (“Hungry for success: Manika Batra keen to usher in a new era for table tennis”).

I was in the first table tennis academy Manika joined at the age of three or four and we were friends. I always held her in high regard. I was the person she defeated when she got her first gold in the Delhi championship and she never looked back. If I am not wrong, that championship was the first time, her name came in newspaper. And now everyone knows her name!

However, with all due respect , the headline “hungry for success” has certain kind of negative connotation to it, which is very unlike Manika. – Sugandha Chowdhry

New heights

It’s good to know that Tibetan treasures are being restored (“On the roof of the world, a Frenchwoman is on a quest to recover forgotten Buddhist treasures”). In 1982, I illegally entered Mustang, after being refused permission to go there, and visited monasteries all the way up to Tsarang and Lo Mantang. My friend (a Nepalese) and I even had dinner with the Queen of Mustang and spent a night in the exquisitely painted unused abbot’s rooms in Tsarang at the invitation of the monks. Every monastery we visited had wall paintings and sculptures that were gradually deteriorating, though the dry climate helped to preserve them (Mustang is in a rain shadow area). We were arrested on the way back and released after a furious telling off from the police chief at Kagbeni checkpoint. I would love to go there again one day. – Umi Sinha

Shiva’s interpretations

My humble suggestion to this author is that she should at least read the texts and thinkers she is referring to (“How Shiva was transformed from a meat-loving deity to a vegetarian god”). To be a cultural critic and exponent like Tulsidas or Kabir, you have to be one like them. Both criticism and praise bear merit when they are they based on insightful understanding of the sources. She could have made her point referring to the text like Tantraloka and a thinker like Abhinavagupta. – Rajnish Mishra

Noisy business

Even I get agitated when Arnab Goswami becomes too loud, but he is perhaps the only man who asks questions to netas that the common people do not have the courage to ask (“Watch: This animated musical parody of Arnab Goswami takes on the nature of TV news today”). He at least tries to bring up the truth of what is happening in the country. So this is a good song, but if the intention is to bring him down, then it will not work because Goswami has a huge number of fans. – Sragdhara Ghosh

Laugh along

This video made my day (“Watch: ‘Opera vs Trump’ is the finest (and funniest) takedown of the US President”). I have now seen it now six times and will continue to watch it everyday. I have also sent it to friends and hope some major TV stations also show the video. Maybe the only way we have a chance to survive through satire and laughter. – Georgeann Trebst

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