Letters to the editor

Readers’ comments: ‘Gorakhpur hospital deaths were tragic and avoidable’

A selection of readers’ opinions.

Tragedy foretold

The fact that children died in the hospital because of lack of oxygen is something that should outrage everyone, including news agencies, politicians and even readers (“Gorakhpur hospital tragedy: Three more children die, toll rises to 63 in five days”). Not having enough money should not be a reason to be denied good healthcare. that is what the US is trying to do but apparently we have already achieved this. I think nationalists would agree that this is one time where the US seems to be trying to ape us. – Siddhant Garud

***

Should we call this medical negligence or systemic inefficiency? Either way, the victims of this avoidable tragedy were innocent children in Gorakhpur, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s home ground. The incident, which has left the state stunned, shows us the ground reality of our crumbling, under-funded and dysfunctional public healthcare system in general and the inattentiveness of the administration of this hospital in particular. Massive shortage of basic resources like beds, medicines and surgical equipment, along with unhygienic conditions, add to patients’ woes in our hospitals. Our present infrastructure isn’t enough to cater to the growing demand. From increasing expenditure on healthcare to multi-layered health workforce, the Indian government has much to do in order to overhaul the healthcare system drastically. Only then the dream of Universal Health Care could be fulfilled. – Akash Kumar

Revisiting history

Thank you, Sudheendra Kulkarni, for this informative and timely narrative of the Quit India Movement era and its relevance in the current context (“Narendra Modi wants the nation to revive the Quit India spirit. But will his own party pay heed?”). The masses must know our nation’s history and its past and present leaders to know their motives. Removing a certain part of history or hiding facts in the name of religion, caste, region or colour will prove fatal for our country. – Yogendra Ray

Media matters

This is a great article about Rajeev Chandrashekhar and his backing of media companies as a means to controls the political commentary (“‘It’s all about market share’: Arnab Goswami’s funder Rajeev Chandrasekhar on Republic TV and more”). I agree with him when he says that entrepreneurs should not be stopped from coming into politics. But they should definitely be stopped from turning politics into a means to promote their enterprise. – Raaghav Dar

Presidential pitch

This insults the artists more than it does Trump (“Watch: ‘Opera vs Trump’ is the finest (and funniest) takedown of the US President”). Like him or not, he is still our president and deserves respect. But groups like these keep bad feelings in circulation. He won the elections legally and has already some some good things, like keeping jobs in the US, but no one ever mentions that. If does a lousy job like everyone says he will, he’ll be out by 2020, so be patient.

By the way I am a democrat and ashamed at how my party is acting. It’s time we all come together and pray for our president who has the toughest job in the world. – Rita Singer

***

This was predictably boring. An unfunny, pathetic effort at humour and a lousy stab at vocalising as well. – Adrian Bryttan

***

This was a fantastic idea and I loved the opera performances as well. – Carol Hawker

Censor the board

Movies should just be given ratings and then consumers should decide whether they want to watch them (“‘Pornography and vulgarity’ will return to the movies: Pahlaj Nihalani strikes a defiant note”). This is what freedom of choice entails. The Censor Board should be abolished. We don’t need people like Nihalani to lecture us on moral issues and his view of life. – Bhaskar Majumdar

Past lessons

I hope the book is read by lots of people (“Finally, a tantalising YA book (for adults too) that uses archaeology to recount Indian history”). There is very little understanding of history and archaeology among common people. Many do not understand the difference between mythology and history. Adding to the confusion are semi-literate politicians and pseudo-academicians with their imaginary theories. My sincere thanks to the author. – Shyamal Ghosh

Unplanned commission

What strikes us at first is the glibness of Rajiv Kumar’s various statements (“Opinion: An article by Rajiv Kumar shows that there is still confusion about Niti Aayog’s role”). He seems more concerned with public perception than content. It might turn out that in stead of devoting himself to finding solutions, he will be busy selling certain ideas that would just bemuse the public and satisfy his bosses. If that is the case, Niti Aayog will be merely a propaganda machine. – Hiren Gohain

Domestic Violence Act

The spirit of the act is to save women from any type of domestic abuse (“Ten years after it was implemented, how is the Domestic Violence Act faring?”). But the lack of intent in implementation frustrates the purpose. On receiving a complaint, the authority concerned needs to conduct a thorough inquiry to find out how the violence was caused.

I have seen a case where a woman was been ousted from her home after being badly beaten by her husband and in laws . She was compelled to live in a rented house with her five-year-old daughter. She filed a case under the domestic violence act but the magistrate, contrary to the spirit of the act, refused interim relief on the pretext that the woman was financially independent. Whether she’s earning or not, a woman after marriage has the legal right to live in her matrimonial home and if the husband refuses that to her, it is domestic violence. – Ashok

Clean India

Such a party would be a dream come true for India. I have a similar plan to bring change in the country. I dislike Indian politics (“Kannada actor Upendra says he will launch ‘corruption-free’ political party”). My ambition is to stop the brain drain from India by creating a clean business environment. We need to protect our state and Bengaluru in particular. We need to protect our environment and give the common man a clean and corrupt-free state. All the best and my full support to Upendra for his venture. – Shivarusrapp

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“My body instantly craves chai and samosa”

German expats talk about adapting to India, and the surprising similarities between the two cultures.

The cultural similarities between Germany and India are well known, especially with regards to the language. Linguists believe that Sanskrit and German share the same Indo-Germanic heritage of languages. A quick comparison indeed holds up theory - ratha in Sanskrit (chariot) is rad in German, aksha (axle) in Sanskrit is achse in German and so on. Germans have long held a fascination for Indology and Sanskrit. While Max Müller is still admired for his translation of ancient Indian scriptures, other German intellectuals such as Goethe, Herder and Schlegel were deeply influenced by Kalidasa. His poetry is said to have informed Goethe’s plays, and inspired Schlegel to eventually introduce formal Indology in Germany. Beyond the arts and academia, Indian influences even found their way into German fast food! Indians would recognise the famous German curry powder as a modification of the Indian masala mix. It’s most popular application is the currywurst - fried sausage covered in curried ketchup.

It is no wonder then that German travellers in India find a quite a lot in common between the two cultures, even today. Some, especially those who’ve settled here, even confess to Indian culture growing on them with time. Isabelle, like most travellers, first came to India to explore the country’s rich heritage. She returned the following year as an exchange student, and a couple of years later found herself working for an Indian consultancy firm. When asked what prompted her to stay on, Isabelle said, “I love the market dynamics here, working here is so much fun. Anywhere else would seem boring compared to India.” Having cofounded a company, she eventually realised her entrepreneurial dream here and now resides in Goa with her husband.

Isabelle says there are several aspects of life in India that remind her of home. “How we interact with our everyday life is similar in both Germany and India. Separate house slippers to wear at home, the celebration of food and festivals, the importance of friendship…” She feels Germany and India share the same spirit especially in terms of festivities. “We love food and we love celebrating food. There is an entire countdown to Christmas. Every day there is some dinner or get-together,” much like how Indians excitedly countdown to Navratri or Diwali. Franziska, who was born in India to German parents, adds that both the countries exhibit the same kind of passion for their favourite sport. “In India, they support cricket like anything while in Germany it would be football.”

Having lived in India for almost a decade, Isabelle has also noticed some broad similarities in the way children are brought up in the two countries. “We have a saying in South Germany ‘Schaffe Schaffe Hausle baue’ that loosely translates to ‘work, work, work and build a house’. I found that parents here have a similar outlook…to teach their children to work hard. They feel that they’ve fulfilled their duty only once the children have moved out or gotten married. Also, my mother never let me leave the house without a big breakfast. It’s the same here.” The importance given to the care of the family is one similarity that came up again and again in conversations with all German expats.

While most people wouldn’t draw parallels between German and Indian discipline (or lack thereof), Germans married to Indians have found a way to bridge the gap. Take for example, Ilka, who thinks that the famed differences of discipline between the two cultures actually works to her marital advantage. She sees the difference as Germans being highly planning-oriented; while Indians are more flexible in their approach. Ilka and her husband balance each other out in several ways. She says, like most Germans, she too tends to get stressed when her plans don’t work out, but her husband calms her down.

Consequently, Ilka feels India is “so full of life. The social life here is more happening; people smile at you, bond over food and are much more relaxed.” Isabelle, too, can attest to Indians’ friendliness. When asked about an Indian characteristic that makes her feel most at home, she quickly answers “humour.” “Whether it’s a taxi driver or someone I’m meeting professionally, I’ve learnt that it’s easy to lighten the mood here by just cracking a few jokes. Indians love to laugh,” she adds.

Indeed, these Germans-who-never-left as just diehard Indophiles are more Indian than you’d guess at first, having even developed some classic Indian skills with time. Ilka assures us that her husband can’t bargain as well as she does, and that she can even drape a saree on her own.

Isabelle, meanwhile, feels some amount of Indianness has seeped into her because “whenever its raining, my body instantly craves chai and samosa”.

Like the long-settled German expats in India, the German airline, Lufthansa, too has incorporated some quintessential aspects of Indian culture in its service. Recognising the centuries-old cultural affinity between the two countries, Lufthansa now provides a rich experience of Indian hospitality to all flyers on board its flights to and from India. You can expect a greeting of Namaste by an all-Indian crew, Indian food, and popular Indian in-flight entertainment options. And as the video shows, India’s culture and hospitality have been internalized by Lufthansa to the extent that they are More Indian Than You Think. To experience Lufthansa’s hospitality on your next trip abroad, click here.

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This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Lufthansa as part of their More Indian Than You Think initiative and not by the Scroll editorial team.