Unholy men

The political leadership is in cahoots with these self-proclaimed and often fraudulent gurus, who have an inexplicable, hypnotic command over the masses (“First person: ‘Despite all the warning signs, my hometown Panchkula is on fire. Who is responsible?’”). The latter fail to see how their deities reach the skies when it comes to money and muscle power, riding on their shoulders, while they remain as poor as they always were! But their illogical devotion continues. It takes very little to drive them to irrational hysteria. The mayhem happens, the city burns, innocent citizens suffer but somewhere an ego is massaged, a guilty soul is assuaged and his crime is overshadowed – till the next spectacle. – Anjana Bhuwania


This is a superficial analysis of the subject (“Why is Punjab increasingly turning to new gurus for comfort?”). It seems to indicate that only the poor are drawn to self-proclaimed god men and women. Look at the followers of the so-called Radhe Maa. Look at the wealth generated by these figures. I do not think the devotion of just poor people would lead to such wealth.

There needs to be a deeper understanding of what about mass psychology leads to some powerful figures – politicians, filmstars, religious leaders and the like – commanding such a vast following, a hero worship of sorts. – Sachin Vasant Pangarkar


The ground seems to be slipping away from underneath the BJP (“You let Panchkula burn for political gains’: High Court criticises Haryana government”). Even the party’s strong supporters are not being able to digest its backing of a convicted rapist. MPs like Sakshi Maharaj are questioning the court proceedings. If this continues, the BJP will suffer heavy losses in the 2019 elections. Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar also said that it was not Dera Sacha Sauda followers but “anti-social elements who were” involved in the mob violence. Why couldn’t he take preventive steps? Why were there large gatherings of Dera members even though section 144 had been imposed? – BB Patel


What type of a prime minister do we have? At one point level he campaigns for “beti bachao” and at the other, his government has been supporting a rape accused and now, convict. The government needs to work for people’s welfare and remember that we chose Modi, not the other way round. – Manish Sagar

Exam horror

The Mumbai University needs to solve this problem soon (“Mumbai University marks hundreds of students absent for exams they wrote”). Students have been marked absent without checks and this has led to a lot of mental agony and despair. The University does not have the right to fool around with so many lives. – Madhu Singh


This is the first time in many years that the results have been delayed by so many days. This has affected the students’ career plans. One cannot play with the students’ futures. If the university did not have the infrastructure in place for smooth online evaluations, they should not have implemented the system. This is the biggest blunder the university has committed. – Deepika Salian

Neighbourhood ties

One of the most important reasons for the anti-Indian sentiments of Nepalese is racism (“Opinion: The idea that Nepal must maintain an equal relationship with India and China is foolish”). This existed long before the economic blockade. In several Himalayan cities in Nepal, many look down upon Indians. This extends to the attitude towards Madhesis too, who resemble Indians. So, no matter how hard India tries, there will always be two factions in Nepal, pro-China and pro-Madhesi. – Rahul Singh


I think the author wants to indicate is that friction is a part and parcel of ties between two closely knitted countries. However, the cultural, geographic, and ethnic cohesion between nations always keeps them together and no amount of diplomatic friction can impair it. I too believe this. The classical case is between the US and the UK, or, for that matter, between the US and Russia, who have been arch-rivals for decades, but influential Christian societies and civilians of the respective countries would never permit war among them. But why does this theory not hold good for India and Pakistan, despite the fact that the too are culturally and ethnically also closely connected? – Aditya Tiwari

Asian Century

Quite on the contrary, India’s actions will improve relations (“Does the Doklam stand-off signal the beginning of the end of the Asian Century?”). As China recognises that it is not possible to bully its way through, it will learn to find more constructive ways of engaging. The Chinese will be more forthcoming, irrespective of what they showcase to the public at large. – Deepak Loomba

Beef ban

What I eat is my business and its great that the courts have pointed that out to the government (“Privacy verdict may affect the beef ban in Maharashtra, observes Supreme Court”). No government has the right to violate its citizens’ privacy. – Albert Colaco

Sumptuous tales

Thank you for this great read which made me nostalgic (“The owner of Bengaluru’s iconic restaurant Prem Koshy explains why his food is literally to die for”). Bengaluru holds a special place in my heart. I graduated this year from Christ University. I have only been to Koshy once but I fell in love with the place as soon as I stepped in. The ambience is surely eclectic and soothing, and place like Koshy retains the magic of old Bangalore. The historic and rustic look of the building makes it even more special. Keep up the wonderful work. You can even cover MTR, which is famous for its scrumptious ghee dosas and thalis. – Shivangi Rastogi

With ishq

The creators of Ishq Urdu are thinkers and artists, and their webpage is immensely helping those who are deeply interested in Bollywood and its relation with Indian society and the study of Indian culture, of which Urdu is an inseparable part (“‘Mogambo prasann hua’: A Facebook page tries to show how much poorer the world would be without Urdu”). The page dispels the belief that Urdu is a kind of mumbo-jumbo uttered by a community. Urdu is a beautiful language of the Indian people, irrespective of their religious beliefs, and the Bollywood was quick to adopt it in its infancy. The scripts, dialogues and songs were written by Urdu writers. Urdu is still a major factor of the popularity of Bollywood songs. To call Bollywood films Hindi movies is, in some ways, a misnomer, as the language that the characters speak is a mix of Hindi and Urdu. But being scornful towards Urdu has become the norm lately, indicative of narrow-mindedness.

One wonders what the titles of such blockbusters as Mughal-e-Azam, Dil Diya Dard Liya, Mahal, Pyaasa, Muqqadar ka Sikandar, Dil to Pagal Hai, Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, Sarfarosh, Hum Hai Raahi Pyar Ke would be, were it not for Urdu influences? – Samiul Hassan Quadri

Breathing firewalls

I read this article with great interest but the author’s examples are not up-to-date, and more importantly, they gloss over developments in China’s cyberspace that are more significant than those mentioned (“Why China’s VPN crackdown should worry everyone”). The author implies that Chinese end-users can still easily access and use a VPN. This is not the case. Via censorship, firewalling and occasional “jamming,” the authorities have made it very difficult to subscribe to, download and use world-class VPN services based outside China.

Furthermore, for the first time, unregistered usage of foreign VPN services has recently been declared illegal by some city governments, such as Chongqing. The author also implies that the new restrictions “may also be temporary, with the official statement indicating that the measures would run until March 31, 2018.” This is naive, and a viewpoint that only a poorly informed scholar, or a China apologist would advance. Restrictions will undoubtedly be tightened, not abandoned.

More significant is the country’s emerging strategy for creation of China’s very own intranet. Unlike many countries run by authoritarian regimes, such as Russia, Cuba, Vietnam, Iran and Saudi Arabia, China does not merely seek to ban access to certain foreign websites. It intends to gradually create a “China-only intranet,” in which the public can only access web sites that broadcast to Chinese end-users via servers that are physically based in the People’s Republic. Naturally, the content on those servers will be subject to the laws of the People’s Republic of China – and thus legally censored – and the government will be free to track those sites and gather information on their visitors.

The emerging online market in China, with huge e-commerce potential, means that China may well be able to force many foreign website owners to set up servers on the mainland with China-specific (read: censored) content. Welcome to the 21st century and a cyberworld with Chinese socialist characteristics! – Bruce Humes

Rain check

It is not correct to compare reservoir levels with the rainfall levels (“Met department says monsoon is going well, but reservoirs across India tell a different story”). For instance, last year, Karnataka received very poor rainfall, because of which reservoir levels before the start of this monsoon were very low. Naturally, despite good rains this year, they would not fill as much as they would have had the water been at normal levels before the monsoon. – Rajaram VV

Majority wins

I was pleased to read this article on the way India is moving rapidly towards becoming a Hindu Rashtra (“Forget what a Hindu rashtra will mean for minorities. What will it mean for Hindus?”). In my view, it is just that the Hindu community is uniting, which did not happen earlier because it was split into various vote banks. Be it the Congress or the Communist parties, all have tried to woo so-called lower castes and minority communities to be in power.

Modi got the development agenda and also spoke of nationalism. That for sure touched a chord with the common man.
It is sad that after three years, you are still not able to absorb the reality of a changing Indian polity. You sit in studios and have a great life in the elite areas of Delhi, which is not all of India.
No one can have a 100% track record and that is the case with the BJP too, but let us be fair to given them credit for the good decisions they take and disagree where we don’t feel they are correct. If the people of this country do not agree with their policies and decisions, the BJP will lose the 2019 elections but until then, let us not be biased towards the government. They have tried to take some bold decisions, something the previous governments never did. Moreover, the Indian public cannot be fooled by anyone. If they feel someone is taking them for a ride, they will surely bring them down. – Rahul Pillai

Sanskrit revival

This is an innovative programme and a laudable initiative that will help Sanskrit grow (“First students of Sanskrit journalism in Delhi prefer vaidyut madhyam to mudrankan madhyam”). – D Raja Ganesan

Culture questions

What is an “Indian accent” anyway? In these times, it has expanded to occupy a very wide space and is evolving every minute (“How to write for global readers in an Indian accent”). Writers have a tougher task in hand when they try to break stereotypes and mould a new language that is gaining global acceptance at a frenetic pace. The issues to be dealt with are still going to remain culture-specific for quite some time, but the tag “exotic” should be discarded by creating a deeper understanding than before. – Sangeeta Ghoshal