Letters to the editor

Readers’ comments: ‘Anitha represents plight of students whose dreams were thwarted by NEET’

A selection of readers’ opinions.

Let down by the system

The state government lacks wisdom and purpose – it’s only concern is to hold on to power (“‘Government has failed us’: Protests against NEET intensify in Tamil Nadu after petitioner’s suicide”). It did not look at the gravity of the NEET issue and it’s negative impact, especially on children from rural areas. Anitha represents the plight of rural students whose dreams were thwarted because of NEET.

Policies are often designed at the top and policy makers are cut of from ground realities. Schools should also teach students that every individual is valuable, irrespective of profession and status. – Sakthi


There’s no need to worry about NEET damaging our healthcare system. Enough damage has already been done by the increasing privatising of healthcare, pharmaceutical giants who are creating diseases wear none exist, the practice of taking cuts for referrals, unscrupulous doctors in private hospitals, the irresponsible public who indulge in arson and violence against doctors if the their loved one dies in hospital, and deteriorating human values. – PD Amarnath


This is the first time in India that a fair and impartial decision has been taken to implement NEET. Those who are complaining are politicians with vested interests and agents who no longer get the chance to sell seats for lakhs. – Girish Mehta


The quality of education is Tamil Nadu is very poor. The government must first take steps to improve that. – Krishna Das

Choking drains

As the population grows manifold in cities, water supply is becoming intermittent (“Can Delhi really implement its plan to fully mechanise drain and sewer cleaning?”). As a result, sewage pumping stations are also working intermittently. The solids in the sewers are not getting enough water to wash away, resulting in blockages and overflows.

We urgently need to carry out periodic desilting of sewers so that the sewage doesn’t become septic and the drains don’t get choked.

This should not be done manually but with mechanical equipment that meets the safety requirements. An action plan needs to be worked out for this. – Vijay Babbar

Meal deal

It is important to differentiate between disease and illness (“Replacing hot cooked meals with packaged food mixes will affect children’s health, say nutritionists”). Malnutrition is an illness that results from shortage of nutritious food. To treat undernourished children, we need fresh food and not ready-to-use therapeutic foods as this article, argues. Severe Acute Malnutrition is a disease. If there is an epidemic of such a disease, a mass scale intervention is essential as it usually in a post- disaster situation and often, because of acute famine. In this case, ready-to-use therapeutic foods may be used as there is a shortage of ingredients for freshly prepared meals.

The role of ready-to-use therapeutic foods, like any other therapy, ends once the child recovers. Overdose and overuse of therapies has adverse effects on the patient. Several studies have shown that packaged food mixes have limited effects on the nutritional status of children below the age of two. A government resolution by the Maharashtra government shows that a low dose, of one or two sachets of ready-to-use therapeutic foods, is being administered. This has been shown to be as effective as home-based food in a study conducted in Myanmar. So what’s a big deal with packaged food mixes or ready-to-use therapeutic foods? – Dhruv Mankad

Ganesha’s female avatar

Some years ago, we bought a stone Ganesha in Mahabalipuram (“Vinayaki: The lesser-known story of the elephant-headed goddess, the female avatar of Ganesha”). We later realised that the back of the statue was a female version of Ganesha. Unable to find any references to the existence of a female counterpart, we assumed it was an error, but were delighted to have a female version. Thanks for this article, which has made me treasure this piece even more! – Chits Geneva


Vinayaki’s story reiterates the fact that the female interpretation in all societies is dictated by men. Goddesses remain in the backdrop, for the most part. Having said that, I do not believe in women’s empowerment. And I say this as a woman, one knows the power we hold and the wrath we can unleash. I believe in empowerment of all, irrespective of colour, caste, creed, status and gender. Thank you for sharing this piece. It makes me want to explore more. – Sebeline

Fuel costs

It is unpardonable that the government hikes fuel prices without giving a sensible reason (“Petrol prices in Delhi highest since August 2014, diesel rises by Rs 3.67 per litre since July 1”). India is a democratic country where such decisions are to be taken only after a consensus from the poor masses who have elected the government to power. International crude prices have come down by about two-thirds, but the per-litre price of petrol in India is still around Rs 70. Is this justified? – Abraham K.Mathew

Know your rights

This is a very informative video (“Video: You don’t need to be a lawyer to know these 10 rights”). Two points, I think, are crucial. The first is that taking or giving dowry is a crime. There are instances where women file false dowry cases against their husband and in-laws, claiming that they had to give dowry at the time of marriage. But I have not heard of courts saying anything to the woman or her family or charging them under the Indian Penal Code. Also, I as not aware that women cannot be arrested after sunset. That’s interesting, but I believe that lawmakers and the media should build awareness that the law should apply to all equally. There should be no discrepancy in the law on the basis of gender. –Kishore Bardeja

Thread of hope

The Afghan refugees are creating such beautiful patterns (“Afghan refugees in Delhi are weaving themselves a new life, a stitch at a time”)! And its clear to see how an art or a skill helps a refugee stay connected to their homeland. – Prakash Nedungadi

Behind the veil

The writer points out that the number of people wearing burqa in the countries mentioned is miniscule and therefore seeking to put restrictions on the veil is like making a mountain out of a molehill (“Why banning the burqa in Europe is a waste of time”). But the fact remains that rules that dictate that you need cover yourself from head to toe, in the name of religion, need to be condemned and discouraged early on, before they become widespread. The writer, instead of criticising the practice, is tacitly supporting it. – Sreeni N

For the love of work

This is indeed a thought-provoking excerpt (“Why I never managed to put up an ‘in a relationship’ status with my jobs”). Clearly, there is no one way to lead life and the author offers her unique perspective. But presenting a counter narrative is equally important, so that the reader has the advantage of accessing both perspectives.

Whether we like it or not, human existence in this world is largely defined on an economic model. Therefore, it is difficult to survive without generating adequate financial resources. For sustenance, therefore, organisations have to perform well, which can only happen if their employees are committed to the corporate’s objectives.

By no means am I saying that individual aspirations have to take a backseat. However, in a practical environment, an individual has to make some effort in finding some overlap between individual aspirations and corporate objective. The author has complete liberty to write her journey of life and present her thoughts. But from the comments of some of the readers on Facebook, I get the impression that the article is propounding a view that a corporate has to serve an individual’s aspiration while an individual’s responsibility towards corporate, which is keeping the economic engine running, is being conveniently ignored. – Rajesh Pandit

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Ten awesome TV shows to get over your post-GoT blues

With those withdrawal symptoms kicking in, all you need is a good rebound show.

Hangovers tend to have a debilitating effect on various human faculties, but a timely cure can ease that hollow feeling generally felt in the pit of the stomach. The Game of Thrones Season 7 finale has left us with that similar empty feeling, worsened by an official statement on the 16-month-long wait to witness The Great War. That indeed is a long time away from our friends Dany, Jon, Queen C and even sweet, sweet Podrick. While nothing can quite replace the frosty thrill of Game of Thrones, here’s a list of awesome shows, several having won multiple Emmy awards, that are sure to vanquish those nasty withdrawal symptoms:

1. Billions

There is no better setting for high stakes white collar crime than the Big Apple. And featuring a suited-up Paul Giamatti going head-to-head with the rich and ruthless Damien Lewis in New York, what’s not to like? Only two seasons young, this ShowTime original series promises a wolf-of-wall-street style showcase of power, corruption and untold riches. Billions is a great high-octane drama option if you want to keep the momentum going post GoT.

Watch Billions Now

2. Westworld

What do you get when the makers of the Dark Knight Trilogy and the studio behind Game of Thrones collaborate to remake a Michael Crichton classic? Westworld brings together two worlds: an imagined future and the old American West, with cowboys, gun slingers - the works. This sci-fi series manages to hold on to a dark secret by wrapping it with the excitement and adventure of the wild west. Once the plot is unwrapped, the secret reveals itself as a genius interpretation of human nature and what it means to be human. Regardless of what headspace you’re in, this Emmy-nominated series will absorb you in its expansive and futuristic world. If you don’t find all of the above compelling enough, you may want to watch Westworld simply because George RR Martin himself recommends it! Westworld will return for season 2 in the spring of 2018.

Watch Westworld Now

3. Big Little Lies

It’s a distinct possibility that your first impressions of this show, whether you form those from the trailer or opening sequence, will make you think this is just another sun-kissed and glossy Californian drama. Until, the dark theme of BLL descends like an eerie mist, that is. With the serious acting chops of Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman as leads, this murder mystery is one of a kind. Adapted from author Liane Moriarty’s book, this female-led show has received accolades for shattering the one-dimensional portrayal of women on TV. Despite the stellar star cast, this Emmy-nominated show wasn’t easy to make. You should watch Big Little Lies if only for Reese Witherspoon’s long struggle to get it off the ground.

Watch Big Little Lies Now

4. The Night of

The Night Of is one of the few crime dramas featuring South Asians without resorting to tired stereotypes. It’s the kind of show that will keep you in its grip with its mysterious plotline, have you rooting for its characters and leave you devastated and furious. While the narrative revolves around a murder and the mystery that surrounds it, its undertones raises questions on racial, class and courtroom politics. If you’re a fan of True Detective or Law & Order and are looking for something serious and thoughtful, look no further than this series of critical acclaim.

Watch The Night Of Now

5. American Horror Story

As the name suggests, AHS is a horror anthology for those who can stomach some gore and more. In its 6 seasons, the show has covered a wide range of horror settings like a murder house, freak shows, asylums etc. and the latest season is set to explore cults. Fans of Sarah Paulson and Jessica Lange are in for a treat, as are Lady Gaga’s fans. If you pride yourself on not being weak of the heart, give American Horror Story a try.

Watch American Horror Story Now

6. Empire

At its heart, Empire is a simple show about a family business. It just so happens that this family business is a bit different from the sort you are probably accustomed to, because this business entails running a record label, managing artistes and when push comes to shove, dealing with rivals in a permanent sort of manner. Empire treads some unique ground as a fairly violent show that also happens to be a musical. Lead actors Taraji P Henson and Terrence Howard certainly make it worth your while to visit this universe, but it’s the constantly evolving interpersonal relations and bevy of cameo appearances that’ll make you stay. If you’re a fan of hip hop, you’ll enjoy a peek into the world that makes it happen. Hey, even if you aren’t one, you might just grow fond of rap and hip hop.

Watch Empire Now

7. Modern Family

When everything else fails, it’s comforting to know that the family will always be there to lift your spirits and keep you chuckling. And by the family we mean the Dunphys, Pritchetts and Tuckers, obviously. Modern Family portrays the hues of familial bonds with an honesty that most family shows would gloss over. Eight seasons in, the show’s characters like Gloria and Phil Dunphy have taken on legendary proportions in their fans’ minds as they navigate their relationships with relentless bumbling humour. If you’re tired of irritating one-liners or shows that try too hard, a Modern Family marathon is in order. This multiple-Emmy-winning sitcom is worth revisiting, especially since the brand new season 9 premiers on 28th September 2017.

Watch Modern Family Now

8. The Deuce

Headlined by James Franco and Maggi Gyllenhaal, The Deuce is not just about the dazzle of the 1970s, with the hippest New York crowd dancing to disco in gloriously flamboyant outfits. What it IS about is the city’s nooks and crannies that contain its underbelly thriving on a drug epidemic. The series portrays the harsh reality of New York city in the 70s following the legalisation of the porn industry intertwined with the turbulence caused by mob violence. You’ll be hooked if you are a fan of The Wire and American Hustle, but keep in mind it’s grimmer and grittier. The Deuce offers a turbulent ride which will leave you wanting more.

Watch The Deuce Now

9. Dexter

In case you’re feeling vengeful, you can always get the spite out of your system vicariously by watching Dexter, our favourite serial killer. This vigilante killer doesn’t hide behind a mask or a costume, but sneaks around like a criminal, targeting the bad guys that have slipped through the justice system. From its premier in 2006 to its series finale in 2013, the Emmy-nominated Michael C Hall, as Dexter, has kept fans in awe of the scientific precision in which he conducts his kills. For those who haven’t seen the show, the opening credits give an accurate glimpse of how captivating the next 45 minutes will be. If it’s been a while since you watched in awe as the opening credits rolled, maybe you should revisit the world’s most loved psychopath for nostalgia’s sake.

Available starting October

10. Rome

If you’re still craving an epic drama with extensive settings and a grandiose plot and sub-plots, Rome, co-produced by HBO and BBC, is where your search stops. Rome is a historical drama that takes you through an overwhelming journey of Ancient Rome’s transition from a republic to an empire. And when it comes to tastes, this series provides the similar full-bodied flavour that you’ve grown to love about Game of Thrones. There’s a lot to take away for those who grew up quoting Julius Caesar, and for those looking for a realistic depiction of the legendary gladiators. If you’re a history buff, give this Emmy-winning show a try.

Watch Rome Now

For your next obsession, Hotstar Premium has you covered with its wide collection of the most watched shows in the world. Apart from the ones we’ve recommended, Indian viewers can now easily watch other universally loved shows such as Silicon Valley and Prison Break, and movies including all titles from the Marvel and Disney universe. So take control of your life again post the Game of Thrones gloom and sign up for the Hotstar Premium membership here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Hotstar and not by the Scroll editorial team.