Letters to the editor

Readers’ comments: Gauri Lankesh’s death should not go in vain – time to show the might of the pen

A selection of readers’ opinions.

Killing dissent?

News of Gauri Lankesh’s murder scares budding journalists like me (“Gauri Lankesh (1962-2017): Journalist who raged like a fire as she championed just causes”). But her death should not go in vain. Time has come for even the youngest journalists to wield their pen and stand up against Right wing fanaticism. These are dark times but keeping quiet will only worsen the situation. It is time we rise, break the shackles and show the power of the pen.

And hats off to the entire Scroll.in team for standing up at a time when many media houses are worried about their revenue generation and are thus shying away from any critique of Right- wing fanaticism. – Utsav Basu

***

What follows every such dastardly act is, some hype, heated debates on news channels, followed by a deathly silence and collective amnesia! A new story surfaces soon after, with similar exasperating responses and so on and so forth...the common man shrugs and gets back to earning his daily bread.

Where’s the sovereign, socialist, secular and democratic republic that was India? Or is it time to rewrite the Constitution to say we’re a Sanghi–dictator-retrograde nation? – Anita Robbins

***

It is really deplorable that a respected journalist was done to death for her radical views. But there may be more to it than meets the eye. Gauri Lankesh was being tried in a defamation case and this went against her. Perhaps she created enemies by trying to unearth some misdeeds by influential people. So before we get to the truth, let us not speculate that she was killed for her far Left ideas. May her soul rest in peace. – R Krishnamoorthy

NEET imposition

As a doctor from a poor socioeconomic background, I believe the NEET issue is dangerous for a majority of students in medicine (“NEET aims to reward merit, curb corruption. Did it end up driving 17-year-old Anitha to suicide?”). State government should have their own system of admitting students to government as well as private colleges. NEET another imposition like demonetisation. A post-graduate degree should be made mandatory for politicians, especially those who are allotted portfolios like education and finance. – Papa Dasari

***

There are some drawbacks to NEET, but that does not imply that the entire idea is ridiculous and fruitless. The country needs one system and implementing it can run into hurdles, because of the many diversities in India, but in case of higher secondary education in Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics, why shouldn’t the entire country follow the same curriculum? There is no question of if Hindi or non-Hindi. Once we all accept the syllabus n start working on it, the problems will start decreasing.

NEET is a good initiative to counter the money-oriented admission system. Having one platform for all students all over the India will help people to compete for all the seats in all over the country.

Yes there are problems for students who are new to the syllabus. But they can be helped. – Dhananjay Patil

***

The entire process involving NEET and central counselling is self-defeating. Medical institutes are made keeping in mind the ecosystem where they exist. Students should be aware of the health situation prevailing in that community and it would be better if they belong to that region. The centralised process brings unknowing prospective students to places where they may not fit into and this can become counterproductive for the maintenance of public health. With respect to private institutions. governments should not interfere in their functioning, But that could happen in the future with NEET. – Karthik G

Since the country’s blood-soaked birth in 1947, at least three generations of Pakistanis have been fed two grossly exaggerated myths. The first is that one Pakistani soldier is equal to 10 Indian solders and second, that all Muslims of the sub-continent are one great family, distinct from their neighbours of other religious denominations.

In 1971, both myths were blown to pieces. A Pakistan that effectively became half of what it was at birth, still dreams that one day its flag would fly on the ramparts of Red Fort in Delhi. For that unattainable goal, ordinary Pakistanis will give up their everything. And it suits their army very well. – GSK Sarma

Big changes

The only thing exciting the media about Nirmala Sitharaman’s elevation is the breaking of the glass ceiling, which shows the average attitude towards women. Nirmala Sitaraman’s USP is her professionalism, her approach to a problem-solving (“A JNU free thinker in the Defence Ministry: Looking back at Nirmala Sitharaman’s career”). Politicians including Arun Jaitley and others before him did not have have the same problem-solving skills and were often guided by bureaucrats as advisers. The defence ministry needs someone who can to break up a problem into its various aspects, evaluate it correctly and then solve it. Her selection is not an example of political expediency but a collective decision taken purely on merit. If she can evolve a well-established system on tendering and decision-making on all aspects within a time frame, it will be easier for foreign suppliers to deal directly instead of using agents. Her other strength is her very measured and articulate replies to questions posed to her. Modi has realised that he needs such a professional approach in areas where results can be visible. For this, Sitharaman and \former bureaucrats with an established record of honesty and efficiency were needed rather than someone who just ideologically aligns with the BJP or the RSS. – SN Iyer

***

She may have been a free thinker in her student days but her abrasive defence of her party on TV as a spokesman firmly places her in the apparatchik, with blessings from Nagpur. People change. – Srinivasan

No direction home

The citizenship amendment act has been proposed to provide shelter to persecuted Hindus, Jains, Sikhs,etc (“The Daily Fix: Persecuted Pakistani Hindus are allowed refuge in India, so why not Rohingyas?”). This is because a) these religions originated in India and b) Hindus,Sikhs and Jains are only present in India in significant numbers.There is no voice for these communities outside India so if this country won’t protect them, who will? Muslims are not included in this bill simply because there are more than 50 Muslim-majority nations that can lend them support at any time, and there are two Muslim-majority right next to India. – Rahul Gupta

***

I agree with the government. Whether its Rohingya Muslims or members of any other religion, the refugees to be deported back to their country. They are a security risk and a financial burden for the country. – Anil Kakad

Money mayhem

Around 99% of the hard cash that was with the public came back into banking system, which is making people claim that demonetisation was a flop (“Demonetisation: The chronicle of a failure foretold”). But at least 50% of this wealth was unaccounted for. Since this amount has been deposited into banks, it will be easy for the IT department to pursue with the depositors for the source and take appropriate action against the culprits who have either avoided payment of taxes or earned these amounts through objectionable means. This was the target behind demonetisation and success is on the way. We should have patience to see the results. Blaming the decision at this stage is premature and prejudiced. – AV Nagaraju

***

Why is Raghuram Rajan commenting on demonetisation so late in the day (“Did Raghuram Rajan know that monetisation was coming? Here’s his answer”)? And what, in his opinion, was the alternative to it, for tackling black money? – A Bhatia

***

It is laudable that Raghuram Rajan has broken his silence after giving his successor some time to settle into his role as RBI governor, which happened to be a breathless period for Urjjit Patel.

India needed to see the plain truth of demonetisation from Rajan to expose the insane action of Modi and Jaitley as well as to make the people aware of the economic catastrophe the country has been forcefully led into. – Joseph Dost

Parodying Trump

This is utterly mean. Get a life and deal with the real issues (“Watch: This parody of ‘Ivanka Trump’ singing about her father is priceless”)! Most people care about food on their tables, having a car to get to work in, an education for their kids, a home that is not under five feet of water and not being taken out by Korea.

Why are you people spreading hate? It helps no one. You are only showing your small-mindedness. Do you think those of us who love and believe in this country care about these parodies? Stop bashing our President. You don’t have to like him but you should pay attention to how he already ISis Making America Great Again and respect him because he is the President, elected by the majority of the people. You only show your ignorance with pieces such as this. – Bernadette Jackel

The North Korea question

Although Trump spoke vehemently about responding to North Korea with “fire and fury”, there are limits to the US’ jurisdiction (“North Korea says it successfully conducted a hydrogen bomb test”). It is quite clear that the sanctions imposed (from Resolution 1718 to Resolution 2371) on North Korea are ineffective as the state still continues carrying out missile tests. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has proven that it can dodge these sanctions. Besides, the UN cannot force compliance to the resolutions on any member state. To elucidate, confirmation on compliance with resolution 2321 was given only by 77 member states, according to the UN.

Many reports over the decade have shown that North Korea has many shell companies and other fronts in place to ensure that despite all the sanctions, its economy can retain stability. Diplomatic talks in the past have also failed. Former President Barack Obama’s attempt to cut a deal with North Korea in order to impose a moratorium on nuclear missile tests clearly failed. The only way to ameliorate this situation is ending the totalitarian regime of Kim Jong Un and hoping for a better, more sensible and less peevish successor. – Akanksh Sharma

Flood fury

The government in Bihar is perceived to be headed by an honest person but has never been so (“Bihar floods: With 28 more deaths, toll rises to 440”). It is a deeply corrupt regime. There is a politician -bureaucrat-engineer-contractor nexus and the recent floods were caused because the flood protection embankment had been breached. An independent inquiry will reveal the truth. I hail from the worst affected area and learnt of this when I visited my village.

The recent contract amount assigned to plug the breaches may also be the evidence of sarkari loot when evaluated on spot. taking into consideration the length and width of the breach. Who cares for the poor and affected lot in Bihar? It’s a state of scams: past, present and future. – Dharnidhar Jha

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.