Letters to the editor

Readers’ comments: The Rohingya crisis needs a solution, but India must put its own citizens first

A selection of readers’ opinions.

No direction home

The plight of the Rohingya is certainly pitiable, but a Google search disproves a claim in this article that public religious celebrations are not allowed in Myanmar for Hindus and Muslims (“Forgotten history: Like the Rohingya, Indians too were once driven out of Myanmar”). There are other predominantly Muslim groups such as the Panthay in Myanmar who operate mosques in the major Burmese cities. This shows that this is fundamentally a ethnicity-based conflict, not a religious-based one. Media coverage of the Rohingya crisis has unduly focused on the religious difference instead of the ethnic one, when the evidence indicates that ethnic prejudices resulting from historical events (such as the Rohingya-led massacres of the Arakanese people during World War II and their attempt to join East Pakistan in 1947) is the driver of this crisis.

As far as India shunning the Rohingya is concerned, it is one thing to show sympathy and another to disregard India’s own internal concerns. Others have spoken in more detail about the delicate considerations India faces in resettling Rohingya refugees. No doubt there is a more humanitarian solution than deporting these people to their homeland, but that does not mean the prudent solution is to settle them in India either. – Sandeep S

***

India is obligated to help the Rohingya because Myanmar is virtually controlled by the military. – Grace Chow

***

This article brings back to my memory the Burma Bazaar in Chennai, which exists even today. This was established by Tamilians who were driven out of Burma. Today, the world should stand united to convince Burma to accept the Rohingya people as citizens and India and Bangladesh should send back all the refugees after getting assurance from Myanmar that they will be accepted and will be safe. – Bala Sugavanam

***

The Indian government’s first and foremost responsibility is towards the safety and security of their own citizens. The decision to deport Rohingya refugees from India has nothing to do with religious discrimination, it has been taken in the interest of law enforcement in Indian territory.

The Indian government is not obliged to settle illegal immigrants because it never made any such commitments to the international community. The decision is absolutely Constitutional. – Shubham Gupta

***

Why doesn’t the author do some research on the plight of Hindus in Pakistan and Bangladesh? The relentless state-sponsored persecution of Hindus in these two countries over decades has not been written about. There is not a word from any quarter about that. Their populations in both countries have come down drastically. Their women are forced to marry against their will, their properties are snatched and in many cases they are forcibly converted. A pogrom of sorts has been going on for years and the Indian government, civil society and intelligentsia have been surprisingly silent. – SN Bhat

Editor’s note: Scroll.in has reported extensively on the conditions of Hindus and other minority communities in Bangladesh and Pakistan. Some of pieces can be read here, here and here.

***

Unlike the Rohingya, Indians did not take up arms to cope with their misery. Take the case of the Gulf countries. Many Indians are working there. Will anyone get citizenship in that country? No. They also face racial discrimination and are not allowed to practice their religion freely. – Parameswaran TK

***

Words cannot do justice to the kind of barbarity invariably associated with, inspired by or directly stemming from religious differences. – Harish Datta

Not so NEET

I am surprised that a publication of repute has allowed such a blatantly misleading and false narrative to be published (“The TM Krishna column: It was not just NEET that drove Anitha to suicide, we all did”). Although his blind, visceral hatred towards upper castes is well known, I am completely surprised at the antagonistic position taken by him towards NEET.

Firstly, does the author impute that the CBSE model (which forms the framework of NEET) is so difficult and out of this world that a non-CBSE student would find impossible to attempt NEET? If a student does not meet a minimum standard, does he or she deserve to be a doctor?

Secondly, even under NEET, the reservation policy on admissions for the underprivileged castes has not been done away with! There is a 15% all-India reservation, and the balance 85% is allocated as per each state’s own prevailing reservation policy. So his tirade against the upper castes is wholly churlish and irrelevant.

Thirdly, vested interests seem to be behind this entire episode, starting from Anitha’s petition in the Supreme Court against NEET and the street protests we are witnessing today in Tamil Nadu.

Finally, what about the students of the upper castes who are economically backward? What head start is the author talking about? Do they and their children and grand-children also have to pay for the accident of birth? Does merit have absolutely no bearing on nation-building? – P Raghavendra

***

I teach chemistry for NEET and I feel that the syllabus should be halved. It is too vast. They should also get rid of the option pattern and allot 150 marks to theory and 50 marks for practicals, separately. – Srikant Thakur

***

Is Tamil Nadu the only state with a state board? Are upper castes not human? Where I come from, most Brahmins do not have the money even for three square meals. Why does Tamil Nadu object to most central plans? – Alok Pandey

***

Absolutely, NEET needs to change. I’m also from the state board but NEET examiners ask questions from NCERT textbooks, which is really unfair for students educated in state boards. The Supreme Court is not doing anything about this. – Mohammad Pardawala

***

The author has articulated with a fair amount of objectivity how a poor innocent girl was “trapped between an incompetent state, an uncaring Supreme Court and a bullying central government”. There is hardly any debate on NEET examination as the right and only way of identifying the best candidates for medical courses. How far NEET would ensure that only quality students are being admitted in medical courses is a million dollar question. – Anandaraj R

***

In schools and colleges we still do not have practical courses that teach us how to deal with reality. We need a lesson on how to live. We feel that at the age of 25, we must be settled, else we are unfit to live. Also, government teachers are well paid but without sensitivity towards life and the future of India, they will fail to do their duty towards children time and again. – Malkraj Periasamy

***

Support for Vellore college

Congratulations to the Christian Medical College in Vellore for taking this firm stand (“NEET effect: Why Vellore’s Christian Medical College is leaving 99 of its 100 MBBS seats vacant”). The medical students graduating from Vellore are one of the best in the country and most dedicated towards the profession. Many of them working in mission hospitals located in remote rural areas earning far below their counterparts. This is embedded into their minds during their course in the medical college that upholds the Christian values of serving our less fortunate brothers and sisters. – Ashok Joel

***

All those who are directly or indirectly connected with this mission should not leave it half way. This is our chance to do our best for this Christian medical institution. – Rajeev Shrivastava

***

It is surprising that institutions like CMC Vellore, which were priding themselves as champions of social justice so far now, do not want to support a system that ushers in greater social justice coupled with merit. Such institutions have had a free run all these years, allotting seats as per their whims and fancies. – Krishnamurthy V

***

Many children had been dreaming about studying in CMC and the last-minute decision by management is very bad. It amounts to killing the dreams of a hundred children. This also reflects the poor administration of government and the Supreme Court. If the Court had taken up the case earlier and given proper guidance to colleges, this may not have happened. This is a huge loss for students, but nobody seems to be bothered about them. – Ren Su

Rising in the East?

What exactly are you trying to depict (“In Manipur, cynicism abounds over surrender of 68 militants – and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s role in it”)? Did Sri Sri Ravi Shankar play a role in the surrender of militants? If not, then why are only his efforts being highlighted not that of other organisations? – Kshitiz Kamal Jain

***

This article says that the Art of Living was fined by the NGT. But a panel of government officials recently said that there was no damage at the site. Have some ethics. – Vignesh Ganesh

Editor’s note: The Art of Living Foundation paid the Delhi Development Authority Rs 4.75 crores in June 2016, after paying an initial amount of Rs 25 lakhs.

***

The tone in which article has been written makes it clear that the author is irritated with Sri Sri and The Art of Living, for reasons of which I am not aware. This reads less like a news article and more like biased and spiteful talk. – Radha Shaw

***

The author, though belonging to Assam, does not seem to be aware of the good work done by the Art of Living in that state. He must travel more, especially in Upper Assam. – Parashuram Naik

Press freedom

Vartha Bharathi believes in honest journalism, is a respectable newspaper and the reporter would have been questioned by the editor-in-chief if he had indeed made a wrong report regarding this sensitive issue (“In coastal Karnataka, arrest of journalist for ‘false report’ leads to claims of police vendetta”). To avoid religious tension in the Bantwal area, I request the district superintendent of police to conduct an independent inquiry into the matter. – Malika A

Note ban bane

I am surprised that the government still maintains that demonetisation was a tough decision taken to unearth black money and reduce terrorism instead of apologising to the nation for the hardship it caused and for bringing down the GDP (“Revisiting demonetisation: ‘If the notes have come back, why not the lost jobs?’”). Manmohan Singh was right when he called demonetisation an “organised loot”. – Vikram Khanna

Ugly truth

The writer’s focus seems to be on the religion aspect and not on the problem of lynching or murdering people irrespective of religion (“This photograph of two murdered teens should disturb an India that has normalised hate”). The media is to blame for encouraging such thinking. – Mohanakumaran Nair

Holier than thou

Our diplomats seem to be as intolerant as our politicians (“India lodges diplomatic protest with Australia over advertisement that shows Ganesha eating meat”). And we as a whole are intolerant nation. And we are lazy. Why else would we shy away from taking real action to make our country a better place? Instead, we derive sadistic joy from defending what is beyond us and eternal. If the gods are what they are revered to be, they would need no defence from mere mortals. – Darshan Kaarki

Two sides

The Right Wing is questioning why people have become insensitive to the killings of RSS people (“Readers’ comments: ‘Why has TM Krishna become insensitive to the killing of RSS workers?’”). Why has the Right Wing become insensitive to the killings of Left workers and innocent Dalits and Muslims on suspicions of beef eating or smuggling cows? – Tatineni Prem Kumar

***

Can anybody name any other political group who feeds their followers with hatred and violence? All violence is condemnable but for some groups, it is an article of faith. Their very ideology is grounded is inherently violent and grounded and sanctified by the belief that something has been done wrong historically to the so-called majority community. Retributive violence is as bad. The RSS-BJP not only indulge in political violence but also allegedly use covert methods to eliminate a string of ideological opponents. The Sangh and their pseudo-nationalism and their dubious championing of Hinduism which is a cover for their thirst for power to serve the interest of the savarnas. – Chandrasekaran S

Many faiths

The headline of this story is misleading to begin as the US is not a monarchy and just because she styled herself to be a countess does not entitled her to be called one (“How an American countess became a Buddhist nun and helped spread feminism in Sri Lanka”). Besides, she wasn’t a Buddhist for long either. It appears that every time she came across something new, she’d convert. From being a Christian, she became a Buddhist, then a Baha’i and died a Hindu. – Usman Madha

Food for thought

This is another measure to attack the poor, by snatching their food (“Replacing hot cooked meals with packaged food mixes will affect children’s health, say nutritionists”). Many children come to school in the morning without food, only for their hunger and nutrition needs being met by packaged food. Already, in our country, corruption, red-tape and adulteration come in the way of healthy food for children. – Dinesh Y

Different strokes

Isn’t the BJP trying to insult the people of North East by focusing on food habits rather than the cultures and customs of the people (“BJP assures its North East allies it won’t interfere in food habits in the region: NDTV”)? Don’t all national parties try to control the region and its people without considering their differences?

Is there any way to let the North East people and the region be and not dream of exploiting their resources? – Akoijam Surjit

***

Not just North East, the BJP should respect the food habits of people irrespective of region. The way they expect people of other faith to respect their culture and tradition, so also they should do the same. – Shinobi Suantak

Unholy men?

This deplorable article about Swami Nithyananda and the Akhara Parishad gives the impression that it was only the Mahanirvani Akhada that supported the Swami, and if not for their support, Nithyananda’s name would be on the list of fake babas (“‘Fake babas’: Why rape-accused Swami Nithyanand is not on the apex sadhu body’s blacklist”). This is stupid, and wrong. Let me give you the evidence. When the head of Akhara Parishad and members of two of the top akharas revere Swami as divine, how is it possible that his name was ever considered for that list?

Narendra Giri, the head of Akhara Parishad, had visited Nithyanand’s ashram and spoke in glowing terms about the Swami. He said:

“I am the head of 13 akharas, but today I am so happy to be with such a great Saint – Paramahamsa Nithyananda! When the media came and asked me, I said, ‘Swamiji is the backbone of Hinduism!’ The media people asked me, ‘You have made such a huge statement! How are you able to say that Paramahamsa Nithyananda is the backbone of Hinduism?’ I said, ‘Paramahamsa Nithyananda Swami has not only done the work of Hinduism here, but he has taken the respect and honour of Hinduism all over the world. A human being cannot go forward or achieve big things in his life without tests and without hard work. Swamiji was put under so many attacks, but still he is untouched and is established in enlightenment. One day Paramahamsa Nithyananda is going to be the Guru for the whole world!”

Oh, and he is from Niranjani Akhara, not the Mahanirvani. – Mukthananda

***

Narendra Giri from Niranjani Akhara spoke highly of Swami Nithyananda and said that “one day Paramahamsa Nithyananda is going to be the Guru for the whole world!” – Ananda Sharva

Game of life

This is a good article on the Blue Whale challenge hype (“In our anxiety about the Blue Whale Challenge, are we missing the elephant in the room?”) It is said that children want their parents to be models rather than critics.

Many parents are critical about their children’s actions and behaviours, instead of setting an example of themselves. Another theory says an individual 50% a product of nature and the other half is determined by nurture. Self worth can not be achieved by excelling in studies or comparing ourselves with others. No blue whale or any other game could influence children if they have this self worth. Listening empathically and speaking kind words and appreciation can increase the emotional health of children. – Sakthi S

***

This is a well-thought-out and reasoned article. It should put an end to the myth-making and fear-mongering and assuage regarding this game and assuage some of the concerns. – Zahid Hussain

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

Top picks, best deals and all that you need to know for the Amazon Great Indian Festival

We’ve done the hard work so you can get right to what you want amongst the 40,000+ offers across 4 days.

The Great Indian Festival (21st-24th September) by Amazon is back and it’s more tempting than ever. This edition will cater to everyone, with offers on a range of products from electronics, home appliances, apparel for men and women, personal care, toys, pet products, gourmet foods, gardening accessories and more. With such overwhelming choice of products and a dozen types of offers, it’s not the easiest to find the best deals in time to buy before your find gets sold out. You need a strategy to make sure you avail the best deals. Here’s your guide on how to make the most out of the Great Indian Festival:

Make use of the Amazon trio – Amazon Prime, Amazon Pay and Amazon app

Though the festival officially starts on 21st, Amazon Prime members will have early access starting at 12 noon on 20th September itself, enabling them to grab the best deals first. Sign up for an Amazon Prime account to not miss out on exclusive deals and products. Throughout the festival, Prime members will 30-minute early access to top deals before non-Prime members. At Rs 499/- a year, the Prime membership also brings unlimited Amazon Prime video streaming and quick delivery benefits.

Load your Amazon pay wallet; there’s assured 10% cashback (up to Rs 500). Amazon will also offer incremental cashbacks over and above bank cashbacks on select brands as a part of its Amazon Pay Offers. Shopping from the app would bring to you a whole world of benefits not available to non-app shoppers. App-only deals include flat Rs 1,250 off on hotels on shopping for more than Rs 500, and flat Rs 1,000 off on flights on a roundtrip booking of Rs 5,000 booking from Yatra. Ten lucky shoppers can also win one year of free travel worth Rs 1.5 lakhs.

Plan your shopping

The Great Indian Sale has a wide range of products, offers, flash sales and lightning deals. To make sure you don’t miss out on the best deals, or lose your mind, plan first. Make a list of things you really need or have been putting off buying. If you plan to buy electronics or appliances, do your research on the specs and shortlist the models or features you prefer. Even better, add them to your wishlist so you’re better able to track your preferred products.

Track the deals

There will be lightning deals and golden hour deals throughout the festival period. Keep track to avail the best of them. Golden-hour deals will be active on the Amazon app from 9.00pm-12.00am, while Prime users will have access to exclusive lightning deals. For example, Prime-only flash sales for Redmi 4 will start at 2.00pm and Redmi 4A at 6.00pm on 20th, while Nokia 6 will be available at Rs 1,000 off. There will be BOGO Offers (Buy One Get One free) and Bundle Offers (helping customers convert their TVs to Smart TVs at a fraction of the cost by using Fire TV Stick). Expect exclusive product launches from brands like Xiaomi (Mi Band 2 HRX 32 GB), HP (HP Sprocket Printer) and other launches from Samsung and Apple. The Half-Price Electronics Store (minimum 50% off) and stores offering minimum Rs 15,000 off will allow deal seekers to discover the top discounts.

Big discounts and top picks

The Great Indian Festival is especially a bonanza for those looking to buy electronics and home appliances. Consumers can enjoy a minimum of 25% off on washing machines, 20% off on refrigerators and 20% off on microwaves, besides deals on other appliances. Expect up to 40% off on TVs, along with No-Cost EMI and up to Rs 20,000 off on exchange.

Home Appliances

Our top picks for washing machines are Haier 5.8 Kg Fully Automatic Top Loading at 32% off, and Bosch Fully Automatic Front Loading 6 Kg and 7 Kg, both available at 27% discount. Morphy Richards 20 L Microwave Oven will be available at a discount of 38%.

Our favorite pick on refrigerators is the large-sized Samsung 545 L at 26% off so you can save Rs 22,710.

There are big savings to be made on UV water purifiers as well (up to 35% off), while several 5-star ACs from big brands will be available at greater than 30% discount. Our top pick is the Carrier 1.5 Ton 5-star split AC at 32% off.

Also those looking to upgrade their TV to a smart one can get Rs. 20,000 off by exchanging it for the Sony Bravia 108cm Android TV.

Personal Electronics

There’s good news for Apple fans. The Apple MacBook Air 13.3-inch Laptop 2017 will be available at Rs 55,990, while the iPad will be available at 20% off. Laptops from Lenovo, Dell and HP will be available in the discount range of 20% to 26%. Top deals are Lenovo Tab3 and Yoga Tab at 41% to 38% off. Apple fans wishing to upgrade to the latest in wearable technology can enjoy Rs 8,000 off on the Apple Watch series 2 smartwatch.

If you’re looking for mobile phones, our top deal pick is the LG V20 at Rs 24,999, more than Rs 5000 off from its pre-sale price.

Power banks always come in handy. Check out the Lenovo 13000 mAh power bank at 30% off.

Home printers are a good investment for frequent flyers and those with kids at home. The discounted prices of home printers at the festival means you will never worry about boarding passes and ID documents again. The HP Deskjet basic printer will be available for Rs 1,579 at 40% off and multi-function (printer/ scanner/ Wi-Fi enabled) printers from HP Deskjet and Canon will also available at 33% off.

The sale is a great time to buy Amazon’s native products. Kindle E-readers and Fire TV Stick will be on sale with offers worth Rs 5,000 and Rs 1,000 respectively.

The Amazon Fire Stick
The Amazon Fire Stick

For those of you who have a bottomless collection of movies, music and photos, there is up to 60% off on hard drives and other storage devices. Our top picks are Rs 15,000 and Rs 12,000 off on Seagate Slim 5TB and 4TB hard drives respectively, available from 8.00am to 4.00pm on 21st September.

The sale will see great discounts of up to 60% off on headphones and speakers from the top brands. The 40% off on Bose QC 25 Headphones is our favourite. Top deals are on Logitech speakers with Logitech Z506 Surround Sound 5.1 multimedia Speakers at 60% off and the super compact JBL Go Portable Speaker at 56% off!

Other noteworthy deals

Cameras (up to 55% off) and camera accessories such as tripods, flash lights etc. are available at a good discount. Home surveillance cameras too will be cheaper. These include bullet cameras, dome cameras, simulated cameras, spy cameras and trail and game cameras.

For home medical supplies and equipment, keep an eye on the grooming and personal care section. Weighing scales, blood pressure monitors, glucometers, body fat monitors etc. will be available at a cheaper price.

The sale is also a good time to invest in home and kitchen supplies. Mixer-grinders and juicers could see lightning deals. Don’t ignore essentials like floor mops with wheels, rotating mop replacements, utensils, crockery etc. Tupperware sets, for example, will be more affordable. There are attractive discounts on bags, especially laptop bags, backpacks, diaper bags and luggage carriers.

Interesting finds

While Amazon is extremely convenient for need-based shopping and daily essentials, it is also full of hidden treasures. During the festival, you can find deals on telescopes, polaroid cameras, smoothie makers, gym equipment, gaming consoles and more. So you’ll be able to allow yourself some indulgences!

Small shopping

If you have children, the festival is good time to stock up on gifts for Diwali, Christmas, return gifts etc. On offer are gaming gadgets such as Xbox, dough sets, Touching Tom Cat, Barbies, classic board games such as Life and more. There are also some products that you don’t really need, but kind of do too, such as smartphone and tablet holders, magnetic car mounts for smartphones and mobile charging station wall stands. If you’re looking for enhanced functionality in daily life, do take a look at the Amazon Basics page. On it you’ll find USB cables, kitchen shears, HDMI cables, notebooks, travel cases and other useful things you don’t realise you need.

Check-out process and payment options

Amazon is also offering an entire ecosystem to make shopping more convenient and hassle-free. For the festival duration, Amazon is offering No-Cost EMIs (zero interest EMIs) on consumer durables, appliances and smartphones, plus exchange schemes and easy installation services in 65 cities. HDFC card holders can avail additional 10% cashback on HDFC credit and debit cards. Customers will also get to “Buy Now and Pay in 2018” with HDFC Credit Cards, as the bank offers a 3 Month EMI Holiday during the days of the sale. Use Amazon Pay balance for fast and easy checkouts, quicker refunds and a secured shopping experience.

Sales are fun and with The Great Indian Festival offering big deals on big brands, it definitely calls for at least window shopping. There’s so much more than the above categories, like minimum 50% off on American Tourister luggage! To start the treasure hunt, click here.

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