Letters to the editor

Readers’ comments: ‘We Bengalis love non-vegetarian food and will stick to it till our last breath’

A selection of readers’ opinions.

Food for thought

Just by sheer luck, I came across this fantastic egg roll recipe (“Why was a Bengali trolled for a video about eating egg rolls during Durga Pujo?”). I wish I could have eaten it off the page. To those who have raised an issue, I would like to ask: in which shastra is it said that if you are non-vegetarian, you should be condemned? Yes, we Bengalis love non-vegetarian and will stick to it till our last breath. – Sipra Banerji

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Please let Saptarshi and his partner know that I use their amazing food blog as a teaching resource for university courses on South Asian foodways, which I teach in North Anerica and Italy (at the Slow Food University). Our community of food lovers and thinkers greatly appreciates their thoughtful and powerful response to the intolerant folks who seek to impose their rigid, joyless understandings and habits upon others, and claim those as Indic foods and cultures. – Jayeeta Sharma

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Loved every bit of the article, which rightly said that Pujo is a carnival, a time for merry-making, hogging and also praying to the much beloved divine mother, Durga. The current jingoistic tendency to put all Hindus in one bracket goes against the core truth of Hinduism. One must not forget that Hinduism is an inclusive religion that allows everyone to interpret deities in their own way. – Mahua Datta-Kamble

Spreading love

Hats off to Harsh Mandar! Only people sharing this philosophy of love can save the country (“Harsh Mander: When our caravan of love defied threats of violence to pay tribute to Pehlu Khan”). He had the courage to meet his objectives. We need to counter hatred with love and brave resolute people such as him can do that. I appreciate his effort from the heart. – Sanjay Sankar Guha

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A dying declaration is considered valid evidence that can be used in a court of law (“‘We won’t let you pay tribute to Pehlu Khan’, right-wing activists tell group opposing mob lynchings”). That Pehlu Khan died of his injuries is proof of lynching. Police should also be implicated about why they did not record a panchnama right then and informe the authorities. The police should also be charged. – Ibrahim Khaleel

Multiple voices

Thank you very much for publishing “Readers’ comments: ‘Comparing Swami Vivekananda with Modi was unnecessary and stupid’”. Scroll.in has remained true to its ethos of unbiased, honest and comprehensive journalism that refuses to limit itself, its stories and the way it represents current realities from a single perspective or one voice. My wholehearted gratitude to all the readers who shared their comments and spoke for many of us who have been inspired to be better human beings through the Swami’s teachings and life. – Lakshmi Madhavan

Colonial conquests

Quite naturally, any conqueror will try to justify their actions by condemning previous rulers (“How the British convinced Hindus that Muslims were despots and religious invaders”). The British did that too. It’s observed from the skin colour of people of erstwhile united India’s Northwest part and Arabs that they are likely to belong to the same racial groups. The British did there best to solidify their imperial rule by distorting history in all possible ways. – Munshi Maruf Hossain

Old habits

Transition from a cash-based economy to a cashless one will happen gradually (“Revisiting demonetisation: ‘Cashless’ village in Maharashtra has returned to cash”). Any initiative, especially one involving such a large population with so much of historical, financial, economic, ethnic and other forms of diversity involved can only succeed over time. Any change in society happens step by step. Even European nations does not have a 100% digital payment ecosystem. People also need to make an effort to make the most of government schemes. – Shubham Gupta

Pro-life vs pro-choice

The pro-choice movement dehumanises the pre-born (“The cases of two child rape victims show why India needs guidelines for late-term abortions”). The life of a late-term foetus cannot be ignored by arguing that it is solely the mother’s prerogative to abort it. The argument made in the final paragraph of the article is also fundamentally flawed as the writer wants the government to legislate that the doctors have to abort the foetus if the mother wishes. The writer believes we need such a law since it should be solely the mother’s right to decide. This ignores the fact that such a law would force a doctor to kill what they may believe to be a human being and would therefore be morally repugnant. – Dhruwat Bhagat

Turn the page

This well-written piece reminds me of the days when I used to visit Blossoms and spend hours reading a few pieces here and there, buying books recommended by friends and more importantly, by other customers there with similar tastes (“What three second-hand bookshops on the same street say about Bengaluru’s reading culture”). Now I am an ophthalmologist, a dad and a family man, I find little time to read.

I cannot keep the lights on at night, so I use the Kindle now. Technology also plays a role in reducing our dependence on books. Earlier, in flights, most passengers could be seen with books. Nowadays, they have laptops and tablets. Large bookstores in airports have been replaced by just few shelves in a shop.– Rajagopal Kunnatur

Lessons unlearnt

We should not be concerned about the correctness of the question asked by the minister or the answer given by the teacher (“Watch: A state education minister makes ghastly mistakes while trying to ‘correct’ a schoolteacher”). Of more concern is the minister’s body language of Minister and his demeaning attitude towards an Indian citizen, an a teacher at that. It is like that of a master to a slave. – Naveen Sharma

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What kind of mathematics has the minister taught? Hats off to our people for electing such politicians and special thanks to the party that has appointed him as the education minister, of all things. – Dhruv Chauhan

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If this is not shameful,then what is? But we deserve this, don’t we? – Sachchidanand Prasad

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This is not the first that ministers or bureaucrats have tried to humiliate teachers. Shame on such people. – Ram Lakhan Singh

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It is sad that a person ignorant of basic rules is the education minister and is entrusted with the responsibility of uplifting the level of education of people of that state. It’s time for the chief minister of the state to replace him. The person has exposed his own ignorance, insulted the teacher in front of students and has exceeded his brief as a minister. – Deepak Bhandarkar

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What action will now be taken against this boorish minister? Shall wait to see. – Pratibha Singh

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The minister seems to be an ignorant fool. But look at his arrogance and his attitude. These people forget that it is the public who voted them to power. I feel sorry for his foolishness, but he needs to be taught a lesson for his arrogance more than his ignorance. – Kisholoy Choudhury

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Teachers shouldn’t be tested in front of their students. If at all they are to be tested, it can be done in the staff room, or through silent inspections in the classroom. – Chakrapani

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As a professor in a technical college who is also doing her M Phil in education, I find the events shown in the video pathetic. If the minister wanted to test the knowledge of teachers, he could have conducted tests on them for certain subjects. Performance could have been communicated through the principal of the school and corrective actions could have been taken if some teachers performed badly. But here, the teacher is being humiliated in front of students. Authorities must take proper action and preserve the dignity of teachers. – Pratibha Lotlikar

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This so-called education minister should be demoted and sent back to high school for further instruction in all mathematical and science disciplines. Perhaps his position of authority has in the past has given him a free rein to act so rudely with his colleagues, but I think this incident will be his Waterloo. His superiors will probably reprimand him and demand that he apologise to the lady professor. However, in a male-dominated country, who can be sure of this? – Bryan Morgan

Communal concerns

Religious poison is the most dangerous poison (“‘Originally a Shiva temple’: BJP leader wants Hindus to ‘reclaim’ Kerala’s St Andrew’s Basilica”). Anti-social elements and political criminals use it to destroy religious harmony for political mileage. – Bobby Samuel

Right note

This is the most exciting news l have heard about “light” Indian music in my life (“Gulzar on why Hindi films cannot be representative of Indian music”). That Gulzar Sahib has initiated it is not surprising. He is unique in his musical aesthetics in that he understands like no one else that prose is its own music. That music is not limited to rhyme and repetition. May I live long enough to hear a truly Indian opera. – CM Naim

Nowhere home

It is stunning that the government of India, my country, has called the fleeing Rohingya population of men, women and children fleeing violence and murder, an extremist threat (“Deporting Rohingya refugees: Why the Centre is wrong (despite claims of threat to national security)”). How in the world is this the same country that has, for millennia, welcomed people of all faiths and creed and imbibed their values? The threat is this thought process, of believing that helpless and persecuted men, women and children may incite violence in the future. What are we, as Indians, doing now? Propagating the very same fear and animosity that we intend on fighting in future? – P Ramachandran

Fake news

The words “fake news” suggest some kind of harmless mischief but these are criminal offenses under the Indian Penal Code, which are covered by the sections pertaining to dishonesty, misrepresentation, false evidence and the like (“Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh are worried about fake news. Will they tell the BJP IT cell?”). Why are those behind it not being prosecuted? – R Joseph

Cut short

How unfortunate that something like a dress code infraction should result in Kovalyov’s departure from the World Cup (“Chess World Cup: Canadian Grandmaster Anton Kovalyov forced to forfeit game for wearing shorts”)! As a Canadian admirer of Kovalyov’s gritty and creative play, I am doubly disappointed.

The tournament arbiter’s responsibility is to ensure that the tournament is played according to the rules. The organiser has the additional responsibility to ensure that the tournament is run in a positive way. The dress code issue does not seem to have been handled with care. It was 15 minutes before play. Kovalyov was dressed as he had been in the first two rounds. He could have been gently reminded of the dress code and then asked what he wished to do: go back to his room and change or come for the subsequent rounds in proper attire. Instead, the arbiter and organiser chose to impose their authority, demanding immediate compliance.
The result? The loss of Kovalyov from the tournament and two chess games of special interest to Canadian fans. – Roger Langen

Marital rape debate

Even if marital rape is criminalised, proving the allegation will be a big challenge (“Video: 5 claims commonly made to argue against the criminalisation of marital rape”). The existence of a law will just be an acknowledgement of marital rape by the government but may not do much to prevent it. The implementation of this law would prove very difficult and maybe even impossible with lack of proper evidence. Just like the video says at the end, whether the law exists or not rape is rape and one’s decisions should be driven by their conscience and not by the law. – Sudhish Puliyathamil

Spiritual sound

The best thing about the show is Baba Ramdev who brings a spiritual essence to it (“‘Bhajan cool’: Two words for talent show ‘Om Shanti Om’ judged by Baba Ramdev”). Also, his comments do not seem to be scripted and are spontaneous. I love this show and watch repeats too. I would like to suggest that Baba Ramdev’s bhajans be rearranged and sung by participants. Best of luck to the show and its organisers. – Jaishree Pant

Flood gates

As one of India’s largest dams, completed after 50 years, the Sardar Sarovar Dam should be one of the wonders of the world (“PM Modi inaugurates Sardar Sarovar Dam in Gujarat on his birthday, activists stage protests in MP”). It is also a true gift to Narendra Modi on his birthday as he was involved in its construction in many ways. However, settling those displaced by the dam is most important, as otherwise the whole thing will be a mockery. – Thykkoottathil Ravindran

Caste conundrum

Medha Khole’s education, position or caste is irrelevant (“Pune: IMD scientist says her cook falsely claimed she was a Brahmin, files complaint”). She has the right to perform religious ceremonies within her house in whatever fashion she chooses, no matter how silly, and to hire anyone she wants to. Laws against discrimination don’t apply to individuals in their household matters.

However, she does not have the right to barge into another person’s house at an odd hour and attack them. As she had no proof about her asking for Nirmala’s caste or having explained the particular religious rites she was performing for which she needed to satisfy some orthodox requirements, she cannot fault Nirmala for not reading her mind. Khole also does not demonstrate the understanding that she cannot use the legal system or police to enforce her personal, orthodox beliefs.

So, Khole’s complaint has no legal basis. – Raja Paranjape

Right note

This is a nice article on Jaidev (“Between music composer Jaidev and the big league stood that thing called fate”). But you seem to have missed a major hit in his career, Laila Majnu, for which he completed the compositions for Madan Mohan who died after composing Koi Patthar Se Na Maaro. Satyajit Rajurkar

Corruption watch

When we start taking action on politicians and political parties for disproportionate assets is when we we will actually find black money (“Why no action on politicians whose assets rose by 500% between elections, Supreme Court asks Centre”). Not only this, all corruption and injustice will be rooted out. For this, we need to adopt other another method of running the government. They should follow the same motto as the armed forces: to put the country and its citizens before themselves. – Gopikrishna Daga

Rewriting history

I support the views of Uttar Pradesh Education Minister and Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma (“Mughals only looted India, history syllabus will be rewritten, says UP deputy chief minister”). We should be proud of our ancestors like Maharana Pratap, Rani Lakshmibai, Subhash Chandra Bose and the like. The new generation must know about these great Indians. Ghaznis, Khiljis, Lodhis, Mughals etc came to India to loot it. Since they are part of history, the must get their rightful place, but their deeds, good or bad, must both be discussed.

History should be taught by narrating the recorded and factual sequence of events which are then accompanied by different perspectives, so that knowledge of the past creates a better capability to deal with future. – Pardeep Gupta

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What about Europeans and Americans who are still looting India? We don’t have courage to stop them. – Vijay Sinha

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I dont understand why this government want to erase recorded history and create their own. Where did the minister get this information from? Had he has done research work? Did he looked at historical data and literary works of the time?

All these attempts at changing history in textbooks, changing the names of roads and stations is being done to stir communal tension in the country and for the sake of political benefits. Whether historical events were good or bad, they need to be presented accurately. No one has the right to change or exagerrate them. – Tammy Malik

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This is ignorance. The British looted India, whereas Mughals made it their home and developed a flourishing culture. Their rule cannot be erased from world history. – Meher Raza

The real Ramdev

The author of the book has not met enough people linked to Ramdev or those who would help her discover the real Ramdev (“‘Tragedy follows him everywhere:’ What I discovered while writing my book about Ramdev”). She has not met his teachers in Gurukul, or discovered the time spent after Gurukul to become a Yogi. She has not discussed how Ramdev collected his first Rs 50,000 – to make his first appearance/live video on Yog.

The real assistance came from those people who never rose to fame. They have not been unearthed. – Trilok Nath Saxena

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
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