War of words
Yashwant Sinha is anguished. He is critical of economic positions of India only because he has an aristocratic coloured vision coming from an AC room that he enjoyed as a civil servant and a privileged minister in the Vajpayee government (“Dismiss Yashwant Sinha as a case of sour grapes, but you can’t ignore industry and data”).
Demonetisation is the greatest step ever taken by democratic India. The singular benefit is that those who used to buy power with black money have been disciplined. In the resultant good and honest work culture, money will flow to the poor. These benefits far outweigh the slowing down of GDP growth. Sinha’s statement on jobs slowing is fallacious. Any purposeful measure taken by Modi is in earnest and is destined to bring some benifits. Indians are now patient and hopeful. Don’t you worry, Mr Sinha. – SS Shrivastava
Yashwant Sinha is reacting to the temporary symptoms caused by the strong antibiotic injected into the Indian economy through demonetisation and GST. These are essential to protect the economy from tax evasion and the black market. The earlier economic boom in India was result of huge black money transactions and tax evasion by unscrupulous small and medium sector companies. Sinha is speaking against these measures possibly to come to the limelight or make a political switch. – Jay Nath
Yashwant Sinha should have used his wisdom to keep quiet or speak to people within the party instead of speaking to the Indian Express. He has lost his political relevance and should not have embarrassed his son who is in the finance ministry. With friends like Sinha, the prime minister doesn’t need enemies. This was selfish on his part. – Ramakrishnan Dorai
The state of the economy today proves that people do indeed get the government they deserve in a democracy. India fell for Modi’s bluff and is paying the price. – Asim Sarkar
It is unfortunate that the Hindi press took a pro-government stance on the issue of lathi charge on the unarmed Banaras Hindu University women students who were peacefully protesting the molestation of one of their contemporaries (“Blaming the victims: How the Hindi press reported the lathicharge on BHU students”). The press, being the fourth pillar of democracy, is supposed to report what really happens without prejudice, instead of whitewashing the wrongdoings of the authorities.
By siding with a university administration that took no action against the culprits and security forces that mercilessly beat the protesting students, the press has let down its readers and thus lost its credibility. Gone are the days when the people with a noble mission to report the truth and stand up for what is fair used to enter the field of journalism. A large number of people now join it only to make contacts with government ministers, powerful politicians and bureaucrats. They thus aim to join the exclusive club of the high and mighty. Such people cannot afford to offend their friends in powerful places by reporting the truth. So they write lies, and present them as news. To save further damage to their profession journalists with high ideals, must stand up for the nation’s daughters who are studying at BHU and expose those who ordered the all-male force to mercilessly beat them. – Samiul Hassan Quadri
Old is gold
It was a pleasure watching the 9 pm news on Doordarshan of old times (“Three Doordarshan-era anchors recall what a dignified era of television news looked like”). No bias, wide coverage, pleasing news readers and an interesting weather report – it had all of that. These days, you see hardly any news on TV channels, only shouting and time consuming arguments.
I remember we used to wait for Friday to watch The World This Week to learn catch up with international news. It used to be thrilling experience. All that is now lost. I have gone back to reading newspapers to find out whats happening. – Prakash
This article made me feel nostalgic. Another news reader worth mentioning was Luku Sanyal. She was very big in Mumbai. She was the daughter of the actor, Pahari Sanyal. – Amitava Ganguly
There are a few omissions. What about Komal GB Singh and Sukanya Balakrishnan? They were a class apart. Minu, Salma and Gitanjali lacked phonetic style. – S Kalyanaraman
DD newsreaders did not think it important to mention that the text was prepared for them by others and they were just reading it out. TV News is a great team effort, a production feat of gigantic proportions, especially today when there is cut-throat competition and the pressure to be fast as well as accurate. – Renu Kashyap
It’s so true, TV news was so much better in the old days. The article draws out the comparison well. We were so eager to see the news and look at the pleasant personalities. – Sushama
It was nice to have been given the opportunity to express our displeasure and dissatisfaction about viewing present-day news. Most of us treat it as a vulgar display of nonsense. Can somebody help put an end to this? – Ammini Sasidharan
I am not an economist, but I feel that there are simple solutions to this crisis that we are missing (“‘GDP slowdown because black money is blocked’: 10 reads from Left & Right on Indian economy”). In the USA in 2008 crisis, the Federal Reserve System ultimately paid more than four trillion dollars to financial institutions. This is indirect funds transfer to non- individuals.
We can take a direct approach and deposit, say, a couple of trillion rupees in the bank accounts of people below the poverty line, especially in rural areas . This will not only revive consumption demand in the ensuing festive season but also step up capacity utilisation quickly. This will hasten private sector investment, for which we have all waited so anxiously for more than four years now. We can similarly step up expenditure on MGNREGA scheme to address unemployment as well as the need to skill the workforce. If farmers loans can be waived, why not direct funds transfer for poverty alleviation? I agree this is not a text book solution. But it is direct and simple.I know the government will not do it and finally take a circuitous and inefficient text book approach.We will spend lot more and achieve very little in the end. – Suresh Raje
Prevention is better
After reading this article on the shortage of thalassemia drugs, I am quite surprised that the media is not fulfilling its role of creating awareness about social issues (“Thalassemia drug shortage hurts patients at Maharashtra’s free treatment centres”). Regarding the inadequacy in implementation of the current curative medicine approach towards thalassemia (or any other disease), people find it easy to blame the system but are unwilling to participate in the preventive and community approach towards a specific health problem.
For example, thalassemia is a genetically transferred disorder that can be easily prevented through screening and pre-marital counseling. I would suggest that you add some information on preventive medicine in articles about health problems as well as recommendations for common people. Prevention is better than cure and will also help ease the burden on a stressed healthcare sector. It will also save lots of money. – Sanket Talele
Thank you, Satyavrat, for this enlightening article (“‘It’s not just Church Street’: In Bengaluru, these three Kannada bookshops have their own identities”). Like you, I too was introduced to Kannada very late in life, but fortunately through my work I started reading Kannada short stories and translated a few. I would love to do more translations, with the help of lanugage experts, of course. I know my English is strong and my ethos is Kannada ... so i should be able to do a decent job. Thank you again for opening my eyes! – Keerti Ramachandra
NEET will definitely not ensure that the best students are selected (“The TM Krishna column: It was not just NEET that drove Anitha to suicide, we all did”). It’s simply a way for institutes to make big gains. How can a child belonging to a poor family ever join an institution to prepare for NEET? Even students who have done well in their board exams – showing they are good students and work hard – are not able to get good NEET scores. So is a child from a poor family not worthy of being a doctor despite getting good marks? I think selection of students should be done on the basis of Class 12 results so that every child from across the country gets a fair chance and there should be no more cases like that of Anitha. – Brishti Ghosh Chowdhury
This letter tells the true story of the tricky situation that Chakmas of Arunachal Pradesh face (“Open letter: Dear Rajnath Singh, the ‘limited citizenship’ for Chakmas is too little, too late”). A democratic government is by the people and for the people. These Chakma and Hajong refugees were settled by the Centre in erstwhile North East Frontier Agency, 1,200 km from their home in erstwhile East Pakistan, with the intention of permanently settling them after the war with China ended. At that time, NEFA, which had no resources and only forest area, was under the control of Ministry of External Affairs headed by the then Assam Governor. Chakmas were enjoying all the rights till 1980s, when NEFA turned into the union territory of Arunachal Pradesh and later, was granted statehood. So, Chakmas came to India and were settled in this region before Arunachal was born.
Agreed, the land of Arunachal Pradesh belongs to its indigenous people. But Arunachal has vast land resources and these Chakmas living out there constitute barely 3% of the total population. Moreover, when there is a disagreement between two parties, the focus should be on resolving it, not ousting one group out. Further, the Supreme Court has time and again has ruled in favour of the Chakmas and Hajong refugees and has directed the government to give them citizenship. So, it is the responsibility of the Centre and the state to implement the order. Chakmas are the worst victims of the partition of Bharat in India and Pakistan in 1947 and they should be given their dues at the earliest. – Bindu Chakma
We should look at things with an open mind, hoping that any small step towards good will be perceived as a big measure and will help make citizens proud of the country (“In Manipur, cynicism abounds over surrender of 68 militants – and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s role in it”). So, I appreciate Shri Shri Ravi Shankar’s intention, though perhaps not the scale. – Badarinath K
The essay and extracts from Premchands works the same show equal contempt towards all forms of communalism (“Premchand’s 1934 essay on communalism and culture is eerily relevant in the India of 2017”). But the fact that this article only chooses to highlight the one religion here shows the hypocrisy of the writer. There should be more balanced articles going forward. – Raghu Krishnan
What Premchand wrote in 1934 could not stop Jinnah in demanding and obtaining a separate homeland for Muslims in 1947. Was Mahatma Gandhi’s approach towards communalism significantly different from that of Premchand? Could Premchand succeed in persuading a majority of Muslims dissociating from Jinnah and siding with him where Gandhiji failed? How can a Premchand or MK Gandhi stop a division of India on communal lines if they failed previously?
People who are highlighting today the failed approaches of the past do not seem to realize the superfluousness of their argument. Only a unified cultural and historical identity of different religious groups can preserve the boundaries of what one calls India today.
In the post-1947 scenario, it is important to emphasise that Hindus and Muslim share a common ancestry and should take pride in the great achievements of their ancestors and remark at the destruction caused by the invaders, irrespective of religion or place of origin. India must not go back to pre-1947 and continue communal appeasement. Religion must remain confined to personal belief, and every event must not be analysed in terms of religion, by using misplaced quotations of some great individuals of the past who lived in a different era (undivided India). – GN Tripathi
‘Love Jihad’ row
Kerala is not in any kind of panic over these trifles, everybody has the freedom to choose their religion (“After Hadiya, now Athira: Why Kerala is in the grip of panic over religious conversions”). The news is gaining some unwanted popularity because of the media. – Arul Vyas Mohan
The propaganda has to stop. There is clear instigation in the writing. Let everyone live the way they choose, without any push to convert. – Sreekumar Sreedhar