Letters to the editor

Readers’ comments: How much pollution is linked to Diwali alone? What about the rest of the year?

A selection of readers’ opinions.

Without a bang

The ban only addresses pollution during Diwali (“Five reasons why the Supreme Court’s fireworks ban is misguided”). How much damage can one or two days of the festival cause? What happens during the remaining 363 days of the year, when there are no firecrackers, but pollution persists? What’s more alarming is how such big decisions are being made and enforced so frequently.

The Supreme Court’s decision comes at an odd time and does not seem to take into account how it would be implemented and what impact it would have on those linked to the fireworks industry.

The decision should have been taken up and made earlier and enough time should have been given to implement it, so that traders, employees and investors in the firecracker industries would not be so badly affected. The community could have instead proposed alternatives, like how the entire society should have a common fireworks show with a limited number of crackers. Also does the Supreme Court have data showing how much crackers alone are the cause of pollution?

The judiciary has thrown a spanner into the celebrations without taking into account the views of people who will be affected, the executive or the legislature. – Sajjan Agrawalla


Please put yourself in the shoes of a parent or a child suffering from asthma to understand the relevance of this ban. I have to take my four-year-old out of Delhi on Diwali because otherwise doctors prescribe steroids to avoid pneumonia. – Rajiv Chauhan

Ragging row

I spent 18 years at the IIT-Kanpur campus where my father used to teach (“IIT-Kanpur suspends 22 students for ragging juniors”). The times were different then. The campus was a close-knit community and everybody knew everyone else. Life was good, safe and peaceful. Ragging would happen even in those days and I have witnessed such interactions, but there was never any talk of intimidation or vulgarity. The turn this practice has taken pains me. It is painful also to see the brightest minds falling prey to such detestable acts. I don’t think there will be any use of their engineering degrees to them . How will they show their faces on campus after their suspension ends? The entire student community should learn a lesson from this incident. – Jayant Sharma


Well done, IIT-Kanpur administration! It is high time strict punishment is meted out to such offenders. – Dharmapriya Sinha


In all likelihood, the suspended students will launch an agitation and will get support from IITs all over India. If the ragged students also start a stir, there will be a civil-war like environment. In both scenarios, Scroll.in will get a chance to target the Modi government and Centre for the problem, as it always does. – Balasubramanyam K


If all institutes take such strong action against ragging, several student suicides can be prevented. – Shailendra Tiwari


Well done. IIT Kanpur is known for the severe and inhuman ragging. – Kailash Gahalot


It’s great that the students behind the ragging were suspended and this will surely send a strong message to seniors. This decision has maintained the decorum along with the reputation of the most prestigious institute of the country. The decision also takes into account the future of the suspended students as it allows them to rejoin the institute after their penalty period ends. – Renu Arora


I welcome the move. It can make those who indulge in ragging realise the purpose of college life. I thank the institution for taking such a bold move despite the damage it could have done to its image. – Abinayah Kannaiah


I welcome the bold decision. This should act as a deterrent in future. It is inhuman to treat the juniors like this. – Raveesh Chokanda


This is a welcome decision. It will be an eye-opener for students from other colleges too. – Dvlkrao Deshpande


This is a wise decision. It will deter students from being involved in such heinous acts in the future. – Atanu Chakravorty


As an IIT-Kanpur alumni I appreciate the decision made by the institute’s Senate. It will certainly send out a strong message. – Prakkash Porey


This is a correct decision by the authorities that will surely help bring down incidents of ragging. – Lakshminarayana Tadepalli


The suspension of students for three years is very harsh. I feel fortunate that I studied in institutions where teachers were extremely strict but had a compassionate side behind their tough exterior. The punishment should fit the crime, not destroy the students’ careers. – Navneet Mehta


The suspended students should be ashamed. The IIT management should have immediately filed complaint with the jurisdictional Police station as ragging is a cognisable offence. The perpetrators should be brought to book immediately and the law should be allowed to take its course. Nobody is above law, including students from institutes of excellence. –Lolaksha


A long awaited and bold decision by an academic body. This will hopefully comfort the new students and warn prospective raggers. – Dibakar Chakrabarty


It’s shameful that after spending huge amount on their education, students are involved in such practices. Such students should be immediately suspended. – Anuradha Wahi


I appreciate the decision taken by the management. This is a lesson to other students. No relaxation should be given to the accused. – Rajan Dn


As an alumnus of IIT-Kanpur, I congratulate the Senate for taking the right decision. They must have come under a lot of pressure not to take such a step. but did not waver, sending out an exemplary message. Ragging cannot be justified on any grounds except perversion. It must be rooted out. – Udaya Bose


The suspension will definitely send a strong message to other students. However, if the institute puts up the photos of the suspended students on display boards, it may find that to be an even stronger deterrent. – Susant Choudhury

What’s in a name

As this article points out, the word secular is a very problematic one in today’s context (“Proposal to remove M from AMU, H from BHU shows that India doesn’t really understand secularism”). Everyone is trying to interpret it for their own political gains. I doubt whether removing “Hindu” from the name of Banaras Hindu University and “Muslim” from Aligah Murslim Univesity will improve the standard of these two premier universities and truly make them more inclusive.

The UGC need to focus more on improving the educational standards in these and other universities rather than on their names. There could be a political motivation behind the move. – Arun Philip Simon SJ


I agree with Shiv Visvanathan. The UGC committee has strayed away from its mission. Being a BHU alumni, I can apprehend the disastrous impact of this suggestion if it is implemented. I hope good sense prevails over the UGC and the government. – RN Mishra

Taxing times

This article reflects the ground realities after the implementation of the GST (“‘This government is killing our businesses’: What small, medium enterprises think of GST revisions”). As small manufacturers of incense sticks, we too are facing the same problem. Our working capital is getting blocked under GST. This shows that the government is immature and inexperienced to handle the situation. They are changing the rules daily, adding to the confusion. And the rules are not practical.

For instance, if my the business of my supplier is worth is less than Rs 1.5 crore, he will need to file returns every three months under the new tax regime. But if my turnover is more than Rs 1.5 crore, I will need to file returns every month. How can I file my GSTR-2 every month when my supplier is filing it quarterly? I will then have to pay additional tax and wait for three months for him to file his returns to get back that amount. – Venkatesh TK


GST was implemented with the involvement of all parties. So, when criticising its implementation, I hope you too are criticising all parties and state governments, not just the Centre. If you are trying to single out one or two industries, that too before there is clarity on the new regime, and using their examples to show problems in the system as a whole, that is wrong. – Mallikarjun DVR


It is not a question of GST. The community should be made to realise that it is a nation-building exercise. Corruption and resultant suffering have existed for long. Teething troubles with the new system are inevitable and must be addressed, but as things get going, these creases will be smoothened. If GST helps generate sufficient revenue through indirect taxes, it may even help the government to get rid of Income Tax. So, we should put all our heads together to get India out of the rut of corruption and take it to a different trajectory. Let us not be misled by short-term inconveniences and petty leaders. – Krishnan VC

Urban mess

India, Bangladesh and Pakistan have some of the dirtiest (and most congested) cities in the world (“A rough monsoon has left India’s ramshackle cities more decrepit than ever. Get used to it”). There is also rampant land grab. Initiatives like Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan are good but may not have the desired impact because they require sweeping changes. But I don’t entirely agree with the author. There will be good news. Our cities will become better. – Surajit Som

Indian element

I did my BA in Psychology from the Delhi University and then a Masters in Socio-Cultural Psychology at the London School of Economics and can thereby vouch for the fact that the syllabus in DU needs to be revamped (“UGC says psychology syllabi ‘not rooted in national ethos’, sends universities revamped syllabus”). It is old and outdated.

We also need to develop a psychology grounded in Indian culture. The psychology we practice in India is divorced from Indian philosophy and Indian Sociology. This is not the same as saying that the psychology syallabus is not in “national interest”, but perhaps the UGC used the phrase wrongly? Perhaps it was making the more nuanced argument that it should be linked to Indian thought? We do need psychologists in this country to develop and integrate a more holistic idea of India in their practice, but we don’t need a nationalistic science. – Monisha Dhingra


The committee should work according to the ethos of the subject. Psychology, in a social context, considers input of data and samples from various sources, not tentatively from some dictating force. – Ajay Kumar


Teachers are sometimes are lazy about syllabus revisions. They don’t want to take the effort of acquainting themselves with the new syllabi and want to continue teaching what they have been teaching for years, with their outdated notes. – KS Gupta


Having been associated with this field for more than two decades, I too always felt that the DU syllabus did not equip students well enough. I have raised my voice and given feedback to academicians about the sheer waste of the programme in its present shape. The UGC’s view is perfect, even if a tad delayed. They should edge out those who unionise or prevent the change from taking place. – D Sabharwal

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
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