Letters to the editor

Readers’ comments: Starvation death of Jharkhand girl over Aadhaar linkage is India’s shame

A selection of readers’ opinions.

Death by exclusion

I could not hold back my tears after reading these two pieces (“The Daily Fix: A child’s death in Jharkhand shows how Aadhaar has failed the most vulnerable”) and (“Denied food because she did not have Aadhaar-linked ration card, Jharkhand girl dies of starvation”). It’s a clear case of utter negligence on the part of the state. Why are the Supreme Court directives stating that Aadhaar cannot be made mandatory for government welfare schemes not being followed on the ground? The government must ensure the necessary infrastructure is in place, especially in rural areas, before rolling out such plans. This is a very sorry state of affairs where we are unable to provide feed are own people and leave them starving to death. Shame on us. I appreciate the authors and Scroll.in for bringing the issue to our attention. – Kiran Dosapati


Despite clear Supreme Court guidelines on various occasions, the Jharkhand government is denying basic human rights of food, clothing and shelter to adivasis and poor people on the pretext that they do not have Aadhar card. This is brazen violation of human rights. Since Supreme Court verdicts are being sidelined with impunity, activists must intensify agitations and ensure that not having an Aadhaar card is never the reason for anyone else to die. – Sheshu Babu


I’m deeply disturbed by the reality of our society. Politicians’ claims of 100% electrification, Aadhaar seeding and the like seem to be baseless and false. They have been making a fool of Indians since Independence.On one hand we have people earning crores every month and on other we have people dying because they don’t have money to by food. Shame on the administration. – Geetinder Pardesi


The Modi government should pay compensation of Rs 1 crore from the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund to the family. – Jaidev Singh


Thank you for highlighting this sad story. While the rich throw away food, a poor child dies of starvation. Shame on India and Indians. Shame on the wealthy. – Ahmed


The BJP’s indifference and stubbornness should be condemned strongly. It is because of this that people are losing lives and livelihoods. It’s high time the judiciary takes note of these developments and implements relevant measures to stop them. Because of the note ban so many people lost their lives and the government refused to accept that. It’s time for the Supreme Court to step in before more lives are lost. – Amulya Rupavatharam


It is unprofessional to hold the Aadhaar programme responsible for a child’s death due to starvation. The author should have known better – it is the administration and the people around the child who should have intervened and who should be held accountable. The journalist fails to bring their names forward and instead paints Aadhaar as the culprit.

Is she anti-Aadhaar? Or anti-government? What is so difficult about getting the card made or linked to an account? – Pawan Kumar


The hardships faced by people because of technical problems and Aadhaar seeding issues must be taken up with the government department concerned. The Jharkhand case is just one instance that has come forward. I have also come across cases of senior citizens facing great difficulty in getting Aadhaar linked to their mobile connections. – Prasenjit Deb

Identity project

While the Aadhar system may be good, there are some very basic functions and facilities that have been overlooked (“Government saved $9 billion through Aadhaar, kept fraud under check, says Nandan Nilekani”). I found this when I tried to apply for Aadhar card for my three-year-old. He has a passport and a bank account in his name, but the operator could not link these documents to enter personal details such as name, date of birth, address etc. He also could not link the new Aadhar card to the existing Aadhar cards of my wife and I to enter details of the family.

It took me half an hour to physically fill and verify these details in English and Hindi. This is at a Aadhar center in Mumbai that receives hundreds of applications daily and can accommodate only a few. If we take into account the man hours lost in this entire still “not compulsory” exercise, I am pretty sure that the net figures will be negative. – Hardeep K Vora

Lost wonder

This was a detailed, factual and succinct article on Shah Jahan and the Taj Mahal and exposed the alternative facts that one seems to come across everywhere in India today
(“‘Blot on Indian culture’: Sangeet Som is recycling old myths about the Taj Mahal (and Shah Jahan)”). There’s great beauty in our rich and amazing history but I wish our youngsters were encouraged to explore and understand the reality of the past and delve into it so that the truth can emerge, instead of accepting a version tailored to suit one side. I enjoyed this article and look forward to more from Girish Shahane. – Ranjit Krishna


Very informative. If only they understood the language and history... – Zoher Kakajiwala


Your comment that skilled workers were hard to come by in Shah Jahan’s time is wrong and shows your lack of knowledge of Indian architecture. And yes, Shah Jahan can indeed be called a foreigner as Mughals ruled India for a relatively short period. Also, how can you rule out the possibility of the Taj Mahal being a Shiva temple? – Mallikarjun DVR


Ministers can say what they like about monuments that are a part of world heritage, like The Taj Mahal. The fact is that it was built by Indians and is something to be proud of. All rulers try to reinterpret history to suit themselves. But time will tell who is correct, the ministers or the beautiful monument. – Rajib Ghosal


It’s high time the citizens of India united to stop this controversy against the Taj Mahal. Else, the world may lose out on one of the best examples of artistry. We should be proud that artists and labourers from our country made these priceless, ageless gems like the Taj Mahal, Qutub Minar, the various forts, temples, churches and palaces which are impossible to replicate today. So, stop the madness before it’s too late! – Jyoti Madiman


It is unfortunate to see an architectural marvel like the Taj Mahal getting embroiled in communal controversies. But what is most disconcerting are the arguments made by a few Uttar Pradesh government authorities to justify their stand. Are politicians the new historians?

Second, instead of appreciating the beauty of this grand monument, we are talking about sidelining it. When bias and prejudice take over, our vision becomes distorted. Not just in India but across the world the Taj is considered the epitome of love and romance. It is also a huge draw for tourists, who are full of praise for it. It is a matter of national pride. The Taj is a national treasure. – Sharat Chandra Singh

Festival of noise

The debate is an environmental one, not a religious one (“‘What about Azaan over loudspeakers at 4.30 am,’ says Tripura governor amid noise pollution debate”). It’s about not just noise pollution but also air pollution. For someone like me, who does night shifts, it is hard enough to get a good night’s sleep and most days and on Diwali its next to impossible. Plus, these crackers wreak havoc on my health. And it is not just in Diwali, right from the time the festive season starts, noise pollution goes up. Crackers apart, there’s also music played on loudspeakers till the wee hours. – Chandni Kotian

Media freedom

This is a complete travesty of justice (“Jay Amit Shah case: Court order against ‘The Wire’ raises questions about media freedom yet again”)! A suit alleging defamation is filed, the hearing is deferred because the accuser’s counsel fails to turn up, and then, surreptitiously, the court convenes one day and an order that suits only the well-connected accuser is passed behind the defendants’ back and places the defendants at considerable disadvantage. This is an extraordinary attack on the defendants’ right to state their case! – Anjan Basu


Freedom is not absolute. One does not have the freedom to defame someone or malign them. News media makes mistakes in the rush to grab readers’ attention. There must be a check on such affairs. There can be a divergence of views but misrepresentation of facts must be punished. – Satyam Sundaram


If you publish a potentially libellous article about someone, can you expect them to keep quiet? When the Wire decided to publish the story about Jay Amit Shah, shouldn’t they have been prepared for this backlash? And how is suing them for potential libel a strike against freedom of speech? Every accused has a right to defend themselves, even more so when questions are raised about their reputation and character. – Mukund Dhananjay


Media personnel should not think it is their birthright to go to any extent to report or write on something. Often the media does not even care about someone’s privacy. False reporting to make a story colourful has become common. You are used to changing your ideology and ethics more than politicians do. – Ashish Debnath


India’s mainstream media and journalists need to look inwards and ask themselves a few questions. The Indian media is pained because the present government has ousted them from the role of king maker. This pain is showing in the way they misrepresent facts and publish misleading reports to push an anti-government narrative. They believe their biased reports will be accepted blindly by India. Finally, the courts are identifying and curbing the media’s corrupt ways. – Vineet Kejriwal

Dark days

A dark phase of journalism has arrived (“‘Hardly new’, says former NDTV anchor Barkha Dutt after channel takes down Jay Shah story”). Even as all leading media houses had succumbed to government pressures, NDTV was one of the only channels standing by its principles. By withdrawing the article of Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, the prestigious Economic and Political Weekly was one of the remaining stalwarts that showed timidity, and NDTV has followed in their footsteps. – Ajit Kumar Panda


It seems NDTV has also ditched all values of journalism and succumbed to pressure. I shudder to think of where we are headed. Democracy is in danger. – JS Ahluwalia


Hats off to Barkha Dutt for speaking up and taking a stand. We look up to such courageous women. She doesn’t need NDTV, she is a brilliant and honest journalist who will excel whatever she does. – Sharan Sidhu


I have seen her from this side of the screen through her NDTV career and though she was polite and modest at the start, she went on to become judge and jury in all her programmes. The Radia tapes and her alleged role also put the channel in a spot. NDTV was built brick by brick by Prannoy Roy. But due to poor administration, that channel is now going downhill. – D Viswanathan


It’s sad that Barkha Dutta quit NDTV over alleged censorship. If she starts a new channel or media outlet, we can hope for better content in the days to come. – Mazibor Rahman


It’s really sad if even journalists, who are the eyes and years of the common citizens, cannot say the truth. But some people have entered the profession only for personal gains, which has led to its deterioration. Barkha Dutt is a brave woman. The country stands with her. She shouldn’t succumb ever or forsake her ideologies under pressure. She is a star. – Pushhpa Maiwar


NDTV is one of the few remaining TV news channels that can still be trusted. Why did they let a great journalist like Barkha Dutt go? It seems to be difficult these days for media houses to survive and sustain by sticking to the truth always. As they say, if you can’t beat them, join them. – Wallambor Kynjing


NDTV is known for its unbiased reporting but it too is a business establishment that does not want to push the powers that be too hard. In this environment, the reporters and anchors have to take a call on whether to stay on or leave. This has happened time and again. – Sridhar

Rahul reinvented

Rahul Gandhi’s speeches show that he still has a long way to go (“Rahul Gandhi 2.0: Has the Congress vice-president reinvented himself or has the public mood changed?”). He should stop taking jibes at Modi and instead listen to the people, find out their problems and try to help them. People do not want a blame game, they want change. – Kamala Devi Subrahmanyam

Bastar potboiler

This has all the elements of a Bollywood potboiler (“Why Bastar police’s headline cases against ‘urban Maoist operatives’ from Odisha are falling apart”). But questions about the work of the police apart, what is horrifying is the magnitude of the problem. Among the three cases that have been studied, two people mentioned that they are afraid of the cops, thus making it clear that the police are not looked at as friends of the people. What is more shocking is the fear that this might just be the tip of the iceberg. Once again, hats off to your team for coming up with such a beautiful story that delves into the unquestionable power of state police forces and urges society to look beyond the surface. – Utsav Basu

Mishandled mystery

This article, with the detailed analysis of the apathy and corruption in the CBI, sends shivers down my spine (“The Aarushi-Hemraj murder case raises disturbing questions about the CBI”). Is this is the great democratic country have built since independence? I am really shocked and sad. This should be an eye-opener for the CBI bosses. – Srinivas Borige

Delhi delight

Ranjana Dave’s article on the courtesans of Delhi made for a delightful read (“A search for tawaifs in Old Delhi reveals a present that’s not always comfortable with the past”). She mixed erudition with personal experiences to make a brilliant concoction. As a reader who is interested in Old Delhi, I found her every bit like Dalrymple, whom she quotes in the piece. I hope to read more pieces by her. – Zahir Zakaria

Daily drama

This is a much-needed take down (“‘Dear Ekta Kapoor’: A message for the makers of regressive TV soaps from a young poet”). It’s high time our television serials show how educated women can make the house a better place. I stopped watching Ekta Kapoor serials that show non-assertive bahus. Please do not project educated ladies in a bad way. – Marykutty Cyriac


This video comes very late. Ekta Kapoor should have been stopped from making such serials very long back. Her shows spoil our culture. – Bhavana Lodd


This poem is powerful but pointless. My wife of nine years watches not just Ekta Kapoor’s soaps but the whole lot of serials on air today. I have repeatedly asked her to stop watching serials that demean women but she says they are good and entertaining. It has now come to a point where we don’t watch TV together anymore. It’s appalling that shows endorse this disgusting behaviour of men towards women and its more disturbing that so many women enjoy these shows. I’ve tried reasoning with some of them but have failed miserably. We as a society are also to be blamed for the popularity of the shows. – Santhosh


I used to be a big fan of daily TV shows when Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi was on air. A few months later, I joined an organisation for women and children and saw that the elderly women in house were always comparing their daughters-in- law to fictional characters like Kyunki...’s Tulsi Virani and Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki’s Parvati.

I realised that such content was destroying the peace in the house. Most TV channels continue to show things that women have been trying to fight against for decades. – Manisha Krishnapurkar

Right to choose

This is a very objective research, in spite of the inherent limitations of any thesis work (“To be a mother or not: Are Indian women any closer to having the choice?”). The feminist view of reproduction and motherhood is still a distant dream in a vast majority of Indian households as our set up remains predominantly patriarchal. – Chhanda Basu Mullick

Inspiring tales

I sincerely appreciate the team at Scroll.in for covering such stories (“In southern Rajasthan, this woman mechanic is on a mission to keep hand pumps working”). I hope to read more such inspiring stories in the near future. – Amit Goenka

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