Letters to the editor

Readers’ comments: Thanks to TM Krishna for raising his voice in an environment of intimidation

A selection of readers’ opinions.

Worrying state

The award-winning musician seems to have been carried away by the occasion and is making sweeping comments (“A leader who does not apologise for genocide under his watch does not integrate: TM Krishna”). If his judgmental statements are to be accepted, even the Congress cannot be absolved of the genocide of Sikhs. We should take into account the grave situations that led to unfortunate events and the helplessness of the authorities in controlling the situations. For drawing conclusions on such matters, in-depth study and cool thinking is required. – Lingaiah Kenchegowda

***

TM Krishna’s conscientious expressions are like an oasis in a desert. Of late, though, one sees a reduction in the jingoism and attempt at homogenisation. But this is possibly because of the upcoming Gujarat elections. The ruling establishment seems to have sensed that these tactics may not lead them to victory this time. But I suspect that if they win, the environment will once again be the same.
Thanks are due to Krishna for fearlessly raising his voice in an environment of threat and intimidation. – Rajratna Jadhav

***

I appreciate Scroll.in for giving a platform to articles such as these. In times like these, when outspoken journalists are threatened, expressions such as those of TM Krishna assume crucial significance. If the fabric of our country’s plurality, which is our inherent strength, is decimated, we stand to lose not just the legacy of our rich heritage, but our humanity, as Krishna points out. The fact that it is the “generosity” of his art that cradles this humanity is a very moving thought, that all artists may find most inspiring. – Tara Kini

***

It is customary to toe the line of the award sponsors. Accepting an award named after someone who imposed emergency itself is a shame. – Vaidhyasubramanian Srinivasan

***

This speech by TM Krishna gave me immeasurable happiness. It gave me hope and strength to see that there are still people like him who are resisting the assimilation by the Right Wing. In the cacophony of breaking news, one does not often hear or read about him and others like him. Please continue publishing such diverse pieces. – Anuradha Prem

***

I do not know which genocide TM Krishna is referring to – the distant one Gujarat or one just a few hundred kilometers away from his home, in Sri Lanka. Both are deplorable. But not many people in India speak about what happened in the island in 2009.

Moreover, Krishna speaks at an award named after a Congress leader. The role of senior leaders of that party in the massacre of Sikhs in 1984 is there for all to see. Its alleged role in the massacre of innocent civilians in Sri Lanka was not as well known. How the Indian External Affairs ministry handled the UN resolution on human rights violations in Sri Lanka is an adequate testimony to the country’s complicity.

As a fan of Krishna’s music and supporter of his stand that music should not be confined only to elite, I believe he should introspect on whether he should have received award from the Congress whose track record on human rights was as or as bad as that of the BJP. – Ganapatiraman Chandrasekar

***

TM Krishna’s speech is beautiful and carries much hope for India’s future. I knew Krishna when he was a little boy and he grew up with my children. Even then, he showed clear signs that he would grow up to be a responsible, humane adult who would contribute to the cause of righting the wrongs of society. India needs leaders from privileged sections to speak up and fight bigotry.

Here’s hoping Krishna spends many more decades serving India and the world while following man’s true religion – of being kind to all. – A Kandappah Markham ON

In a name

This is an informative and eye-opening piece (“Land of Hindus? Mohan Bhagwat, Narendra Modi and the Sangh Parivar are using ‘Hindustan’ all wrong”). But the Sangh Parivar is unlikely to course-correct and seems intent on destroying the many-layered fabric of Bharat or India. In such an environment, articles like this are needed from time to time and they must be translated in other languages. – Ramsharan Joshi

***

The author needs to check his facts on how the word “Hindustan” came into existence, with reference to the Indus Valley Civilisation. We live in a country with huge cultural diversity and the media needs to function as a fourth pillar. Hence, polarising articles must not be written just for the sake of outdoing the competition. – Jaimin Patel

***

I find it hard to agree with the author’s logic on the name. Let us spend our energy and efforts on constructive issues. I would like to honour history and tradition on such issues . Hindustan is the name of the country and there is nothing wrong in using such a great name for a pluralistic country like ours. – S Acharya

Divisive legacy

The piece talks about Aurangzeb at the start but then changes tack (“Aurangzeb was a bigot not just by our standards but also by those of his predecessors and peers”). It is an example of improperly drawn conclusions. Having read Audrey Truschke’s biography on Aurangzeb, I feel that Girish Shahane has not read the book attentively. The biography follows Aurangzeb’s career as prince and then ruler. In the biographer’s narrative, Aurangzeb is portrayed as a deeply conflicted man, and the policies he adopted or followed are explained as a consequence of this inner conflict rather than a single-minded enthusiasm for religion or personal glory. Thus, Aurangzeb is shown to have acted in a contradictory way and the biography is an attempt to understand this contradiction.

I am not sure Shahane has understood the central idea of the biography because he falls into the familiar rut of selectively focussing on some aspects of Aurangzeb’s reign while ignoring others that are relatively less sensational in the present context. The lines that he quotes from the biography must be read within the context of the wider text but Shahane’s zeal to excoriate the biographer seems to get the better of him. He also conveniently overlooks the point made in the book that the Mughal Empire under Aurangzeb had the maximum number of Hindus (proportionately and in absolute terms) in its employ than at any point of time in the past, and that Hindu nobles held senior positions in the empire.

Second, Aurangzeb’s biographer lays out relevant historical sources and indicates that there are several historical sources that have not been examined by historians yet. If Shahane wants to make a serious contribution to understanding Aurangzeb’s life, he should consider doing original research rather than selectively picking on someone else’s arguments.

As far as the second part of the article goes, all of Shahane’s arguments are once again drawn from relatively accessible secondary sources. There is scope for further research on the matter based on investigation of primary historical sources (as well as secondary sources of a more academic character rather than articles published in news magazines). Shahane might shore up his credibility by drawing conclusions that are commensurate with the ambiguity of his findings, not by triumphalist assertions. The truth is often more elusive than it appears. I am less likely to be reading more of his stuff on Scroll.in in the future. – Venkat Ramanujam

Old wounds

The writer is comparing the re-examining of cases (like in the Anti-Sikh riots) or restoration of charges (Babri Masjid case) where investigations where already complete to a request for a fresh investigation, as in the case of Kashmir Pandits (“Losing hope: Who will give Kashmiri Pandits justice now that the Supreme Court has turned them away?”). These are like apples and oranges. Fresh investigation require fresh evidence collection, taking witness accounts so on and so forth. So the conclusion of the writer is incorrect as the cases are not comparable. That said, I entirely sympathise with the cause of Kashmiri Pandits and the need for justice. – Ashish Ahuja

Closed minds

This is a well-written and informative article that points to the alarming fact that many disappointed student have left the Nalanda University after seeing that it does not match their expectations (“‘It is a closed place’: Why students are quitting Nalanda University”). I too studied there and left last December, after completing just one semester. I do not regret my decision because I foresaw the irregularities and the lack of support. I want to caution my peers to to think soundly before investing their years and money into a certain academic institution. However, I am happy that the university enforced gender segregation in hostels. This was a necessary step for students to know their boundaries. – Sandeep Verma

Dengue sting

We need strong political will and active community participation to prevent dengue (“Explained: How rising temperatures might be helping dengue to spread through India”). Also, disease-prevention articles must begin from the start of the year itself. More than 2.5 billion people in as many as 128 countries are at the risk of infection by dengue viruses. The drive for reduction of Aedes breeding sources needs to be stepped up. But who bothers?

Entomologists should be recruited and given a free hand to plan and implement vector-control strategies. Otherwise, the scenario will worsen in the times to come. These apart, all doctors should be updated with the National Guidelines on management of Dengue patients. – Debashis Biswas

***

The situation is alarming and the government apathy is hard to understand. A mass awareness campaign and cleanliness drive is the need of the hour. All health centres and hospitals need to be ready to tackle emergency cases and have proper blood-testing facilities. Larvicides must be used. – Pradeep Som

Hadiya’s story

Should the court or the police not give protection to Hadiya, since a recently released video recording that has been released shows that she is not safe in her father’s home (“Supreme Court wants to hear Hadiya but allows her forcible confinement to be prolonged”)? Is the state not responsible for her freedom and protection? – Rashna Imhasly

To each their own

I’ve been a huge fan of Scroll.in of late but this story betrays an ethnocentrism on part of the the writer who fails to understand the nuances of religion and Adivasi customs in particular (“Watch: Why were the women in this village worshipping a kangaroo-shaped dustbin?”). Who can decide what kind of worship is suitable to whom? Instead of judging the people, understand the religious diversity of humankind. – Ila Venkatesh

Skin deep

My niece has vitiligo and I have seen her at close quarters (“For a nation obsessed with white skin, India still sees vitiligo as impure and unattractive”) As the author correctly explains, it is a subject rarely discussed. We have also suffered alonside her and healed as she built her life and learnt to accept the problem and live happily. She is 25 and lives her life the way she wants to and celebrates it. She is an example to all others. – Tupur Banerjee

Smoke without fire

Thank you for this interesting history of Sivakasi (“Video: How did the small town of Sivakasi become the manufacturing hub of fireworks in India?”). The fireworks industry is a cluster of 900 units operating without water and electricity and relying solely on man power . Sunlight is our only resource. Every unit has 200 neem trees that purify the air . We use waste paper and harmless chemicals. We never disturb our surroundings.We burn the waste in burning pits only. And we help spread happiness among people.

Pollution from fireworks lasts only for a few hours, but offers employment to lakhs of people. Fireworks bring happiness to you and livelihood for us. – Elangovan Natarajan

In memoriam

Thank you so much publishing this article (“Dina Wadia (1919-2017): Only child of the ‘affectionate but undemonstrative’ Muhammad Ali Jinnah”). It offers a different insight into Jinnah and how things were at that time in India. Pity he did not have a fairy-tale ending, but such is life. Keep publishing similar articles. – Alex Thomas

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