Letters to the editor

Readers’ comments: Gujarat campaign hit a new low with Modi’s claim of Pakistans interference

A selection of readers’ opinions.

Dirty politics

The vitriol-filled campaign for the Gujarat Assembly elections hit a new low with Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggesting that Pakistan was trying to fix the polls and that the authorities in the neighbouring country would like to see Ahmed Patel as the chief minister of the state (“By accusing Manmohan Singh of anti-national act, Modi has redefined the Opposition as the enemy

). Modi should be conscious of the fact that although he is campaigning for his party’s electoral victory, he holds the position of the Prime Minister of India and that responsible comments are expected from an individual of his stature. During the Bihar Assembly elections in 2015, Amit Shah had claimed during the campaign that the BJP’s defeat would lead to crackers being burst in Pakistan.

India’s relations with the neighbouring country are based on our foreign policy strategy and it is unfortunate that the prime minister seems to suggest that the principal opposition party is in tandem with Pakistan. Is he suggesting that the Indian National Congress is pro-Pakistan? – KB Dessai


Where has the statesmanship of yesterday’s leaders like Nehru, Rajgopalchari and the like gone? Today criticism is in the juvenile language of school children arguments. I hope one day leaders will say: elect because if I am good and not because the others are bad. – Gopal Iyer


It is highly atrocious to cast aspersions that the former prime minister, also a renowned economist, held secret talks with Pakistan over the Gujarat elections, or that ‘supari’ was given by a Congress leader in Pakistan. Where are we headed? Is there any decency left in politics? Respectable leaders are making such comments without realising that they are damaging the reputation of our mother land. All our leaders need to desist from making such unsubstantiated and lose comments. – PVV Raghavan


To hold a meeting with the Pakistan high commissioner without even informing the Ministry of External Affairs at a time of highly sensitive election is to my mind treacherous. Let us not digress from that and merely blame Modi for making his statement. – Romesh Mehta

Lowly comments

As the author, Ajaz Ashraf, points out, the word “jaati” never figured in Mani Shankar Aiyar’s remark so it cannot mean lowborn and one must not give the statement such a spin (“Neech aadmi: More than Mani Shankar Aiyar’s remark, it is the response to him that is shocking”). So why should the phrase “Mughal mindset” used by the prime minister be interpreted to mean pro-Muslim and anti-Hindu? Why could it not simply refer to its dynastic tendency? It cuts both ways. Aiyar should have been more careful with his words, even if they did not mean what was interpreted. He has always been known for having a loose tongue. Aren’t we allowed to criticise such distasteful remarks? – Nachiket Paralkar


Ashraf appears to defend Aiyar’s recent remark about the Prime Minister through the apparently specious argument that those politically opposed to the Congress could also be accused of making disparaging remarks about their political rivals. Surely, Ashraf does not subscribe to the view that one wrong act justifies the other and believes in the principle that it is possible to disagree without being disagreeable.

Aiyar’s recent rant came as a shock because before he donned the politician’s hat, this honourable gentleman was in the civil services (an IFS officer no less), from whom civility is the least that one could have expected. Aiyar may well be a great secularist but surely decency too has an important place in the political discourse of India. – Sumali Moitra

Money matters

In India, the common man’s views are taken into consideration even for things that would deeply impact him (“Should Indians be worried about the safety of their bank deposits? What we know (and what we don’t)”). Provisions of such bills are opaque and not adequately publicised. To inculcate financial discipline, corporations and contractors need to be disciplined and penalised, not the common man. An individual’s life should be given more value than the survival of a bank. Give more powers to banks to recover debts from wilful defaulters (who are mostly politicians or big businessmen backed by politicians). Banks should be as strict with powerful defaulters as they are with common citizens. – Kiran Kumar


Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Coporation Act 1961, protected a deposit of up to Rs 1 lakh per account for individual account holders. Currently, all fixed deposits and recurring accounts, including PPF, have been brought under one account by creating single ID for each person, raising the risks for individual account holders and reducing the risk for banks. With the introduction of bail-in Clause in FRDI Bill, it is highly desirable that the 1961 Act be amended, extending 100% protection to individual account holders whose life is dependent on their savings kept in banks.
I believe no government will dare to create financial crisis for common citizens and if that happens, I foresee a dark future for the country. – Shishir Kant


It is not possible to implement such a rule in India, where corruption is widespread among the political, bureacratic and corporate class. The sincere hardworking people will be looted by big companies. If the bill comes into force, people will lost faith the the present government too, just as they did with the Congress. – Patcha Ratnam


The Bill will allow banks to use depositors’ money to write off their wrongs with the support of government. This will also help government on their part to look good in the international finance circles solving the crisis of NPAs in public sector banks, thereby boosting the prime minister’s image. – PV Annam Raju


The government, finance ministers and the banks will have to address build confidence among the people, banks customers, that their money will not be taken from them. If not, people withdraw their savings or there will be some kind of political back lash. Why is the government is lax in prosecuting the big defaulters and those officials who loaned these amounts from their banks? – Chamakura Sathinder Reddy

History’s stain

This is the best and the most succinct article I have ever read in the last 25 years on the December 6, 1992 riots (“10 villains of the Babri Masjid demolition and subsequent riots”). Scroll.in has repeatedly shown insight and courage, at a time when mainstream media outlets have been repeatedly failing us on these counts, with grave consequences for the nation.

No matter what the trolls and the paid media stooges say about Scroll.in, you are a beacon of hope in these bleak times for rationalists like us. Keep the torch burning! I am sure sooner than later, we will see more and more rationalists rather than so-called patriots fighting the good fight with you! – Thomas Antony

Gujarat votes

The article claims that the BJP has not done anything for the Dalits in 22 years (“Gujarat’s under-22 generation: First-time Dalit voters want justice, jobs and a Congress victory”). Congress was in power 70 years. Can anyone list out what the Congress has done for the Dalits in that period, or for the country at large? Hardik Patel and his friends should let their agenda go. They should not not make this an ego battle: they may win, but the state and the country will lose. – Harish Dalal


I am a regular visitor of Gujarat and feel proud to see the inclusive development in the state (“Few people seem happy with BJP’s rule in Gujarat, yet the party still controls the state. Why?”). I like visiting Navsari, Vapi, Surat, Anand, Vadodhara, Rajkot, Vadgao, Mehsana and Ahmedabad as I feel this is how the entire India must be. I also love to visit parts of other states but Gujarat is the only state that has made me proud. – S Manohar

Note of dissent

I agree that Carnatic music today is dominated by Brahmins
(“‘It’s Brahmin bashing’: Singer TM Krishna’s remarks about MS Subbulakshmi spark a storm”). There are historical reasons for this. It was not so a couple of centuries back. This could be because of the Dravidian parties. In their objection to the Brahmins and support of the concept of atheism, they abdicated a great cultural tradition of Tamil society to a small sub-sect. Had they supported the legendary Tamil composers ( like Arunagirinathar, Sirkazhi Moover, Chittor Subrahmanyu Pillai and the great Nadeswara vidwans), Carnatic music with Tamil as the composing language would have thrived and lots of musicians from the non-Brahmin castes would have flowered.

Atheism never succeeded in the non-Brahmin castes – see the crowd in the various religious festivals even now. The non-Brahmin castes supported fully and wholeheartedly the Dravidian parties in their concept of “samuga needhi”, but not in their atheism. The argument that only music is to be discussed and not the followers of the music avoids a societal and cultural problem. – R Venkat


Krishna is an anguished soul. He sees music beyond kacheris. He sees music as stripped of all appendages. Deep inside, he may even be wondering what he is – a singer flowing free or a contrived social identity. His revolt, I think, is this social identity of his. I can see a parallel between his outbursts with sayings of Basavanna of 12 the century. I hope and pray Krishna finds peace. – Subba Rao


TM Krishna should not have commented about the great singer. Even before her marriage, MS Subbulakshmi was a popular singer. Krishna seems to have embraced the Dravidian culture of Brahmin-bashing. He should stop talking about the great people and should not have commented about someone who is not there to defend herself. – PD Amarnath


He seems to be confused about culture, religion and community. TMK is a good singer but is not qualified or experienced to speak on such a specialised subject. – Bala


It’s totally unjust to say that MS Subbulakshmi won worldwide acclaim because she followed a Brahmin way of life. The younger generation does not know her caste or creed but we know her mellifluous voice. Please don’t bring down a great singer with petty things. Music and art are recognised on talent and not caste or creed. – P Vani


There’s already a divide being created in the country and talented artists like Krishna should not bring up something like this right now. Why drag an icon into this debate. – Vakkalanka Venkataramana


TM Krishna’s remarks on Bharat Ratna MS Subbulakshmi are unwarranted. MS Amma is revered and respected not only by her contemporary musicians, musicologists and music critics but also by contemporary performers and music lovers.

It is not one’s birth, skin colour, caste, creed or education that makes them great; it is their hard work, dedication, upbringing and guidance that makes a person respected. – Sundaram Thiagarajan


There were and are so many musicians who do not belong to the caste he refers, but have thrived. Talent and luck matter in this profession, not caste. There may be a few exceptions, but that is the case in any profession.
All of us, at some point, take decisions that would help bring professional recognition or meet our objectives. There is nothing wrong with that. MS Amma’s husband also supported her always. There is no need to give a negative shade to it. – NC Sudhakar


It is wrong to make a comment on a legend who lived music, that too after her demise. Is this just a way to stay in the news? – Sivaraman Arunachalam


T M Krishna should understand that his strength is Carnatic music, not writing columns. His command over English is undoubtedly good, but his thoughts are not fleshed out. Carnatic music is on a grand stage today because it was preserved protected and fostered by a group of patrons who just happened to be Brahmin; but there were also many non-Brahmin legends like T Chowdaiah, Dwaram Venkataswami Naidu, or K J Yesudas. Krishna’s mission to take Carnatic music to all strata of society is comendable but his comments on this subject are not. – R Vasudevan


TM Krishna is dividing the musicians and rasikas on caste lines. This was short-sighted and he is in no way qualified to comment on MS Amma. His remarks do not merit a response. – Venkat Eswaran

MS Subbulakshmi took the path she choose. Bringing in such a great musician into unwanted controversies is objectionable as she cannot respond. – Rajagopalan NS


TM Krishna seems confused. Where is the caste system in the present? Are we working or leading our lives based on our castes?

Why do we go to a concert? Is it to listen to good music or glean personal details of the singer? Music is divine and we seek it for happiness and peace of mind there. Where does caste or religion come in?

With his comments, Krishna has created a big and unecessary controversy. MS Amma was a great musician and someone held in high regard internationally. Such comments about such a person are unwarranted. – Vijayalakshmi


TMK was stating a fact: MS Subbulakshmi chose to distance herself from her Devadasi roots, which was a compulsion for many at the time. To become carriers of our cultural heritage, they first had to sanitise their identities for social acceptance.

Rather than view this as Brahmin-bashing, we need to evaluate our current social structure. As explained in the Bhagavad Gita, you are not a Brahmin or a Kshatriya, Vaishya or Shudra by birth, you are defined by your intentions and actions. The fact that TMK’s statement is causing so much controversy is proof of the existence of caste-based inequality! – Tara Kini


TM Krishna is absolutely right. What is wrong with voicing an open secret? As long as Telugu is the dominant medium of Carnatic music, Tamils will not accept Telugu songs. Brahmin bigotry in Carnatic music must end to make the music popular. – S Athmanathan

Dairy trouble

Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation and its members should be allowed to become a multi-state cooperative registered under the central government and taken out of the Gujarat government’s control
(“The Amul story: How politics is hurting the economics of Gujarat’s milk cooperatives”). The cooperatives are bound to grow and benefit all milk producers in India and not just Gujarat. It should be subject to CAG audit. No sitting MLA or MP should be allowed to hold any office.

Also, most heads of milk unions are not qualified or recruited as per laws. This must change. – BM Vyas

Towards inclusiveness

This article on disabilities has touched upon many sensitive issues between disabled and able-bodied people (“As a paediatrician who works with disabled children, here’s what I wish more Indians understood”). Unless there is a change in attitude in the interaction between them, there is no hope for inclusiveness. I would like my photojournalism students to meet with Vibha Krishnamurthy, the paediatrician profiled in this piece and will include this as a project – Usha Kris

Muscle power

This barbaric act is only the tip of the iceberg (“Video: This is how a moneylender ‘punished’ a client for supposedly failing to pay back his loan”). We see such a vindictive mindset in many moneylenders and poor villagers are often the victims and consider it commonplace. They do not get justice. The highest possible punishment should be meted out to the perpetrators and heavy fines imposed as a deterrent. – Salma Bala

Real lesson

You can’t blame the degree. A degree gives you the tools and training to solving a new problem, not a magical solution to all problems (“‘My MBA degree from India had taught me nothing when it came to working in retail in America’”). This is why India is producing a lower quality of graduates each year: everyone is waiting to be spoon-fed. The most successful people around are the ones who took the initiative to learn. – Aarti K Dwivedi


The headline as also the excerpt smack of the author’s disdain towards his alma mater, customers and readers. Why would an MBA in India teach the author how to handle an American customer? Can his book teach anybody how to handle a customer in, say, Bangladesh?

Deepak Singh and his like end up creating inferiority among his countrymen back in India by showing his colleagues in a bad light. – NM Krishnamurthy

Last chapter

Some of the books and manuscripts that are in a decent condition should be auctioned to raise funds that can then be used to maintain the remaining books before they turn to dust (“Welcome to the graveyard of rare books, also known as the Saulat Public Library, Rampur”). – Prakash Thadani

GST woes

Thank you for this. It goes to the heart of the matter (“A theatre group in Bengaluru invited Narendra Modi to watch a play that protests GST”). Prasanna’s comments about the importance of labour, creativity of middle class and need for consensus-building are insightful. The labour class today is undervalued, creativity is directed to self-centred luxury and consensus breaking is the name of the game. Making the oppressed aware of all this and helping them realise their potential is the need of the hour. – Kishore


Thank you for this article. To protect our small producers, artisans, small traders, street vendors and street performers against the onslaught of the big corporates who have access to unlimited funds from banks, who can run up debts of thousands and lakhs of crores, we need a Peoples’ Movement. We should refuse to buy corporate products and look instead for the alternative – and better – products from small businesses. – Uzramma

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
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