Letters to the editor

Readers’ comments: Congress was and is a corrupt party, 2G scam verdict will not change that

A selection of readers’ opinions.

2G verdict

One can appreciate the writer’s anguish, but the that this can happen irrespective of the party in power is reflective of the nature of our politics (“2G allotments set off a spiral of bad policies that cost India much more than Rs 1.76 lakh crore”). This policy of allotment without auction was raised by CAG in 1999 and 2004, yet no action was taken by the the government at the time till the Supreme Court intervened. Among those in 2G who have been acquitted are two very big business houses! As rightly pointed out, it is the people who have suffered because the implementation of the 3G and 4G were delayed.

Now, the drive towards digital payments is not supported with adequate technological infrastructure, especially in tier-2 cities and the rural areas. It sounds nice to hear of technological progress but actual implementation on the ground is abysmal. – SN Iyer

***

How and why will a special court order on the 2G case change the scam-tainted image of the Congress? The Supreme Court acquitted Prime Minister Modi of any wrong doing in the 2002 riots, but that did not change the opinion of your news portal about him. So Congress was, is and will remain a party of the corrupt and an anti-national party in the imagination of general population. – Sri Kotti

Lessons from Africa

I am in Indian living in Malawi and can rest assure you that Malawians are a very tolerant and civilised compared to what I’ve seen in India (“‘We are harmless and nice’: The Miss Africa Bangalore pageant breaks racist stereotypes”). What amazes me is the cleanliness of the cities, town and villages. In India, we talk about Swachch Bharat. In Rwanda, the president and the first lady sweep the streets one a month, without calling the media for photo ops. Traffic discipline is exemplary and no one honks! Everyone you cross paths with greets you. Everyone, including politicians, stand in queue whether at an ATM or a shop counter.

Malawi may be one of the poorest countries but India has a lot to learn from them when it comes to humanity. I’m privileged to have be working there and have learnt a lot from Malwai and surrounding African countries. It pains me to see how Africans are treated here. Yes, some may be on the wrong side of the law but that does not entitle us to take the law into our hands. – Gilman Hazarika

Muslims in India

Unlike the author of this article, I have a very distinct Muslim name, one that is hard to spell and even harder to pronounce (“Growing up Muslim in India: Even a secular name didn’t spare me the stereotypes and discrimination”). I read this article and remembered similar horrific incidents at the hands of my classmates who did not know any better. I’m lucky that all the tormenting experiences were limited to my school days and some ignorant idiots, but things have taken a turn for the worst these days. My 10-year-old daughter was called a terrorist by her classmate.

Our freedom of expression is being snatched from us. My name, my headscarves are fast becoming things to be cautious of. But I have decided to wear my identity with pride rather than cower in a corner. I want to lead by example for my children. Never had I thought a day would come were I would have to explain to a fellow countryman about having a different god to pray to and feel unsafe in a neighbourhood i have grown up in. – Faqrunnisa

***

Our name is the first signifier of our identity. Even our native place, language and accent are given more importance than our actual qualities when forming judgements. It’s a natural instinct of humans to stick to their ilk and to look upon “other” people with suspicion. We can call this the animal instinct. Unless the right social education is imparted right at the school level, such an attitude will prevail. – Salma S

***

There is widespread bias against Muslims. They deserve and are entitled to all the privileges, rights as other citizens of India. Let us give them a fair opportunity to live without fear. Hatred between communities is destructive, unproductive and slows down the country’s well being and progress. Let us all be good citizens and strive to march forward in the fields of economy, education, culture, sports, technology, science and so on. We need to be world leaders and an example to other countries. – Shankar

***

I empathised with Sahil’s travails and I assume my share of responsibility and shame for the bigotry, insensitivity and prejudices of those Hindus whose attitudes have affected him deeply.
Having said that, I don’t think things are gloomy as portrayed by him. Yes, discrimination is rampant, but it affects all sections of the population, all ethnicities, castes and any other divisive paradigm.

I am from Andhra Pradesh and I face discriminatory experiences in next door Telangana, my former abode, Chennai, or so many places in North India where I studied and worked for many years. But, I would hesitate to paint them as commonplace occurrences. I would instead, treat each of my many bitter encounters as only aberrations and specific to those individuals or situations that I encountered.

Let us all strive to respect each other and treat fellow human beings with dignity, love and compassion. We have only one life to live, and let us live it to the fullest, with love for one another. – Prasad Nallamothu

***

My wife and I are currently visiting several parts of India from Durban and are enjoying our stay. We intend to come back here in the near future, with our children and grand children. However, after reading this article and the so-called love-jihad debate, I am shocked, to say the least! What on earth is going on in this otherwise beautiful country that claims to be the world’s largest democracy? How will tourists like myself and my family ever feel safe and secure in such a hostile environment?

If this totally unacceptable and potentially violent environment continues whilst the governmental authorities, including the intelligentsia in India remain tight-lipped, I am afraid this beautiful, historic and cultural nation will head towards turmoil and anarchy. Or am I to assume that the authorities do not have a problem with what is very rapidly becoming the norm in India? – Abdool Kader Essa

Hate crime

When we read about the Rajsamand murder on social media, my husband and I felt insecure as Muslims for the first time in our lives (“The Daily Fix: Opposition’s silence on Rajasthan hate murder is a troubling sign for India”). It took us days to get back to normal and shrug off the negative thoughts.Fatima Poonawala

***

This is a very neutral description of the incident. I am shocked to read that a lawyer presented a cheque of Rs 50,000 cheque to Regar’s family to celebrate the hate crime. The investigators must bring out the truth behind brutal killing. – MR Saiyad

Bridging the gap

The Ram Sethu video is just a trailer and of course there are unanswered questions (“Raptures over Ram Setu video underline what’s wrong with our government and sections of the media”). But when you dismiss some news that strengthens our faith as a naivety, it stirs up resentment: against this article, against the media supporting such articles and ultimately against the political parties having the supposedly secular traits.

It would be easier for all of us if Rama, the Prophet and Jesus appeared before us and displayed their prowess. But religion doesn’t work like that. You can’t treat faith as a binary. It thrives on grey areas, which science cannot.

Lastly, the strength of the censure that Hindu beliefs and faith get from people like this author amuses me. Critique of similar practices of other religions are sugar-coated, either out of fear or bias. All this pushes us to vote for the party that we feel is the torch-bearer of Hinduism. Religion is an identity, a strong one at that, and we don’t see any other party saying or more importantly acting to protect our interests! – Karthik Ragotham

***

This article is beautifully composed to shake minds but unfortunately, it cannot make any dent in the the soul that finds solace in Ram. – Shubham Prakash

***

I don’t agree with the views put forth in this article. If the Egyptian people love their pyramids, why can’t Indians love their mythology? A team of geologists, archaeologists and historians should now start to gather evidence of the Ram Sethu. I agree we should not be superstitious but then in the absence of the truth, how can anybody comment on such things? – Vijay Telang

Gujarat elections

In the Gujarat Model for elections, vikas was demonitised and polarisation has become a legal tender (“How Gujarat was won (and lost): 28 charts that explain the election results”). Dividends of the 1998 yatra and the 2002 violence were reaped in electioneering.

Surveys and poll pandits explained that though Rahul Gandhi version 2.0 with the support of Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakore and Jignesh Mewani had gained traction, aided by the agrarian crisis and the unease of doing business due to GST and demonetisation, voters would eventually go for Narendra Modi. So the result was foretold, but the winners, the BJP, still lost groun and the losers won new hope. But the important question is: what next?

Polarisation has become an assured strategy for political gains and minority-bashing can may become a new normal. What happened with carollers in Satna, MP, is a sign.

Will Modi push for real reform or prefer populist measures? Will issues like the agrarian crisis and jobless growth find a policy-level response? The future does not seem to be bright and peaceful. Does anarchy lie ahead? – Shailendra Awale

***

The BJP slide has begun. The party was reduced to a two-digit tally in the Gujarat elections, despite Modi’s aggressive and underhanded campaign, despite his pleas to Gujaratis to support him and despite his various conspiracy theories.

What is heartening is that the myth that the BJP is invincible in its den has been belied! Congress gave the party a run for its money and were it not for Modi’s histrionics, the BJP may have ended with around 85 seats.

Congress must now take hope from the close fight and gear up for the battles in 2018, ahead of general elections in 2019. – Albert Colaco

***

The lessons from Gujarat verdict are loud and clear: cast and religion still rule the roost in India, despite the hullabaloo over secularism. When all talk of vikas and acche din failed, the political discourse easily shifted. Prime Minister Modi used cunning and manipulation to prop up his position and fan sentiments. Rahul Gandhi and the Congress, meanwhile, tried the so-called soft Hindutva strategy. The big takeaway for Modi and Co is that they still have a large mandate and demonetisation, GST have not changed that. The big gains in urban areas should be seen as an endorsement of these policy measures, while the agrarian distress in rural areas seems to have led to gains for the Congress.

None of the recent elections were fought like the battle of Gujarat, where the caste question was foremost for voters, including Patidars, Dalits, Muslims and various other sub-sections. Is this a good omen for Indian politics? The increasing menace of communalisation portends a dangerous situation for the integrity of our nation. – Suresh C

***

What is good for the nation is not good for a section of individuals. It is the doctors, builders, politicians and businessmen who were affected by the note ban because the poor man does not keep tons of high-value currency. Again, GST is not a new tax. It is the sum total of excise duty, sales tax, central sales tax, octroi etc. Those businessmen who were doing business in without proper receiots were affected were by this tax. Also reservation politics played a role and this hurt the BJP and Modi to some extent. But people in the know correctly supported and the BJP, which won narrowly. – Anantharaman Iyer

***

In the recent Gujarat elections, about 5.5 lakh voters chose None of the Above, meaning that if NOTA were a political party, it would have been the third-largest in the state. But in its current form, NOTA is little more than a blank vote. It does not impact the result. If 99 people voted for NOTA and just one for Candiate X, the winner would still be X. The Gujarat elections should be an opportunity for the EC to introspect and find a way to make NOTA more effective, to respect the people’s mandate. – Shashidhar Vuppala

***

It wasn’t Rahul Gandhi but the strategic combination of threesome, Hardik Patel, Jignesh Mewani and Alpesh Thakore that gave jitters to the BJP in Gujarat, giving it a narrow victory. To add to this was demonetisation and the hasty introduction of the GST that slowed down the economy and agrarian distress.

The prime minister must know that mere rhetoric and will not do, what is needed are few right steps to improve the economic well -being of people. This is what will fetch his party electoral dividends. Failure to do so will make the economy an albatross around the neck of the BJP for the next round of elections. – Karanam Rao

Gender inequality

The Kenya Women’s Chamber of Commerce is of the view that governments should ratify their Trade Agreements and implement rules that deny women’s Access to Trade Information, Markets, Capital, Land and Skills (“India votes against WTO declaration seeking to improve gender equality in trade”). WTO has failed to address the issues and instead is applying diversionary tactics to mask this failure. It is time for WTO to wake up and smell the coffee, for women are not taking the unfair treatment any more. WTO must not not participate in perpetrating women’s economic injustice. – Kenya Women’s Chamber

Indian connection

Professor Born’s influence is far deeper and more important than his seminal contributions to Quantum Mechanics alone (“Who is Max Born? Google doodle honours physicist for his contributions to quantum mechanics”). He guided numerous students who later became prominent in Physics - the list of his students and assistants at Gottingen includes Oppenheimer, Fermi, Heisenberg, Teller, Wigner, Von Karman, Goeppert-Mayer, and numerous others.

Together, his students developed the A-Bomb (Oppenheimer, Fermi and Teller), H-Bomb (Teller), explored the Solar System (through the JPL, headed by Von Karman), and initiated the Strategic Defense Initiative (Teller) by which the erstwhile USSR was brought to its knees.

Yet the Indian scientific establishment did not consider it worthwhile to create a chair for Professor Born at IISc in 1935, where he was already teaching on the invitation of Professor CV Raman! Talk about lack of foresight then, as now. – Siva

Literary tribute

I agree entirely with Robert Morrison’s stand on Persuasion (Jane Austen’s greatest novel is 200 years old. No, it’s not ‘Pride and Prejudice’”). It is my favourite Jane Austen novel, in fact, my favourite novel of all time. Morrison described the last scene beautifully.

There is another moving moment that occurs before Frederick Wentworth realises he is still in love with Anne. While she is looking after her nephew, little Charles, who has a fractured arm, Wentworth stands in silence at the window waiting for other family members to come home, and has nothing to say to Anne. Little Charles’s younger brother comes in and fastens himself to her back as she bends over Charles, and refuses to get down though she urges him to do so. Then she feels someone with a strong pair of arms lifting the child and setting him down, freeing Anne to continue her nursing.

Anne’s emotions, her flushed cheeks, her understanding that, though he may be indifferent to her now, he has actually helped her in her moment of need, is overwhelming. It makes us realise the depth of her love and the pain of seeing him attentive to another. It is a wonderfully understated moment. – Suguna Ramanathan

Birthing tales

Your story reminded of the experience my wife and I had when we were expecting our first baby girl (“To avoid a C-section at the end of my pregnancy, I went from hospital to hospital”). We too were adamant on having a normal delivery and after meeting multiple doctors who recommended us a C-section, our faith was restored by a seasoned gynaecologist with a reputation for natural deliveries.

Our routine began smoothly until D-day, when my wife started experiencing contractions, we got panicked and despite our doctor’s advise, we got her admitted.

Once my wife was in hospital, the doctors induced labour, but her cervix was yet to open. As she suffered a long and painful labour, I suggested we opt for a C-section, but my wife was adamant.

At last, after 35 hours of labour, my brave wife gave birth to our baby girl, naturally. – Prithvi Uchil

***

This is very courageous letter. Congratulations. I am a doctor who has trained thousands in natural delivery and cannot agree more. Yes, the maternity industry in India is growing rapidly and the government scheme of assisting with cost of hospital to poor people has increased C-section, most of which are unnecessary. – Arun Patel

***

Kudos to the author. You are doing a great job and we can take it to next level. There are many such maternity hospitals in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane which are doing compulsory C- section surgeries for all cases that come to their hospitals. The only way to stop this is by educating expectant mothers through sustained campaigns on social media and digital media in our close contacts of family members and friend circles. One of the main reasons why people give in to the illegal and immoral demand. Spreading awareness about doctors and hospitals that encourage natural deliveries would help greatly. – Sandeep Sheregar

Community diktat

In the current socio-political scenario, it is common to hear diverse groups of people, largely ill-informed, trying to spread biases, prejudices and convictions purely to fan hatred and disharmony. But when a modern publication like Scroll.in participates in spreading biases and prejudices, targets someone or a practice, without knowing the complete truth, then the belief that the media is up for sale gets strengthened (“Diktats against Western-style toilets, secular wedding venues leave Bohra community baffled”).

Wouldn’t one actually research a theory or even a controversy before printing it? Why should I, a reader, list out and bring to your notice the pros and cons of an Indian toilet versus a western one?

Millions of Indians have used so-called Indian toilets for decades. Did you look up the historical, cultural, medical and scientific reasons for the prevalnace for such toilets before printing your tirade against the community?

And aren’t we all guided by someone for the better or worse? And throughout our lives we are mentored by someone who we look up to, love and idolise: our parents, a special teacher in school, a professor, a best friend , a leader and sometimes even a boss. And we decide what is good advice and what want to follow. And the advice said makes sense, is scientifically proven, medically sound, economically meaningful and holistically profound, then what’s all the hullabaloo for?

We look at it as guidance and not dictum. Those who want to can look the other way. Who are you to ridicule it? You may shout from the rooftops but our belief and understanding of our faith, customs, traditions will remain forever strong. – Johera AQ

***

A few things need to be clarified to the general public regarding the diktat.

The insistence on eastern style toilets are for taharat, meaning cleanliness. It also has physical advantages of quickly and smoothly eliminating waste from the body. The venue for weddings has been restricted so that Islamic decorum can be observed. Dance and music are forbidden in Islam. Net dupattas are a show of woman’s beautiful physical form on display for all to see just before she starts a conjugal life. Mehendi up to the elbows and and knees does not look nice, while up to wrist, it is a declaration of female tenderness and beauty. – Insiyah Jamali

Food capital

Around this time last year, I visited Lucknow, the beloved city of my parents (“How the Ganga-Jamuna tehzeeb enriched Lucknow’s cuisine (and why it’s better than food in Lahore)”). The food there was no match to what we eat in Pakistan, especially the kebabs, chaat, mutton trotters, kachori and different mithais. Even the home-cooked food was amazing.

Wish I could come more often to this beloved city of my late parents. – Sabiha Alwy

Skin deep

First of all, vitiligo is not a disease (“For a nation obsessed with white skin, India still sees vitiligo as impure and unattractive”). We are different because god has choosen us. Secondly, not a single person in this world can say they are completely happy with their body. Everyone has one thing at least they would like to change. Plus, we have gained a community, and that community is of people with vitiligo. – Parikshit Singh

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