Democracy under threat

This story on Chief Minister Adityanath takes the bull by its horns (“How does Adityanath withdrawing criminal case against himself not count as ‘jungle raj’?”). The BJP should be ashamed of choosing a chief minister with a known criminal record. Chetan Bhagat’s assessment that becoming a leader would make Adityanath more responsible has been proved wrong. Such people will never change, because they nurture a vicious hatred against a particular community as they find them an impediment towards the creation of a monolithic structure in the country.

Perhaps the people of Uttar Pradesh will realise that Adityanath was not their choice. But even if they voted for the BJP and not Adityanath, he is a BJP archetype, telling lies, committing crimes, and raising the bogey of religion. Only a mass uprising can counter such politics. – Ananya S Guha

Corruption watch

Modi is supposed to concentrate on the development projects, not on meting out punishments (“War on graft? Modi government has punished only 12 corrupt IAS officers in three years”). There are other organisations meant to do that. But unfortunately, their members have been appointed by the previous government. He has his hands tied on this front. – Irungovel P Arunachalam

Constitutional concerns

As a citizen I want to ask the minister how carefully he has read the Constitution (“We are here to change the Constitution, says BJP minister Anantkumar Hegde”).

Can he elaborate on its basic features? Before becoming a legislator and a minister, he would have taken an oath to uphold Constitutional morality.

If the Constitution had been written without any futuristic vision, how did it survive for so long? Isn’t this comment a mockery on the work of our leaders who tried to be as prescient as possible while drafting the Constitution? Also, does he understand the meaning of secularism in the context of the the Indian Constitution and how it is different from the way it is understood in, say, the US or France? – Dinakar PK


Reasonable amendments to the Constitution to keep up with the changing times are welcome. Sections relating to reservation especially need particular attention. The distribution of power between the Union and states and the Articles pertaining to Kashmir, to name a few, can also be amended. – T Prashanth

Remembering Farooque Sheikh

I knew Farooque Sheikh from school and college (“Farooque Shaikh said he did not wish to be remembered, but his films make him impossible to forget”). He never took on acting roles just to make money. Even as a student, he was rather upright and wished to make a difference without even hinting that he wanted to do so.

He was diligent and honing his skills was his passion, whether in films or theatre. This is inimical to the average or even above-average Bollywood coterie. Being selective while excelling at what he did was what my dear friend from Nagpada was all about.

I happened to be in Mumbai, though I now live in Tokyo, when he passed away and wanted to pay my respects, but hesitated that the crowd would make that impossible and mourned his untimely passing alone. – Vivek Pinto

Love story

Arun Singh took a bold and correct stand (“This Ghaziabad father defied BJP leaders to ensure his daughter’s marriage to a Muslim man”). However, one can’t help but suspect that the affluence and, therefore, influence of the person and the area in which he lived made a huge difference. Had such an event taken place in a middle class family, the police may not have acted as swiftly. Also, the less said about the neighbour, the better. These self-appointed guardians faith have made a habit of poking their noses into other people’s business. – Rajratna Jadhav


As the author points out, the process of marrying under the Special Marriages Act is cumbersome. How then are people to be encouraged to marry under a secular law? – Vrijendra

Books vs movies

Though I admire Priyanka Chopra, I loved the article (“Women in publishing break the glass ceiling all the time. Why pick Priyanka Chopra for a lecture?”). I agree with the questions raised on how a film industry personality is relevant to an event celebrating women in publishing. However, since Chopra is also a producer along with being an actor, I’m assuming she would read a number of scripts and this is a talent she seeks to encourage. So perhaps she can offer insight to writing from a different perspective. – Arka Navle


I agree with the author and wonder why people cannot be respected in their own fields. Please don’t be demotivated and know that there are people around who appreciate genuine hard work. – Upasana


I am so glad that someone at last point this out. I am proud of Priyanka Chopra and admire her for all the rule-breaking she did as a woman and an actor, but as the writer said, there are so many great people in our country with far more admirable achievements whom we do not know much about. Please continue raising your voice on such issues. – Naveena Veena


The problem, in my opinion, is not that Priyanka Chopra is irrelevant to the event. It is that that she is not irrelevant enough. A literary audience needs an intellectual challenge that can come from wildly unlikely and surprising associations. What’s the wildest, most unlikely replacement of Chopra you can think of? That should have been the choice of speaker. – Ivan Arthur

Language politics

Bengaluru is the capital of Karnataka and is the biggest market for jobs (“The Daily Fix: Pro-Kannada protests in Karnataka are a reminder of the dangers of language politics”). Owing to its close proximity to Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, there is a big influx of people from both these states into the city. While this makes it very cosmopolitan, it also means that a large number of Kannadigas from the interiors of the state have to compete with the migrant population.

Let us be clear. There is only one pie, to be shared by too many people. The Congress at the Centre started the trend of appeasing minorities. The Mandal Commission furthered the trend of reservations. As long as the issue of reservation based on caste, religion and the like are not addressed, such demands are going to keep cropping up. Instead pointing fingers at Kannadigas, it would be good to address the issue on a pan-India scale. – VV Rao

Tamil Nadu politics

This article comes across as an attempt to disprove that an anti-BJP mindset does not exist in Tamil Nadu (“Analysis: RK Nagar bye-election result is not an anti-BJP vote, as commentators are claiming”). There is a strong anti-BJP wave in the state. Also, reporters talk about money power as though it is only a problem in Tamil Nadu elections. This is the case across the country. In my opinion, the RK Nagar results show the smartness of the voter. They killed two birds with one stone: they chose TTV Dinakaran to teach a lesson to both BJP and its quasi-sidekick Tamil Nadu government. – Vijay Kumaran

Doctors up in arms

Indian doctors have played one of the most important but unappreciated roles in India (“‘Put on a white apron and spend a day as government doctor’: AIIMS doctors write to Narendra Modi”). They have managed to provide good healthcare to more than 100 crore people at a reasonable cost, in the face of tremendous shortcomings, but they mostly receive brickbats. – Anil Joshi


A doctor’s career starts at 30, after years of study. It takes immense hardwork to get into an MBBS programme. For years, they spend their days and nights in libraries. We have no time for Facebook or WhatsApp. We don’t buy new clothes frequently or visit luxury hotels. We don’t talk to our parents for more than a few seconds every few days. We don’t own branded goods. All we know is how the human body works. Yet, we do continue to work harder and harder, because we know our jobs are essential. We cannot compromise someone’s life. We cannot take anything about our work lightly.

But we have to bear the ire of patients’ angry relatives, who often beat us up, allegations that we are overcharging and ignorant politicians. Start respecting and understanding that we don’t intend to kill anyone, but sometimes, despite our best efforts, a life cannot be saved.

Even our patience has expiry date. If we stop, will India import healthcare? – Hrithma Shetty


I sympathise with doctors’ miseries in government hospitals. They are working in the face of threats from public as well as the administration. The facilities are abysmal and the doctor-patient ratio is among the lowest in world, so they are overburdened. To top this, they are ill-treated by the loved ones of patients. – Kalyan Sarkar


Doctors should not challenge the Prime Minister. Modi is doing his work 18 hours a day. – Ramesh Gundmi

India’s UN vote

Prime Minister Modi went to Israel and received a wonderful response from the country. But he came back and voted against Israel (“‘Now you vote for us’: Sushma Swaraj’s reply to tweet on India’s UN vote on Jerusalem sparks row”)! Israel a small but powerful nation and has independently defeated it neighbours. A powerful military and strong faith in god has made them one of the most feared nations. They have supported India whenever we needed help, but we have now stabbed them in the back. It’s a shame. – Yogesh Kumar Singh


It is shocking that India voted against Israel. It would have been best if it abstained from the vote. At International level, there are no permanent friend or foes. Only a country’s interests are permanent. And Israel has always helped India. – Narsingh Bahadur Singh


The least India could have done was abstain from the vote. I cannot understand how we could let Israel down. – Kaushik Shah


I am disappointed by the response. India should have sided with Israel. – Gayatri Sharma


I never expected Sushma Swaraj of all people to act with communal interests. India has made a big error in voting against Israel, which has always stood by us. We expected the BJP to win over Muslims through their work, not through this vote. – Krishnan VC

Event fiasco

This cancellation of the 105th edition of the Indian Science Congress at the Osmania University is the result of the utter negligence of the state government and their failure in handling such great events (“Manipur Central University to host Indian Science Congress from March 18 to 22”). Now, the government is trying blame on university, whereas the vice chancellor says he has no clue about it. Who is to be held responsible? – Shashidhar Vuppala

Startup trouble

I launched my company a few months before Modi introduced his startup policy (“Two years on, Modi’s Startup India plan is still starting up”). While a lot of noise was made over it, the plan has done very little to boost the startup culture in India.

One metric used to measure a startup friendly atmosphere is, the cost of starting a business. For countries considered to be startup friendly, this is less than 1% of the nation’s per-capita income. In India, the cost comes to 15% of the per-capita income and if we include the first-year regulatory expenses, it amounts to nearly 200%. This cost burden can kill almost all startups other than the well funded ones.

Instead of ease of doing business, the government seems to have been focusing making it easier to shut down companies. – Vijay Vithal

Hug it out

As a mother of two adolescents I was caught off guard by news of a Kerala school suspending teenagers for hugging during a fest (“Kerala hugging case: As a mother, I am horrified by the school’s hysterical reaction”). My heart goes out to the two children and their families for unwanted attention they are getting.

Kerala celebrates youth by encouraging festivals like yuvajanolsavam. Youngsters are bold, lively and energetic. They have no inhibitions. They do what they feel is best. This infectious enthusiasm needs to be nurtured and honed under the watchful eyes of parents, teachers, their well wishers and society in general.

In this case, the students’ actions were not so grave as to merit such punishment. Yes, there is a line that should not be crossed when in public and as seniors, these students serve as role models to the children at the school. Authorities have the right to take corrective action against students, but it should not be something that will be a blot on their academic record for such a small transgression. I pray to god that the students come out of this mess unscathed and go on to chase their dreams and reach their goals. – Ganga Padmanabhan


I appreciate the author’s supportive attitude towards her child. I hope the same goes for the parents of the student in question. This incident should have been ignored, shrugged off with a smile, instead it has been made into a perilous TV soap. The guru-sishya parampara is becoming extinct and in its place, moral policing is creeping in. But what I cannot understand is why the High Court upheld the school’s decision. I hope and pray that the children’s parents give them courage. They must remember that god and many broad minded people are supporting them. Childhood is to be cherished and not trampled upon in this manner. – Kurian Korah


It is beyond debate that the privacy of adolescent children has been infringed upon by the school authorities. At the same time, it is important to note that it is the responsibility of the school to take corrective measures. The school’s move to check social media accounts of children is appreciated. They do it out of a concern for their students’ future. The school here has played the role of a caregiver and anxious elder. It acted in good faith. The hugging of two pubescent students of opposite genders cannot stem from anything but bestial and primal instincts. We send children to schools to learn the responsibility, dignity and decency, not profligate, licentious and scandalous behavior. – Rajireddy Enukonda


Indians are practicing Victorian prudishness that the English had thrown out centuries ago. Let us hope will also culturally grow and develop instead of staying rooted in a medieval culture. – Rajan AT


It’s unfortunate that the school management has suspended students for hugging. If the school management believe that what they have done is not permissible within the four walls of the premises, they should have given a warning and perhaps their parents could have been informed. But this is an extreme step that could imperil their academic future. – Chandanssery Balasubramanian


I agree with decision taken by the school. Some amount of encroachment of privacy by school authorities is important to keep teenagers on the right path. Only harsh punitive measures can deter such things from happening. The concept of privacy should only be applicable for those above the age of 21. – Purnima Shrivastava


The school authorities are responsible not just for these two but all other students at the institution. They need to be protected from such nonsense. Such physical expressions are for a time in the future, when students have finished school, have grown up, are in productive professions and more importantly, in better health physically, mentally and emotionally. – Vinodkumar Padmanabha


I am irked by the nonchalance of other schools in Kerala which also make tall claims on discipline. It don’t buy the media explanation that the students were punished for a “congratulatory hug”. No school would take such a harsh step for something so trivial. So there must have been more to it. Why should a school compromise on discipline? – Dhanya Raj


The school has taken a myopic approach towards the incident. A very natural gesture, as a token of appreciation, has been taken out of the context and painted black. In such a penalising environment, the two genders will continue to live as aliens to each other. There was a better way of dealing with this issue. See them as children first. Step out of your ‘adult’ punitive mind. – Shalinikaliyath


It’s a pity that the management stood with the principal and not with the students. It is also sad that other parents did not support these children. Shame on them. – Narayan Pisharoti


This was a superb article. It’s about time we came out and spoke about this kind of moral policing in academic institutions. Most of it is connected to religion and I have experiences of my own. Keep up the good work and best wishes to the author. – Sreeraj N

Books vs movies

This is captivating piece on the fascinating interaction between books and cinema, which are compatible and incongruous at once (“Book versus movie: ‘Suraj Ka Satvan Ghoda’ is a masterly adaptation of a brilliant novel”). I like the way it alludes to the class struggle that threads the whole article. – Ravi Kotru

#MeToo movement

What I have learnt from a friend who is part of the #metoo campaign is that every woman has her own way of responding to the cause, and that no woman should judge another for wanting to choose her way
(“‘I did not know about Weinstein’s crimes’: Meryl Streep responds to Rose McGowan’s Twitter attack”). When we have women judging other women, then we don’t have unity. And women need unity in this cause. I stand behind the cause, but I do not agree with Rose McGowan’s judgmental nature. – Paul Johnson

Wedding bells

Will the so-called nationalists now also decide when one should get married (“Virat Kohli not a patriot because he didn’t get married in India, says BJP MP from Madhya Pradesh”)? Instead of interfering with other people’s personal affairs, this MP should take care of the poor people of his constituency. – Kamala Devi Subrahmanyan

Corrupting love

By implying that inter-religious love is to be clubbed with jihad, those who have developed this warped theory are the ones who are waging a war (“The Daily Fix: Love jihad conspiracy theorists paved way for a man to be hacked to death on camera”). If there is love, there cannot be a jihad. Love jihad is thus an oxymoron.

Such terminology is reflective of the corruptions of sanity and thought. Incidents like the Hadia case and Afrazul’s killing in Rajasthan are incendiary attacks to divide communities on racial and religious lines. The world love jihad is synonymous with the culture of hate. The very expression is a grotesque expression of devilry by people who want to introduce vicious hatred to the body politic of the nation.
Who says politics is mixed with religion? It is religion which is entangled with the worst form of unscrupulous, rabble-rousing politics. Religion has become a masthead for fantasy and hatred, malefaction. The behemoth of caste and politics have been foisted on religion. It is not religion that has erred.

But our more than wily politicians are holding this great nation, with its roots in diversity, to ransom. They are building a structure of one religion. They are recasting history to fan malevolence. The grotesqueness of the term love jihad is the grotesqueness of present day India. – Ananya S Guha