Letters to the editor

Readers’ comments: Politics of the protests aside, is the Bhima Koregaon battle worth celebrating?

A selection of readers’ opinions

Maharashtra on the boil

Your article indicates that saffron flag holders instigated this violence (“Ground report: Bhima Koregaon attack may be fall-out of vandalism of Dalit icon’s tomb last week”). I would request you to withhold your verdict when the police have said that investigations are still on. I am a historian myself and have done considerable research on the Maratha empire and the battle of Koregaon Bhima. When you say the Peshwa administration encouraged caste discrimination, I would like you to furnish the research documents, which I assume you must have used so that I can upgrade my knowledge . Twisting the facts to suit your leanings is not acceptable. – Ashwin Satalkar


What happened in Bhima Koregaon was bad, but to narrate in along the lines of Brahmins and Dalits, the Maratha empire and caste discrimination is wrong and can fuel anger (“People with saffron flags allegedly attack Dalits going to Bhima Koregaon memorial near Pune”).

Both Maratha and Dalit groups were involved and people from both sides fought and got hurt. Are you trying to add fuel to the fire?

Not all Marathas are great and not all Dalits are being discriminated against. – Tushar Karmarkar


This is not exactly a clash between Mahar and other castes. The regiment that defeated the Peshwa army 200 years ago had members of all castes. It was a clash between the British and the resistance to their rule. Why should it be celebrated when Britishers looted, raped and murdered our people, using our own people? Politicians like Sharad Pawar immediately came out from their hibernation to blame Hindu right wing. There is nothing like Hindu Right or Left. – Vishwas Wadekar


I have gone through Mridula Chari’s article on Bhima Koregaon and I appreciate her spontaneous writing and great research. Looking forward to many more such articles. – Rahul Patil


Recent events in Maharashtra have brought into the limelight a very ambiguous chapter of history, the Battle of Koregoan (1818). It arouses bittersweet emotions from various sections society. On the one hand, it marks the victory of the oppressed Mahar community against the Peshwas, and on the other, the last blow to an Indian empire and the solidification of the British Raj.

Mridula Chari’s take on the issue, though enlightening in one aspect, blatantly ignores the other. To me, the battle as a symbol of emancipation is more a myth and less of historical fact. The motive of the battle was not to strengthen Dalits, but to dethrone the Peshwas as one of the last barriers to establishing British rule in India. They were not anyhow sympathetic to the oppressed castes and just appropriated the societal schism to their benefit.

I am not exonerating the Peshwas from their antipathetic treatment of other castes, but perhaps this is not the event which can be the pride of Dalits; even if 500 Company’s soldiers, containing castes other than Mahars, along with a British captain leading them, defeated the 20,000- strong Peshwa’s army (which again consisted of different castes, with Arabs).

For me, an underscoring aspect of this battle was the fall of indigenous Maratha empire to the foreign power who were cunning enough to prey on our vicious caste equations. – Mihir Trivedi

Different note

Not a single day passes for me without ever thinking about Yesudas’ incomparable voice that melts my heart (“Songs for the New Year: In the golden voice of Yesudas, words of welcome and of inspiration”). His album Sitaron Mein Tu Hi is his best work. I keep listening to its songs everyday. I learnt from that the lyrics for this album were written in the ’70s, while the music was released in 2000. Jatin-Lalit specifically wanted only Yesudas to sing all the 10 songs in the album. Great music, great songs, great lyrics, and above all, Yesudas’s voice make this album excellent. – Venkatasubramanian


I don’t know how to describe how I annoyed I was see the home page of Scroll.in’s app flooded with song recommendations on January 1. I kept scrolling, scrolling and scrolling but it was never ending! Why would readers be interested in a never- ending list of your staff’s song choices? You could have restricted this to the video or another section, instead of your home page. I thought Scroll.in was serious about its content. – Sivakumar

Mid-air tragedy

I was a classmate of one of the attendants on that flight, Madhubala Nanda, at St Mary’s (“New Year’s Day tragedy: A Mumbai resident’s quest to mark the Emperor Ashoka air crash, 40 years on”). Madhu was an average student, very reserved but very beautiful and always smiling. There were many in my class who had a crush on Madhu. On the evening of December 31 that year, my friends and I were leaving for Matheran to celebrate the New Year. I met Madhu near her house and asked her what was her what was plans were. She told me she’s flying out that night. I said so sad and she just shrugged her shoulders. We talked of things in general and I bid her goodbye and wished her a Happy New Year. We came to know of the crash on January 3 or 4, on our return to Bombay. We were shocked. We were neighbours and classmates and I had lost a close friend. – Gopi Karunakaran


We, family members of the victim of the crashed Emperor Ashoka, thank Debashish Chakraverty for sharing our never-ending pain from the depth of our hearts and wish him every success in achieving this noble cause in the memory of our beloved one. God bless him. – Shahid Gahlot

Political plunge

Rajinikanth’s plunge into politics is drawing the attention of all Indians (“Analysis: With Rajinikanth entering politics, Dravidian ideology faces its biggest threat”). A reel-life hero is looking to become a real-life hero in this crucial time. As a citizen of this country, I wish him luck for his political journey. I am sure he will have a great opportunity to make Tamil Nadu politics exemplary for the country. – Shashidhar Vuppala


This is on the whole a very non-Dravidian view of the situation, but what annoys me most is the reference to Periyar. The author says that “the Dravidian movement inspired by social reformer EV Ramasamy built its popularity by ridiculing religion and spirituality”. The Dravidian movement is a thought, not a gimmick riding on ridiculing something. The popularity was more based on what it did for the masses. – Ravanan Natarajan


Rajinikanth’s decision was definitely surprising not just as political development but as a signifier of the role that films and actors play in Tamil Nadu’s society. Leadership in Tamil Nadu since 1970s has been dominated by actors, from MGR to Jayalalithaa and now Rajinikanth. The films often act as medium of advertisement and the building block of election campaigning.

Change is obviously desired in Tamil politics and now the old ideology, especially Dravidian politics, is growing redundant. If Rajinikanth can bring in a new wave, it will be highly appreciated. – Shivangini Jha


The author is being melodramatic. Dragging the BJP/RSS into this is unwarranted and also reflects his bias.

Periyar and CN Annadurai’s fight for rationalism (anti-religion) was a failure. The Tamilians of all hues were religious then, and even today. The Aryan vs Dravidian syndrome was only a vehicle for identity politics as the so-called anti-religious emotions of the Tamil masses were channeled into anti-Hindi votes, which enabled the DMK to come to power. In fact, Periyar’s anti-religion views have only reinforced the caste system in Tamil Nadu today. The existence of various caste-based parties are a testimony to this.

A curious facet of the Dravidian identity is the enduring fascination with non-Dravidians. Did the screen gods and goddesses somehow replace the religious ones?

Tamil culture stretches back centuries. What we have been seeing in the past many decades is an anomaly solely driven by caste, dole and reel life dramas, not to mention a false sense of identity. – P Raghavendra


Tamil Nadu welcomes Rajini and Kamal Haasan to show their incapability in winning the hearts of people. They cannot match up to MGR or challenge his record. They will fail in their attempts.

MGR was with the poor and needy from his early days. But these two are distanced from the common man. The wiser option for them would have been to work with an established party for a few election cycles. They are too old to enter into politics. – C Rajeswari Chelliah

Fire alarm

Whenever such a tragedy occurs, the administration conducts multiple raids and inspections in an attempt to show that the law is being upheld. But this is all an eye-wash (“Kamala Mills fire: Owners of 1Above lounge claim the police investigation is biased”). Once things calm down, the vicious cycle of giving bribes and getting away with violations will continue. This is an age old practice for which no end is in sight. – Hoshi Marolia

Red planet watch

Mars lost oceans of water and not just a few fish ponds (“Mars may have absorbed water that once flowed on its surface: Study”). In my view, such large amounts of water could not have disappeared merely due to the normal chemical process of hydration or water absorption by certain minerals. What happened on Mars seems to be more typical of a geothermal change in the structure of the planet. My guess is that unlike our Earth, which is still hot and molten inside, Mars, being farther from the sun, lost its internal heat and cooled off much earlier. As the insides of Mars solidified and turned into hard rock, there was multidirectional shrinkage pressure, resulting in deep cracking and creation of fissures through which the oceans were sucked into the body of the planet. The scenario of Mars gulping down its own oceans must have been cataclysmic. Our Earth might face similar future. – Subash Kundra

Fertiliser fix

The four-part series on Fertiliser Subsidy reforms is excellent journalism (“How the government quietly scaled back its ambitious plans to reform fertiliser subsidies”). I would like to thank you for providing the information on complexity and shortcomings on the direct benefit transfer of fertiliser subsidy.

The concerns raised in the article are supported by some retailers, wholesalers and agriculture officers that I know.

I would like to point out that the redirecting of subsidised fertilisers to other sectors has decreased because of following reasons. The first is that the movement of fertilisers from manufacturing to warehouses, wholesalers, retailers and then farmers being tracked with the help of the Mobile Fertiliser Management System’s machine. The sale is done using MFMS too and an invoice is generated for every transaction. The machine does not allow sale of fertiliser to a single person within 30 minutes of last transaction. The transparency of this system and ease of access to information about fertiliser production, import, warehouse stock, wholesale, retail and total sales can be compared to the figures for the previous year to detect abnormalities. – Sai Praveen

Will power

I hope and pray that Shekar Veeraswamy gets the money he deserves along with the accolades (“He lost his leg, but not his will: Meet Shekar Veeraswamy, India’s top wheelchair tennis player”). I did not know about wheel chair tennis until I read this article. I hope he soon earns enough to get himself a bigger home for his family and his ample trophies.In sports, education is secondary and an undying spirit is paramount. – CK Rao


I too am an amputee and a wheelchair tennis player. I am so happy for Shekar Veersawamy, who has achieved so much despite the many difficulties he has faced. I hope he puts India on the international map for wheelchair tennis and do us proud. I too will practice hard in the hope of surpassing him one day. May he live long and be a role model to youngsters like us. And may he lead a happy life. – Sagar Br

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