Letters to the editor

Readers’ comments: If unchecked, North-South population imbalance could threaten India’s integrity

A selection of readers’ opinions.

Population gloom

The article on the population imbalance between the north and south gives a clear idea of the economic problems in the country (“Indian population is growing much faster in the north – and the south is paying the price”). As a Malayali, I can understand the issues of interstate migration. Here, local wages are low because of the availability of cheap labour from the North. The native worker cannot support their family with such wages. Such problems seriously effect the happiness of the people here and income disparity is growing. Lawmakers and executives must seriously consider the problem and equitable income distribution must be ensured. – Ajmal Hakhim


Unity in diversity is the mainstay of Indian State. The Indian Confederation is strongly built on the doctrine of equality to all states. But there are disparities.
For instance, Kerala has 100% literacy rate and has taken great effort to control the population. On the other hand, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have low literacy rates and among the highest fertility rates.

But reducing the number of Lok Sabha seats in states with lower population is akin to punishing them. If South Indian states are less represented in Parliament, it shall worsen the power imbalance between the north and the south. This could cause serious dissent in the states, which can be dangerous to the unity of India.

It would be ridiculous to reward the States like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh who have failed to make their states more literate and less populous. – Nitin K Chaudhari


A headline like this can agitate an already tenuous situation in India, where people easily get offended on almost all the issues we face as a country. The editors should try to put a more generic and neutral title for the article. – Kanika Goyal


Thank you for highlighting this issue. I believe that the distribution of lok Sabha seats should be base on geographical area. This would balance the equation among states. Secondly, this government must effectively implement a stringent population control policy and implement the Uniform Civil Code/ This may solve many issues facing our country. –Narendra Pal


The article regarding the Indian population paradox is insightful and well written. Continue the good work. – Kousthubh Aithal


This is an interesting article. I wonder what the statistics are for South Indian NRIs and those from the North, as well as the quantum the remittances from abroad to both regions. It also seems likely that more people move out of poverty in the south and the rate of their upward movement is faster. My hope is that if it can happen in the south, it should also happen in the north too, though it may take longer. – Vinay Samuel


Each point in this article is true and also scary. The economy is already in turbulence. There is an increased contribution to India’s growth from southern states but poor allocation of resources to that region in comparison with the north. As a result, the southern states feel neglected. Politically too, the BJP government has more support in the north and those states also have higher representation in Parliament. This precarious situation may create dangerous discrepancies, causing a lot of disturbance in the country. Migration from northern states is causing population explosion in most southern cities creating water, power, sanitation and law-and-order problem. It is high time our so-called leaders realise this and take relevant measures. – Amulya Rupavatharam


Yes, migration happens, but it is unfair to say that the south is paying the price. Nobody can stake claim over air, land or water. It’s just as we have divided our area of living. Migration has happened throughout the existence of human civilization and will go on till its catastrophic end. – Vijay Chauhan


It was nice to read Shoab Daniyal’s article on population trends. He makes a good argument, with convincing facts. Unless we have sound policies to streamline population growth as well as the distribution of development benefits equitably, we may end up with migration driven socio-cultural uncontrollable problem. – John Chelladurai


The writer has highlighted a most serious matter, which can not only lead to a great disparity between the two parts of united India but could also threaten the integration of the country. – Udayan Chakraborty


This is a good analysis of India’s population. The article shows that the governments of southern states are implementing welfare measures more efficiently and following the policies. – Vengalreddy Sana

Evaluating #MeToo

As a traditional Chinese girl but with a western education background and someone who supports the #MeToo movement, here is what I feel about the Aziz Ansari row (“A bad date or something worse? The Aziz Ansari episode forces a rethink on the MeToo movement”). Should we women also analyse and separate what is sexual harassment and what is our emotional attachment? I do not think it is fair for a man to be accused of harassment because he cannot provide what a woman needed at that moment or experience. Is such a thing not what happens in every normal relationship in our life? Only in this case, it was related to sex. – Rachel Wu

Questionable tactic

This is nothing new for politicians or the Indian media (“Opinion: By exploiting ‘Baby Moshe’ as a mascot, India and Israel betray poor moral sense”). Did we not exploit Anita who committed suicide due to NEET, or the death of every student and youngster for various reasons? The media, instead of investigating these issues, try to raise vague doubts in readers’ or viewers’ minds. The advice on political morality is for our enemies and not our friends. – R Venkat

Plate politics

I wish our great concern for hygiene would extend to public places too (“IIT-Bombay row: Is separate-plate rule for meat eaters caste discrimination – or not a big deal?”). It’s more polluting to pee at every wall, throw rotting garbage into every storm drain and street corner, allow water and filth to accumulate and grow colonies of mosquitoes, flies and bugs, practise open defecation and manual scavenging, but we reserve our energies for this stupid vegetarian vs non-vegetarian battle.

Do IIT students check whether their cooks and helpers wash their hands frequently and keep the kitchen spotless? Is their hot water for cleaning the plates? Surely these are more important than using separate plates for non-vegetarian and vegetarian food? – Jamila Koshy


Outside view

Who is this chap and why does what he has to say need to be highlighted like it’s something we Indians need to think about and follow (“A British vegetarian’s advice on debate about separate plates for meat eaters: Get over it”)? Who is he to decide that the demand for purity is religious fanaticism? Do you not understand that vegetarianism is a personal choice? In India, it’s a choice of many. There are 7.5 billion people on this planet, each with their own views and self-fulfilling beliefs. How does showing just one person’s opinion do any good? At least the previous article of letters to editor made some sense and gave a general idea of what vegetarians in India feel. This Britisher’s article in no way balances that. What are you even trying to do with this debate? – Varun Shenoy


The idea of what is okay will always be subjective. Nobody cares about Mick Orton’s public acceptance of vegetarianism over meat eating. People have the freedom to choose what they eat and how they eat it. His willingness to eat in a particular fashion does not make it the right way and sitting on the same seat and holding the same railing as a non-vegetarian is different from eating on the same plate. The author’s judgmental attitude is a disservice his proclaimed flexible demeanor. – Chaitra Rama Murthy


This was an amazing article. Today, people are asking for separate plates, tomorrow, they may ask for separate currency and the day after, different air to breathe. As they say, an empty mind is a devil’s workshop. – Rakesh Soni

A dressing down

Can we have a similar art exhibition in India and have it travel various cities (“Video: An exhibition recreated outfits worn by rape victims at the time of their sexual assault”). If nobody funds it, please get it crowd-funded. There are many of us who are ashamed of reading horrible rape-stories from India. People who blame victims and question what clothes they were wearing during their assault should be given a special invitation or made to inaugurate the exhibition. At least then they will get to see it. – Anil Shukla

Raising the bar

It came as pleasant news that Indu Malhotra, who was only the second woman lawyer to be designated as a senior advocate by the Supreme Court in 2007, is set to make history as the first woman lawyer to be directly appointed as a judge of the top court, instead of being elevated from a high court (“For the first time, a woman lawyer is recommended for Supreme Court judgeship”). At a time when everyone is chanting slogans of women’s empowerment, it is a welcome move to recruit a woman directly from the Bar. It will encourage other women to go ahead in the legal field.

But, this alone is not enough. Since Independence till date, only six women have made it to the apex court as judges. Malhotra will be the seventh. And at present, of the 25 Supreme Court judges only one, Justice R Banumathi, is a woman. Women need more opportunities. – Asif Iqbal Qasmi

Book vs movie

Vikram Johri wrote an excellent, appreciative review of Call Me By Your Name, but withdraws his faith in the novelist who wrote the original story, as well as the filmmakers who adapted it, when it comes to Elio’s age, 17 (“Book versus movie: Gay romance ‘Call Me By Your Name’ shimmers on the page and screen”). Johri wonders why Elio’s father didn’t step in earlier in the relationship between Elio and Oliver and bring it to a halt.

It gradually becomes clear over the course of the movie that Elio’s parents understand the deepening relationship their son has with the 24-year-old Oliver, which suggests that they, unlike Johri, believe Elio can not only “handle” but profit from a relationship with a truly good person like Oliver. At the same time it surely doesn’t surprise them, as the father clarifies in his stunning final monologue, that a loving relationship can stir emotions and views of oneself that are transforming – even sorrowful.
“How you conduct your life is your business,” his father tells Elio in the final monologue. Yet Johri would deny Elio such freedom and respect. In granting Elio that respect, Proffesor Perlman maintains that we’re bigger for holding fast to rather than fleeing our deepest longings.

Johri sees, correctly, that Call Me By Your Name is a beautiful work of art. What he doesn’t quite grasp, I think, is that its empowerment of its young protagonist is precisely what gives the movie its lasting value, its permanent beauty. – Ivan Webster

What we eat

As someone who rarely uses processed food, I expected more (“How the safety of India’s processed food was compromised by orders from the Prime Minister’s Office”). This article lacks perspective. India has a high incidence of metabolic diseases because we consume too much rice wheat and maida, not to mention sugar and ghee, and high heat dry cooking methods which are dangerous.

The major food companies are a blot on any society, but our agriculture and dairy industries as well as retail food producers (like restaurants and dhabas) are doing further damage.

For someone who has been studying the links between agriculture, food and the damage to human and environmental health, this piece is laughably naive and useless for policy. – Srirangachary Varadachary

Hooked on books

Brilliant job. I am an avid reader and I see how book sellers cry that Kindle is taking over their business (“Watch: This pavement bookseller of Mumbai could teach all salespeople a thing or two”). I’m tired of every bookseller fussing over small things that don’t affect them at all. They cry because they don’t understand the requirement of book readers.

I have been regularly visiting this bookseller since my college days and he has been an inspiration to me. His reading habits and keen understanding of readers make him unique. Thank you for covering such a personality. He is someone who deserves a lot more attention, but the irony is that he doesn’t want it. Some people really carry the message of Almighty with them in the way they conduct their lives. – Jinay Savla

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