Leading Tamil Nadu

TM Krishna is a great singer, but his constant attempts to appease certain interests through his anti-Hindu tirade are worrying (“The TM Krishna column: Not Rajini or Kamal Haasan, what Tamil Nadu needs is its own Jignesh Mevani”). Krishna wants a leader like Jignesh Mevani. Does he know the language Mevani used against the prime minister? Does Krishna want abusive leaders in Tamil Nadu? The choice of leader does not befit Krishna’s stature. He enjoys immense respect in society, especially from Hindus. Great way to pay them back. – KR Ramesh


Development should be the top priority for any future leader of Tamil Nadu. TTV Dhinakaran’s cool and unruffled appearance in TV shows indicates that he is a leader to watch. TM Krishna, in his bias, seems to ignore this. – Natarajan KS


TM Krishna should focus on what he is good at: singing. People love that. Why does he want to poke his nose into everything? He has been trying to grab attention. But my friend, politics is dirty. Please stay away from it. – Jayakumar AR


It is now common knowledge that the people who assembled at Marina Beach to protest the jallikattu ban were organised by divisive groups operating in Tamil Nadu and it was no spontaneous gathering. The protests against NEET were also by vested interests. I thought that after the Jayalalithaa era, there would be a cleaning of Tamil Nadu and the national parties would make some strides here. But alas, that has not happened. Tamil Nadu may have to wait indefinitely for a sincere government that will serve its people. – PD Amarnath


I do agree that the choices available to Tamilians are limited. But the Assembly elections are in 2021, by when many things are likely to change. Leaders always emerge from the masses. Moreover, we don’t know what the outcome of the 2019 parliamentary elections will be. People of Tamil Nadu are not fools to accept leaders only from the film industry. Tamilians now differentiate between real and reel heroes. Gone are the days when people would immolate themselves for their leaders. The people of Tamil Nadu want a leader who can protect their interests. Many don’t realise that people are forced to chose the lesser of the evils. The RK Nagar bye-poll results are a fine example. – Pandian


The mindset of Indians needs to change. Most people are okay with offering a bribe to get the job done. Unless there’s a massive shift in this way of thinking, things will continue this year irrespective of whether Kamal Haasan, Rajinikanth or Jignesh Mevani is in power.

Do people want clean governance? Yes and no. Modi, to a certain extent, is dependable, but he is also a human being with limitations. He should spend time in Tamil Nadu and carry forward some of Jayalalithaa’s projects. Develop the rural economy. Stop rural migration, provide low-cost homes, roads, solar electricity, banks, schools, colleges and hospitals. We also need more warehouses and remunerative prices for agricultural produce. Stop pollution. There is much more that can be done. – Govindarajan Venkatesan


My job allows me to travel all around Tamil Nadu and India. Wherever I have travelled, I have not seen any sign of oppression by Thevars, Gounders. Where did the author get the idea that there is oppression? I have seen casteism in northern India and parts of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, but not in Tamil Nadu.

It’s high time people keep caste away from politics. I have different reasons for not welcoming Rajinikanth or Kamal Hassan into politics. But TM Krishna’s solution is more dangerous. Above all, his support to Jignesh Mevani tickles me. What are his credentials? Becoming an MLA is no big deal, TTV Dhinakaran did just that. – Raghunathan KR


This article is shallow in its approach to a very serious issue. It is pathetic that the author underestimates the importance of an anti-corruption plank merely because people have accepted it as a way of life. Obviously, they did not have a choice. Forget the queue-jumpers and bribe-givers. Does the common man approve of the toll he has to pay for every little thing he needs to get done from the government? More importantly, does the author not realise that corruption is a huge societal overhead and a drain on the economy, making the common man pay more for the ordinary things he buys and the services he avails of?

Now, coming to Jignesh Mevani. Is the author eulogising Mevani after studying his contribution to the cause he has been espousing? He should look at the work of social reformers who have changed the lives of people without generating any ill-will. Take for instance the model espoused by Narayana Guru of Kerala.

Today, we need the Guru model more than the Gandhian model. It would be great if people would study a subject properly instead of coming to a perception-driven conclusion. – Easwara Narayanan


We don’t need leaders like Jignesh Mevani. We have already had leaders like that and see what they have done to us. Leaders like Jignesh only know caste-based politics. We need caste, religion and race-free politics. – Bharath Gowtham

Caste question

This is a poorly researched and preposterous piece (“Does the US have a caste problem? An Indian scholar thinks so”). This professor of the University of Hawaii is probably so far removed from India that he lacks the comprehensive faculties to differentiate caste from jati.

What exists in India is is jati, which is much more than caste. The jati system is not just segregationist practices based on work, but also an institutional agent triggering centripetal forces in society. This means that on occasions, the segregated jatis do converge under a single roof.

Under the caste system, there can never be an occasion where the cobbler’s contribution is considered on par with that of a goldsmith and there aren’t any occasions where various castes come together for a cause.

The problem lies in Indian universities and its academicians who are blinded by the English language and are so busy with the endorsement of Canonical literature that they are largely not aware of the realities of the humans in humanities that they set about to teach the masses. – Abhishek Sangavikar

Testing times

I thank the board for retaining the old system of evaluation (“Told to stop meddling in primary education, CBSE withdraws its unpopular evaluation policy”). I am a primary teacher associated with a CBSE school. Evaluating a child’s performance using different strategies is good. But preparing a child for Class 10 doesn’t mean that a child in primary school should be treated on a par with a Class 6 or Class 10 student. Psychologically, the child is not prepared to bear the burden of learning what has been taught throughout the academic year in one go. We want to make their foundation strong not only through written exams but also by focussing on their creative thinking, gauging their understanding after each concept is taught and researching a topic through group work, among other things.

These steps will help spark an interest in learning in children as they will avoid cramming. Teacher can sort out topics for varied evaluation processes in the beginning of the year itself. This will not only help children understand the concept but will prepare them for the competitive world. Today, this technique is applied in all corporate offices, business centres and even in the IT sector. Rather than focusing on the child’s performance in the Class 10 boards, we have to teach them to face challenges in the world and to shape them as a complete individual. – Unni Pramodh


If we are going to cancel the assessment pattern now, towards the end of the academic year, it will create confusion among teachers, schools and parents. It may also create a bad impression of the CBSE. We are still not clear on what needs to be done for Classes 6 to 8. – Akbarali Charankav

Education reform

I have worked in the NCERT for 25 years as professor, head of department and then dean academic (“Centre wants to merge three school education schemes – but experts say it is not a good idea”). I have seen and experienced the impact of all the three schemes. I strongly feel that all the three schemes should be merged and implemented with strict monitoring. This will fix the responsibility of the implementing agency and ensure quality. – Hukum Singh

Looking back at Doklam

The Doklam stand-off was necessary for the Chinese political leadership to curb the People’s Liberation Army after the National Congress of the Communist Party on October 18, 2017 (“India, China ‘experienced enough’ to handle hurdles like Doklam standoff, says new Indian envoy”). Most national security strategy watchers could have deduced this.

India’s decision-making body today is not like that of the pre-2014 period, which permitted the erosion of national and political will to tackle China. The present national security adviser has no illusions about China’s capacity, capability or political intent to implement and safeguard Chin’s national interests.

China is three times stronger than India in these areas and unless a catastrophic situation Balkanises that country, it will be very difficult to match them anytime soon. However, with the Doklam issue, China came across a different India that combined diplomacy with military capability in a geographical area where the Asian giant was at a disadvantage. The Chinese political leadership had to prevent escalation by ensuring that their Army did not indulge in any brinkmanship.

China realises now that the national security policy-making apparatus in India comrpises of alter egos of the prime minister and the Ministry of External Affairs is meant for the softer side of diplomacy, done only to gain credibility through dialogue.

Yes, China is a concern for India and hence the foreign secretary and the ambassador Gautam Bambawale are on the same frequency as both are old China hands. Realistically, it will be long before the India-China border issues are resolved no matter how many billions of dollars are sunk by China on CPEC. Most interesting will be to see how the Modi government utlises the former foreign secretary whose term recently ended. A person who has competence with intelligence along with experience and good judgement cannot be discarded. Let the Asian drama unfold. – Gautam Sen

Sound and soul

Beautiful article. It shows that every artist’s creation, be it a poem or composition, needs an intelligent and compassionate critic (“Audio master: ‘Bandini’ is about crossings real and imagined, literal and metaphorical”). The writer is certainly someone who not just understands the poetry but also transmits the beauty of the composition into the minds of readers with simple words and without effort. – Milind Hiray

Movie reviews

This review was inane (“‘Kuldip Patwal: I Didn’t Do It!’ film review: We don’t care who did either”). Why talk about the fake moustache? Do you think everything in Padmaavat is real? What about Salman Khan’s moustache in Sultan or Amitabh Bachchan’s get-up in Pink or Piku? I have seen this before and there are great moments in it, none of which you thought deserved a mention. If you do not care, you should not have written about it. – Adesh Firang

The other

“Degenerate”, “treacherous”, “demented”... you said it all (“Ranveer Singh on playing Alauddin Khilji as a ‘sexy villain’: ‘Lust was one of the starting points’”)! That’s what the “other” is, isn’t it? Thank you Ranveer Singh and Sanjay Leela Bhansali for your valuable contribution to revisionist Indian history. We don’t need research any longer. We will just see your films for the truth. – Ghazala Akbar