Letters to the editor

Readers’ comments: With Sridevi’s death, we feel we have lost one of our own

A selection of readers’ opinions.

Loss of a legend

This is the biggest loss to Indian cinema (“Sridevi (1963-2018): Acting powerhouse, dancer extraordinaire, comedy queen”). It is unbelievable and shocking. We grew up watching the beautiful actress’s movies. She was a magic, a lucky charm and a firebrand, wonderful in every way. Whether drama, romance or comedy, Sridevi was the best choice for all. She will be alive forever in the hearts of her fans. She was an inspiration to many. We love her and always will. Rest in peace. – Gurpreet Ahluwalia

***

I am shocked to hear of the demise of our hearthrob. Who can forget films like Sadma, Chandni, Lamhe, Khuda Gawah and Nigahe? – Pradeep Mukherjee

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The entire nation is in shock. Though we only knew her through her work as an actress, it feels like we have lost one of our own. – Srishti Rajan

***

A great loss to Indian cinema and fans. She was an outstanding actress with a beautiful family. May she rest in eternal peace. She made many people happy. – Ahamed

Today’s India Today

It’s quite unfortunate to know that India Today, which boasts of the country’s “most democratic newsroom”, could sack an editor for pointing out mistakes within (“India Today’s 1992 Babri issue was a model for journalists – unlike its recent sacking of an editor”). As far as the magazine of the 1990s is concerned, that was a time when the editor was all powerful in a media house. Now, with the constant meddling of producers, the quality of the mainstream media is on the decline and has reached a new ebb.

The media is considered the fourth pillar of democracy, meant to show us what the other three pillars kept hidden from the people. If the Indian media doesn’t buckle up, we’ll be in the same position as other failed democracies. – Shubham Patil

***

As someone researching media’s role in evolving a better and more rational society, I think Priya Ramani should be asking much more of the press than “holding governments accountable”!

No one can hold governments to account, as they have come to power with certain definite plans and determinations. Power has this very ugly feature: it can’t stand criticism from or freedom of those under its authority. That is a challenge to their authority and hence not at all acceptable! So, if media holds the view that their sacred duty is to hold governments to account, that is absolutely falsehood.

If the media truly represents the people, the rest will follow. The media will then be hurt by most of the government’s actions and will naturally react in the most natural way. This change in indentity will be a paradigm shift, which will change their narrative style.

I hold the media chiefly responsible for the modern fallen world. – Abraham Joseph

Tendulkar’s legacy

This is yet another example of Tendulkar worship (“Data check: Three charts that show how ODI batting was never the same after Sachin Tendulkar’s 200”). For someone who opened for India for as long as he did, it was time he added one more statistical feat to his CV. I am of course not taking away credit that was due to him and that would be considerable even if we had refrained from unnecessarily genuflecting before his genius. It was, I believe, Sehwag who first said that a double century is quite achievable in 50 overs cricket. And he was close to achieving it in the first half of his career, but he failed to get a regular place thanks to the reserve-for-Tendulkar opener policy.

The statistics bandied here do not take into account factors such as the various rule changes in power plays, fielder restrictions, smaller boundaries, the rise of T20 cricket and the like. One-day cricket, especially batting, changed over the years owing to multiple factors. Tendulkar’s double century was just a product of these changes, which is also the case of the others who followed. Rohit Sharma, of course deserves credit as he has done it thrice! – Trailokya Jena

Sky-high dreams

It was just an MoU and details are sparse (“Reality check: Maharashtra’s deal with pilot who built aircraft on rooftop is money down the drain”). Like every venture, it may or may not be successful. Enough safeguards will be built into every deal and that is the job of the officials. And all these details will obviously be in the public domain in due course. But that did not stop this author from passing a judgement and criticising the deal, only because it involved a BJP government. The same author would have praised this deal had it been by a Congress government and would have write tomes about how the leadership of Rahul Gandhi is encouraging and promoting startups. A pathetic article on a pathetic platform. – Sri Kotti

Parliament watch

Swami Agivesh has rightly summed up the chasm between Gandhi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s thought processes (“Narendra Modi diminished his office by selectively invoking Mahatma Gandhi in Parliament”). Ever since the Modi government took charge in 2014, communal hatred has erupted in diverse pockets of India. Innocent people are killed in the name of cow vigilantism or for merely practicing their religions.

Non-issues are hogging the limelight whereas key problems remained unaddressed. Current concerns like health, law and order, women’s safety and the decreasing confidence of people in the banking sector are being neglected. – Akshay Singh Dadhwal

***

This is a beautifully written article. I am sure that intelligent and sensible people in this country would have certainly taken note of BJP patriarch Advani’s silence on Modi’s desecrating statements in Parliament. In the past, Advani has publicly expressed his displeasure against the practice of stalling Parliament quite. The question that arises is: which of these acts lower the dignity of Parliament more? Desecration, or stalling? – TD Thampi

Media curbs

The gag order on The Wire wire is totally unwarranted (“Jay Shah defamation case: Gujarat High Court restores gag order on The Wire”). There is usually hardly any communication between the media and common man. But an exception is The Wire, which has been doing extremely good work. – Neelima Nair

***

The paper published a scandalous article, with the intention to defame the BJP. They should wait for the court verdict. The purpose of the article that is the subject of the case was to spoil the BJP’s chances in the Gujarat elections. The publication cannot go on insulting people in the name of press freedom. – Subramanya Srinivasan

Much ado

I can’t understand the fuss over Donald Trump Jr’s remarks about India’s poor people (“Watch: Trump Jr believes India’s poorest people are unique. Apparently they are always smiling”). It seemed like a genuine statement. Is it politically correct? Well, it may be not smooth, but it is not incorrect.

I don’t know what kind of a person Trump Jr is, nor do I know any news or history about him. So, I am commenting on his words from neutral perspective. To me, his comments seemed genuine and their meaning was clear too. Such a sentiment has often been reflected in Indian cinema too and even parents use this example to tell children that money is not everything.

So, are you sure your views are without prejudice, and are not influenced by the fact that words came from a ridiculously rich brat from an influential family in a wealthy nation (and not to mention anything about his father)?

If so, how are you any different from all those other people who are intolerant to someone expressing their views with no malice? – Krishnan Mk

Court crisis

This is in essence a case of miscarriage of justice, committed by a single judge (“Supreme Court controversy: Judges are at odds again, this time over a land acquisition ruling”). It shows blatant disregard not only of the essential elements of law, but also of the hardship faced by litigants in anticipation of justice from the highest forum, which is expected to dispense justice in accordance with the law and its settled principles. – Ashish

In memoriam

This is an inspiring write up. Faiz Ahmed Faiz gave moral courage to many mass movements in South Asia (“Faiz Ahmed Faiz: Pakistan’s symbol of revolution is today a universal symbol of peace, democracy”). His poems and lyrics have been heard and appreciated by people of different creeds and languages. Many began writing poetry after being inspired by him. His Urdu poems and lyrics not only made Urdu an international language but also made many non- Urdu speaking people learn it with passion. – Sheshu Babu

Mind matters

I visited Auroville in 1998 and saw mostly older, white people there (“‘Is Auroville a mirage? Have I wasted my life? Of course, the nightmare ends’: Re-entering Auroville”). It looked more like a community for retired people than an international centre for idealistic world citizens. I saw local people employed in jobs like gardening and cleaning, but there were no locals in important positions, as I observed.

This may be tolerable and excusable, but the immediate surroundings outside Auroville did not have any hint of their presence. No small schools in the slum areas near by, no tiny health care centres, no small training centres for small skills, nothing to say Auroville residents have shown some generosity or attitude of service towards their poorer neighbours.

Idealism, good intentions and meditation are good, but not if they becomes self-centric. – Ramesh K

Vulture culture

The article on India’s vulture population misses certain import aspects of vulture conservation, where animal ethics and welfare are respected by giving them freedom to fly and reproduce in the wild and enhancing vulture population by providing supplementary feeding stations (“With India’s vulture population at death’s door, a human health crisis may not be far off”).

Vultures and other scavengers are nature’s life- and health-insurance programmes for other species. People who rear vultures in cages may not understand that disease-infected carcasses give vultures a fresh dose of protection against pathogens. When people hand-rear vultures in captive breeding, they deny this nature’s arrangement to keep them fighting fit as saviours of other species as well. They also deny vultures the right to fly and remain fit through their normal exercises.

Setting up a string of vulture restaurants (feeding stations) far away from cities, aerodromes (especially where fighter aircraft fly) and human lifestyles (for whom the very sight of a vultures is a bad omen) are the best remedies for the dwindling vulture population in any country. Tying vultures to vulture restaurants without a thread is the cheapest and most practical method to save vultures from extinction and enhance aircraft flight safety against vulture collisions simultaneously. – SM Satheesan

***

One of the reasons for this can be medication wastage. Most of the NSAIDs are available over the counter (without prescription), leading to their irrational use. Even medicines bought with a prescription are often wasted by patients and disposed of unsafely, damaging the environment . A US study found that disposal of antipsychotic medicines into water bodies is decreasing the population of a species of fish. Studying the impact of medicine wastage in environment is becoming an immediate need. – Sambhu Ramesh

Question of autonomy

What autonomy is wielded by the Prasar Bharati board (“Prasar Bharati blocks Centre’s appointments proposal, says it could hurt its autonomy: Reports”)? Its chairman and others members are appointed by the party in power. The vice president is also a leader of that party. Has anybody thought of subjecting our so-called autonomous bodies to an independent audit on expenditure from the exchequer? It’s all drama. The central narrative is self-interest only. – Alok Nath

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