Letters to the editor

Readers’ comments: ‘It is because of farmers that we survive’

A selection of readers’ opinions.

#KisanLongMarch

It gladdened the heart to read this (“Feeding those who feed you: How Mumbai residents welcomed farmers marching through the city”). These farmers were so considerate that they ensured students’ exam schedules were not disrupted by their protest march. Contrast this with goons burning public property over a godman convicted for rape. It is because of farmers that we survive. – Neelunat

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While I sympathise with the farmers’ demands, I suspect they were used as pawns to score brownie points against the ruling dispensation. The red flags clearly indicate the people behind the march. Wherever the red flags have interfered, they have destroyed the cause. – Jagdish Kamath

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Hats off to the courage of the writer. This article is simple yet heartfelt (“First-hand account: This is how farmers in India are cheated at every stage”). I don’t understand what our Indians are so proud of when we can’t even get our basic rights. The subsidy provided from our taxes should reach the right people. I wish that there were a few more educated and aware farmers in the village, like this writer, who could raise their voices against malpractices. The person most responsible for the wrongdoing is the influential rich man in the village who let the whole thing happen under his nose. Due to his selfishness, the whole system is rotting. It has always been such leaders that have brought our nation to its knees. They are the real non-performing assets. – Himanshu Shrinkhal

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Such corruption happens in many villages, including mine. The government on its part had implemented direct benefits transfer. There are a few other ways to curb such corruption. Villagers should make pay government officials directly through bank transfers. The middle man should be removed from the process. The government should use Twitter or other platforms to communicate with farmers, after training them. If possible, the government should compensate the amount for ration and input crops along with the LPG subsidy. – Dattatray Putanikar

Trekkers’ tragedy

It’s unfortunate that we lost precious lives in the tragedy (“Death of 10 trekkers in massive Tamil Nadu forest fire raises serious questions about safety”). Our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved and we wish the injured a speedy recovery. Such activities carry their own risks. Hence there is not much the government can do. Our governments are struggling to ensure normal governance, leave alone advanced safety preparations. That’s the reason the government has announced the ex-gratia payment, which comes from the taxpayer’s money. And it has suspended the forest officer, who is just a scapegoat. How can he be blamed for this? First, they need to find out the reason for the fire. – V Sadasivam

Delhi row

Not just subordinates, most people stand with Arvind Kejriwal on this issue (“Delhi bureaucrats vs Arvind Kejriwal: Another twist in the tale as subordinate officials back AAP”). The MLAs are being mistreated because they are from the AAP. Many MLAs and ministers of various parties have been involved in similar incidents, but such harsh action is never taken. Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash seems to be playing a political game. It is strange that MLAs who represent the people have been detained on a complaint by public servant. There should have been an inquiry to establish the facts should first. MLAs should not be treated shoddily. And what if the same bureaucrats in the future don’t think twice before humiliating other government servants, like doctors, engineers and defence personnel? – Anil Dutta

Employees’ woes

In the conflict between Prasar Bharati and the I&B Ministry, no one as the time to look at the miserable condition of government servants who were transferred to Prasar Bharati without any formalities (“There is no autonomy for Doordarshan and All India Radio (and the Opposition must take the blame)”). Consequently, the programme staff that contributed its best to shine at AIR and DD before Prasar Bharati came to being is suffering a lot.

Prasar Bharati is the only department in the world where the programme staff is being denied promotion for the last 25 years or more as the Prasar Bharati and the government shift their responsibility to one another.

Prasar Bharati officials who come on deputation stay healthy, enjoy their tenures, and then vanish. They don’t have the time to look for the employees. – Yagya Datt Mishra

Taking note

This piece on an Ambedkar University professor accused of sexual harassment borders on irresponsible journalism at a couple of places (“Why Ambedkar University held law professor Lawrence Liang guilty of sexual harassment”). It reports on the two other instances of sexual harassment that were apparently brought to the attention of the inquiry committee by Lawrence Liang while offering his defense. By including this, the piece offers information that the victims may not have wanted to make public, as they are not complainants in this inquiry and may not have wanted this information mentioned on a news portal.

Now, considering Liang’s defense, your publishing the same might have only made lives difficult for victims who may have avoided the administrative and public forum precisely to avoid such mud-slinging. Even with respect to the complainant, I think that the mention of and Liang being “PhD students at another university in Delhi in 2015-’16”, puts the complainant in a position of vulnerability. Such information allows people with all sorts of motives to reach out to the complainant.

I request you to avoid the mentioning Liang’s comments about people who have not approached the inquiry committee and also refrain for commenting on facts that lead people to pin-point to the identity of the complainant. – Parnil Urdhwareshe

Editor’s note: The story does not offer any clue about the identities of the individuals.

Unholy alliance

“A political party should be defined by what it stood for, not by what it was against,” Frank Lutz once said. The victory of parties coming together with the single agenda of defeating Modi will mean great tragedy for the country (“Interview: Left must team with Congress (and others) to save democracy: Historian Sumanta Banerjee”). Such an unholy alliance, even if it comes to power, can only result in Modi’s return to power a short while later, just as Indira Gandhi came back to power after three years in the 1980 elections, with 353 Lok Sabha seats, while the Janata Party or what remained of the alliance, won only 31 seats. – NG Krishnan

Misrepresented tale

I really enjoy reading Scroll.in but the story regarding low caste women in Kerala being taxed for covering their breasts is fictional and also ironically patriarchal (“Video: Why was a section of women in 18th century Kerala forced to bare breasts?”). The idea of ‘modesty based on covering breasts’ came to Kerala through Victorian prudishness. The name of the tax can be translated from Malayalam into English as a Breast Tax. But it was just a poll tax paid by both men and women (the one for men was called Thalakkaram or Head Tax). The word “breast” was added to the name of the tax only to differentiate between women and men. It had nothing to do with modesty.

Manu S Pillai, author of Ivory Throne Chronicles of the House of Travancore, has written about this story and of its appropriation by patriarchal forces in this article for The Hindu. This is the second time I am seeing a story on this topic on Scroll.in, the earlier one was about a cartoon by Orijit Sen, titled “A Travancore Tale: The graphic story of Nangeli, the woman who cut off her breasts to protest a tax”. Please take greater care to not fall for false stories. Looking forward to many more interesting articles. – Anirudh Srivathsan

Hidden histories

It was delightful to read about Shamshu Deen’s inspiring work of helping hundreds of families of Indian origin in the Caribbean to trace their family roots (“Searching through the fog of history, this man helps Trinidad families trace their Indian roots”). The history of indentured labour is a painful one, marked with broken promises, oppressive work conditions and enormous levels of exploitation. His pioneering vision and innovative techniques have helped in the discovery of many crucial details about the lives of the workers who came to Trinidad and Tobago. Deen has used multiple sources such as historical records, legal documents, archival material, and oral testimonies to excavate and shed light upon the genealogical histories of people who had to leave everything behind a start new lives that were so different from their old ones. His work has not only united families, but allowed generations of people to learn about their own rich and varied histories which would otherwise who have remained obscured. – Turni Chakrabarti

Big plans

In my limited knowledge on execution of big projects, all kinds of costs – social as well as environmental – are factored into the total cost of the project (“Adani Mundra project: First, Rs 200-crore fine cancelled. Now, officials find company did no wrong”). That means the temporary damage to the environment during the execution of a project is nothing new, provided that scope of restoration and/or adequate compensation is provided for. The Adani Group , it appears, tickles you to predict Doom’s Day for us all too quickly. Why not wait for the final study report? – Jayanta Mitra

Space matters

If you are standing in a railway platform, you will see non-stop trains running on the railway lines (“Video: Here’s why you don’t see space debris in satellite images”). Imagine there are two successive trains on the same track and you’re in one of the trains, will you be able to see the other train? Orbiting sattelites or space debris are similar to succeeding trains! From one, the other cannot be seen! – Arunachalam N

Staying strong

Ravish Kumar is a gem and no anchor of any channel can match up to him. Like Ayn Rand, he is seeing the destruction of democracy (“‘In new India, anyone who shreds a few posters at the crossroads becomes a historian’: Ravish Kumar”). There is helplessness, pain and frustration in his narration and one wonders how the people have lost their voices. It is said that you can fool some people all the tome and all people sometimes, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. Unfortunately, we now have a leader who can fool all the people all the time. Please keep up your good work, Ravishji. – Ramesh Kamrah

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Hats off to Ravish Kumar. At long last, he is worried about his perception on his attempt to change history. A great political thinker should next write a book on how stalwart Leftist historians have tried to portray Indian history after Independence. What intellectual dishonesty and hypocrisy! Let him also write a book about why people rejected the Left in Indian politics. Let him not berate Indian people. – Sukriti Ranjan Bhattacharjee

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