This article and other proof must be sent to the Supreme Court judges who are still dragging their feet on Aadhaar and compromising the security of millions of people (“Meet ‘Elliot Alderson’ – the vigilante hacker taking down UIDAI, one tweet at a time”).
Most people signed up for the project blindly, and those who didn’t were arm-twisted into doing so with Aadhaar being linked to everything. The irony that people with the right links have scammed the country of billions and left it while the rest of us have to link everything so our data is handed on a plate to private business and scamsters is lost on our esteemed judges.
The band-aid fixes, like extending deadlines, need to end. Aadhaar needs to be declared unconstitutional, illegal and an invasion of privacy. The Supreme Court should also order the government to compensate all those whose data has been breached and whose money and identity stolen. I hope Scroll.in will play a crucial part in removing this scourge. – Chitra
This is a wonderful piece and I have a pressing concern as an average young Indian who is not only active on social media but also an ardent believer in the ease of work through digitisation. After having read a lot of stories on how my Aadhaar details can be hacked by third-party users, my concerns grew as I have linked not only my phone number but also my bank accounts with the UIDAI-prescribed identification method. If what I read is true, then my life, like that of crores of Indians, is at risk. I believe the government should come up with a solution rather than shy away from concerns. With the data of millions of Indians already in the hands of people who may pose a threat to security, the government should take the responsibility of issuing separate Aadhaar numbers or at least order all third-party users to delink Aadhaar numbers from their databases. A thorough report must be sought from them along with an assurance that the data has not been used otherwise.
However, given the present scenario and the fact that the government is far from addressing the issue, this seems to be a distant dream, for doing so would mean accepting it has made a mistake, which the present government is too arrogant to do. At the very least, the government should help make the system watertight and come up with a solution to save the lives of millions of Indians who have bestowed their faith on the BJP-led government. – Utsav Basu
The UIDAI must acknowledge the fact that the security around Aadhaar is completely compromised. The security of data is not only about encrypting it, but also about its privacy. The second aspect is where Aadhaar has failed. Moreover, unlike a password that can be reset, biometric data cannot be changed. Fingerprint data, once leaked, will remain a threat forever. The government should ideally take inspiration from the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, where security lapses can result in a fine that amounts to 4% of an organisation’s global turnover. – Varun Bhargava
I spent December and January in India researching, among other things, Partition and interviewing people who remember being caught up in it (“Ground report: Have ‘jihadis’ killed 23 Hindutva activists in Karnataka since 2014 as BJP claims?”). The trauma and suffering and the enormous waste of life was tragic. It is disgusting that after the 70th anniversary of those terrible events, when the consequences of dividing communities are so clearly in people’s minds, cynical politicians are trying to create the same sort of division and hatred. They should be in jail. Is there no law in India against whipping up communal hatred? – Umi Sinha
Rahul Gandhi’s performance depends on whether his script writers and prompters were in sync (“From escape velocity to the Arnab interview to Congress president, is this Rahul Gandhi 3.0?”). During a recent Q&A in Singapore, he made gaffes as usual. Attacking the RSS alone is the strategy of the Nehru-Gandhi family. The RSS is just a barking dog – it won’t bite.
If Milind Deora, Sachin Pilot, Jyotiraditya Scindia and the like, who are far more dynamic, cannot be given the same platform as Rahul Gandhi, the Congress will die out. It is time Rahul Gandhi steps aside. – Prashant
Why just stop at 3.0? Why not Rahul 95, 98, 2000, XP, 7, 8, 8.1 and Rahul10? Or if you prefer Apple to Windows, then Rahul Gandhi: The Mountain Lion edition? Why have you people not given up on this joker? – Mukund Dhananjay
Why are you so desperate to find an alternate narrative in Rahul Gandhi? What is so good about him that forces people to find different revisions of him so that some day he becomes an alternative? – Mohit Hada
After having observed Rahul Gandhi over a decade, one can only say that except for his lineage, there is nothing about him that makes him suitable for the post his party aspires for him. The Congress is afraid to bring a non-Gandhi family person to the fore, lest infighting begin among various claimants. It is a peculiarity of Indian democracy that a mediocre person like Rahul Gandhi is given so much space in the media and his insignificant statements are given importance, at the cost of much more critical issues. The merit-blind media does not take a position between right and wrong, instead remaining a spectator amid grave national crises. – RC Awasthi
Chaos in the House
Parliament is a place for dialogue, debate and discussion for the welfare of people (“Budget session: Parliament impasse continues, both Houses adjourned for the day amid protests”). But in recent months, we have not seen any Parliament proceedings take place properly. Parliament reflects our entire country. Parliamentarians should understand that through frequent agitations and protests, they are not only doing an injustice to the regions they represent but to the country at large too.
Thus, there is an urgent need to ensure equal representation for all regions in Parliament. Because some regions are under-represented, the government ignores those that do not give them any political mileage. As a remedial move, the Speaker of the House and the head of the Constitution, the president of India, should introduce “No Work No Pay” to put an end to disturbances in parliamentary proceedings and create an environment in the House that is conducive to healthy discussions. – Shashidhar Vuppala
Scroll.in’s coverage is one-sided and shows a distinct bias (“Video: Why has the Karnataka government given a separate religion status to the Lingayat community?”). I would not blame Siddaramaiah entirely. There is a sinister attempt to divide Hindus. Scroll.in appears to get into the role of the torchbearer of this movement. The people of Karnataka will see through such diabolical attempts. Please do not use democracy to kill it. – Sundaram Kumar
I was born a Hindu and am a non-believer. But I would rather agree with Guha’s argument than that of Asghar Ali Engineer (“A (2004) response to Ram Guha: ‘Hindu liberalism shouldn’t need the crutches of Muslim liberalism’”). Engineer’s argument that Muslim liberalism should not be a crutch for Hindu liberalism is true, but it is also like saying to me “I shall not change but you change”. Hindu liberalism is doing a lot to oppose illiberalism and for obvious reasons, they cannot criticise some other religion, particularly minorities. If Muslim liberals refuse to oppose Muslim illiberalism, they are doing their religious community a great disservice.
Christians in Europe changed only because of free thinkers in their community who brought about change over a few centuries since the French Revolution. A similar mental revolution is required here. Leave the fight against illiberals like Hindutva followers to Hindu liberals and they will succeed as long as the Hindu liberals do not support illiberalism among Muslims (remember the Shah Bano case). As far as India is concerned, the polity depends upon Hindu, Muslim, Christian and other liberals. I know Asgar Ali Engineer is a great liberal but I am sorry to come across his excuse for illiberalism among Muslims. Unfortunately, it is the misfortune of India that sometimes even liberals of a community defend the illiberalism of their community members. – R Venkat
This distinction is wonderfully insightful (“Not Hindu nationalism, the trump card of Narendra Modi’s BJP is nationalist Hinduism”). I don’t support Modi and often have run-ins with my 90-year-old father-in-law on politics. I regard him as a sensible, intelligent man who fought for Independence. This article helped me understand why he’s seduced by Modi’s politics. People like my father-in-law want the nation to succeed and want to be proud of the nation’s efforts. Modi tells him what he wants to hear: that Hindus are a civil people, and that government policies are for the greater good (hence demonetisation was a good thing). – Sriram Srinivasan
I support the idea of a common exam for all medical graduates (“Parliamentary panel rejects Centre’s proposal to introduce ‘bridge courses’ for AYUSH students”). Being a practitioner of homoeopathy, I acknowledge that it is based on a totally different concept, but the basic subject remains the same. So, being a graduate with an honours in Materia Medica, I support both the bridge course and the common exam for national registration. – Ananya Mukhopadhyay
The AYUSH syllabus is good and all the AYUSH doctors study anatomy, physiology bio-chemistry, pathology and the like from the same prescribed texts that MBBS students use. Our villages still lack basic healthcare. Villagers have to walk 5 km to 10 km to get injections or medicine. First address these problems judiciously. I am not interested in practising modern medicine at all. But I am writing as a proud AYUSH doctor. Don’t insult or degrade any system of medicine. Every system is good and has its own limitations.
Why does the government feel so insecure about introducing a bridge course? AYUSH courses are not in competition with MBBS. It is complimentary. It has its own stand and ethical values. This is a call for all AYUSH doctors to acquire the bestowed knowledge systematically to help mankind and to face such situations bravely . – Rishi Sanjeevini
Encouraging AYUSH practitioners to prescribe conventional medicines would be a disaster. There is really no need to elaborate why. Most people know how some AYUSH practitioners dispense steroids for everything. Apart from this, it would prevent AYUSH practitioners from understanding their own discipline. I fail to understand why it was considered a good move.– Shirley Telles
As a homeopathic physician, I welcome the committee’s decision, because each system has its own importance. Institutes should increase admission capacity in all facilities as per the norms, with zero corruption at all levels.
Let them give opportunities to AYUSH doctors by appointing them at all levels. A bridge course is not necessary, let them learn their own system and practice. Patients can choose the medicines they want to take. – Vijay Itagi
Hawking and Vedas
There are aspects of our history that are directly linked to Stephen Hawking’s theory and Einstein’s too (“Stephen Hawking said the Vedas have a theory superior to Einstein’s E=mc^2, claims science minister”). For instance, the word antaryami, used to refer to gods or powerful people, literally translates to inter-dimensional in English. Hawking has talked about inter-dimensional travels. Quantum physics says that electrons when energised act unpredictably. You cannot say where it will go or if it will be present there. This reflects in the concept of sukshmahgyan, where every thing is made of three guna: tamo gun, rajo gun and sato gun, equivalent to electron, proton and neutron. There is a lot in common between modern physics and the Vedas. – Giri Suns
As a physicist, Hawking would not have looked to the Vedas for inspiration. Most physicists, though not all, are agnostic. It would be better for such esoteric topics to be left to scientists and experts. A politician in India thinks just because he has been elected he knows everything. Ahankara (ego) is the essence of all politicians. – Neelunat
Much of scientific research and publication is based on Einstein’s general theory of relativity. Few facts are answers while others do not fit into theory, which means that E=mc^2 is general but not specific to any reference frame. Energy liberated in any reference frame depends not only on mass and velocity but also on efficiency, which is not included in the formula. There are a few other factors also that contribute to energy release, hence the formula E=mc^2 is incomplete and knowing these facts Harsh Vardhan, our science minister, would have said this in quoting the Vedas. – BH Jagadeesh
KCR is a pathological liar and has established family rule in Telangana (“KC Rao’s call for non-BJP, non-Congress Third Front gets Mamata Banerjee, Asaduddin Owaisi’s support”). He says many things in his speeches but they do not translate into action. He will not tolerate any opposition and is highly dictatorial. He has no tolerance for dissent and is against productive discussions is the state Assembly. His family and his cronies have looted the state’s money. He is unfit to serve the nation and Mamata Banerjee would lose all her credibility by joining hands with him. – Brian Bugos
A mother’s letter speaks clearly about how Indian men have been raised to look at women (“‘You have a sick attitude’: An open letter from Delhi rape victim’s mother to ex-Karnataka DGP”). Being a mother is the most difficult job in the world, as we try to instil morals in a society that has little respect for us as well as others. Woman gave birth to man; without a woman to raise him, he would not grow to adulthood. Women are the balance in all things, they are as enlightened as men, in some cases more enlightened. It is time for India to step into the world as an equal and change the situation. – Gina Allan-Evans
Former police officer HT Sangliana’s comments on Nirbhaya’s fight and her mother’s physique are inhuman and uncivilised. The government should not spare him, he must be punished for the indecent and nonsensical talk. As a woman and a human, I condemn him strongly. – Padmaja MB
Analysing ‘Black Panther’
The article is flawed in several ways (“Counterview: The ‘Black Panther’ movie is sumptuous, but it is a Trojan Horse”). First is the heavy-handed implication that Black Panther was the first live action film to feature or be based on a black superhero. The immense critical and box-office success of the Blade trilogy seems to be lost on the author. In fact, there were films before Blade too, but none were well made to garner a mention. Superhero movies in a general were poorly made, with the exception of Tim Burton’s reimagining of Batman in the 1990s. As to why it took so long for the Marvel juggernaut to make this movie, the answer is really simple: they made the movies based on characters whose comic versions were selling well, and Black Panther or Ant Man simply weren’t as famous as Hulk or the Iron Man.
As for the animalistic contents of the Black Panther universe or why he wasn’t as cool or superhero-like in comparison to Tony Stark or Bruce Banner, the author shows a clear lack for any comic book knowledge, which is to be expected from a majority of people, but then they shouldn’t write an opinion piece without doing adequate research.
The 1960s are considered the golden age of comics. Marvel at this point did not have a recognised black superhero in the free love era, while their competitor, DC, had some big names. Marvel tried a lot of things, and Black Panther stuck, so they made him an important character back then.
As for the villain Killmonger (one of the best in MCU), making him black was a necessity since the character of Black Panther wasn’t so fleshed out back then. They had to create a nemesis from the same community to help readers understand T’Challa as well as Wakanda better. – Utkarsh Tiwari
The writer has mixed two issues: average unit price versus average bill size (“Expert view: What can India do to stop hospitals from overcharging?”). With regard to the first, one can’t really put a price on expertise. There can’t be mathematical logic for why one doctor’s consultation fee is Rs 100 and another doctor’s is Rs 10,000. It differs from case to case as well, if more tests or procedures are required, the bill will go up.
In today’s world, when technology can help the diagnostic process, why not use it? Having said that, there are enough and more examples of rampant misuse and abuse of this system. Comparing the costs at a private hospital with a subsidised government scheme may not be fair. – Advait Kurlekar
Rhyme or reason
This is an excellent article (“Rupi Kaur’s bad poems shouldn’t worry us – the myopic view of the literary establishment should”). It is such a pleasure to read such well-articulated and balanced writing in today’s environment. – Nilanjan Mukherjee
This article was very well written. I was pleased to see that people from my generation can sensibly critique one another. – Amrit Baweja
This article is timely as it was required that someone put these contradictory forms of poetry and the subtleties in writing (“If the Internet and social media have not destroyed poetry, then why all the criticism?”). I am a poet. After languishing for years in oblivion, I finally published some of my best work on my blog, where they can be plagiarised but nonetheless reach a mass I would have never been able to reach without the power of the internet. On the other hand, I absolutely stay away from Instagram, and “Instagram poetry,” which I do not consider poetry.
As correctly pointed out in the article, it caters to short attention spans that are a vice of the current generation. Instant fame and going viral are revelled in, the number of followers indicate the fame. Poetry is entirely different. I feel satisfied when I recite a poem in an open-mic and the audience is left in awe, asking me later whether they can read it somewhere. That’s what poets should aim for, and settle for nothing less.
Poetry paints pictures through words, it’s not easy penning down a string of thoughts or complex emotions in a coherent manner, whether or not leaving a message at the end. Equally, it requires an effort to read, understand, and appreciate. There are only a few who actually read poetry this way, and that has always been the case. It’s the poet’s job to make reading and understanding easier, while not compromising on the quality – that’s what good poets do. The internet has done only good for poetry: blogs have increased the reachability of quality poets and interested readers have gained access to quality content. No one buys poetry books these days, but a handful still discuss them over coffee. The situation can only get better. In the mean time, “Instagram poets” can cater to their followers; students of poetry need not bother. – Debdutta Paul