Muslims in India
According to a 2016 Pew Research Centre survey on Islamophobia in Europe, countries that came on top were Hungary and Poland, which have a lower Muslim population, while countries at the bottom, like Germany and UK, were those with among the highest Muslim populations in the continent (“Interview: ‘Why I think Muslims should not vote in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections’”). Germany also accepted highest number of Muslim refugees and its politics moved least towards the Right as compared to Italy, Hungary or Poland. Similarly, in the early 20th century, when anti-Semitic politics in Europe were at their peek, Germany, with a relatively low Jewish population, witnessed the most vicious anti-Semitic politics while Poland, with a higher Jewish population, remained much more calm until the German Nazis invaded them.
The point is that there is no evidence of co-relation between the fear of a high percentage of minorities participating in elections and majoritarian mobilisation. Majoritarian political violence and aggression, in my opinion, stem from the insecurity of the established class holding power. Muslims not participating in the election will change nothing, on the contrary it will further marginalise the community. – Zeeshan Ali
Due to the absence of an effective leadership, Muslims have always remained fragmented and every party has taken advantage of this. Also, matters such as the Babri Masjid row and Urdu language are used to distract people from the real issues. Though these do affect the Muslim community, politicians need to focus on problems that are more pressing, like education. In particular, education can help solve so many parallel problems like poverty and lack of amenities.
However, some opportunists raise other issues in the name of religion, creating a veil. Today in India, religion is being used as a tool to not only distract people from the real problems but also to create divisions. – Avdhesh Kumar
Cambridge Analytica row
The Cambridge Analytica episode has highlighted the need for a strong and effective data protection law to keep pace with ever-evolving technology (“In age of big data, routine information can be sensitive – and Indian law doesn’t protect us enough”). India has no data privacy law. The Supreme Court of India has defined the right to privacy as a fundamental right. But in the wake of big data being misused and the existence of ‘dirty-tricks’ departments in many political parties, the privacy of our data is at stake. The Parliament needs to enact a law that will not only prevent the misuse of data but also safeguard an individual’s right over their information. – KB Dessai
We whole-heartedly welcome and appreciate the decision of having uniform question papers during the final exams for Classes 9 and 11 (“ICSE council will prepare Class 9, 11 final exam question papers, not the schools”). This will surely help improve the standard of students promoted to the next class. – Delna Mathew
This is a good decision. It will discourage selective studying, which is not a good practice. – Rituparna Ray Chaudhuri
This is a good article that raises the right questions (“The TM Krishna column: We have become a numb society – and that includes India’s liberals”). Over the years, India has become increasingly materialistic and egoistic. Social values have disappeared. Or has India always been a divided society? – Harvinder Singh
Lets not pretend it is all Modi’s doing. Yes, the hate campaign against minorities and extreme Right Wing politics needs to be stopped. But most liberals in this country are apologists. When these so-called liberals come to power, the same policies will be carried forward, but better disguised. Let’s hope this country gets real liberals in politics. – Sakthivelu
At the movies
There are reasons why Dil Se should get credit, but there is one glaring problem in the movie that the author has skipped completely (“Why the flops ‘Dil Se’ and ‘Johnny Gadaar’ were game-changers for Bollywood”). Manisha Koirala’s character was not in love with Shah Rukh Khan’s Amar. He chose to chase her whenever he could. She used him for a mission, as he discovers. The most problematic bit in the movie is that he kissed her against her wish. This amounts to sexual assault and was all the more traumatic for her character, who had already gone through sexual assault. This ‘love story’, despite its grand message of lovers dying together, and it’s cinematic grandeur, had everything but love. – Shalvi Garima Negi
In this article on the governments’ attempts to rewrite history, Anam Zakaria writers, “The recent news that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has appointed a committee of scholars to use archeological finds and DNA to establish that Hindus are direct descendants from the land’s first inhabitants bears eerie resemblance to Pakistan’s efforts to Islamise the country.” How can an archeological find be unfair to history (“By rewriting history, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh are threatening the very identity of their people”)? If archeologists find DNA evidence, they are on the right path. That is how you learn about your past.
And where else could Hindus have come from? Did British create us from soil? The author also contends that there are attempts to define the country as Hindu first. I have never heard that phrase, all I hear wherever I go is the word “secular.”
Moreover, ghar wapsi does not force people to convert, it enables those who are willing to convert to do so without social pressures. The author possibly makes some conclusions about India and Pakistan to appear unbiased, but she should take a fair look and every party and then arrive at conclusions. – Rishabh
The salary structure of every job should be decided based on the amount of work, education levels required and the kind of skills involved (“‘I’ll end up losing what little I earn’: For many Ola, Uber drivers, even striking wasn’t an option”). By that metric, a driver’s job should not have a pay Rs 1 lakh monthly when the average techie, government employee, doctor or nurse is getting around Rs 20,000 to Rs 40,000 a month. There has to be a check on this rhetoric. – Karthik Kushwaha