Moment of pride
Recently, India saw the most beautiful rainbow in the form of the decriminalisation of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code after a long fight (“‘History owes an apology to LGBT community’: India’s Supreme Court decriminalises homosexuality”). Male-female dichotomy in heteronormative societies has created havoc in the lives of sexual minorities, obscuring the fact that they are also human beings. The motive is to bring to limelight the idea of invisible violence, even after Thursday’s Supreme Court judgement.
This violence comes in various forms: physical, mental, emotional. Physically, sexual minorities are often not allowed inside hospitals. Their access to healthcare needs to be ensured because they are at a high risk of various physical and mental illnesses. Mentally, sexual minorities face the risk of developing emotional issues because of social exclusion, discrimination and atrocities, which diminish self-esteem and a sense of social responsibility.
Despite these challenges, there is a growing acceptance of the LGBTQI community in India, and the decriminalisation of homosexuality marks such a step. However, [as a society] we are poor at accepting people as they are, but are quick to judge them. The Supreme Court judgment, in a way, restores hope and faith in the Indian judiciary, but equality and the acceptance has to come collectively and from [people from] all walks of life. – Ashna Mahanti
After years of struggle, the Supreme Court has finally decriminalised homosexuality. Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code came more than a century ago. It is our duty to strike down a law the moment we find it to be in conflict with fundamental rights. What makes us human is the right to love. To criminalise the expression of love is profoundly cruel and inhumane. – Mrinmay Dey
The Supreme Court verdict is a victory for our fellow mates. Homosexuality should not have been seen as crime in the first place. Anyway, I congratulate the LGBTQ community on the verdict and also the Supreme Court for “decriminalising” homosexuality. At the same time, bringing in awareness among common people about sexual orientation is very important as the older generations do not even approve of the existence of it. – Sujnan Herale
Sexual orientation is not something one gets to choose. The Supreme Court’s historic decision to decriminalise homosexuality truly grants Indian citizens their fundamental right to privacy. The verdict has won millions of hearts and has opened the door to a more accepting future. The country must remember that this is but a beginning of an era where equal opportunities and acknowledgement are given to every single individual regardless of their sexual orientation. – Suman Sahu
Why are homosexuals considered different from heterosexuals, even as the word “hetero” means being different and unique? By reading down Section 377, the Supreme Court reflected the larger idea of a democratic India, where every human being has the right to expression and right to their desired life. The verdict is a game-changer and positive change is inevitable. – Sanjitha Ajith Kumar
As the country rejoices at the decriminalisation of homosexuality, it also needs to understand that we have only won the battle so far, not the war. The country needs to move towards complete modernisation. Battles against casteism or justice for rape survivors also remains. It is time we reshape modern society. – Lavika Chondira
It is natural to fall in love and so it is not unnatural to fall in love with a person of the same gender. The Supreme Court has made the life of LGBTQI community better. Their struggle does not end here, but this is a beautiful start to the life they deserve. The court has done its duty and now it is our turn to join hands and welcome members of the community with love and acceptance. – Harshini SV
Mishap in Kolkata
News of the Majerhat bridge collapse in Kolkata has left me heartbroken (“‘All they did was paint it blue’: Day after Kolkata bridge crash, anger mounts and blame game ensues”). The images of crashed cars and chaos are shocking. When I read about it, I could not help but think of the collapse of the Vivekananda flyover in Kolkata, in March 2016, which killed at least 25 people, sending shock waves through the city’s commuters. But what surprises me more is that there was just a three-year gap between these two bridge collapses.
We need to ask ourselves why this keeps happening in Kolkata. Why do parts of flyovers fall over unsuspecting pedestrians, destroying lives? Several news reports suggest that there have been allegations of corruption and negligence in the projects. This is what happens when financial interest overrules physics. This is what happens when there is a complete lack of accountability because of the blame game between the state and the Central government. As displeased and angered as I am by what has happened, all I can do is pray for the lost lives, wish a speedy recovery to the injured and hope that the government will be more careful in the future. – Prakruthi Jain
The government has made promises to punish those responsible for the unfortunate Majerhat bridge collapse but the bigger question is: Why had such an old bridge not been repaired and renovated? Also, more than two years after the flyover collapse that killed 26, there is no hint of punishment for the guilty. So what is the guarantee that the government will keep its word this time? This tragedy could have been prevented. – Suman Sahu
Recognising a polymath
It is appropriate to place Ambedkar’s ideas within global thought (“This book argues that ‘Ambedkar-thought’ was revolutionary for world history (and not just India)”). Kudos to the author of the book for having identified his worth among those who contributed to the betterment of humankind. This is an idea that has surprisingly escaped Indian intellectuals for decades. In that sense, this book seems to be bang on target.
Confining Ambedkar to India is as unfair as limiting him to the cause of the marginalised. Few are aware that Ambedkar was responsible for creating equality for women in India, backed by law. Their right to work, to equally inherit family property and assets, to vote, and many other rights came about due to Ambedkar’s efforts.
Ambedkar was also the only person who studied the rupee in such detail. Thereafter, he ideated a central bank for India, which resulted in the creation of the Reserve Bank of India. His role in formulating labour laws is evident in the opportunities and rights that the common man enjoys today. He also played a role in creating India’s water policy.
His role in the preparation of the Constitution, of course, is known to all. His conception of the idea of equality is a unique contribution to global human thought. Therefore, limiting Ambedkar to Indian intellectual discourse only deprives the nation and its people of their rightful pride in this son of India. – Rajratna Jadhav
Thank you for reviewing such a wonderful book. This is an exemplary way to present Babasaheb Ambedkar as a person of relevance to the whole world. Here is a great man who fought for liberation and equality of the oppressed. Pseudo- intellectuals in India tried to limit Babasaheb to being a Dalit icon. But he is the real human rights champion. Now everybody is trying to co-opt Babasaheb, forgetting that he was a bitter critic of their ideology. Soumyabrata Choudhury’s book may open the eyes of many more people to Ambedkar’s work. – D Koteswara Rao
It is sad that the government’s demonetisation exercise was a failure and had a massive impact on the public (“The Daily Fix: RBI’s latest report is clinching evidence that demonetisation was a failure”). Common citizens were confused about what was happening and what they were supposed to do even as black-money holders went unaffected. The government claims it was a successful programme, but the public opinion is not very positive. – Shachi Jois
Demonetisation was not a madcap idea (“The real purpose of demonetisation: What this government or its supporters still can’t find”). It was a brilliant strategy to bankrupt the cash-dependent Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party prior to the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh last year. And it worked wonders. The rationalisation attempt by the government and its supporters appears to be a desperate cover up, but it is not so, because it is better to look like a fool rather than admit that people’s lives and livelihoods were played with to win an important election. – Vikram Ramnath
I was very happy to read about India’s performance at the Asian Games (“India’s report card at 2018 Asian Games: The hits and misses from major disciplines”). India can pride itself for returning with a great haul. Indian athletes have proven everyone wrong by winning seven gold medals. However, the disappointing results in hockey and kabaddi should serve as a wake-up call. – Pavithra Varma
There will always be criminals. If the government fixes one problem, those who are corrupt will find another workaround (“The Daily Fix: UP pilferage scam reveals hollowness of government’s claims about Aadhaar”). That does not mean we should point a finger at Aadhaar. What pleasure do you get by criticising UIDAI? Why can’t you see the benefits of Aadhaar? What will you get by creating distrust in the programme? I am really disappointed by today’s media. – Varun Pathania
If the public distribution system’s portal is hacked and manipulated, what can UIDAI do? It is the state governments that have failed to keep their portals secure. Stop blaming Aadhaar for every fraud in the country. Please realise that it is because of Aadhaar that these frauds are coming to light. – Sriramareddy N
It is quite obvious that vested interests within the government-run health systems, in collusion with big ticket corporations, are trying to dismantle the public health infrastructure in the guise of PPP [Public-Private Partnership], BOOT [build, own, operate and transfer] and other fancy terms, not only in Chhattisgarh but other states too (“Chhattisgarh is outsourcing diagnostic services to the private sector despite having adequate staff”).
The systematic loot of public utilities by private enterprises, aided and abetted by none other than the government, represents a paradigm shift in the model of corruption, wherein the bureaucracy gets involved to give the process an apparent legitimacy while exposing the poor to the wrath of private sharks. It is not difficult to understand who benefits in the bargain. The common man can only lose from this arrangement of outsourcing healthcare to the private sector.
As a doctor and healthcare provider and having worked both in the government and the private sector for the last 25 years, I can foresee that the government is toeing the American line of health system management (which has proven to be a failure, leading to widespread health bankruptcy). It has been proven over time in Canada, UK and other European countries that healthcare delivery has to be a nationalised effort. Otherwise, you create perfect inequality, a system in which only the rich can prosper at the cost of others and the government plays an invisible, benevolent match fixer. – Chhanda Basu Mullick
The News Broadcasting Authority needs to start regularly monitoring the broadcast of Republic, especially that featuring Arnab Goswami (“Republic TV ordered to apologise for Arnab Goswami’s remarks by broadcasting standards authority”). It almost always lacks ethics and the journalist insults panellists, shouting over them. Altogether, it is a disgrace to journalism. I get a headache after watching the channel, so I have now stopped looking at it. – KM Sukumaran
Adopting Regenerative Agriculture may address this menace (“Pink bollworm pests reach Maharashtra’s Yavatmal early this year, adding to farmers’ distress”). It is not only a viable and sustainable practice but also protects the environment by sequestering organic carbon from the environment to the soil mass. Our depleted ground water reserves and polluted water reserves are the result of farming systems that rely on the use of chemicals and genetically modified crops. – Ajay Saraf