Rising intolerance

The post-Independence era soon took away the freedom we thought we had achieved (“India has become ‘a republic of fear for thinkers and writers’: Critic and novelist Shanta Gokhale”). Now people have grown more violent and intolerant of dissent. And though religion was supposed to empower us, it has only grown more sensitive, yet more lethal. Allen Ginsberg was targeted for writing Howl, but he was never lynched or threatened. Dissenting through a court of law is an exercise of freedom, but holding someone guilty without a hearing is a feature of a disturbed society. – Vatsal Sharma

ISRO scientist case

The Nambi Narayanan espionage case denotes a tendency among investigation agencies in India to target innocent people without sufficient evidence while shielding people with vested interests (“The Daily Fix: Framing of ISRO scientist puts a spotlight on fabricated police cases in India”). For Narayanan, the case thoroughly damaged his career and honour. He must be compensated, but solely by the police who conducted the investigation rather than by the government treasury. – Suhail EK


Apart from framing false charges with no corroborating evidence, chargesheets are quite often written in a language alien to the accused. The question is, can one ask for the warrant or first information report in English? – SN Iyer

Rohingya resettlement

The Bangladesh government’s decision to open its doors to Rohingya Muslim refugees was credible, yet impetuous (“Bangladesh to start relocating Rohingya refugees to remote island from October, say officials”). The addition of 700,000 people (as of December) only resulted in desperately cramped refugee camps in the under-resourced, overcrowded country. There is also concern that the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army is trying to recruit inmates of the camps. In addition, the impact of this influx on the economic front is bound to manifest. However, the country’s plan to resettle the refugees in the Bhashan Char island could prove to be the next best step if executed well. These efforts made to give the refugees a place to call home are plausible. – Naomi Aier Barbora

Fighting fluorosis

This is in reference to your article by Soumya Mathew (“With audio plays and drumstick plants, a radio station is battling fluorosis in Haryana’s Mewat”). While the article brings out the plight of people exposed to unhealthy water, awareness is only one of the steps in tackling this menace. While moringa or drumstick leaves could have many desirable properties, its effect on fluorosis appears to be marginal. The real question is how fluoride-free water can be provided to communities there. Some inexpensive solutions are available. I commend the efforts made by local NGOs but I feel more can be done. – Ram

Oil prices

If this government also starts paying subsidy, how can bond payments be done in the next two to three years (“Fact check: Have UPA-era oil bonds prevented Modi government from reducing oil prices?”)? We should not expect the present government to pass on the burden to the next government. – Sailen Panda


There are multiple reasons why this windfall could not be given back – road-building at a faster pace, new welfare schemes for the poor. Most of the people do not pay taxes, so you have to have some other tax like this that is easy to collect. Reducing taxes will not help as our consumption is continuously rising and so is our trade deficit, which is not desirable. So people have to be asked to use petrol more efficiently. – Sudhir Goel

Rafale deal

Why was the defence minister silent for such a long time (“HAL was dropped from Rafale deal by Congress government itself, says Nirmala Sitharaman”)? Perhaps she and her party were trying to dig out this piece of news, which is indigestible at this point of time. And look at that: she is placing the blame on the Congress and not the United Progressive Alliance, which was in power then. – Rajendra Kulkarni

Septic tank accidents

Although this may be seen as a minor report, the septic tank mishap in Jashpur is one of many such incidents that are routinely overlooked (“Chhattisgarh: Five people suffocate to death inside septic tank in Jashpur district”). The government must take effective and immediate measuress to detoxify septic tanks, which not only make the surroundings toxic but also contaminate water. The general public must be urged to keep their home equipment clean. – Tenzing Youngda

Tales of storytelling

Just finished reading this absorbing account of the Dastangoi tradition of Rampur (“If dastangoi survives today in India, it’s partly because of this historic place in Uttar Pradesh”). I have been told by scholars of oral storytelling traditions worldwide that the stories of Amir Hamza travelled as far as the coffee houses of Prague. I also heard that the Rampur Dastangoi tradition received a boost after the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 when artists from around Lucknow and Delhi migrated to this place. Your article was truly great reading. – Amitava Sengupta

New talent Sally Rooney

I was surprised to read the review of Sally Rooney’s new book Normal People, perhaps written because of the Booker long list (“With just two novels, Sally Rooney is fast becoming the definitive chronicler of millennial love”). I haven’t seen many reviews of her first book, Conversations With Friends, in the Indian media. She is an amazing young talent. I read her book last year and am so glad her next one came so fast. The author of the article, Neha Bhatt, did a good job chronicling the two books and the author. What would be even more interesting is an indepth interview with the author. – Nongothung Ezung

‘This is an advertisement’

I write to you after having read this article and found it akin to advertising (“For Indian millennials, travel is a way of life – and they’re even taking loans to fund it”). The survey citied in the poll does not mention sample and methodology. The article also seems to be selling the idea to the reader rather than being an analysis of these firms, whose practice seems similar to that of what are called predatory lenders in the West. The article does not mention the average incomes of the people taking these loans and makes no effort to contextualise any of the practices mentioned. This is reckless or, worse, inconsiderate.

When you post an article – let’s be fair, advertisement – like this, you should mention that it is an advertisement. If it really isn’t that, then you ought to contextualise the “research” presented. It is rather naive to think that such practices will stop but it is important that you know that such things do not go unnoticed. If you do not analyse the events, it is you who would become the subject of analysis. – Aseem Deuskar

Dramatic media

Dramatisation is anything but new in the media (“Watch: Weatherman dramatically prepares himself for Hurricane Florence while others casually walk by”). Trolling and joking apart, I think we should let the poor weatherman perform his act and sleep a happy man. However, the cameraman forgets to play his part. Had the camera been shaking and not focused on the two men in the background, it would have looked like any other hurricane report. – Sagarika UK

JNU student body polls

Take your defeat sportingly, respect the democratic process and promote democratic culture on and off campus (“Let them go to court’: Left Unity celebrates after trouncing ABVP 4-0 in JNU polls”). If you do not develop these tendencies of accommodation and tolerance now, the 2019 defeat will be very painful. – Prakash Khatiwala

Demonetisation in cartoons

I have not seen the book yet, but each cartooon I saw was superb (“In cartoons: A visual recap of demonetisation, from hasty execution to shifting goalposts”). Thank for the write-up. – P Sydney Nelson