Law of the land
It is a delight to see the developments that have taken place in our country after the Supreme court passed three landmark judgments in less than a month (“With adultery verdict, SC reiterates that marital fidelity cannot be enforced with a police lathi”)! By striking down section 377, reading down certain crucial provisions of the Aadhaar Act 2016, stating that adultery is not a crime by unanimously striking down section 497, the SC has proved that India is moving straight towards equality for all. This only goes to show that people’s understanding and tolerance is growing and maturing and making way for an equal society. – Devlina Bhattacharjee
Yes, reservation helps identify talent and merit in marginalised communities (“Reservation brings out the merit already inherent in marginalised communities: Social justice expert”). But that happens at a very slow pace, compared with the rate at which it hurts meritorious candidates in general categories. How can someone who scores 40% become more meritorious than someone who scores 80%? We learn in science that every time rare and potential elements should conserved or reserved. But in India, the opposite is happening. Having reservations based on economic criteria is the solution. – Nilay Banerjee
This is a very thought-provoking interview and holds true for the present scenario. Some vested interests who don’t want equality in society are opposing reservations. Even today, a member of a scheduled caste or schedule tribe who joins the IAS may manage to come out of economic backwardness, but they do not escape prejudice, which they encounter in subtle forms near daily. Reservation is needed to bring justice in society. It really surprising that people want to oppose caste-based reservation but they don’t talk about removing the caste system itself, which follows a person from birth to death. – Vijay Kumar
This article makes many valid points. The terms Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes encompass a lot of communities. Of these, some would be more privileged than others. Has there been any survey to check how the system has worked for SCs and STs? Have some sub-castes or sub-tribes cornered most of the benefits? Likely so. If this was based on one family, one reservation, the benefit would almost all families. Within scheduled castes and tribes, one can find some families who are in same condition as they were before reservations were introduced. Unless a survey is done, how will that be known? – Raj Shekhawat
This is an excellent interview that captures the logic and essence of the issue at hand. It is educational for all Indians. I hope those opposing reservations read this in its entirety. The interview brings to light the need to educate people about these issues, so that we can all participate in uplifting our fellow citizens for a prosperous and bright future of our country.
One of the important issues brought out is that it is assumed that reserved-category people are inefficient and others are not. The interview beautifully brings out the thought that efficiency is inherent in every person. Reservation offers an opportunity to bring it out. Thank you for carrying such an important, educative and eye-opening interview. – Rajratna Jadhav
Your article comparising Amit Shah’s statement on Bangladeshi migrants with Nazism is uncalled for (“The Daily Fix: When Amit Shah says immigrants are termites, he is actually the one undermining India”). What is wrong in identifying and deporting undocumented immigrants in India who take away employment avenues from citizens? Before a poor country can open its economy to immigrants, the economy should ensure full employment of its own citizens. If your media and the Congress and other pseudo-secular groups support sympathy for immigrants, you should also show sympathy to the unemployed people of India.
To create a vote bank, parties have thrown open India, particularly Assam and West Bengal, to undocumented migrants thereby causing a serious demographic, social, cultural and economic imbalance in these border states, which has become far more difficult to solve over the years. Many of these migrants have moved to other parts of the country. The exercise to identify them has begun in Assam, but it would be far more complex to do so at a country-wide level. However, no violence or force should be used in identifying and deporting them. They should be sheltered in humane encampments before they are sent to their respective countries of origin. If your portal is concerned about how the nations of their origin would react to India’s efforts in this regard, you should help the government find peaceful and humane ways to achieve this. – Chandra Shekhar AK
I heard Amit Shah’s speech.He is absolutely right. The media twists things the way they like to. Undocumented migrants, including Indians in other countries, can be a burden and security risk to rightful citizens. We should be careful and not play politics over such issues. – Hemant Singh
The history of the subcontinent in general and Sindh in particular are subjects of interest for me (“Freedom fighters and ticket checkers: The trail-blazing women of pre-Partition Sindh”). While reading this article, I was engrossed by every word because this was a research-based piece on women’s empowerment before Partition. India’s Partition is a huge topic of discussion and research in academia and intelligentsia till today. So this piece is very informative, historical, interesting and inspiring. – Hans Raj
Sex offenders’ registry
Congratulations on showing the courage to publish Vrinda Bhandari’s piece on the sexual offenders’ registry in India (“Why India’s registry of sex offenders may do more harm than good”). Her thoughts are mature, humane and reformative and therefore, progressive. She speaks of breathing new life into the unfortunates, not destroying future possibilities for anyone. Bhandari tries to understand the past, address the present and brings forth a faith in establishing a better future. She does not confine her vision to any one dimension of time.
Her ideas are opposed to eternal condemnation and damnation. She gives importance to the concept of “having served time” and indicates that serving time should free us from any further negative judgment and suffering in the future. Correctional Institutes (prisons) are often able to correct a person who had made a mistake. At least that is one of the intentions of the judicial system. People are sentenced to serve time not simply for retribution or detention. They are provided with opportunities to live a better life thence-forward. Thus, Bhandari speaks of the restorative function and face of justice.
She also points to the pitfalls of undertaking the prolonged storing of sensitive data on as yet unproven cases, especially in the face of the many ailments that our criminal justice systems suffer from. This certainly raises the question of violation of privacy and basic human rights. Those who are under suspicion of causing sexual assault or harassment have the right to live without fear, shame and persecution as the outcomes of their cases are still unknown. Bhandari very correctly notes that sexual crimes, like all others, have a wide range, are of many shades and degrees, with a diverse array of causal factors behind them. Lumping them together indiscriminately under one flag is unfair, especially when such determination is bound to brand persons for the rest of their lives, blocking them from opportunities to sustain, advance and enhance their lives socially, and even legally.
This insight, along with her compassion for those convicted and are in the process of serving time or have already completed serving time, clearly shows Bhandari as someone blessed with an unusually enlightened mind. Maybe she is the path-finder India desperately needs. Her voice is measured and she has no gall. My hats off to her. I wish her success and the strength needed to go forward with her worthy ideas. – Karabi Sen
Mind your language
Whether we like it or not, English is here to stay (“Venkaiah Naidu is wrong. Demonising English will not solve problems caused by its dominance in India”). Parents are willing to make huge sacrifices for their children to acquire an English education. Naturally, private schools are proliferating and thriving across the country with their exorbitant fees despite often poor standards. Government-run schools are closing down due to lack of students.
The world’s legal, medical, administrative and scientific journals are written in English. It is important to recognise that almost all the gadgets and inventions are for those who understand English. On the need for English, suffice it to say that it is now so prevalent some non-English speaking countries like, Germany, France, Japan, and Spain and now China are learning and using English. English-language academic papers outnumber publications in the country’s own language several times over. Scientists and intellectuals who wish to produce influential, globally recognised work most likely need to publish in English. There are simply no appropriate words to convey vast amounts of technical knowledge to another person other than English.
Just because we speak a language does not mean it can lend itself to technical use. Translating advanced legal, scientific and medical terms into a language not designed for this purpose will lead to endless confusion, mis-translations and inefficiency.
That English is overtaking Indian languages is undeniable. Equally true is the argument that the market has much to do with this. Knowledge of English for our students to get the necessary skills is important in the present day world to get jobs. As the world is getting more flat, technology is creating incredible opportunities and abundance of possibilities to influence the world. English is very much an Indian language with its own Indianised vocabulary. It is interesting to observe that Dalits choose English in preference to their mother tongue because English guarantees upward mobility and good jobs. It is unfair deny them this option to learn English in government schools. – HN Ramakrishna
Kavita Krishnan’s article on the discrepancies between Hindu and Muslim laws regarding triple talaq and deserting one’s wife made for absorbing reading (“Civil offence for Hindus, crime for Muslims: The triple talaq ordinance is plainly discriminatory”). Let me state at the outset that I’m not a bhakt. Quite the opposite, actually. This mail is in the spirit of healthy debate and improving my understanding of the new law.
Krishnan’s piece, which talks about a different set of punishments for the two communities, civil versus criminal, seems right at face value. But I believe that she is ignoring one important aspect. After a Hindu man deserts his wife, he cannot remarry unless he legally divorces her. Divorce procedures then follow the laws of the land, hence bringing it back to a uniform civil code.
Triple Talaq, on the other hand, allowed Muslim men to walk out of their marriage with the utterance of those three words and remarry instantly. With the Supreme Court ruling and the subsequent ordinance, this will no longer be possible, hence again bringing the matter under the ambit of a uniform civil code.
As for the point regarding the law preventing Muslim men from looking after their wife since they will be jailed for the offense, I once again feel the author is missing the point. Every law is meant to be a deterrent. A death sentence helps deter others from committing a crime even if it does not reform or significantly help the people involved in that case in question. – Kartik
In a state like Haryana where khap panchayats dispense justice and villagers abide by their diktats, anything is possible (“What new diktat? In this Haryana village, Muslim identity markers ceased to exist in 1947”). Muslims in Haryana have become object of attack, especially by Jaat and Gurjars thanks to the Khattar government. If someone chooses to change their faith of their own accord that is perfectly okay but if people are forced to do so, it is a matter of worry. – Mohammad Aslam
This is a very informative article and leaves one disgusted and sad (“How do other countries clean their sewers and is there something India can learn from them?”). Our engineers have built skywalks and sealinks, so why can’t they build automated or mechanised sewage systems? It’s a shame. Indians are fed-up of this dirt and more stringent action should be taken by Safai Karamachari associations. Hats off to those who are working towards it.
If Malaysia can do it for the sake of tourism our plight is even bigger. I once stopped and asked a cleaner why wasn’t he wearing a safety uniform, to which he replied that it is too heavy and they prefer working without it. That shouldn’t be allowed. – Alka V Aswani
At a time when we are talk about the upliftment of backward castes, it is disheartening to learn that manual scavenging is still synonymous with the Dalit community and that several workers have lost their lives due to this oppressive system. The caste system in India will be prevalent as long as we let it live among us. The increasing number of deaths of manual scavengers over the years reinstates that the inhuman caste system still survives. When it comes to sewage treatment, capability comes second. Willingness to tackle the issue comes first, and willingness is what the government lacks today, and it is the prevailing caste system that is hindering this development. – Devlina Bhattacharjee
This article says that “it would take over 300 years before another woman rose to the top in India, long after the Mughal empire was gone” (“Interview: Why has India forgotten one of its greatest monarchs, a Mughal empress?”). Did Ahilyabai Holkar and Rani Laxmibai not exist? Hopefully “feminist history”, whatever that means, has room to accommodate Hindu empresses also. – Sandeep S