An independent media is one of the four pillars of democracy. This government has demolished the sanctity of the Supreme Court, the media and the CBI – all institutes that are supposed to be working independently (“The Daily Fix: Modi government’s dubious decision on CBI chief further erodes agency’s integrity”). The earlier regime too tried to influence these institutions by hook or by crook, but this one has crossed the limits. – Suresh Kumar Verma


This article states mentions that CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana too had written the Central Vigilance Commissioner, alleging that Director Alok Verma had taken bribes (“By sending the CBI director on leave, the Centre has stretched the law to its limits”). It clearly says that Verma too stands accused of corruption. This was brought to the Central Vigilance Commission’s attention only on August 24, and not when the alleged incident occurred. Verma too moved the Supreme Court over government interference in the fuctioning of the CBI only after he was sent on leave by the Modi administration. The men’s actions are causing serious harm to the institution to which they belong. – Vrinda Ban


Without casting a doubt on his proficiency, one cannot ignore the fact that Rakesh Asthana enjoyed the confidence of Modi during his investigations into the 2002 riots and certain other incidents (“CBI storm: How Rakesh Asthana went from supercop in Gujarat to the ‘blue-eyed boy’ in Delhi”). This favouritism is usually used by top political leaders as such individuals, with some charges against them, can become good fodder for blackmail to carry out the will of the

masters. This modus operandi has been employed by most important political leaders in the world. – SN Iyer

Sabarimala row

This article is factually incorrect. A simple Google search would have shown the author that 19 review petitions have been filed in court against the Sabarimala verdict, including one by the Nair Service Society that is mentioned in this article (“The Daily Fix: Sabarimala protestors could have challenged Supreme Court order. Why didn’t they?”). The Court howeber refused to hear them before closing for Dusshera holidays on October 12.

The author claims that women were bullied away from the temple. Many women have come out in tens of thousands to protesty the Supreme Court verdict. 2. They have not been chanting slogans deriding any government or court. Instead, they have marched chanting Ayyapa’s name. They are calling only their deity, no one else. These women have also not hurled abuses or stones, as is the usual norm in most widespread protests across the country. Have you covered the women’s protests? Please make an effort to ask them why they believe so strongly in this deity and temple. There must be some reason they are out on the roads, day after day, come rain or shine.

These people have not rallied together by invitation of a political party or under duress. They have poured out on the streets across the state, across political hues, caste and religion. Your concluding statement, using the adjectives “misogynistic, majoritarian, bullying”, is derogatory. Six crore people visit Sabarimala annually. What about protecting their rights?

The women who have claimed in the past few weeks that they want to enter the temple are self-proclaimed atheists or activists with a history of questioning every Hindu practice. The author implies that politics are being played over the issue. That is correct. But the reference to the RSS and the Nair Service Society is flawed. The author tries to make the case that the RSS, and by association, the BJP, is behind the protests. This claim is laughable. If these parties had this kind of reach, would they have struggled so much to get even a toe-hold in the state?

Please understand that religious sentiments have a place in India. This issue is not about gender discrimination, it is about right to worship. The uniqueness of the temple and customs have been explained by the advocates in their arguments, please look at those and see if they have any merit before unilaterally passing a judgment. – Lekshmi Menon


I can’t believe how glibly the writer mentioned that the protesters could have filed a review petition against the verdict. Leave alone the fact that the Supreme Court rejected an early hearing of the 19 review petitions filed before them, the activists or the so-called enlightened folks wanted to act too clever and enter the temple and present a fait accompli even before the appeal is heard. Why? Did they even try to reach out to the other side and build a consensus? The writer neglects to mention this. That is not right. Or is it just that the so called liberals used to always having their say in everything till now, didn’t think too much on trampling over the beliefs of devotees? – Raakesh Baskaran


The ban on the entry of women of menstrual age into the Sabarimala temple may be of “dubious origin”, as the author says, but worshippers of Lord Ayyappa stand by the restriction. Even the devotees who are educated women observe the restriction. During the just-concluded monthly pilgrimage period, some women made it a prestige issue and tried to enter the temple with the support of the police. All of them were turned away. Juxtapose this with the annual practice of Aattukal Pongala taking place in Thiruvananthapuram at the famous Bhagavathy temple. While men provide full support to the conduct of the event, women make the Pongala. Men only take the prasadam cooked by women. Women who otherwise take part in the Pongala take a vacation if their menstrual cycle coincide with the event. No one can influence the perception among believers that menstruation is unclean as far as the divinity is concerned – they themselves have to realise this. The state government and activists should not make this an issue. When enlightenment catches up with the devotees, things may change for the better. We must wait for the evolution ideas and change of perception. – P Vijayachandran


Sir, I’m devotee visiting the shrine since 1983 and I’m 47 years old. The devotees who in penance for a period of 41 days and irumudi(the pooja arrivals tied in cotton bag) are allowed to walk through the Holy 18 steps. With that great faith I’m visiting continuously since 1983. When a lady who’s age dose not permitted to do penance of 41 days carrying irumudi should be stopped at the foot of the hill itself. Even the Apex court allowed only to visit the temple and there is a provision for non penance devotees. It clearly shows their intension is only hurt the feelings of devotees like but they don’t faith in the deity. Is this not a violation of Artical 25 of Indian Constitution. Is it not violation of Fundamental Rights? In other religions one should have faith to be in that religion or else to leave. But The whole problem lies in Hinduism even people without faith can continue in the religion by calling themselves atheists. The state government is provoking people to hurt the faith of lakhs of devotees by safe guarding them.


Court’s mandate

This article primarily argues that the current intervention by the court is unnecessary (“Sabarimala: Courts didn’t act when they should have – and overstepped their boundaries when they did”). The author says, “I do not believe it is the job of courts or governments to mandate such changes. The courts should step in only when a fundamental right is seen to be curtailed, as it was through centuries of caste discrimination.”

This argument is not true; The Supreme Court was actually checking whether the custom is against the fundamental rights (Article 17) of our Constitution. Please ask the writer to refer to the Supreme Court judgment for further details and correct the article accordingly so that wrong information is not disseminated. – Jisha Cherian


The undercurrent is so misogynistic and disconnected with anything modern that it makes for a disappointingly unintellectual read. – Rakesh Katarey

Striking a balance

The people of Kerala used to deal with the menstruating women as polluted for three days (“Readers’ comments: Sabarimala temple protests show we respect neither Constitution nor Supreme Court”). They were isolated and not permitted in common rooms, were not allowed to cook or use the common vessels. They could partake in family activities only after a purification bath. During those three days they were not allowed to light the Sandhya deep and not to go to temples. Now it is not the case. No one in the family bothers about this and women carry on without any such restrictions. Some may avoid lighting the lamp during the dusk or abstain from going to temple, but that is a personal preference. The tradition at the Sabarimala temple is of olden days. The people are being irrational in insisting on upholding this outdated and archaic practice.

But one thing to be noted about the Supreme Court is that it did not take a clear stand against triple talaq or even polygamy among Muslims, but did so for a Hindu custom. Still, Hindus should have accepted this ruling as one in favour of the equality of the sexes and shown its modern outlook. – Radhakrishnan Pattah

King of the jungle

The political class in Gujarat is looking at the crisis of lion deaths as a veterinarian doctor would. To turn Gir forest into one big medical rehab centre appears to be their solution (“With 23 Asiatic lions dead in Gir, here’s what the authorities can do to preserve India’s pride”). We need to look at Gir as a natural forest. We should not try and regulate who kills whom. Not even which microbe kills which host. They are all the elements that define the direction that evolution takes.

For instance, after wolves were reintroduced in Yellowstone, their numbers grew very rapidly, till the increasing density of wolves caused viruses to also multiply and the infected wolf population dropped dramatically by one third. That became the stable number of wolves that Yellowstone has had ever since.

Though Yellowstone is the most intensely monitored natural landscape, the researchers studied the infected and dead wolves to understand the progress and natural control of disease yet they made no effort to intervene through treatment or inoculation. The approach was that of letting nature find its balance.

Shifting some Gir lions to another suitable habitat would create another population isolated from Gir. Then the spread of an epidemic in one population would not affect the other. An insurance to the otherwise genetically weak lions that are descended from a tiny population of barely a dozen lions.

Marital ties

I think there is simple reason for same-caste marriage: comfort zone (“How same-caste marriages persisted for thousands of years in India – and are still going strong”). Typically, there is are significant variations in food habits, lifestyles etc between castes. There could be additional regional differences too. Hence one is comfortable marrying someone of the same caste. This holds true for inter-religion marriages as well. – R Venkat

Identity question

First of all I wish to thank Home Minister Rajnath Singh for taking the historic decision to differentiate the Gorkhas who are Indian citizens from those who are Nepali nationals that have come to our country as per the provisions of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between India and Nepal and can live here without an Indian Passport (“Centre clarifies citizenship status of Gorkhas living in Assam”).

But this is the third time the government of India has had to clarify status of the Gorkhas in India, after 1949 and 1988. How often will the government proclaim that the Indian gorkhas are not foreigners? This is not a good for our national ethos or security.

The main complaint of some Indian Gorkha leaders is that they are looked at as foreigners, Nepalis. But these very leaders also insist that that they will call their language Nepali and not Gorkhabhasa or Gorkhali, which is also in the Eighth Schedule of our Constitution. If the leaders cooperate with the government and agree to use Gorkhabhasa instead of Nepali, the identity problem will not recur. Further, as the language is etymologically the same, we have many advantages in calling the language Gorkhabhasa instead of Nepali. Such a shift will be much cheaper and easier than changing the name of Calcutta to Kolkata, Or Bombay to Mumbai would have been. – Mani Kumar Sharma