Sabarimala row

This article seems to be aimed at diverting from the main issue (“Sabarimala controversy frames a fundamental question: Who is a Hindu and what exactly is Hinduism?”). It also appears that the writer is a stooge of pseudo- secularists. Lord Ayyappa in Sabarimala is for all castes and creed, irrespective of their social status. In a group of Ayyappa, devotees you can find a millionaire and a rickshaw puller without any discrimination between the two. This is true equality, brotherhood and dispassion. Don’t try to bring Brahminism in this issue. Hereafter, the writer should desist from writing such polemic articles and concentrate on real problems of common man. – Sridharan Krishnamachari


The person who wrote this piece is trying to bring in caste politics. He has no knowledge, or only half-baked information. The prince of the Pandalam family is believed to be an avatar of Lord Ayyappa and therefore the temple had been under their administration for time immemorial. Though it is now administered by the Travancore Devaswom Board, the family continues to play an important role. It is wrong to twist facts and make up stories to push one’s own political agenda. – KV Gopalakrishnan


This is a well-written piece, but faith and traditions keep changing, Hinduism is accepting change, but enforcement is different. Accept Hinduism as it is. A majority of the women in Kerala will want Sabarimala to be as it is. Even the poor among have come forward in support of the traditions of Sabarimala. Our belief is too strong. – Shri Ram Jothy


Open letter to the Chief Justice of India

This letter is to highlight some important law principles that need to be considered while dealing with cases related to religious beliefs and faith. Equality is a well settled principle of law.

In our society, there are two kinds of people – those who believe in religion and those who do not. It is impossible to recognise who is religious and who isn’t through any test. Even a person who is not a believer can claim to be religious and nobody can prove otherwise. Because of this, the right of equality may not be applicable for religious matters.

Therefore, no one can be restricted from entering a temple because it is not possible to identify who is religious and who is not. Every person who wishes to enter a temple becomes religious, at least for that moment.

However, as Indu Malhotra observed in the Sabarimala judgement, the court should not interfere in religious matters unless they involve a social evil or something that directly affects the life of regular people. Hence, without prejudice to the merits of the cases or observations made by honourable court, I humbly request to consider these facts before dealing with review petition filed by any aggrieved party. – Girish Sarjerao Potdar


People’s will

The so-called silent majority that you are talking about doesn’t exist (“By standing firm on Sabarimala, CPI(M) hopes to win support of silent majority in Kerala”). People across all caste and gender have been vociferously protesting against the implementation of the Supreme Court verdict. If the Left Democratic Front government genuinely cared about the people from scheduled castes and tribes, it would not have brutally lathi-charged the poor tribal protesters at Nilackal. Speaking the truth requires a lot of courage. Sadly you lack that courage and integrity. – Gourishankar Panicker

Diwali celebrations

Diwali was always about crackers, lights and sweets (“‘Where are green crackers?’ Delhi traders are upset with Supreme Court order, police confused”). We used to eagerly wait for dawn and be ready to burst crackers. Awareness of air pollution has done little to mitigate this craziness. Green crackers were thought of only by a few. But now, in the wake of measures to curb pollution, our excitement has gone for Diwali. Worse is the time allotted to burst crackers. Two hours! Won’t this cause air pollution too? If an entire state bursts crackers within the allotted time, then no one can escape either air pollution or noise pollution. – Swetha Vimala


To each their own

If Mahima’s article on Diwali and Jains results in more Jains speaking out, that would be something new (“‘Ram or crackers had no place in my Diwali’: A Marwari Jain laments homogenisation of the festival”). Jains routinely come across mischaracterisations of facts and overlook that. They also avoid raising controversial issues in public. Mahima, for instance, chose not to say that Valmiki Ramayana – one of the earliest forms of Ramayana – does not even mention Diwali in celebration of Rama’s return. That would be a controversial statement to make; hence, best avoided.

Jains believe that the gods lit up the skies with their comings and goings to mark Mahavira’s hour of moksha and the kings of Kosala, Kashi and Vijji lit earthen lamps in his honour when Mahavira ascended to the abode of liberated souls. Thus, according to the Jains, the festival of lights occurred in India 2,545 years ago. Now, with regard to firecrackers, they represent wanton destruction, pain and suffering for many souls. Hence, the aversion to firecrackers and wanton lighting of fires (bonfires, for instance, is a big no-no in a Jain household.

As a Jain, we teach these and other things to our children and admonish them against self-promotion and imposing our ideas on others, or seeking to correct others. After all, for a Jain, correcting oneself is a glorious and complete end onto itself. Mahima, however, has chosen to share more freely some of what we teach our children. This is new as is this rejoinder. – Jaipat Singh Jain


Deepavali is celebrated in various forms for various reasons. If the Uttar Pradesh government and people want to celebrate Diwali for Ram’s return to Ayodhya after exile, so be it. If Marwari Jains like to celebrate the festival in another way, let them. This is criticism for the sake of it and publishing it indicates a biased attitude. – Srinivas Rao Bopparaju

Ailing CM

One need not be a great fan of Manohar Parrikar to have pity on him (“‘Have pity on him’: BJP faces criticism for releasing photos of ailing Goa CM Manohar Parrikar”). The ruling party has lost it! How much more does he have to suffer? It’s inhuman and bordering on insanity to make him work. He has earned his rest. The BJP should find an alternative instead of making him a scapegoat to meet their narrow political ends. But all this comes at a high cost of inefficient governance. And who knows the volume of proxy decisions and orders being executed in the name of the chief minister? – Mike Dias


Yes, Manohar Parrikar needs our empathy and support, apart from medical treatment. Hopefully he is in a good condition and all his faculties are intact. But any amount of work will be stressful for him It is better for BJP to find an alternative. I wish him a fast recovery. – ST Chandrasekhar Babu

Temple run

The Ram Temple issue has come up again. Rakesh Sinha’s private member’s bill is just a facade (“Rajya Sabha MP Rakesh Sinha asks Opposition leaders if they will support his bill on Ram temple”). He knows that his party has no strong plank now for the elections. So, instead of working towards job creation, increased safety and communal harmony, the BJP is doing divisive politics. Now, Indians will have to decide whom to vote for. The ball is in their court. I hope citizens will apply their minds before voting, no matter who they chose. – Rehan Ansar


Religious matters

This article not in good faith (“Ayodhya title suit: Why Ranjan Gogoi should constitute an SC bench comprising only Hindu judges”). Why talk about a Hindu judge or a Muslim judge? I am as secular as you and a lawyer. This Hindu-Muslim divide is not good in the judiciary. Our judiciary has been fair and will be fair. Once you are on the bench, you are above religion. – Aditya Tiwari


It is very unfortunate that a judge doesn’t remain a judge, he is either Hindu or Muslim, as it appears from the judgment given in the Ayodhya case by district judicial officer who was saw divine power in monkey and not in evidence and law of limitation. – Madan Prasad Singh

Burdened banks

This series is interesting and informative, but still misses the woods for the trees (“India’s bid to fix bad loan crisis is reshaping its corporate sector – and creating new challenges”)! First, all institutional efforts by the RBI and the government of India and the discourse in academia and media concentrate on addressing the problem of high and growing NPAs in Indian Banking in terms of how to ensure recovery after the assets have turned non-performing. There seems to be no discussion on how to ensure that good quality assets are booked, in other words the probability of default is lowered.

Second, the discussion centres on the assumption that all promoters are crooks. What about the culpability of bankers, the government, and our great academic community in designing and promoting structures that have perpetuated this situation? It’s a mess, because of the continuous policy of financial repression practiced over the last 50 years. Irrespective of political ideology or persuasion, it handsomely pays the political class to continue with this structure.

Cheap loans can be given to a select few in rural areas, ensuring political power and votes within grasp. Large loans are given to the capitalist class which ensures political donations and adequate funding for election campaigns. While the benefits are concentrated, the pain is extremely spread out and its origin difficult to detect or fight against.

The large and growing NPA problem is just one manifestation of the breakdown in governance in the Indian financial markets. But touch any aspect of banking governance and the same story presents itself. For example, one of the key functions of banks is managing the payment systems of the economy. So what is the benefit of having specialised payment banks with their severely limited mandate? Banks are highly leveraged entities working on wafer-thin margins and make their income through practicing economies of scope. Payment banks by their licence conditions are precluded from exercising much economies of scope.

Second, why are there so few transactions or such minimal balances in the majority of Jan Dhan Yojana accounts? Do the policy makers realise that every time a daily earner operates his or her bank account, he or she would likely lose out on a day’s wages? Why is there such a push for cellphone-based payment systems? Are there no other alternative cost-effective systems? There are numerous other such examples. It is high time the enlightened media does some deeper research. – Sushil Prasad