I absolutely agree with the author’s view on the disputed site of Ayodhya (“Why India’s Muslims have adopted a strategy of silence on the renewed push for a Ram temple”). The recent controversy created by the Sangh Parivar is motivated by electoral gains. I appeal to my fellow Muslim citizens not to lose their patience and wait until the Supreme Court delivers its verdict on the matter. I also urge my fellow Hindu citizens to show faith and respect in the apex court. – Rehan Ansar
I really appreciate the work done by Scroll.in. Your Morning Fix and economic series are a ray of sunshine in this dark world of paid journalism. On Ayodhya issue, I believe it is very ironic that people want to build a temple for Ram on the exact same spot where he was supposedly born (“Ayodhya dispute: Supreme Court declines Hindu Mahasabha’s petition for early hearing of appeals”). It is often observed that deities are presented with objects that they like, for example, Ganesh is presented with modaks. But in this case, Ram had given over his entire kingdom and land and exiled himself in the forest.
The Ram temple is not about Ram at all. It is about persecuting the Muslims and dividing the nation. The subtext is that the Congress appeased Muslims and we, the BJP, will do the opposite. Many people do not like the policy of Congress to use Muslims as a vote bank and rightly so – the party used them as a political weapon and the community has seen no real upliftment. But isn’t the BJP doing the same?
I strongly believe that a temple will not be built, at least not till they get a more divisive topic, and such a topic will make the nation bleed. When the Supreme Court will give its final verdict on the temple, it will be a muted affair, unless it is acknowledged by both sides.
So in a way, I would like the Supreme Court to call out the bluff and order the building of a Ram temple and the Muslim groups to not oppose it. However unlikely this scenario might be, the BJP will be in effect left with no option but to show us the face of “vikas” that they promised in the elections. I know I am being highly opinionated but people are just fed up with this temple issue and want to move on. – Vipul Jain
With all due respect to the author, I believe that the article may have been a knee-jerk reaction to Shashi Tharoor’s stance on the Sabarimala issue (“Shashi Tharoor’s statement on Sabarimala is a blatant defence of majoritarianism”).
I am no blind supporter of Tharoor. However, I am an ardent supporter of the liberal thoughts he has vehemently stood by in the past, sometimes even to his own peril.
I am of the opinion that comparing the Ayodhya and Sabarimala issues is not appropriate, especially because the backdrop of each is completely different. For example, the Ayodhya debate carries incendiary communal connotations. In the case of Sabarimala, it’s the differences between people that have come to the fore. This is not to take away any significance from the latter, but I believe that comparisons should be made between two objects of equal weightage and that is not the case here.
Additionally, the Ayodhya matter assumed additional relevance because it was exploited for political gains. Sabarimala had not been thought of as political fodder until recently, at least at the national level.
Also, if you ask most Hindus in the vicinity of Ayodhya, there is hardly any enthusiasm for the construction of a temple there. So, comparing the majoritarian stance in the case of Ayodhya and Sabarimala does not pass muster. In the case of the Sabarimala issue, the intensity of the protests that have sustained over the course of the last month is itself a testament to what Tharoor is seeking to imply.
Secondly, Tharoor’s article also explained clearly the contradictions between the Right to Equality and the Right to Religious Freedom in the Sabarimala case. In the Ayodhya case, it is the same Right to Religious Freedom of two different communities that is at odds.
Lastly, I do not accept the accusation that Tharoor, by suggesting that the BJP government take the legislative route, undermined the judiciary in any way. His stance was that if there was political will, a solution could have been found. However, the party has chosen to use the issue for political gains through its reverberating rhetoric. He specifically said that an ordinance introduced by the government “may also be struck down one day”. He accepts the judicial supremacy in the interpretation of the Constitution.
Overall, I believe that liberal ideas function in a framework in a given society. There are no absolutes to them. In matters of faith, the judiciary, which goes by constitutional principles and precedence, may not be the most appropriate to determine the appropriate course of action. Faith is a matter of emotions and it should be dealt with sensibly and also objectively, by taking into consideration the stakes involved. – Vidya Laxminarayan Iyer
I am a senior citizen and a staunch devotee of Lord Ayyappa. The obstinate stand taken by the present government raises certain doubts among believers as to whether the intention is to convert Sabarimala into a purely tourist centre and maybe even start breweries along the coast of the holy Pampa river. I pray against any such move. – Manu Manoharan
It is a farce to suddenly care about who is a “genuine pilgrim” to Sabarimala, after tacitly supporting the devotion-devoid rabble rousers who initiated the court case in the first place (“Hindutva organisations are using an incantation to Ayyappa as a political slogan at Sabarimala”). Please enlighten your readers about the extent of Trupti Desai’s devotion to Ayyapa before questioning whether the people saying “Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa” are “Hindutva members” or “genuine pilgrims”. – Sandeep S
Kerala government’s stance
The Pinnarayi Vijayan government in Kerala is moving with trepidation on the Sabarimala issue even though it vociferously champions the cause of allowing women of all ages into the temple (“By standing firm on Sabarimala, CPI(M) hopes to win support of silent majority in Kerala”). The government is conscious that it will not be crowned with glory if its police clears the path, for the first time, for women devotees aged between 10 and 50 to climb the 18 steps that lead to the inner sanctum of the Sabarimala temple. There are a few women who want to be equal to men in this regard but most traditional women devotees prefer to keep away from the hill temple as they believe they will earn Lord Ayyappa’s wrath if they “defile” his abode. Therefore, it is risky for the the government to hurt the sentiment of these devotees, who form a huge and decisive vote bank. By playing it safe, the government can remain a darling in the eye of the Supreme Court while also not doing anything to defile Sabarimala. – P Vijayachandran
Modi and Trump
We should not compare the American way of doing things with the Indian way (“Media strategy: Why Trump can attack journalists as savagely as he wants to – but Modi stands aloof”). Indian prime ministers do not usually have press conferences. For instance, how many press conferences did Manmohan Singh have? Also, American presidents have a State of the Union Address, while we don’t. Journalists here are corrupt. We don’t see journalistic ethics here, which we see in the foreign media. The bias in Indian journalism is immediately recognisable, both Left- and Right-leaning. So, we should stop comparing ourselves with other countries. – Nilesh Patel
Sri Lanka turmoil
I would like TM Krishna to write a column about what countries like United States, China, Russia, Japan and others consider as their identity and what India’s identity is according to him (“The TM Krishna column: Rajapaksa’s return as Sri Lanka PM is a warning for Indians ahead of 2019”). How did the aforementioned countries fictionalise their own religions to create their modern national identities? Is India trying to find her own identity?
Secular and liberal ideals are declining everywhere. Narrow nationalism is on the rise. Individuals all over the world are unknowingly surrendering their precious rights and losing their freedoms to Facebook, Google and other big data companies and to their governments.
When societies do not have legal structures and enforcement mechanisms to punish leaders who make false charges against others and get away with it, leaders with scant respect for truth, how does Krishna envision progress in India?
As a university teacher, I used to assign role reversals to my Palestinian and Israeli students and encourage them to share their insights with the class. The result was an extraordinary and sympathetic understanding of the other’s issues.
Krishna should muster the courage to write a truthful evaluation of Modi’s leadership, his achievements and his failures along with an assessment of other pretenders to the throne. He would serve the country well to write about India’s problems (not internal but external) and who, in his opinion, is equipped to secure India’s future. Look at India in the global context and see its internal and external issues or problems or challenges and find a leader who could address them with incorruptible and democratic leadership.
India’s problems seem small indeed when you consider the global ecological collapse; impending demise of secular, liberal ideals (rule of law, human rights, and democracy); breakdown of institutions that brought peace, stability and prosperity; and the dominance of machines, AI and technology that is beyond the grasp of leaders all over the world, resulting in policy failures.
In other words, global problems need global coordinated policies developed through global institutions. Where does India’s leadership fit into this global situation? Which country does not have corruption or religious and social problems?
Krishna’s candid warning for soul searching by one and all is timely. A well-deserved admonition! – Nanduri Rao
Thank you for a penetratingly clear warning, based on our nation’s experience, as well as that of our neighbour. That is why the contribution of the author’s family towards helping our disadvantaged people is even more important than the author’s eloquent books and articles. There can be no progress in our country as long as we continue the systematic marginalisation of 70% of our people. And there will be no change in that until there is an awakening about that among all our people.
What matters is not how many statues we build, or how many satellites/bullet trains/submarines we have, but what we do for the health, education and social liberation of 70% of our country – that is our Dalits, tribals and poor people. – Prabhu Guptara
This article about Rajapaksa and India is quite amusing. It is easy to blame Modi for every evil happening in India. But how can you forget the 1984 riots, the Golden Temple attack and the massacre of Kashmiris? The author categorically and hypocritically includes all Indians in his rant. I am not in agreement with him, for the simple reason that over the past five years I am not ashamed of being a Hindu or an Indian. I am treated well when I go out of the country. There are stray incidents in the country that have been blown out of proportion by people like the author. It is nothing but the anger of Hindus at being treated as second-class citizens in India.
People like the author have encouraged Hindu bashing by earlier governments and what we see now is Hindus getting united. Hindus are not against Dalits nor against minorities. The way you have portrayed the present situation is as if India is headed for civil war.
Do we have any leader in India who can match Modi or even Jaitley, Rajnath Singh or Sushma Swaraj? What we see is a Rahul Gandhi and a Manmohan Singh playing background music sometimes. Hindus in this country were being denied their rights whereas appeasement of minorities was going on unabashedly. India has emerged as a strong nation during these five years and I am sure Modi will be there even after 2019 to lead our country, although the author may be wishing otherwise. – Vishwas Wadekar
Note ban memories
The note ban was ill-advised and disruptive both to the economy and the society at large (“Opinion: India must commemorate every anniversary of the blunder that was demonetisation”). Two years after demonetisation, it did not fetch any of the supposed benefits on counterfeiting, black money or terror funding nor did it move people towards a digital economy. In practice, it has led to more cash holding and cash transactions and the government is compelled to print more currency than what was circulating prior to demonetisation, thereby incurring extra costs.
The much-touted benefits of demonetisation have at best proved illusory. Cash remains important for the vast majority in our country for everyday transactions. With poor internet connectivity in rural areas, cash is the main, and often only, mode of reliable transaction. Demonetisation was thought to be a big leap towards creating a cashless economy but that has not happened. All the suffering and distress was unnecessary. It is not surprising that the government prefers the second anniversary of the unfortunate demonetisation to be low key. Unlike the other much extolled surgical strikes, this is one surgical strike the government would prefer the citizens forget. – HN Ramakrishna
Amidst all Diwali celebrations, I still find people remembering the second anniversary of the so-called surgical strike on black money that was demonetisation (“Demonetisation disrupted the life of every Indian – and failed all of its stated goals”). I am neither shocked nor surprised, because this is the effect it created. It does not seem to have achieved even 10% of its goal. The rich became richer and the poor became poorer. The sleepless nights and hungry days will never be forgotten. Prime Minister Modi asked for 50 days’ time and had said that if the results were not as expected, he would accept any punishment the country decides for him, but even after two years, it is only the common people who are punished for a mistake that they never committed and are hoping for change that may never happen. Is it meant to be like this? Are we bound to suffer? – Harshini SV
Game of sanctions
Girish Shahane has tried to use the scrapyard of his sketchy knowledge about Iran’s history to come up with a well written but factually poor article (“Trump’s decision to exempt India from Iranian oil sanctions is not good news”). Trump allowed India to buy oil from Iran because a) Iran needs to be rewarded for giving access to India at Chabahar port, without which Afghanistan could not be supplied; b) US did not want an oil shortage to hit the market and raise oil prices and c) US did not want to antagonise the Iranian people beyond a point.
All this talk about Yazid is nonsense. The story is true, but it is irrelevant to the article. Iranians have been against America ever since Ayatollah Khomeini’s revolution. India and Persia share a deep cultural bond, which is reflected in all spheres of life. Shahane needs to do a more in-depth study of the issues that prompted Trump to allow Iran some oil sales. – Rakesh Chaubey
This is not renaming along communal lines but the reclaiming of our true identity (“The Daily Fix: In UP, Adityanath’s communal renaming spree overtakes the politics of development”). Allahabad has not been renamed, its true name, Prayag, has been given back to it. – Radhey Shyam Rai
Fight to survive
Thank you for the interesting story of Atul Kumar Jain’s fight against cancer (“Keeping it clean: Why the family of a Delhi man who beat lung cancer won’t burst crackers on Diwali”). We were touched by his determination to be a survivor and a role model. We must also appreciate the support system he has in the form of his devoted son and wife who took over what would have been Jain’s role in the family. We wish the family success and pray to god to give him strength and motivation. – CV Manian
The Rafale video is disgusting and disturbing (“Watch: Aisi Taisi Democracy’s ‘The Rafale Song’ attacks the controversial aircraft deal”). A few paid journalists are deliberately spreading a lie. The CEO of Dassault has already clarified. The chief of HAL also has clarified that they are not in offset the business. Despite all these clarifications, Rahul Gandhi is spreading lies.
He does not seem to have any vision for India except opposing the prime minister. But people do not buy his false allegations. Modi is still popular and is heading for another term as prime minister. I do not know Rahul Gandhi’s qualifications, but his speeches do not inspire people and indicate that he is unqualified. India is the largest democracy in the world but surprisingly, there is no democracy in the Congress. The country does not need dynastic rule and people of this country are now clever enough to understand this.
The country needs Modi for another 15 years. For god’s sake, don’t spread lies. – SP Mahapatra