Music wins

Welcome, TM Krishna, to our hearts and minds, in each village and corner of India (“‘Big statement’: At TM Krishna concert in Delhi, hundreds attend to support the musician”). Your beautiful song and music unite people, creating love and peace like a song bird. I appreciate Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the festival organisers and Dilli wale at large. – Shafiq-ur-Rehman

Freedom of expression

I wish I had written Arundhati Roy’s letter about the ways in which totalitarian regimes are fundamentally altering the course of our lives (“‘The tide will turn’: Arundhati Roy’s letter to jailed Bangladeshi photographer Shahidul Alam”). The unmatchable greatness of this brave writer is commendable. I find it appalling that despite the fact that much of her work is free to read on the net, bigots refuse to read her actual words before slamming her. They cannot understand that she has her right to light a lamp for a Christian NGO as much as I have the right to light a lamp for a Hindu one. It is her choice as much as it is yours not to do what you do not want to endorse.

Yes, she is an outspoken citizen who is against majoritarian politics, not only India but also around the world. I am sure she will recognise that minority Hindus and Christians in Bangladesh are at the receiving end of state violence, like the Christians and Muslims are in India. Should it not occur to the Hindutva trolls that such a position is sympathetic to a secular, plural cause?

Being part of the minority is tough. The world needs Arundhati Roy and others like her. Democracies function on radical critiques of the state (to use Roy’s words). I do not agree with her sometimes, but it is very difficult to maintain a position all your life and stand by what you say. And to write an article for the media in such a breathtaking way, in such a short span of time, is the gift of a talented writer. I will always read her! Free Alam! – Dhruv Ramnath

Privacy rights

I beg to disagree that privacy is not an elitist concern (“Is privacy an elitist concern? Not so, says new survey”). When Aadhaar was implemented, people like us (whom you can call elitist) were at first reluctant to get an Aadhaar number. But my domestic help and cook got it promptly. I felt like a fool for not realising that Aadhaar may be required for many things. What is your sample size? Was the survey conducted scientifically? Unless you give me scientific data of the survey, I may not believe it. I am not a great admirer of the BJP, but Scroll.in is definitely anti BJP.

R Venkat

Media watch

What dismays me as a reader is the way the media has reported on the resignation of Binny Bansal as Flipkart CEO. No newspaper dared to headline the nature of Bansal’s “serious misconduct” (“Flipkart CEO Binny Bansal resigns after investigation into ‘personal misconduct’ allegation”). When the #MeToo revelations broke out, the print media did not hesitate to name others from the media and cinema involved in the alleged incidents. MJ Akbar was pushed against to the wall and was defamed to the maximum, revealing when, where and how he cornered his alleged victims. Binny Bansal is no inferior in stature to the minister, journalists, actors, directors or song writers who have faced the music for their alleged actions. But newspapers are not ready to frankly state the nature of Binny’s misconduct. They reported what Flipkart and Binny had to say in the matter. The newspapers know very well that if they dared to go beyond what Flipkart prescribes, they will lose full page advertisements from the e-retailer. So they are not ready to earn the wrath of the corporate entity. Shame on them. – P Vijayachandran

Flipkart tumble

It is really disturbing to see such fear-mongering amplified in the article (“In Assam’s Tinsukia district, killings of Bengalis spark anxiety among Hindi-speaking residents”). The information in this article is just the opinion of a few. Yes there was public outrage and fear after the cold-blooded murder but the scenario is very different from what is being reported. Please henceforth ensure that you cite local news and some other trusted sources too. My own experience of these events makes discredit the article. – Bishal Baishya

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It was an absolute pleasure reading this article. The detailing reflects the hard work of the author. We always look forward to unbiased news. Kudos to him. – Kishanji Deb

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Media’s role

I’m happy that some national media is highlighting the the bitter truth in Assam (“Wielding the bamboo: The media in Assam is marching for the cause of Assamese hyper-nationalism”). The regional news channels have become inhuman in fulfilling the ambition of Assamese nationalism. If this is not controlled, it could lead to a clash between Assamese and Bengalis. – Suraj Roy

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This article by a professor from the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati, describes the situation well. There are many more examples of the media inciting people of Assam to take the law into their own hands. It is not surprising that the government of Assam has been silent on this. – Tapas Pal

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What Assam witnessing today is due such type of articles. Inflammatory speeches by opposition parties such as the TMC and some BJP leaders are also responsible. We want to live peacefully. Do not hurt the common people of Assam. It is easy to criticise the Assamese people. – Krishna Pujari

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I can’t agree more with the author. Assamese media is as responsible as those ex-ULFA leaders in pandering to hyper nationalism. Thank you, Scroll.in, for getting ground reports from my state Assam. We’re really grateful for the ground reports by Arunabh Saikia, Ipsita Chakravarty and Abhishek Dey. When local media is biased and mainstream “national” media is silent like always, Scroll.in is doing real journalism. – Rajesh Dey Sarkar

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The writer is totally insensitive to the feeling of insecurity among Assamese people. The Assamese already have given space and shelter to waves of immigrants. Assam is saturated.The writer has no idea of the root cause of the foment. It is very sad that five innocent people were massacred. But the views expressed are one-sided and the author’s intent seems to be to deride the sentiments of the indigenous people and trivialise the efforts of a people whose language and identity is under siege.

Assamese and Bengalis have lived as neighbours for more than a millennium and as brothers sharing a roof for almost two centuries. – Samrat Bora

Danger zone

The article seems to be written in extremely poor taste and with a very skewed view of things (“How India Today’s Rahul Kanwal survived a battle between Maoists and the CRPF in Chhattisgarh”). Such mock exercises are routinely carried out for training and strengthening standard operating procedures. Therefore the point about wasting manpower is erroneous. Referencing the inspector general’s smile was an unwarranted slight. First, it was a mock exercise and second even in a real life scenario, with everyday casualties and injuries, the morale of the force is high and the seriousness of any situation needn’t translate into a sombre facial expression.

About the questions asked during the mock exercise – that serves as a informative tool for the audience while maintaining the seriousness of the operation. I hope you will either withdraw the article or at least make the required corrections to make it seem more informative rather than an unnecessary and ill-informed take-down. – Abhimanyu Arora

Voting rights

Elections are the very foundation of democratic India. Elections allow citizens to express their views and participate in government (“Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections: Congress releases third list of 13 candidates, includes new faces”). Legitimate election outcomes are predicated on a process that is free and fair for all qualified citizens. The significance of democracy does not lie just in the act of voting somebody to power, but in the way that power is exercised by those elected.

Direct democracy is a form of government in which political decisions are made directly by the entire body of qualified citizens. Since this is impractical in most modern societies, a democratic government is usually conducted through representatives. Elections enable voters to select these leaders and hold them accountable for their performance in office. Accountability can be undermined when elected leaders do not care whether they are re-elected or when, for historical or other reasons, one party or coalition is so dominant that there is effectively no choice for voters among alternative candidates, parties, or policies.

Nevertheless, the possibility of controlling leaders by requiring them to submit to regular and periodic elections helps solve the problem of succession in leadership and thus contributes to the continuation of democracy. Moreover, where the electoral process is competitive and forces candidates or parties to expose their records and future intentions to popular scrutiny, elections serve as forums for the discussion of public issues and facilitate the expression of public opinion.

Elections thus provide political education for citizens and ensure the responsiveness of democratic governments to the will of the people. They also serve to legitimise the acts of those who wield power, a function that is performed to some extent even by elections that are non-competitive. Elections also reinforce the stability and legitimacy of the political community. Like national holidays commemorating common experiences, elections link citizens to each other and thereby confirm the viability of the polity. As a result, elections help to facilitate social and political integration.

Finally, elections serve a self-actualising purpose by confirming the worth and dignity of individual citizens as human beings. Whatever other needs voters may have, participation in an election serves to reinforce their self-esteem and self-respect. Voting gives people an opportunity to have their say and, through expressing partisanship, to satisfy their need to feel a sense of belonging. Even nonvoting satisfies the need of some people to express their alienation from the political community.

For precisely these reasons, the long battle for the Right to Vote and the demand for equality in electoral participation can be viewed as the manifestation of a profound human craving for personal fulfillment. Whatever the peculiar national, regional, or local variations, elections are events that, by arousing emotions and channeling them toward collective symbols, break the monotony of daily life and focus attention on the common fate. – Shashidhar Vuppala