Pliable politics

I’m a big fan of and Rohan Venkatramakrishnan (“Opinion: Rahul Gandhi was wrong to call journalist who conducted Modi interview ‘pliable’”). But equating a valid criticism (as you yourself have quoted evidence of, and which your peers have given two new instances yesterday), with the abuse generated against journalists in the past is patently unfair. And to have the Editors’ Guild, Press Association and Club, Women’s Correspondents Association, National Union of Journalists suddenly wake up to this issue after keeping silent all this time? – Joseph Mathew


The reaction of the journalist fraternity is strange. Was the interview of the prime minister not a monologue? The questions clearly appeared to be prompts that allowed Narendra Modi to say what he wanted to, including pillorying his opponents through rhetoric and without facts. Are follow up questions not expected in such an important interview by a specially chosen and experienced journalist? What does absence of such searching queries indicate? – Madan Kandal

Question and answer

How long are you going to fool people with misleading headlines (“‘Modi gave written answers, then ANI formed questions’: Twitter users poke fun at PM’s interview”)? A majority of the those whose tweets you have shared are anti-Modi guys such as Dhruv Rathee, Akash Banerjee and Mrinal Pande. At least substantiate your point and include neutral voices. – Ankur Shandilya

Ideology and politics

The Left only sees “majoritarianism” as a threat while ignoring the religious fundamentalism and fanaticism of minorities (“Modi’s speech to police chiefs shows he isn’t quite so bothered about rising religious conflict”). Not just that, it goes to great extents to prevent any sort of criticism of the minority by the majority just because it links majoritarianism, authoritarianism and fascism.

Similarly, the Right propagates overtly religious majoritarian identity politics because it sees the Left’s hypocrisy of calling out people on majoritarianism as being overly protective of the rights of minorities. They also notice how the Left creates fractures among majoritarian groups using historical narratives or race, caste and the like, which are prejudiced political narratives seeped in the ideology of that conservatism equals bad and modernism equals good.
History shows that when arguments, laws and governance system starts favouring one side that’s when public outbursts, revolutions and social rupture happen. People have a short lives so they only get to show their discontent but system always remains in the hands of two types of elites: those with money and those with knowledge. – Deep Bhatnagar

Citizenship tangle

This is just a blatant attempt by the Central government to ensure they can score at least nine out of 14 Lok Sabha seats from Assam this year (“Joint Parliamentary Committee adopts report on Citizenship Bill despite opposition”). Bringing in the Clause 6 announcement as a diversionary tactic and then promising things on to various groups just exposes their hollowness. Indigenous tribes, Assamese and the original Bengali speaking population of the state will be able to see through it. – Madhurjya Sarmah

Bangladesh elections

Across the world, democratically elected leaders are becoming increasingly authoritarian (“In Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina’s landslide victory confirms that democracy is dead”). The recent elections in Hungary and Bangladesh are classic examples of this. Various methods including suppressing dissent, curbing press freedom, intimidating or arresting opposition leaders, forming fake parties, fielding dummy candidates and rigging ballots are used to win elections. These ruling leaders and their governments manufacture false narratives to legitimise their actions, such as the fight against fundamentalist forces, terrorism and national security concerns. The Awami League’s success in Bangladesh and was based on the same pattern. There is no sign of anti-incumbency even after a decade in power, going by the landslide victory for the Sheikh Hasina’s party in the polls, which only proves that the general election was just a mere exercise. We wish the world would condemn such practices and pressurise the Bangladeshi government to hold re-polls. – Rehan Ansar

Loan waivers

Excellent article. The state has been shrugging off it’s responsibilities one by one. Health, education, basic services – all gone to the private sector (“Interview: Income support schemes for farmers are a cop-out, says economist Abhijit Sen”). Cash income distribution will be the final nail in the coffin. And how about the landless? As in cooperatives, and several other hand based support schemes, their marginalisation continues! This is a great analysis of how state will further divest of it’s responsibilities. – Smita Premchander

Trump card

It is convenient to write about negative aspects of Trump’s presidency (“In 2019, the most bigly of all known unknowns that bedevil the world are Donald Trump’s actions”). Trump may have his faults, but we should not ignore his America First policy. He doesn’t want to project America as a nation on top of the world. No wonder he declared that America is ending its role as global policeman. American troops are going to be withdrawn from Syria and Afghanistan. That means countries like Russia and Turkey will engage prominently in the region. Also, he suggested that Russia, Pakistan and India should take care of Afghanistan. As a business man, he understands how much loss America has to shoulder when it fights war against enemies of its friendly nations. In short, he wants to cut losses for the sake of Americans.

If the American President thinks it is costly to get entangled in issues not beneficial to America, how can we find fault with him? After all he thinks differently and speaks differently from other American Presidents. Is it a mistake? Simply put, Trump is not ready to put Americans at risk and loss . He wants to build the “big beautiful wall” at the Mexican border because illegal immigration from. Don’t the governments there have a duty to look after their own people? Why should Americans shoulder the responsibility of the entire world? – P Vijayachandran

Vegan living

It’s true that meat has a huge carbon footprint (“Going vegan is a healthy option, but it won’t work for much of middle-class India”). What is marketed as vegan food also has a huge carbon footprint, possibly because many of these crops are not native or locally grown and are expensive for customers. Has anyone done a comparison of the carbon footprints of what is marketed as vegan food and meat? How different is a vegan diet from a diet of pulses, millets, other grains, leaves and vegetables? – Hormazd


A vegan diet is not good. It leads to malnutrition and deficiency. If you don’t eat protein, you will not have a strong nation and will always be defeated in battle. Moderation is a must and we must look at lab-grown meat. Life is to be enjoyed. All five senses need to be fed for that. – Manoj Kumar

Triple talaq debate

India is not a regressive country at all (“Asaduddin Owaisi’s speech on triple talaq: ‘If your faith is yours, then my faith should be mine’”). As a matter of fact, the Mughal and British invaders ruined our culture to some extent. Hindus were always far more liberal than the Mughals and British. The Congress has always focused on appeasement. That is why Indian Muslims have fallen behind on several economic indicators. And India cannot move ahead at a rapid pace without our Muslims. Owaisi and the Gandhi family should be ashamed. We are supposed to be the world’s largest democracy. Triple talaq, polygamy and other anti-women practices have to go. – Sunil Mohan

Poll predictions

This person who claims to be a man of god is always seen in the company of politicians and other leaders (“‘We cannot say who will become the next PM,’ says yoga guru Ramdev”). Though it may appear that he is doing a lot of good for the society, he is after fame and money. How long before he is shown to be as corrupt as all others in his place? Why can’t Indians realise that the so-called religious gurus have no place in modern India? – Gurcharan Chana

Genpact case

Why do the laws only protect women (“Genpact sexual harassment case: Have police overreached by charging company with abetting suicide?”)? There are many instances of misuse of laws such as sexual harassment by women. The Constitution talks about equality, so why are the laws not equal for men and women? Even when it comes to alimony, why should it be given to working women? Such loopholes allow selfish women to exploit their innocent husbands, sometimes driving them to suicide. Lawmakers need to to make the laws gender neutral and unbiased. Let’s have a level-playing field. Times have changed. Laws were framed in era when women were homemaker but now many are working. Let us stop this blackmailing of women by labelling them as “weak”. – Tom Nathan


I found your article naive and without merit. In fact it is insensitive. Based on an allegation, the company suspended its senior employee without giving him any hearing, in the most humiliating manner. And even after he committed suicide, you argue that the police should not investigate those named in the suicide note? This is preposterous and callous. The Internal Complaints Committee should give the accused confidence that justice would be done. They should first hear them out. This #MeToo is becoming too much. People are losing their pride and life. The government should come in and balance the law. These women-centric laws are so anti-men. – Prakash Sinha

Lost in translation

In the article on caste and religious bigotry in Uttar Pradesh, the translation of the sentence, “Pehle Dalit aur Muslim malai khate the, ab Bramhan khate hain” is translated as “Earlier only Dalits and Muslims ate the cream, now Brahmins can eat it too” (“The backstory: Reporting on UP’s cheating crackdown provided many lessons in casual bigotry”). This is incorrect. It seems to suggest that besides Brahmins, others are also getting the cream, whereas the original quote clearly suggests that all the goods are now being cornered by Brahmins instead of Dalits and Muslims. So the translation should have been: “Earlier Dalits and Muslims ate the cream, now Brahmins eat it.” This would have conveyed the essence of the Hindi sentence more accurately.

This inaccuracy is too basic to get wrong for a Hindi speaker, giving the impression that the writer wants to protect the image of the current government or leader. I do not expect a reputed news portal like to let such a basic inaccuracy slip. – Rajratna Jadhav

At the movies

The shishya has imbibed the guru’s lessons well (“Nandita Das on Mrinal Sen: ‘My friend, philosopher and guide, in a way few have been’”). I saw Manto recently. I understand that the movie didn’t go down well with Indian critics, but I liked it a lot, especially Nandita Das’s direction. I thought she was very creative, especially in the way she interspersed scenes from a few of his short stories with the narrative arc. In fact, the movie opens with a scene from a short story where a father pimps his 12 or 13 year old daughter (and the daughter’s attraction to one of the three clients minimises the sordidness of the story) and ends with a series of scenes from Toba Tek Singh. In between there is a scene from one of his most famous stories, Thanda Gosth. For me the added pleasure was remembering the Bollywood personalities who were friends of Manto, like Ashok Kumar, Shyam and others. In fact Shyam’s accident and death from the fall of a horse while shooting a movie is referred to; it is a forgotten incident for many. Nandita Das was wise to throw in references to these events of the times in order to sketch in background rather use broad strokes. I thinks the critics missed the element of suggestion in the movie. Critics should have read up the movie stars and movies for the period from 1945 to 55 to catch the nuances of the movie and to enjoy the artistic qualities of the movie. Since artistic Indian movies are far and far in between, it was an honour for me to share this movie with my American friends in Foster City, California. – Murli Melwani

Award-winning story

What this article wants to say is that the Madhya Pradesh police falsely arrested Tadvi Pathans and slapped them with charges of sedition, but later modified the charges to disturbing communal harmony by bursting crackers (“‘I was scared’: MP man says police made him sign false report saying Muslims celebrated Pakistan win”). It is said in the article that the bursting of crackers was to celebrate Pakistan’s victory in cricket against India. This was done to create a divide in the voting pattern in the ensuing 2018 Assembly elections to ensure ( I presume you stopped short of saying this) that BJP wins.

May be that’s true. But I have seen Indian Muslims celebrating Pakistan’s cricket victories. Of course, this does not prove that they are anti-India, but I feel hurt. If you say that you are happy with Muslims celebrating Pakistan victories in games or border wars, then I have nothing to say. – R Krishnamoorthy