Education matters

Having worked in a deemed university, I have quite an unpleasant experience of how the research paper works in an institute. One cannot put all the blame on teachers (“Indian academics lead the world in publishing in fake journals – tarring the whole education sector”). It is necessary to understand the pressure a teacher is under, especially in private institutes.

Teachers are not given the time and resources to pursue research but are forced to publish articles for appraisals. The main party that be put to responsibility for the degrading standards is the University Grants Commission. The UGC has routinely sends random orders to colleges overloading the teachers. For example, there was a circular sent that every institute should work towards the Swachch Bharath Mission, which led to the institutes forcing teachers to undertake cleanliness measures in college, pose with a broom, send pictures to UGC for approval. But there is no consideration for the pay or working conditions of the actual sanitation workers of the institute.

While we talk about research and rankings, the institutes exploit the teachers, are totally inconsiderate of the regulations on work timings, work load and faculty pay scale. The case is same when it comes to research. Institutes don’t fund research projects, don’t buy books, don’t have proper laboratories and equipment but the blame is put on the teachers for not getting patents or getting published in a reputed journal.

Unless and until the working conditions of teachers and other staff are regulated, research standards will not improve. Policies toward privatisation of education and autonomy will lead to more disastrous trends in education. – Yaamini Arul


After working several years in higher education at various universities and international Institutes, I feel that there is no dearth of talent in India. The problem is with government policies that not do encourage bright students to enter higher education teaching, research and management. Over the years, mediocrity has been awarded, resulting is such output. The future generations will bear the brunt of such policies. – Faujdar Singh


All Indian university departments, in comparison to American ones, are poorly staffed. For example the mathematics department in any of the state university in the US would have a hundred professors, whereas in India one with 10 teachers would be considered large. How on this earth do you expect them to compete? Those who control the system continue to make stupid rules. Give the universities the money needed and remove all controls. Demand only that they achieve. Indian universities will do better than any in the world. – RC Cowsik

Budget 2019

I was surprised to read in the budget announcements that data in India costs the least compared to all other countries (“Budget 2019: No tax on annual income up to Rs 5 lakh, says Finance Minister Piyush Goyal”). What is the government’s contribution to this? Did it give a subsidy to Mukesh Ambani for his disruptive business model, which in turn ensured a swift lowering of prices by all other players? Are there any other sops being given to the telecom industry to bring down data prices?

Unfortunately, while data prices might have come down, the quality of speeds is dismal. The quality of customer support, which was okay earlier, is non-existent now. Also, while the cost of data may have come down, that of food has gone up. Coming back to the budget, it is more marketing speak than substance. – Chitra Dinesh

Upper-caste quota

The author of this serpentine piece with no hint of direction or certainty finally concludes that Prime Minister Modi has once again done wrong and erred miserably, though initially the author himself felt that a quota on economic grounds was right (“The TM Krishna column: Modi made me realise reservations based on economic status are not justified”). Though initially positive about it, he meandered into an unconnected NREGA quagmire, before somehow concluding that Modi is wrong.

If we could have a dialogue with such people, we can show their hollowness and paranoia about the prime minister. But alas, merely prints their articles under the guise of an opinion piece, while not airing opposing viewpoints,which wittingly makes the publication a mouthpiece for such partisan articles. It serves your hidden purpose of always being anti-Modi. – Mohanram Subbarao


The Supreme Court and the government should reconsider this quota and include every Indian in this 10% reservation for economically weaker section, irrespective of caste or religion, else the benefits will be enjoyed only among a particular group, one that has already occupied a majority of jobs in every field. . Dark days are ahead for scheduled caste, scheduled tribes and other backward classes. – Krishan Lal


An excellent article by TM Krishna. Clear logic and bang on target. He has understood the idea behind reservations, which has been obfuscated with the idea of economics and so-called merit when the starting line of the race is different for the privileged and traditionally disadvantaged. He rightly says that “creamy layer” is a faulty idea in a system of affirmative action based on social stratification and not economics. Economic progress does not mean lack of discrimination. Any government employee will tell us that. In light of this understanding, the Supreme Court’s inclusion of creamy layer in promotion in employment is incorrect. I hope the government brings in an ordinance to reverse the Supreme Court’s judgment. – Rajratna Jadhav


TM Krishna mentions that reservation is not the solution for the economically backward. So why is this not applicable to caste-based reservation? He also questions the Rs 8 lakh income barrier. Does he realise that the same is the cap for OBC quota?

In the name of caste, a well-established family enjoys the benefit of reservation generation after generation. Is that social justice? The author should consider why, after 70 years of independence, with so many provision for lower castes, a majority of them remain under privileged? The answer is very simple, it is because the benefits are cornered by this well-established section. – Nilay Banerjee

Jallikattu season

Jallikattu not only harms animals but also humans (“The Daily Fix: Continuing deaths prove jallikattu is about human rights not just animal rights”). But pro-jallikattu gang become blind towards cruelty in the na me of tradition. Jallikattu must stop at the earliest. Thank you for showing the real face of this cruel sport. – Erika Goyal

EVM hacking

Many hackers in the past have confidently said that Indian EVMs are vulnerable to hacking (“Fact check: Claims of ‘cyber expert’ who alleged that EVMs can be hacked do not withstand scrutiny”). The machines may not be hacked while voting is underway but it is possible to hack them during the counting stage. It can be even done from home. Even in 2010, scientists at a US university had said they have developed a technique to hack Indian electronic voting machines. So in the interest of 125 crore voters in the largest democratic country, the Election Commission must think and not take such an adamant view about switching to the ballet paper voting system. – DN Phadke

Iron fist

A sincere officer who did her duty without a second thought is being punished (“Kerala CM defends inquiry into police officer who raided CPI(M) office in Thiruvananthapuram”). Transferring her to another department is equivalent to tarnishing her credibility and diminishing her morale. This does not bode well at a time when we are talking about women’s empowerment across the globe and women in Kerala are protesting to be allowed into Sabarimala and forming walls to facilitate that. This is a young, brilliant, brave and sincere IPS officer. The only mistake she made was that she raided a party office and nabbed culprits for throwing stones at the police station. But the authorities want no action whatsoever against any political party, even if they are indulging in illegal or criminal activities. – Lawrence Vadukut

Aiming high

This is a great story. I hope Kavita Devi makes it to the World Wrestling Entertainment (“How weightlifter-turned-wrestler Kavita Devi aims to become the first Indian woman in WWE”). If not, she shouldn’t be discouraged and should go to one of the many independent programs that have a big following, such as New Japan Pro Wrestling or All Extreme Wrestling, where they are stockpiling top talent. – Jason Feinman

Political foray

So, they have inducted one more of them Gandhis (“How Priyanka Gandhi went from reclusive politician to Congress’ trump card in 20 years”)! I am not sure what my reaction to this is, benumbed as I am by the sheer ludicrousness of not the political but the social ecosystem of the country. From Bollywood to politics, business and right down to te village level, everything is family hands. Our democracy seems to have gone limp, capitulating to these mercenary arbiters of power. This talk of us being the biggest and most vibrant democracy is a lot of hogwash.

I cannot see what this woman can do for this nation – other than what the Gandhis are infamous for. What are the odds of anything good coming out of it? It is my considered opinion that the day the Gandhis are no more a part of anything political will be the day we would have been absolved of a crime of which the millions of this country are not guilty. – AK Ramesh

Modi years

Is this article trying to suggesting that attempting to provide LPG connections to below poverty line families was a bad idea (“The Modi Years: Are more Indians using cooking gas because of the Ujjwala scheme?”)? In terms of content, this article is good, and a critical assessment of policies of the government is essential, but as a journalist, you need to be able to see how the information will be perceived by the reader. This article seems to portray the government in bad light and gives it little credit for the attempt to a) help poor families and b) continuously monitor and tweak the scheme to increase adoption. That left me feeling the article is biased.

Consider this: The article concludes by saying, “However, there are concerns that the loan defaults could end up burdening the oil companies with debt.” But another article on (PM’s plan for free gas connections is failing its objective – as government had been warned it would”) summarises that the solution to the problem is to reduce the cost of the cylinders. How might we subsidise the cylinders, yet keep the debt burden down?

I am always looking for media houses that report without bias. I am therefore a tad disappointed that each of the eight articles in the The Modi Years series has a “but” in the subtext. I do not believe that is a fair assessment of the present government. – Ananth Sridharan

Other-worldly matters

Saints are beyond such recognition and rewards by humans (“Ramdev asks why no Hindu saint has ever been conferred the Bharat Ratna”). They are incarnations of god and assume human form to uplift all beings, not only humans. They are beyond time and space. No amount of description of their greatness can really describe them. Because, it is beyond human intellect to understand them. Only true devotion in a spirit of total surrender will qualify one to be really worthy their grace. They are even beyond all qualities. We can only approach them with prayers for their blessing. To say that they need recognition that is given to humans is ignorance and the height of arrogance. Such self-realised persons are god in human form and revered by the entire universe. – Chandrasekhar Prakhya

Lessons from neighbours

The news of the Pakistan Supreme Court upholding Asia Bibi’s acquittal is important in Indian context (“Pakistan: Supreme Court dismisses review plea against verdict acquitting Asia Bibi of blasphemy”). It is important to note that even in Pakistan, judiciary gives primacy to fair procedure and justice over promoting religion in rather a theocratic State. Those, Amit Shah and followers included, raising a hue and cry over the role of the judiciary of our secular state on issues such as Sabarimala or Ram Janmabhoomi have a lot to learn. – Rajeev Joshi

Gandhi’s assassination

This is an insult to the father of the nation and must be treated on par with insulting the flag of the country (“Uttar Pradesh: Five arrested for firing at, burning effigy of Mahatma Gandhi in Aligarh”). This leader needs to be arrested and jailed. What’s the law and order machinery in Aligarh doing? Sleeping? – V Venkatesh

Debating #MeToo

I loved the interviewer’s questions to Nayantara Sahgal (“Nayantara Sahgal on #MeToo: ‘In a democracy, no citizen is guilty because someone said so’”). Her responses, on the other hand, seemed disappointing, although she has taken an extremely mature approach about having conversations between men and women about sexual harassment.

I’d like to ask Ms Sahgal if she has actually talked to a man in his 20s or 30s to see just how open to this sort of conversations many men are. And it’s hard enough for a woman to overcome the sheer hurricane of emotions about being inappropriately touched to actually talk out loud about it. You expect women to take up the mantle of listening to her molester and appraise his story apart from convincing the world that she is telling the truth? Which man is going to own up to say that “Yes, I touched this woman without her consent” when we have grown up in a society that has little idea of consent and normalises sexism?

Ms Sahgal talks about the “one group of vindictive women who have come up” and “the rural women who are too afraid to speak out”. So is it that only when the poorest women in our villages speak out, others can? This “one lot of women” she speaks of do not deserve to be labelled vindictive just because they happened to speak more forcefully. Are official complaints taken seriously? Have HR cells in our offices dealt appropriately with sexual harassment previously? Do the police take us seriously when we complain?

Ms Sahgal mentions that there is no definition for molestation. Yes there is a definition: something that makes a person feel threatened or uncomfortable. It can range from an unwanted arm around the shoulders to groping. The #MeToo movement is making a point about “consent”. Consent to even put an arm around the shoulders in our informal society. Yes, in an ideal world, this is a democracy where there should be debates without emotions and tempers getting in the way, but reducing a feeling of solidarity to a child’s tantrum is really hurtful. The mature approach can come when women are being taken seriously and men do not get defensive and nervous while talking about this.

I would like to give a huge thumbs-up to Devapriya Roy for her questions. If those were “long” questions, at least they were more in touch with reality than the answers. – Renuka Kulkarni