Cyclone Fani

Cyclone Fani has affected several people, depriving them of food, drinking water, power supply and other essential supplies especially in the hot summer. The state’s preparedness to prevent causalities by moving people to safer places is highly appreciable (“Cyclone Fani: UN agency praises zero-casualty policy and weather department’s ‘pinpoint accuracy’”). However efforts should be made to restore power immediately and ensure adequate drinking water supply to the affected regions quickly.

Further, it is very heartening to know about the noble gesture by the Indian Railways to transport relief material free of cost. The move only encourages more people to chip in and expedite relief supply to the affected regions.The generous approach of the Railways comes at a critical time and is very appreciable. The Railways should also try to transport bottled drinking water through trains.

It is very ironic to note that no other government-based agency or a private organisation has played such an active role. The Government should now take note of the worthy and set up necessary protocol to be followed by other agencies during disaster relief work and only lead by example. – Varun Dambal


Just mentioning in-passing within an article about damage done in by Cyclone Fani shows the level of interest your team pays to our state of Odisha (“Watch: Trees fall and roofs fly as Cyclone Fani hits Odisha”). Being a daily reader of your insightful articles and news pieces, it saddens me to see that anything except poverty and politics of Odisha is not news worthy for your news portal. Ours is a proud state, full of amazing people, vast geography and culture. We are not begging for charity and handouts, we were and always have been well-prepared for such natural calamities. No thanks to anyone else in our great nation! All we demand is the dignity of being given the space we deserve in national news articles more often. That’s the least a national news portal can do. –Siddharth Mohanty

Pragya Thakur’s nomination

Anjali Mody’s article is an example of journalism that favours a particular political outfit (“Opinion: Pragya Thakur’s candidacy is only one more building block in the BJP’s Hindu rashtra”). If Hindustan is not for Hindus, please clarify which other country in this world is. Across the world, geographical lines are drawn based on the majority religion of countries and Mody finds it difficult to accept that in this country, the Hindus who form the majority can practice their beliefs freely.

While not advocating intolerance towards any other religion or belief, millions of Hindus have existed peacefully and let other religions thrive. It is shameful to even call a population of nearly 200 million a minority in a country like India. Just think of the percentage of Hindus living in Pakistan or any other country in world. Do they get to enjoy same rights as Muslims in Pakistan?

Another myth she is creating is that the BJP is trying to make this country a Hindu rashtra. You can’t invent something that already exists. Our country has been a Hindu Rashtra ever since it came into being because Hindutva is a philosophy, not merely a religion. But a biased mind is not expected to understand that.

Such writings are not honest opinions but biased ones that favour those whom you look upon for making a living. Please note that I am not pro BJP or anti someone, just a commoner in this great country who is trying to survive all this falsehood, bias and favouritism. – Rishi Kapoor


A very nicely written piece by Anjali Mody. It captures the collective concerns of all those who see India as a diverse, pluralistic and multicultural civilisation and are opposed to Hindutva’s narrow, majoritarian project of a Hindu Rashtra. – Mohammed Wajihuddin


Pragya Thakur will definitely lose by a heavy margin! But the move has sent a statement across the country! It was Congress’s Digvijay Singh who popularised the term Hindu terrorist. It is imperative for Digvijay to win for BJP strategy to work. A weak candidate has been placed against him, just for that purpose. – Rajesh Singh

Election watch

How silly. Something that is said in a election campaign speech has been twisted (“Doctors’ group demands that PM Modi be debarred from contesting polls for remark on nuclear weapons”). No innocent will be led to believe that a nuclear war is going to happen. Do these people follow the oath they had taken while becoming doctors? – Lakshman Kumar


As part of their campaigns for the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections, Modi and BJP leaders are harping on the Balakot air strike (“‘Truly shameful’: Opposition mocks PM’s claim about ordering Balakot airstrikes despite bad weather”). They are looking to reap political dividends from the Indian Air Force’s efforts in speech after speech. An averagely educated Indian can access the internet and verify the facts of the strike. All the international credible news sources have reported that there was no notable damage from the strikes. Do Modi and his party men believe that the majority of our Indian electorate are ill-informed and uneducated? – Shoby P Jose


The election commission is very much neutral (“Opinion: By giving Modi a free pass, Election Commission has abandoned any attempt to appear neutral”). Its leniency towards Rahul Gandhi for calling the prime minister a chor in every speech shows its neutrality. Democracy in India has gone for a toss. Before giving an opinion, one should see the actions taken by the election commission against the BJP, the Congress, the Bahujan Samaj Party and other candidates. – SN Sanyal

Hate speeches

TM Krishna’s acknowledgment of the wrongs done by Dravidar Kazhagam is a big step for one who has singled out Brahmins as the only culprits all along (“The TM Krishna column: Not just politicians, hate speech worn as a badge of honour by many Indians”). He will do well to read the book, Rearming Hinduism by Vamsi Juluree and focus more on constructive efforts than harping on the ills. The latter only breeds more angst among all. – V Ramaswami

Meaty debate

What a brilliant exchange! Kancha Illiah Shepherd has proven once again his high intellectual stature (“Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd discusses violence, iconography and aesthetics in Hinduism”). His critical analysis is worth pondering. He draws inescapable criticism of existing dogmas. His analysis of the ownership of the Yadava king, Krishna, is particularly striking. His observation of the female godesses of tribal societies and the Hindu society gives a stark contrast and points to the good-bad duality of Hindusim as opposed to the existential metaphor of the tribal godesses. My commendations to for carrying this piece. – Rajratna Jadhav

Regional concerns

Much has been written and discussed in the media and by academics on the widening divergence between West-South and North-East of India (“The Election Fix: How big is the political gap between North and South India?”). The Centre should not have unilaterally amended the terms of reference for the finance commission without consulting the states involved. Southern states fear it will be detrimental to them for implementing the many national flagship schemes. On the language issue, BJP should realise that Hindi is not the first language in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Odisha, West Bengal, Punjab, Goa , Puducherry, Kashmir, and Eastern states. BJP’s insistence in speaking in Hindi or giving Hindi names to government schemes will not make an impact in these states.

Karnataka has been a pioneer in setting up some of the biggest national banks in the country. In the recent merger of banks, a major Karnataka bank’s name was changed to that of a Vadodara based bank. Such acts have not gone well in this part of the country and can only add to BJP’s southern challenge. Apart from the unease about the reduced flow of central funds to the southern states, it is also about loss of representation in both Houses of Parliament when it comes up for review in 2026 if the same 2011 criteria is retained as it has for the Present Finance Commission.

To allay this apprehension, the Constitution (Forty-second Amendment) Act, 1976, effected a freeze on the population figure with reference to the 1971 Census. The States from South should not be disadvantaged for pursuing progressive and growth oriented policies like education, health, reduction in fertility rates in line with national population policy, increased literacy and a host of other indices. It will mean an unjust adjustment of many more seats in both houses of Parliament in favour of the Northern states where fertility rates continue to burgeon.

The Southern states have achieved the goal of stabilising India’s population to deliver developmental goals and to an extent fulfill the aspiration of citizens. It is also the southern states that have been contributing significant finances to the central pool. Progressive states should be incentivised and not penalised for implementing the national agenda.

The issue is not a North-South debate but co-operative federalism which the Centre often talks about. In 2031, the first census after 2026, India’s population is likely to be close to 1.4 billion. The great apprehension is that redrawing boundaries and distributing the existing 550 parliamentary seats might mean that the South will lose a lot of seats to the North. Even if more members are added to the Lok Sabha, that incremental gain will mostly go to the northern states. – HN Ramakrishna

Making cities better

For someone who visits Bengaluru often and prefers using public transport to commute I would like to add some more things that should be done to to make the city more liveable (“How can governments make Bengaluru more liveable? By putting pedestrians first”). First, signs on buses should be in Kannada as well as English. Else, it is difficult to make out which bus to take for getting from point A to B. Google Maps is helpful, but how many people would be using or can afford a smart phone with a fast internet connection?

Second, access to metro stations is horrible. At Yelachenahalli metro station. the luggage scanner is about 50 metre obstacle course away from the lift! At Majestic, there are no sign-boards showing how to reach the metro station either from the railway station or the bus stand. There are also no signboards to identify the nearby accessible localities from each metro station. In comparison, the Hong Kong metro signboards are so well located that commuting from any part of the city to another by metro is a breeze.

Last but not the least for Kannada aficionados, most cities in Europe have notices on their public transport systems in up to four languages. In addition, in various cities there are schematic diagrams at all bus stops to show which bus to take to get to any point. All bus stops in Paris have an electric ticker that shows how long it would take for bus running on a particular route to reach hat bus stop. And Bengaluru is supposed to be the software capital of India.

A pedestrian in Bengaluru would need a lot more than just proper footpaths to get from point A to point B. Throughout Europe, footpaths have not been sacrificed for road-broadening expediency. – Sushil Prasad