Letter to PM Modi
I have known Anand Teltumbde for over five decades – first as a fellow student in engineering, then as an executive with BPCL, and then as my student at the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (Chronicle of an arrest foretold: As Anand Teltumbde is about to go to jail, an editor pays tribute). While he has become known for his well-researched, well-argued and experience-based views on social strife faced by the marginalised in India, what is less known is that he is an exceptionally accomplished painter. The cover of the first issue of Vikalpa, IIMA’s management journal, was designed by Anand. It was a beautiful, evocative painting reminds one of ancient India’s academic tradition.
I lost touch with Anand for quite some time, till I met him about six months ago at the Goa Institute of Management. He had hardly aged. Soft spoken as ever and clear in his thinking, he was chair of the program on data science and artificial intelligence at the institute. As we were with several other faculty members, I could only cursorily inquire about his personal life and family. I promised to meet him again and even teach a few modules to his students. Having known him for over 50 years and seeing him in a variety of situations, I am absolutely certain that the charges against him are false. His incarcerations is a great miscarriage of justice. It is a blot on India.
While addressing the nation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi invoked Babasaheb Ambedkar to rally the nation to come together to fight Covid-19, the invisible enemy. Your clarion call for unity in diversity against the real adversary of the nation will be severely diminished if Anand Teltumbde is not given justice. I would urge you use the vast authority you are vested with to intervene and prevent the injustice being done, if you truly believe in unifying the nation. – Samir K Barua, Former Professor and Director at IIMA
Nation under lockdown
This is a brilliant article, not just for its language and facets of the crisis it tackles, but also how it focusses on those in the need (As India battles a grave health and economic crisis, it must put humanity centrestage). Personally, I think the concerns are unending. I have no knowledge of any similar pandemics and thus, don’t know what measures could successfully have been implemented. The idea that it might take a couple of years for the pandemic to go away has been neatly fed to the reader. Subtle, intelligent, highly articulate and deeply meaningful. I hope against hope and wish and pray to God that our country and the world can survive the armageddon, so to speak. – Vikram Arora
The extension of the nationwide lockdown till May 3 is a welcome reprieve and crucial to the fight against global pandemic. The move comes amidst fears of further spread and increasing number of hotspots across various locations. The lockdown extension will be a testing time for health experts who are otherwise continuously engaged in monitoring Covid-19 cases consistently.
Further, the government should make adequate necessary arrangements for supply of medical equipment, including personal protective equipment, medicines, and advanced infrastructure. The catastrophe is now an opportunity to ramp up the healthcare infrastructure otherwise. The government should now implement necessary policies to improve healthcare infrastructure, including procuring medical devices, review import and export of life-saving drugs, advancement in medical technology by upgrading hospitals, and improving basic infrastructure at primary health care facilities. – Varun Dambal
This is a pandemic. Not a regular feature in one’s life that the prime minister is expected to soothe nerves of billions (Why hasn’t Modi yet made an announcement about whether India is extending its Covid-19 lockdown?). The focus is to do our best under the circumstances and with constantly changing parameters, it is best to give updates at the last minute so the updates are relevant to the public. Modi could do without criticism and negativity at this very testing time in his life. His focus is on finding best way forward for the people of India. Thanks. Have a nice day. And try to have faith and patience in the meantime. – Lakshmi
Since we are under lockdown and many of us are under curfew, I have a humble suggestion for the readers of Scroll.in (How a book club helped Britons deal with World War II (and what we can learn from it)). We must turn this period into an opportunity. As we are idle at home, we must turn to joys of reading. Those who love reading are already wandering in the realm of books. The ones who do not share the book lovers’ enthusiasm may cultivate the habit. They may start by reading short newspaper articles and stories. Since time immemorial, litterateurs and philosophers across the world have extolled of joys of reading. It is also the time when some can let the budding writer hidden in them come out. Let’s hope that by the time we gain a brilliant victory over ghastly Covid-19 and the lockdown ends, we come out of our homes and meet the world as well-read souls. – Samiul Hassan Quadri
As the world goes into an economic and social coma due to the coronavirus pandemic, I keep wondering why China has gone scot free. It will use its veto power in the United Nations Security Council to ward off or block any censuring. It has already arm twisted the World Health Organisation into lip-synching its story. So what’s their “so-called” strength in running or ruining the world “economic might”? It’s time the world stood up to this bully. Isolate them in international fora, boycott their cheap goods, sue them in the International Court of Justice at the Hague and claim damages. Hopefully this will send lessons to the other countries too, especially the USA, another bully. The time has come for the world to give it back to the high and mighty and show them their place. – Sharath Ahuja
US President Donald Trump’s decision to halt funding to the World Health Organisation is nothing short of global anarchy, with efforts likely to take a tail spin at a critical juncture like this (Covid-19: Trump stops US funds to WHO for ‘failing in basic duty’; UN chief says ‘now not the time’). The episode reminds one of how innocent citizens become victims due to failures of actions by people in power and position. Honestly, there is reason in what Trump pointed out. As a global organisation meant to take care of global health, the apex body should have deputed a team of experts to have a real time assessment of the state of affairs instead of relying solely on the inputs from the epicentre. This would have helped a better management of the pandemic. Naturally, as a nation, funding maximum, it is logical to explore all areas of lapses that led to such a catastrophic collapse of its heath sector and economy too. Though depriving the apex body the needed nourishment at this juncture is uncalled for, there is every justification to address the lacunae if any. – Ramana Gove
Democracy’s fourth pillar
I hope that you have the time to read this letter. I am a second-year bachelor’s student from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. I was introduced to Scroll.in by my sociology professor in the first year, and I haven’t looked back since. I have received all I need to enrich my mind from this website. Moreover, you have strengthened my faith in the fourth pillar of democracy. Your media coverage during the protests at Jamia Milia Islamia and Jawaharlal Nehru University and the Delhi riots was outstanding. At a time when mainstream media has shunned everything of national importance, Scroll.in was a mine of information for students.
I really hope that when the world wins the war against this virus, you guys give yourself a pat on your back for your contribution. My mother is a journalist and I know all that you guys go through to bring us our information.
Thank you for bringing opinions, information and new ideas to several thousands like me. I have grown a lot over the past two years and I always thank the people who have been responsible for my growth. So, here’s a big shout out to everyone at Scroll.in for being all you are. Keep up the good work, so that you can always inspire young people like me to always do the right thing in the best way. I am sending you love and prayers on behalf of all of my friends from different parts of the country. – Sivakami Prasanna
In Sagarika Ghose and Rajdeep Sardesai’s conversation, they missed one point in which Narendra Modi differs from Indira Gandhi (Video|‘Is Narendra Modi the new Indira Gandhi?’: Sagarika Ghose and Rajdeep Sardesai discuss). Modi listens to people’s voice through social media, synthesises it according to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s agenda, and markets it as a means to implement schemes. Meanwhile, Indira Gandhi was a political dictator. But in the absence of social media, people could not be influenced as easily then as they can be now. Modi cannot be called a dictator because neither the judiciary nor the media had heard of cultural nationalism before Modi came to power. – V Raj
Look who is writing about accountability (Rajdeep Sardesai: Why are India’s political leaders unwilling to be held accountable to the press?). Is the press accountable to public? Do television stations really believe in public goods or running a business on TRP? If Prime Minister Narendra Modi is able to communicate directly with masses and explain his policies, what is role of the media? And what kind of media exists in India that needs to be taken into confidence and addressed? Rajdeep Sardesai must first introspect and consider whether he has been an impartial journalist or one who went too far in projecting negative images of positive developments. That he has been cut to size is the real problem – any number of books and comments have no meaning when you lose credibility. Hope he reforms to being a balanced journalist who informs, not influences negatively. – Kasi V B
The writer of this article, Apooranand, agrees that Siddharth Vardarajan has misquoted the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister in his tweet and the article, which was later corrected (With FIR against Wire editor, UP is undermining India’s right to be informed during a crisis). Did he express regret or issue an apology? Vardarajan, as a journalist and an editor, has to leave his personal biases aside. Instead of asking Vardarajan to admit his mistake and express regret, a section of journalists has ganged up against the Uttar Pradesh government. Freedom of expression does not tantamount to freedom to defame. When you wrongly defame a person, you expose yourself to legal remedies available. Vardarajan must behave as a responsible journalist and should not try to transmute facts. – Arihant K Jain
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