Police brutality

Thank you so much for the work you are doing. I’ve been a reader for at least three years now and became a subscriber recently (Watch: Scenes from protests against the custodial deaths of Jeyaraj and Fenix in Tamil Nadu). Please amplify the case of Jayaraj and Bennix’s custodial deaths. This instance of police brutality and bureaucracy deserves more attention and it would be a shame if this were to remain a “South Indian” or “Tamilian” issue only because most of the coverage is in Tamil. Again, thank you for your time and work. I wish the very best to Supriya Sharma and your organisation against the baseless first information report by the Uttar Pradesh police. – Nayantara Joseph


That our films have been adversely affecting the society has always been debated and left inconclusively (Comment : Bad cop, worse cop: Tamil cinema needs to acknowledge its endorsement of police brutality). It’s not just police brutality but so many other social mores that need to be refined in films. Glorifying crimes against women or the society at large because of personal trauma, as you rightly point out, has desensitised us to the victims while sympathising with the arbitrators.

I highly doubt that films will change this. This too shall pass in a few weeks or months, and we will lay low only to cry foul at the next ugly crime. It’s not the actors, scriptwriters or directors alone at fault. We, the public, who have made megahits out of such films also carry blame. But will we learn? – Vasanthi Rajiv


We should understand that real life and reel life are completely two different worlds (Comment: Bad cop, worse cop: Tamil cinema needs to acknowledge its endorsement of police brutality). Having said that, I do agree to an extent that cinema has contributed to social wrongdoings. But we must admit that cinema is simply based on imagination, for the purpose of entertainment.

Almost all movies portray violence and sexuality to a certain extent, regardless of which language, actor, director or nation they belong to. From Sholay to Avengers, there is some or the other kind of violence in film content. It’s impossible to make movies without portraying fights, revenge, injustice, retaliation, protests – unless it’s a complete religious film focusing on spirituality.

So what can be shown and not shown to the public? Where is the line drawn? That is a question answerable by the government through the censorship board.

Your article on police brutality, which focusses only on one industry, is unfair. The recent killing of George Floyd in America is a proof that these brutality happens in every part of the world. Did the American journalists blamed Mel Gibson for acting in Lethal Weapon? Did they blame Will Smith for acting in Bad Boys? Why do Tamil actors need to take this much burden when they’re just doing their job? What can Rajinikanth do if there are few rotten apples in a basket? Is Rajinikanth truly in charge of the Tamil Nadu Police?

I am not a fan of violence. But on this issue, the blame should go to the government, not the cinema industry. Plucking petals won’t kill the plant – find the root. Overall, the article was an interesting read even though I disagree with some of its content. – Steven Subra


#BlackLivesMatter was a movement founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer. Since then, the movement has been used by protesters worldwide to fight racial injustice. Most recently, the murder of George Floyd sparked a new wave of these protests (George Floyd: Medical examiner classifies African-American man’s death as homicide). But this is not just a protest for George Floyd, it is a protest for all those people who are made to suffer because of the colour of their skin. It is a protest to end racial inequality, something that should have never happened in the first place.

Political leaders are seen as role models for the youth of today, so what should an ideal leader do in this type of a situation? Donald Trump showed us just that. Instead of expressing any kind of remorse or guilt over the police’s despicable actions, he has taken to threatening protestors over Twitter. He also thanked the National Guard for what they did in Minneapolis, before calling it to be used in other democrat-run states. He used a series of authoritarian and controversial words such as “thugs”, “vicious dogs” and “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” to express his obvious disregard for the situation at hand.

Compare him to Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, who has repeatedly spoken out against racism and even attended protests. In the 2016 Presidential Elections, America elected its first president without any political or military background and while he managed to more or less skirt past disaster for the first three years of his term, this year has really shed light to his character and ill qualifications for his job. Is this really the kind of leader the United States needs? Someone who is known for weak moral leadership, racial divisiveness, crass and vulgar rhetoric and civil crimes and calls himself the opposition to Barack Obama, who is famous for his deep reading, empathy, cultural sensitivity and smart decisions? The past six months have given us further insight to the Trump’s character and the entire nation should be questioning their choices before even thinking about thrusting the fate of the biggest democracy in the world into his hands yet again. – Saanya Anand


Appreciation mail

It was a pleasure to read the articles on Hindustani Classical music by Aneesh Pradhan (Listen: Hindustani songs in which the cry of the papiha reminds us of separated lovers). His latest article has thorough research about bandish on birds. I hope he continues to write these articles and upload tracks from Hindustani Classical music. Thank you, Scroll.in for publishing these articles. – Vijay Pandya


This article is beautifully written and I had goosebumps reading it (How a Bihari lost her mother tongue to Hindi – but is now trying to get it back). I didn’t have any knowledge about Angika, but I could relate to this article. The experiences written about in this article is something that keeps happening, especially with kids when they want to gel with others and fit in. Sometimes it happens with Hindi-speaking people too as well as with other regional languages or dialects. The only exception to this are people from South India and Bangla-speaking people. Thanks for making me look back and understanding the importance of our roots. – Neelam Bhatt


Kanishka Gupta has done an amazing job curating the series of articles on publishing and the pandemic. I want to mention two – the one by Bhaskar Bhatt and Priya Doraswamy (First person: How a publishing executive started helping migrant labourers during the lockdown; How the literary agent will be affected as post-pandemic publishing tightens its belts).

Both articles cover completely different aspects of the publishing business. Bhaskar’s story about his encounter with books and the book publishing industry, and rise to a senior position as a merchandiser of a reputed firm through hard work is inspirational. More impressive is his humanitarianism which should be a lesson to those of us who think “What can I do? After all, I am only a frog in a small pond and there is a pacific ocean of need out there.” Bhaskar, may you be forever blessed.

In the other article, Priya has explained how literary agents function clearly and candidly. I had very little idea about the role of a literary agent and was always wary of approaching one. This article opened my eyes and my mind. Thank you for this invaluable series. – Keerti Ramachandra


Miscellaneous comment

For decades, the English Premier League was dominated by the “big boys” – Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal (The Jurgen Klopp way: How the charismatic German led Liverpool to long-awaited Premier League glory). What a breath of fresh air to see the EPL title go to Liverpool this year, never mind that the pandemic took the fun out of the celebrations.

All credit goes to the Liverpool Coach, Jurgen Klopp. Behind his professorial look (thanks to those outsized glasses), his salt-and-pepper beard and trademark LFC cap, lies a shrewd footballing brain. Knitting together a fantastic team of talented players, Klopp was able to achieve the unthinkable, dislodging the “big boys” of the League and establishing a new kid on the block. Congratulations, Liverpool on a fantastic win. You are the champions. – Sharath Ahuja