'It's wrong to presume that Indian liberalism is changing because of Modi and the BJP'
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The Hindutva effect

I’m glad that Nitasha Kaul did not get an opportunity to discuss these meaningless things on the show (“A few things I wasn’t able to discuss with BJP leader Ram Madhav during his Al Jazeera interview”). It looks like she has limited awareness of liberal democracy as practised in India or of public discourse. For a professor of literature, it is surprising she is unable to notice the role that tropes play in public life.

Maybe she got too blinded by her hatred for the Bharatiya Janata Party and Narendra Modi, which is acceptable. But to presume that either Indian polity or Indian liberalism is changing because of Modi and the BJP is wrong. M Rajivlochan


The article appears to be more of a one-sided argument rather than a detailed and true assessment. Amit Pandya


A very comprehensive and detailed study of this ruling dispensation’s intentions and misadventures. I believe that the writer is somewhat despondent and has been rendered hopeless by the situation.

I too believed that India had changed for the worse after the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, but the Delhi and Bihar assembly election verdicts have restored my faith in India’s secular fabric.

The support you see online for the Bharatiya Janata Party does not represent the true voice of India. Rest assured that India will not change so rapidly in the next three-and-a-half years that the BJP will become invincible. Vishal Jindal


It’s surprising that Nitasha Kaul defends those who kicked out Kashmiri Pandits from their home state. Ganesh


Nitasha Kaul was candid, well-informed and correct in her arguments. sheebaasia on email


A rather intellectually vapid article. I had to laugh at the reference to “neo-liberal” as a term of abuse. The article explains nothing about the complexities of the Indian economy, where the state itself is the principal predator. Dr Gautam Sen


What will Nitasha Kaul say to the Kashmiri Pandits who were rendered homeless by Kashmiri Muslims? Whenever they want to go back, their return is still resisted. Would you tell to them go and become a part of Pakistan? Dr Amit Kant


This article has been written to defame the Bharatiya Janata Party and Narendra Modi. Some atrocious examples of BJP followers have been specified. The writer may hold some Leftist views, but the people of this country are not of the kind she has described. The article is merely an attempt to create a sensational story. PH Bharadia


I doubt whether Nitasha Kaul is a Kashmiri Pandit. If she is, or was, has she forgotten the genocide of Kashmiri Pandits and their flight to other parts of India? She appears to be masquerading as a Kaul to smear the patriotic and nationalist prime minister, and the necessity to protect India as the only country with Hindu majority and heritage. It’s better not to give prominence to such anti-India sepoys. JR Krishnan

Talks with Pakistan

If not Akhand Bharat, a South Asian Union on the lines of the European Union must definitely be the goal (“The Lahore stopover: Making sense of the ‘known-unknown’ in Narendra Modi’s diplomatic coup”). The people of this region dream of a stable, prosperous and peaceful South Asia. India, being the largest country in the region, must be at the forefront in realising this goal.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has played a masterstroke by restarting dialogue between India and Pakistan. The critics must accept that we can neither change the geographical realities of our neighbourhood nor we can ignore Pakistan.

The expected talks between Director Generals of Military Operations and Foreign Secretaries will help ease tensions along the border. Also, through regular talks, we can establish stronger trade and economic links which will be beneficial for the entire region.

Acknowledgements from the US and the United Nations has increased the international stature of India and has projected the country as one committed to dialogue and peace.

We expect the same surprising initiatives in rebuilding ties with Nepal. That country must not become a “mini-Pakistan” of haters. Gaurav Singhal


Narendra Modi’s visit to Pakistan served no purpose. It was simply a child-like gesture by two leaders.

Diplomacy does not work on impulse. In India, diplomacy is controlled by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, which will not like such unscheduled visits. The prime minister is not allowed by the RSS to take any independent decision on Pakistan. Shashi Varma

Caring for Delhi’s homeless

Harsh Mander has really touched upon very important issues in the lackadaisical attempts to help the poor and homeless during winter (“Why Delhi’s homeless prefer to sleep in the freezing cold than in government shelters”).

Shelters by definition have to be safe but many of them are not . And there is also the ever present problem of sanitation.

With winters and summers getting harsher, why can’t we deal with them the way we deal with other natural occurrences? We can have a preparedness plan and pool resources from public and private sector for proper accommodation and sanitation.

The government fears that after winter, no one will leave the shelters if they are made too comfortable. That shows the way we deal with the poor, with no perspective for their livelihoods, health and sanitation.

While the government always has good intentions, a half-baked approach of leaving the execution to poorly paid untrained staff, without developing appropriate protocols for preparedness and implementation, will make those good intentions look a mere political gesture. – Neela Gangadharan


Harsh Mander, this is very Utopian. The idea of providing “beds and lockers that are available at modest rents” can only happen if there also are buses available to take these homeless to a “hostel”. Real estate prices will not cushion such thoughts.

The homeless require some “hard love”, albeit a supervised dose to maintain law and order and defeat criminality. India isn’t as rich or charitable as Germany. – Ramesh


Really unimaginable work thought about and worked upon by the Delhi government. I don’t understand why anybody could not take the same action years ago. Navneet Arora

Basic intentions

The overwhelming numbers in support of Free Basics is a given, considering both Reliance ‎and Facebook are behind the initiative (“TRAI says supporting Facebook’s Free Basics will not solve net neutrality debate”). Can the poor man be heard over this din? I am talking about the NGOs and professors ‎of universities and others who are not thinking about the bigwigs making more money.

The altruism is very obvious. Similarly, when you hear US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders talk about the big corporations making money, his voice is drowned out. The common man may appear to be a beneficiary in the short-term, but it’s ultimately all about a stream of advertising revenue and additional customers for the telecom companies. Ravi

Liquor laws

The legal system has once again proved to be on the side of the wealthy (“Supreme Court upholds Kerala liquor ban, brings cheer to other states seeking to impose prohibition”). A liquor ban is a good thing, but allowing the rich and denying the poor is not a complete liquor ban.

A government ban on liquor sales is welcome , but the government should first close down its own outlets.

The ban is nothing but a personal tussle between the chief minister and his party president. Vinayak M

Flawed maverick

Despite the obvious holes, such as Ram Jethmalani saying that 90% of his cases are pro bono, it was interesting to read what he had to say (“The Ram Jethmalani interview: Jaitley ‘controls the media’ and Modi ‘made a fool of me’”).

Jethmalani’s proclamation that he is more knowledgeable than an erstwhile Chief Justice of India smacks of nothing more than sheer arrogance.

Being a maverick is one thing and one can often be admired and respected for it. But Jethmalani has often resorted to defending goons and thugs outside court as well and that is indefensible. Asoke Maurya