Readers respond.

Published : Dec 28, 2023 12:00 IST - 6 MINS READ

Assembly elections

The editorial and the cover story and allied articles were a candid analysis of the impressive victories secured by the BJP in the recently concluded Assembly elections and the reasons for the rout of the Congress (“Came late but came swinging”, December 29).

While the results have come as a morale-booster for the BJP, which continues to ride the electoral crest ahead of 2024, it has pushed the Congress into the abyss of yet another existential crisis. The fact that no senior leader of the Congress high command, including its president, has come forward to take responsibility for the debacle despite seeing the writing on the wall, sums up the sorry state of affairs of the party, which refuses to learn from history.

As in every other election, voters again proved that they cannot be taken for granted and need to be congratulated for their judiciousness, maturity, and sagacity. 

B. Suresh Kumar

Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu

The Congress’ victory in Telangana is small consolation when offset by its surprise defeat in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh (Cover Story, December 29).

With its victory in Karnataka, it was thought that the Congress would maintain the same vigour and tempo elsewhere too. But that was not to be, as it was faced with the juggernaut of the Modi wave and the planned and collective involvement of the entire rank and file of the BJP, a factor that was lacking in the Congress.

The Congress was complacent about winning in the Hindi heartland, relying on its traditional voters, which were depleting fast under the influence of the BJP and its playing of the Hindu card. The Congress has not yet learnt its lessons. It is oblivious of the changes in dynamics of elections and has done nothing to reclaim its influence and win over the minds and hearts of voters. 

M.Y. Shariff


Halal ban

The Uttar Pradesh government’s ruling that labelling dairy products, medicines, and cosmetics as “halal” is illegal is a yet another salvo from the cannonade of the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh, infamous for its enforcement of majoritarian authoritarianism (“The meat of the matter”, December 29, 2023).

A broad outlook, an honest approach, cohesive supervision, and inclusive growth are the cardinal values and normal parameters of any government. These factors are conspicuously absent under the Adityanath government, and its continued segregation of minorities from the mainstream will only do the State and the nation more harm. 

B. Rajasekaran


Lawless capitalism

The assemblage of crony capitalists who have defrauded the nation and shareholders have attained celebrity status with a line-up of shows that magnify them on OTT platforms (“India’s lawless financial capitalism”, December 15). History indicates that these fraudsters may walk scot-free or suffer only mild repercussions, with the Mahadev app being the latest scam to face the limelight.

It is clear that these capitalists, regulatory bodies, and the government are hand in glove with each other. Any scam, regardless of the magnitude, has to have the backing of the authorities. The larger the scam, the higher the authority involved. Seldom are the scamsters made the scapegoat, and the authorities who had an equal or even a greater role to play are not brought to justice.

These scams are as deep as the ocean. The deeper you dive, the darker it gets, the bigger the fish.

Vivian Anthony Das


The cover story makes one realise we are on the precipice of a dystopian economic equilibrium. The Indian state and its regulatory tools are either incapable of reining in corporate greed or are hand in glove with deviant financial capitalism. The deviant has become the normal to the extent of scammers getting respectability. The bitter truth, as Professor Partha Dasgupta says, is that “when everyone expects others will cheat, everyone cheats to stay ahead of other cheaters”.

Ayyasseri Raveendranath

Aranmula, Kerala

Stand-up comedy

The right wing’s intolerance of comedy and comedians is a recent development, whereas the the genre of stand-up comedy has a long history in Kerala where it has been performed from ancient times (Cover Story, December 1).

The traditional performing art forms of Chakyar Koothu and Ottamthullal are the forerunners of stand-up comedy, which, though based on stories from Hindu mythology, epics, and the puranaswould be leavened with acerbic wit, stinging observations, and sarcastic remarks, for which the Chakyar was simultaneously admired and feared.

These art forms were performed live to the accompaniment of musical instruments where the performers often improvised the story, lacing it with humour. The performers enjoyed unrestricted freedom to expose social evils and comment on sociopolitical realities without fear or favour. Kunjan Nambiar, the father of Ottamthullaldeftly used the art, which mirrored sociopolitical issues, for the refinement of society. 

T.N. Venugopalan

Kochi, Kerala 

Genocide in Gaza

As the editor’s note rightly pointed out, one cannot shrink “75 years of Israeli oppression and occupation to just one date: October 7” (December 1). Rohini Hensman’s summary was spot on: “Anti-Semitism is racism against the Jews. Zionism is racism against the Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims” (“Anti-Semitism vs Zionism”, December 1). What saddens me is that many Zionists quote the Bible to justify it.

As an itinerant Bible teacher, I want to point out that this cannot be done when one interprets the Bible responsibly. The Bible clearly records that God loves all nations equally. Sample this reference from the Bible: “Are you not like the Cushites to me, O people of Israel?” declares the Lord. “Did I not bring up Israel from the land of Egypt, and the Philistines from Caphtor and the Syrians from Kir?” (Amos 9:7 English Standard Version of the Bible).

Zionists who quote from the same Bible chapter —Amos 9—that God has promised “that they shall never again be uprooted out of the land that I have given them” (Verse 15) should not ignore the “God loves all nations” message that comes just a few verses before this. Post the coming of Jesus Christ, in God’s eyes, as the inspired Bible writer Paul says: “There is neither Jew nor Greek” (Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:11, The Bible). Therefore, Zionists should desist from quoting the Bible to justify the brazen killing of the innocent people of any race. 

Rev. Dr Duke Jeyaraj


The genocide in Gaza is proof of how a victim turned guest, then settler, and finally predator can unleash unprecedented terror on innocents, in retaliation for a terror attack, again on innocents. In both instances, half of those killed are children.

Even as the world has taken a stand either with Israel or Hamas-Palestine, on a closer look, we can see that not all countries are keen to upset the apple carts of trade and commerce by taking on the predator, Israel. Even Arab countries, and of course India, are engaged in covert trade deals with Israel. Predictably, no country has come forward to end the violence or even open a channel of dialogue for peace.

Who is concerned about the innocents killed? Only their mothers perhaps.

K. Aravindakshan

Thrissur, Kerala

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