Medicine vs mumbo jumbo

A wonderful article (“Should AYUSH be renamed the Ministry of Mumbo Jumbo?”). The writer has nailed it. I am a practising doctor and it gives me great pain when patients and the general populace so wildly believe in unscientific medicine.

I find myself alone when I counter the prejudices, mysticism and jingoism with simple logic. More upsetting is the educated lot. They support their belief system with such utter disregard for scientific thought and rationale that it is difficult to differentiate between them and the uninformed ones.

Surprisingly, everyone takes refuge in rational medicine but still abuses the system which relieves them of their ailments. No disrespect to traditional medicines and values, but its utility should be limited to respect only.

And if we are really motivated to get something good out of it, then we should approach the subject with scientific vision and methodology, not with jingoism and fanfare.

Please accept that no matter how great our forefathers were and how rich our history is, there are people who are, were, and will be better than us in different aspects. That is quite normal and in no way shaming the nation and culture. A reader


I just want to say thank you for finally bringing up this point. What kind of country is this where we can’t even stand up to all the mumbo jumbo that people will keep on attributing to scientific principles, when no connection actually exists? And why don’t we have a counter ministry to promote reason and help with the eradication of superstition?

Let’s take these politicians to task. I’d really like to see some hard scientific research go into these things rather than the kind of research that has already decided the result before doing the experiment. Anantika Mehra


Ranjona Banerji is spot on (“Yoga can cure cancer? A yoga-practising cancer survivor has some queries for the AYUSH minister”). I have been a cancer sufferer for 30 years and a yoga practitioner as well. I have read The Emperor of All Maladies and follow major news on cancer treatment, and have thus developed a view on the subject similar to those expressed by the writer.

If anything, perhaps Pranayama offers a cure or at least some control over the disease. The government needs to encourage meaningful research on both these ancient Indian practices instead of making a populist statement. Sudhir Desai

Campus truths

I am not an outsider (“Hyderabad University VC Appa Rao interview: ‘There should be a line between academics and politics’”). I belong to the Hyderabad University community. The noise in the media would have us believe that the whole world is against the vice-chancellor. This is motivated, false propaganda.

Only a handful of students incited by external political agencies opposed to the present government want him to be removed, because he was appointed by this government.

The majority of the teachers, non-teaching employees and students are not in favour of his ouster. I am sure the media have the resources to conduct an impartial on-campus opinion poll. But I also know that they will not do that because unpalatable truth doesn’t sell.

And since when did “Brahminical tradition” become an abusive term? I am proud to belong to that tradition. It stands for much that is great in the Indian cultural heritage. What discrimination, oppression and freedom of speech are we clamouring about?

I come across the abusive mention of “Manuvaad” on campus, in the media, on a daily basis. Can I talk about “Mleccha-Samskara” or “Mullah-shahi” without being lynched in public? Who are the oppressed? Who is afraid of whom?

The Manu-Smriti is after all an ancient book of law. It is full of discriminatory and derogatory comments about women. But so are the Quran and the Hadiths. Do the left-liberals, or I for that matter, have the guts to utter a word of disapproval against either without risking being beheaded? Who is being denied freedom of speech, the Dalits and minorities, or I, a member of the so-called majority whose government is in power?

Why is there so much external interference in the affairs of my campus? What do they know about what is going on here? By inciting students of this university to violence, they are destroying their careers and using them as pawns to further their own selfish political agenda.

These meddling, left-leaning intellectuals of the Jawaharlal Nehru University variety are basically trying to cling on to power and influence that they seem to be losing under the present dispensation. This is a class war of sorts. The ivory towers are crumbling. Today, the very mention of JNU invokes nothing but scorn from the man on the street. Check it out for yourself.

You can’t have your cake and eat it too. You either believe in democracy and rule of law or you don’t. Complaints about alleged atrocities in the University of Hyderabad are under judicial scrutiny. What can all this violence, sloganeering and conspiracy theories achieve now? Are they aimed at intimidating the judiciary? If so, isn’t that reprehensible? Wake up! Don’t let the country be broken up into pieces by the enemies within. Sakshii Suman

Ideological clash

Without any fanfare, India is now witnessing a clash between ideologies of the “Hindu Rashtra” and “Ganga-Jamuni Sanskriti” (“History lesson: How ‘Bharat Mata’ became the code word for a theocratic Hindu state”). Most of the participants, mainly mediapersons and politicians, of the ongoing undeclared debate are not properly educated about these ideologies. The leftists and liberal intellectuals are mainly targeting the RSS and repeating what they have been saying since independence. RSS supporters are responding to communal incidents and criticism as usual. But most of the media, not understanding both the ideologies, are creating only confusion and bad blood among Hindus and Muslims. This is also weakening our national unity.

The Jawaharlal Nehru University fracas had provided a good opportunity to keep national interests above politics, but the issue has been politicised. It’s an opportunity lost. But the concerned people are now committed to their ideological positions and the die for the debate has been cast. R Pandya


Bharat is that idea which stopped Sikhs from going the way of Ahmediyas of Pakistan and Kurds of Iraq. There have been transgressions by Indira Gandhi and her son, but nobody mourns their killing (we do mourn the killing of elected prime ministers and the majesty of the office). Tarun Balraj

Real culprits

The promoters of Naxal ideology are more dangerous to people, society and country (“’We know what Naxals are like. She is not one of them’: Support for researcher Bela Bhatia in Bastar”). People like Bela Bhatia may not be picking up arms and killing people, but they do more damage. People living outside small villages and forests in the Naxal belt do not know the pain and suffering that Naxals cause.

People like Bhatia and a host of other self-professed do-gooders do more damage than an ordinary Naxal can do. They are the real culprits and they must be exposed to show their evil faces. Ashok Bhagat

Muzzling the media

If one examines the Fact Finding Team report with the required insight, one would realise that the chief minister has tackled the team (which had a limited set of terms of reference) that met him like the shrewd politician he would be while running such a show (“’Not a single journalist working without fear or pressure’: Editors Guild on Bastar”).

To some, the team may seem to have faltered in the face of face-saving responses by officials and the chief minister. For instance, if there is no official sanction from the principal secretary (home), there should have been a vitriolic response.

It is worse if the tapping is done without official sanction. In fact, this is the common practice all over the country. Tapping without sanction may be most rampant in Chhattisgarh, and this should certainly have been one of the conclusions of the Fact Finding Team, as it would fall within their terms of reference. – Prashant Rahi

History lesson

What does the writer mean when he talks about “orthodox Sikhism” (“Why is Punjab increasingly turning to new gurus for comfort?”)? And what does he imply by saying that “Sikhism was an offshoot of Hinduism”?

This tells me that the writer has not read up very well on the history of Sikhism or the history of Bhakti, Sufi and other syncretic movements of medieval India. By saying “orthodox Sikhism”, does he paint the entire Sikh religion as an “orthodox religion” or is he referring to a sect or a living practice within the religion that is orthodox?

If he reads the history of the social movement that led to Sikhism becoming an organised religion, he will realise that it was not meant to be orthodox, but a reprieve to the ordinary people of Punjab from the orthodoxy and casteism within Hinduism and Islam. The foundation stone for the Golden Temple was laid by a Sufi saint, making the religion anything but an offshoot of Hinduism. Harmanpreet Kaur

Tata Steel’s setback

Interestingly, the current situation has not significantly dented Tata’s reputation in the UK (“Opinion: Tata Steel selling off its UK business is not the end of the group’s truly global MNC dream”). The total estimated job losses are closer to 40,000, when you take into account associated industries, businesses, and communities, rather than the 15,000 stated in the article. In similar circumstances, foreign companies are often accused of asset stripping, offshoring, callousness, or worse.

British people understand that the company has done a lot to support the struggling manufacturing sector, which has for years suffered from lack of government support, high costs and foreign competition. Tata are a business, not a charity, and there is no ill-feeling about their future activity in the UK. Alex Ross


This is a cheap attempt by Alam Srinivas to gain celebrity status by targeting high profile individuals. The article is pre-meditated and is only aimed at controversy without any attempt to see things from Tata’s perspective.

The writer has the forgotten the industry consolidation that was happening during that time. This is a layman’s conspiracy theory and it does not reflect Scroll’s standards. Rajesh Koneru

Islam in India

Nice article (“Meet the Muslims who consider themselves descendants of Arjuna”). The point I find most interesting is that all Muslims claim they were converted to Islam by Sufis and not by the pain of death while facing the sharp end of the sword, and also that their families were descendants of the Prophet Muhammad. By doing this, they negate a history full of rape, plunder and forcible conversions since Islam came to India.

Not that it is the fault of today’s Muslims, but the way to real reconciliation is for them, for starters, to acknowledge this past and to push to undo the crimes of their ancestors.

They should stop singing paeans of the Mughals and other Islamic rulers, who were basically invaders/foreigners. They were as bad, or even worse than the British who ruled over India. And we don’t need roads named after this band of Mughals. Manoj Gupta