MyVoice: Views of our readers 8th January 2023

MyVoice: Views of our readers 8th January 2023

Views of our readers

Racial connotations of 'Dravidian' dubious

'Language is the life of a race,' declares Stalinji, the CM of Tamil Nadu at a literary festival. Sociologists, geneticists, and scientists the world over have condemned race as a concept to the dustbins. If we want any semblance of unity in the country and the world, politicians and intellectuals of all hues, including those in the media, should simply drop the use of the word 'race.'

The Dravidian movement, initiated by EV Ramaswamy Naicker (Periyar), is singularly responsible for the most divisive narratives in India based on some wrong notions of race and the dubious Aryan Invasion Theory which turns most North Indians and Brahmins into descendants of the invading Aryans and Tamils as the indigenous Dravidians. Their political usage pits a "Dravidian culture and race" against the separate so-called "Aryan" culture.

Archaeology, epigraphy (study of inscriptions), numismatics (study of coins), literature (the Sangam literature) clearly shows that culturally the people of the South and the North were indeed one. The coins and the rich Sangam literature (300 BCE to 300 CE) show not only extensive references to Vedic sacrifices but a complete absence of any mention of a great clash between Aryans and Dravidians. Vedic and Puranic themes inextricably weave into the most ancient culture of the Tamil land known to us. Today, as is usual of most languages, Tamil language has assimilated and uses between 20-40% of the commonly used vocabulary from Sanskrit.

Surprisingly, there are no references to the word "Dravida" in Tolkappiyam- the oldest surviving work on Tamil grammar. The first use in Tamil is in the 18th century. In the Vedic-Puranic-Itihaasic literature, "Arya" denoted a noble person and "Dravida" was in a purely geographical sense. As one scholar shows, "Dravida" is not of Tamil origin at all because Tamil grammar neither provides for a word beginning with a sonant (hence cannot begin with d) nor with a half-syllable. The word has most likely Prakrit or Sanskrit roots.

Without conflict, there was every sign of a deep cultural interaction between North and South. In reverse, the genius of Tamil land has contributed extensively by way of temple architecture, music, dance, and literature to the North and other South Asian countries too. "Dravidian" has a meaning either in the old geographical sense or in the modern linguistic sense; racial and cultural meanings are unscientific and irrational and are simply a manifestation of a divisive colonial mindset. In the Dravidian accomplishments developing to its own genius there was never a loss of the central Indian spirit and culture. As one people, we are prouder of Tamil language and culture than the Tamilians themselves.

– Dr Pingali Gopal, Hanamkonda

Children ceasing to be curious anymore

I was reading a post in LinkedIn as someone has raised a pertinent point, why schoolchildren rarely remember titles of their textbooks and are totally ignorant about the publisher who publishes the books. Schoolchildren won't know the names of the authors of books. But, when they reach higher class they will recognise authors who prepare guides with answer keys and notes. However when it comes to movies, even an 8 or 10 can almost remember everyone from actor to director.

There was a time when children grew up learning English through the books that originated in the UK and were written by foreign authors. Later when schools started demanding books relevant to suit Indian context, some cosmetic changes were made by replacing foreign names with Indian, but contents continued to represent British. It was in such scenario that the late Raja of Wanaparthy Samsthanam, former diplomat and Congressman, Rameshwar Rao who was Chairman of Orient BlackSwan (then Orient Longmans) revolutionised Indian English Language Teaching (ELT) by gathering experts to develop truly Indian content for from KG to Class 8 way back in 1974-75 under title Gulmohar Graded English Course and thereafter it was free for all by all other school textbook publishers who started publishing clones similar to Gulmohar series.

At a time when Orient BlackSwan is celebrating 75 years in 2023, Gulmohar planted in 1974-75 as a plant would turn 50 year old tree in 2024-25 that continues to create strong foundation. It's not that visionaries of those days were not vocal for local or Make in India, but transition also needed perseverance and patience. Essence of my thoughts is encouraging curiosity should always begin from a young age as it would broaden thinking to make India really great.

– N Nagarajan, Hyderabad

Pakistan reaping harvest of terror

The editorial in the first place has rightly pointed out Pakistan's army and ISI core agenda has been to abate terror all these years with the sole arm to amass wealth for themselves at the cost of Aam Aadmi. In addition, the Chinese debt and radicalisation of terror as a strategic weapon in the face of worsening economic indicators has landed itself in a mess.

With Taliban calling the shots by forming a parallel cabinet in the trouble-torn Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan region, it has only made the matters worse. After having nurtured, sheltered the Frankenstein monster Taliban to its advantage, a remorseless Pakistan establishment now warning Taliban and going on to issue belligerent statement to stop its activities is a clear revelation that it lacks vision to handle the situation. All in all, as Pakistan is reaping the harvest of terror it had sown all these years disregarding the advice of the world to dismantle terror from its soil, it is clear that Pakistan would be facing an uphill task in the days to come with breakdown of law & order leading to an imminent civil war after a minefield of misery inflicted by its own army and ISI.

– K R Srinivasan, Secunderabad

India's challenges in 2023

While 2022 was the year that had upgraded India's status, in 2023 the nation is all set to face new challenges. At a crucial time when India has been chosen for G-20 Presidential status, it needs to raise economic, peace and security concerns at the international level. The challenges that the nation is set to encounter in 2023 include economic, environmental, fuel prices, health issues like Covid and cyber security.

The impact of corona in 2023 is likely to be more severe for the world. China has created more economic instability for India by deployment of forces and intrusions across our borders. Further, new covid variants traced in China might be pushed into other nations. Hence, India has to face a challenge in keeping off the new variants.

During 2020 & 2021 India was subjected to cyberattacks which proved dearly for the nation. Environmental problems remain a challenge. There is also the issue of Sikh terrorism in Punjab at the instigation of China and Pakistan which are hand in glove. China, Nepal and Pakistan are jointly involved in activities against India which need to be countered effectively in 2023.

Further, a new challenge in 2023 is to resolve differences between the Judiciary and the government vis-a-vis the collegium system. It is necessary for some kind of rapprochement before the issue gets serious. Also, the functioning of skill development centres needs to be improved as another challenge. Last but not the least, India should in the year 2023 strive towards attaining permanent membership in the UN Security Council, which has been a long standing issue.

– Bh Indu Sekhar, Hyderabad

Infighting, Thy Name Is Congress!

Many of our political parties are regional parties which are mostly controlled by a charismatic leader or by a family. One can see two striking features in them. Members and cadres in these parties are in a sense disciplined and seldom raise a banner of revolt against their strong leadership. The second thing is that internal democracy is conspicuous by its absence in many of these parties. Be it the TDP or the BRS, the YSRCP or the DMK. So grumbling in hushed voices is a natural corollary.

But the grand old Congress party is an exception. It has become a byword for infighting and discord nowadays. In fact it was there even in the days of Nehru. But then the leaders had a blue book and followed what people call 'A Protocol of Accommodation,' welcomed opinions and views from all members and settled disputes amicably. When not happy with the policies of Nehru, many great and knowledgeable leaders, known then as 'Ginger Group' had left the party. When discord and infighting became very vocal and palpable, Indira dealt with it with an iron hand.

Unfortunately these days, most of the leaders are super senior citizens and by nature they don't easily accept and encourage young and upcoming leaders. Like wanton boys, these leaders complain always, fight with one another, wash the dirty linen in public or dash to Delhi to 'shop' against one another to the High Command.

It is clear that the Telangana Congress is like a house divided against itself, a burning ship about to sink and its members are ready to desert the ship and jump into 'other ships'. The need of the hour is not changing the State in-charge leaders or the CPPs, but the leaders have to change and discipline themselves. They must stand together, make sacrifices unitedly to win the forthcoming elections. Otherwise they will go the way of their counterparts in Andhra Pradesh.

– M Somasekhar Prasad, Hyderabad

Gods, not rules, protect lives on Indian roads

This refers to Mohan Kanda's article 'Making India's roads safer'. There is popular belief that if you drive on Indian roads, you can drive safely anywhere in the world. Indian roads are a test of skill, quick reflexes and an ability to foresee what the other person at the wheel around you is going to do. Add to the list craters, animals and pedestrians darting like deer across heavy traffic one would begin to appreciate the difficulties even a careful driver would have to undergo.

With two-wheelers moving on footpaths and many vendors occupying them as well can the public really be blamed for walking on the roads? The motorists are in a perennial hurry and at traffic signals it is usual to find many vehicles cross the white lines in order to be the first to cross the hurdle. Those who break traffic signals are at times caught by the traffic policeman lurking in some corner like some wild animal waiting for prey. The truth of the matter is that we Indians have more faith in divinity to protect us than in following traffic rules!

– Anthony Henriques, Mumbai

Need to restrain indecorous flyers

The unruly behaviour of a passenger in an Air India flight urinating on a woman co- passenger is really against decency of flight passenger and the flight crew's inaction on the incident is really deplorable. The expected courtesy of the crew on its passengers is lacking in this incident. The passenger is so heavily drunken that he has no senses that he should not do this before other passengers. In fact, I also faced such a situation in one of my flight journeys. When I was flying in May 2022 from Hyderabad to Varanasi my neighbour passenger was fully drunken at 11 am and I was more uncomfortable even for sitting for an hour or so; my wife also felt the same. I was surprised how the airlines allow drunken passengers inside the flight where the acts of drunken passenger in that state are unimaginable. Hence I request the authorities concerned to bring a rule that all passengers before boarding the flight should undergo a test of drunkenness. Moreover in the recent past the behaviour of cabin crew toward passengers is not good and at times without the minimum courtesy of humanity. Recently one disabled passenger was denied entrance into the flight, which is highlycondemnable. I request the authorities to see that such things do not recur.

– TSN Rao, Hyderabad

There was a time when air travellers were considered highly sophisticated, well-educated and decorous but the recent UNRULY INCIDENTS IN MID-AIR by shameless travellers have proved otherwise. Such nightmarish mid-air incidents are indeed a matter of deep concern and anguish for all, especially females. Perhaps in both the incidents the male member was in an inebriated state. Won't it be better to sort out these travellers with the help of breathalysers and disallow them from boarding the plane? The crew should also be empowered by airlines and DGCA to take stringent action against such wild travellers. All-out efforts should be done by authorities concerned to make the journey of travellers not only safe but happy too.

– Dr Sunil Chopra, Ludhiana

DeMon stirs inflation

The comparatively larger quantities of the influx of the denomination of the newly introduced Rs 500 currency note into our economy following the demonetisation in November 2016 has accelerated, in a way, the inflationary trends. Earlier, we had a copious supply of Rs 100 currency notes, which was found very handy to deal with all sorts of petty purchases and also to give away as ex gratia, mamools, bakshis etc., without making much hole in the purse. What is more disturbing is that by and large, any individual is also, of late, programmed, or say oriented, as to expect a minimum single currency note, which is found in abundant supply, of Rs 500, as it is found to be the least common denomination currency note in circulation. Thus it is also one source of inflation, besides all other governmental measures.

- Seshagiri Row Karry, Hyderabad

India, too, should go thermonuclear

According to reports, China is unlikely to back off across North East border and Ladakh. Dragons do not appear to want to de-escalate tensions along the entire Line of Actual Control. For many decades, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) had tried to change the status quo at borders while also continuing with its salami-slicing tactics to eat into Indian territory and keeping us off-balance.

According to reports after eastern Ladakh, dragons are targeting Arunachal Pradesh, especially the Tawang area, which China covets and claims as South Tibet. Dragons have recently deployed drones and helicopters along the LAC in Arunachal Pradesh. Also reports say that the PLA strengthened its military positions in the eastern sector of the LAC, particularly across Tawang. The PLA has completed the construction of a division-level headquarters, bridges, and other infrastructure near the "no patrol buffer zone," including shelters for troops, weapons, and vehicles.

Given all of this, we need to develop more nukes to deter the dragons, as well as Pakistan. Without stronger nuclear weapons, the country will be unable to repel cross-border incursions by China and Pakistan. The country should have a wider range of ballistic, cruise, and hypersonic missiles (Since Hypersonic missiles fly at several times the speed of sound and at low altitude, to escape radar detection) etc. We also need a thermonuclear device, which is the most powerful type of atomic weapon. Otherwise, it will continue to use the "do kadam age ek kadam piche" tactic.

– Vijaykumar H K, Raichur

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