Readers' Speak: Remembering Rohith Vemula, and discussing the new army chief
- Published 21.01.20, 2:13 AM
- Updated 21.01.20, 2:13 AM
- 3 mins read
Sir — This January marks the fourth year since the death of Rohith Vemula, the student who many believe was driven to suicide by systemic injustices that have historically disenfranchised the Dalit community. While his demise reignited the question of discrimination, has anything changed since then? Dalits continue to face not only caste-based discrimination in educational institutions, but also other kinds of oppression based on parameters such as the knowledge of Hindi or English. The problem seems to have deepened since Vemula’s death. The education system is in dire need of greater sensitization. Affirmative action can only be the first step towards true inclusivity.
Sir — The emphasis on the importance of the Constitution by the new army chief, M.M. Naravane, is welcome (“Another vision”, Jan 15). At a time when the country is deeply polarized, and concerns have been raised about the politically charged remarks of the previous army chief and current chief of defence staff, Bipin Rawat, Naravane’s comment is a reminder of the broad principles that govern the Indian army.
But while it is important to equip the armed forces to deal with evolving security challenges, Naravane could have refrained from commenting on the preparedness of the Indian army to reclaim Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, if ordered to do so by Parliament. His aggressive statement was unwarranted and might result in an aggravated confrontation with Pakistan.
Sir — Last Wednesday, the army chief, M.M. Naravane, opined that the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir is a historic step and will lead to the integration of the region with the rest of India. It must also be remembered that during his first media conference after assuming charge as the army chief, Naravane had remarked that if so instructed by Parliament the army would take appropriate action for reclaiming PoK. Generals are expected to refrain from making such overtly political statements. As such, Naravane’s comment is a little too unusual. The previous army chief, Bipin Rawat, too, was in the habit of making periodic, avoidable comments on various controversial matters that led to public outrage. It would be in the interests of the country if military leaders desisted from wading into politics and, instead, performed their roles in an appropriate manner. If they do not, it might have a corrosive effect on the organization they lead. The army’s constant interference in matters of governance in Pakistan, and the resultant problems, should act as a lesson for India.
Sir — From M.M. Naravane’s first press conference, it had seemed that he, unlike his predecessor, might abstain from making political comments that are not expected from someone holding his position. However, the comment on the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir has indicated that the armed forces of our country might be too vocal on political matters. One hopes that India, unlike other countries in South Asia, does not fall prey to military rule.
Sir — The demise of the all-rounder, Rameshchandra Gangaram Nadkarni — nicknamed Bapu Nadkarni — is a great loss for Indian cricket. In his 13-year-long international career, he took 88 wickets in 41 Test matches at an average of 29.07 with his left-arm spin, and also scored 1,414 runs at an average of 25.70. He is remembered for bowling 21 successive maiden overs during a Test innings against England in Chennai in 1964. He was also the coach of the Indian team that toured Australia in 1981.
Nadkarni would have been a successful bowler had he played the currently popular limited overs formats. It was difficult to hit his deliveries; not only would they often skid off the wicket quickly but were also impossible to negotiate on the back foot. If the leg before wicket rule that is prevalent today had been applied in his time, his wicket tally would have easily been much higher than it is. Nadkarni was also a good batsman and fielder. He will be missed.
Sir — Rameshchandra Gangaram Nadkarni, who passed away recently, leaves behind an incredible legacy in bowling. In 1964, he bowled 131 consecutive balls without conceding any runs during a Test innings against England. He had similar economical bowling averages in earlier matches against Pakistan in Kanpur and Delhi in the 1960-61 series. His economy rate across his first-class career was less than two.
The postal department should issue a commemorative postage stamp in Nadkarni’s honour. He was one of the finest all-rounders of the time. His maiden over tally is difficult to match. It is unfortunate that the present cricketers, who play at a time of immense money and fame in the sport, are honoured frequently while players of yesteryear are forgotten. It would be even better if a series of postage stamps of older cricketers with notable contributions could be issued.
Subhash C. Agrawal,