Rahul Gandhi accusing Modi of receiving nine kickbacks from corporates while he was CM of Gujarat is no laughing matter (Chances Of Lightning, Or Just Thunder, Dec 26). The Congress vice-president has questioned the integrity of the prime minister of the country and the matter should be properly investigated. Instead of laughing it off, the PM and the BJP must come out with the whole truth in their defence, so that the matter is put to rest once and for all. If they know the PM is clean, then why have any qualms about the matter being investigated?
L.J.S. Panesar, Amritsar
By playing the politics of allegation and innuendo, Rahul Gandhi is giving the BJP a taste of their own medicine. In the past, as in the present, the BJP loses no opportunity in citing the scams which took place under the Congress’ regime. And when it comes to Modi, the BJP always tries to portray him as a 'pure', 'uncorrupted' politician. It seems Rahul wants to rupture this aura of moral superiority that the PM and his team spend so much time building. But, whatever his motive, Rahul should be clear and sharp about his accusations rather than building a sensational mystery around them.
K.S. Jayatheertha, Bangalore
Jio’s master plan hit the other players in the telecom industry so hard, that it has become increasingly difficult for them to hold there own in the market (Free Dole Spurs Magic Sim Growth, Dec 26). By giving premium services such as 4G internet for free up till a stipulated time and making calls completely free, Jio has changed the rules of the game forever. Reliance Jio will be looking to slowly make other telecom operators redundant in the near future.
Kamal Anil Kapadia, Mumbai
In the issue dated January 16, the photo feature (The Year That Just Flashed By)had no picture for the caption “Cyrus Mistry tries to calm the press in Mumbai”. The error is regretted.
This is with reference to your cover story on the Modi government’s mid-term (Half Of Achhe?, Jan 9). Staunch opponents of Narendra Modi continue to find fault with every decision taken by the government and uncritically repeat the word ‘failure’ to everything the government does. They refuse to acknowledge that a change has taken place in the way the country is being governed now. I think the common people now realise that they had been cheated by all the erstwhile governments. The immediate effects of demonetisation still require detailed analysis to understand even after two months of the PM’s masterstroke. But, the decision that caught the nation off guard has certainly painted Modi as a great leader who wants to bring about change in people’s lives. If in the process, Modi came across as a dictator to some, the fault is not his. When the head of the State does something as adventurous as this, there are bound to be consequences. Demonetisation has not brought any monetary loss to the country. Pointing out that the RBI is not able to ensure continuous flow of currency is not a valid accusation against Modi. He has, in fact, taught the people of India tolerance by putting them in an extreme situation for a good cause.
M.K. Somanatha, Cherthala
I was among those who had high hopes from Modi, especially after the ‘silent’ Manmohan Singh. But half-way, Modi stands exposed as ‘the emperor with no clothes’, despite the noisy proclamations of his followers. His supporters abuse every criticism against his Don Quixote-like policies. I never thought I’d say this but the ‘jumlaman’ title seems true about him.
Dinesh Kumar, Chandigarh
Even though he failed in the time-bound delivery of some of the promises made during the poll campaigns that led him to his 2014 victory, Narendra Modi has shown he is a man of action. There is also an efficient team to back him in his plans. When he was the chief minister of Gujarat, his image was that of a religious fundamentalist to many, but now he has managed to transform this image wholly. This is a big achievement. A little less than three years is a short time to judge him and his cabinet. Much remains to be seen.
Ramachandran Nair, Muscat
A fact about Modi that deserves mention is that he has never lost an election, be it as an MLA, the CM of Gujarat for three terms or as a first-time MP taking over as prime minister. Not all his electoral victories could have come due to manipulations by the powerful Ambanis and Adanis, a common accusation levelled against him. Whether one chooses to agree or not, Modi does posses certain qualities because of which he is so serially victorious.
Pramod Srivastava, New Delhi
Your cover story puts the spotlight on the murky side of Modi’s governance. Only a few could have changed the rules of the political game as he has in his tenure. But his demonetisation move has backfired. The ill-conceived demonetisation has left the Centre on a sticky wicket. The indignation of the people of India is visible everywhere. Also, the fact that the Centre now pulls the strings in RBI has underlined a lack of credibility for the premier banking institution.
C. Chandrasekaran, Madurai
This is with reference to Scent Of The Lotus Blossom. The year 2016 shall be recorded not only in India’s history but that of the world for the demonetisation of a country with one-seventh of the Earth’s population. The inconvenience and hardship caused to the people will be part of the main contents. Millions of man hours have been wasted in queues outside banks and ATMs with little achievement to show.
M. Kumar, New Delhi
Narendra Modi first proved his credentials by heading Gujarat as CM for more than a decade. He then became PM of the country. It has been two-and-a-half years since he took over. But the so-called left-liberals, academia and the intelligentsia of the country have not been able to digest the fact. It is hard for them to accept that a former pracharak of the RSS has been elected prime minister by an electoral majority. Unlike his predecessors at the Centre, Modi does not have an immediate family or dynasty to promote. He is also known to not grant political favours to his extended family and friends. Although corruption charges have been levelled against him by Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal, nothing has been proved by the courts yet. Such an image of a political leader is almost an anomaly in this country. Under him, the government has launched many ambitious schemes such as the Swachh Bhrat campaign and the ‘Beti bachao, beti padhao’ scheme. If sincerely implemented, these schemes will surely work. But non-BJP states appear reluctant to implement the schemes of the Centre. I feel much has changed for the positive for India during the first half of the Modi regime.
M.C. Joshi, Lucknow
Narendra Modi rode to power on an astounding majority promising much change. But the high hopes generated by his ambitious manifesto dashed to the ground when he chose to remain a mute spectator while BJP’s cronies created mayhem over the beef ban and the attacks on the intelligentsia. Halfway down his term, it may appear that the PM has managed to regain lost ground with the demonetisation scheme. Was this just a well-orchestrated ploy for the run-up to the UP polls?
George Jacob, Kochi
Modi’s half-time comprises empty rhetoric, poorly implemented schemes and ever -changing diktats. His biggest boast of firming up the economy through demonetisation achieved little and can be seen as just a gamble to gain lost political ground. His way to connect with the masses—by chest thumping at his rallies—is most amusing. His government is run by the PMO and ministers and bureaucrats are hardly in a position to have any say. Only Finance Minister Arun Jaitley puts forth his views sometimes, but he has also largely become a yes man, unfortunately, at the cost of his sense of economics and political experience. Only a strong opposition can be a counter-weight to his lopsided balance.
L.J. Singh, Amritsar
Narendra Modi does not have an articulate opposition leader who can match his decibels. This is a fact. The current political situation is such that there is no one to challenge Modi. What many don’t understand is that the Congress made a blunder with its decision to go for the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. No wonder everyone, starting from Chandra Babu Naidu to KCR, toes his line. The occasional exceptions to this, like Mamta Banerjee, continue to face non-cooperation from the Centre. Modi’s strategy is clear in all this: fall in line or fade out at your own peril.
Krishna Prasad, Bangalore
Modi Sarkar's half-time blockbuster was a tragedy. The second half...A comedy of errors?
V.N.K., On E-mail
That all the money deposited with the banks has turned white post-demonetisation, is a myth (A Messy Masterstroke, Jan 9). It is a mix of black and white that has to be sorted in due course by the banks. This explains the reason for the current restriction on the withdrawable amount.
K. Suresh, Bangalore
Many in the Indian intelligentsia fail to realise the thin line between activism and secessionism. (Hounded in Bastarville, Jan 9). What can those crying their hearts out for the underprivileged people in conflict areas actually do to improve their condition? Armchair intellectuals are encouraging disorder by merely voicing their personal opinions and not doing anything on the ground.
Aditya Gaiha, Thimphu
I am seriously thinking of claiming a refund on Outlook’s special issue dated January 2 (Partnership and Pleasure) or an extra issue against my subscription to compensate for it. The issue has nothing new or of value to offer, right from its sexist, distasteful cover to the standard last-page piece by Q (kyun!). Even the few pieces I managed to sit through over my uneventful holiday weekend were merely of ‘post-truths’ or like your Leader comment’s pejorative interpretation of it: ‘painful obfuscations’.
Asha Hariharan, Bangalore
The theme of partnership and pleasure in our times in your year-end issue states the obvious—that we are no longer prudish in our attitude towards sex. However, neither are we obsessed with sex as the different articles in the issue would make us believe. In fact, it’s only the metropolitan cities and big towns which can be said to be witnessing a sexual revolution of sorts while the hinterlands unsuccessfully struggle to cope up with this apparent change as seen in mostly the media. For those living in remote areas, the lyrics of Bob Dylan, “the times they are a-changin,” do not apply.
Vijai Pant, On E-Mail
The Leader comment (Pleasure And Partnership, Jan 2) was a sophisticated treat to read. Contradictions co-exist as long as tolerance and maturity are there; thought provoking indeed. The ‘vagina being bigger than Trump’ is an undersestimated start line. It is bigger than the deep sea, which consumed many war ships.
Being an ex-editor of Debonair, Vinod Mehta (may God bless his noble soul!) had the habit of turning Outlook into Debonair every once in a while. I never expected the new editor of my favourite magazine will step into Vinod Mehta’s shoes. When the year-end issue landed, my family members were, fortunately, not at home. After flipping through the 130 pages in a jiffy, I threw the magazine in the raddi heap in disgust, remembering the saying: “A place for everything and everything in its place.”
K.P. Rajan, Mumbai
Apropos The Dirty Indian Male (Jan 2), Shiv Visvanathan is correct in saying that rape generates scandal, but incest is treated as a secret—a tacit world no one talks about. There is very little study done on incest, unlike on rape.
Rajiv Chopra, Jammu
In this land of Kama Sutra and Khajuraho (Our Playlist Morphs Into Khajuraho. It’s Sanskari, Jan 2), pleasure cannot be veiled for long.
Richa Juyal, Dehradun
Now that Jayalalitha is dead and AIADMK has got a new leader, better sense should prevail over the party (The Arrival Of Cyclone Chinna Amma, Dec 26). Sasikala, who has taken over as the party’s general secretary, should help further stabilise the outfit and prompt its cadres to work in unison if any good has to be achieved.
Viplava Jain, Islamabad
Apropos the article by Apsara Reddy (‘Oh, But You Were Born A Man, What Will I Tell My Parents?’, Jan 2), thanks for bringing these things out from the dark. The boxed and repetitive thinking patterns of our society cloud our reason to simple matters of the heart such as this. There is also this anxiety regarding acceptance in society that troubles most of us. The desire for getting married can sometimes arise when we need some kind of reassurance. For instance, a transwoman may want to get married, among other reasons, so as to get accepted as a woman in society. It can also be the same for transmen. Having said this, I think the mental blocks that society creates within us are not unbreakable.
Pradeep Guleria, New Delhi
Quite a bold issue, Outlook! India has changed a great deal in the last few years with regard to sexuality—once a taboo topic. Popular culture is at the forefront of this change—the film industry is much more open in depicting sexuality today than ever. But, looking at how things are in reality, outside the film studios, our prejudices and mentality, especially regarding women, remain the same. It is an often noted observation that most Indian tourists gaze at women dressed in ‘modern’ clothes in a lewd way. At the same time, these people are very conservative when it comes to matters regarding their wives and daughters. There is abundant censorship being exercised on TV channels. But in this digital world with smartphones in every other hand, who can exercise control on the access to pornography? Sometimes, the government thinks of banning porn, but what will that achieve? A ban cannot change attitudes. And why police on grounds of morality at all?
Toronto Varun Shekhar This is with reference to The Dirty Indian Male by Shiv Visvanathan (Jan 2). In this scathing, relentless and caricatured piece, the writer has made no allowance for exceptions and peculiarities. It turned out to be just a sledgehammer attack on the ‘Indian male’. After reading the article, I felt that the Indian intelligentsia is wholly detached and alienated from reality. Nothing in this article shows the author has witnessed all that he describes so vociferously. He seems to be above all of it, looking down and making generalisations in a condescending manner.
This piece (The Dirty Indian Male) really moved me. The writer holds up a mirror to our society and the picture is downright dirty. Underlying the pretty, manicured India shining images is an ugliness borne of suppressed desires and skewed power structures. I too, like the author, have wondered why the erotic is missing in a country known for some of the earliest works in history on eroticism. Has it somehow been sidelined in a rush to absorb post-colonial modernity? This aesthetic, vital to a healthy relationship between the two sexes, is dearly missing, leaving power to fill in the vacuum.
The writer has also done well to draw our attention to incest. Again, this is common in ‘machismo’ countries. Wherever family and honour take more importance, the individual suffers. The writer reaching for literature for a way forward is the right thing, and perhaps, cinema can also lead the way. We need to re-imagine our country and this needs courage.
Meera Jagannathan, Houston
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