• One-Liner
    Jun 12, 2017

    ISIS is the biggest manufacturer of fear in the world, wonder which company is funding it?


    Raju Chanda, On E-mail

  • Jun 12, 2017

    This is in response to the news item about Haji Kalimullah’s famous mangoes in Uttar Pradesh (In & Around, May 22). In UP, everything is getting saffronised,  except mangoes and cows. The latest to take this hue, according to the media, is the frame of the clock in the state assembly, leave alone the all-saffron upholstery. The same has happened with green vis-a-vis MMI in Hyderabad, as well as pink in the state of Telangana (there, they have pink sheets in hospitals too). What a colour fetish! And apparently, bureaucrats are rung up to check if they are sleeping, while some schools want to have ‘Yogi-cuts’ for students, and check tiffin boxes for eggs. Is this the governance that Modi promised for Uttar Pradesh?


    Raja Krishnaiah, Hyderabad

  • Three Points Down
    Jun 12, 2017

    Apropos How To Court The Personal (May 29), your story on the triple talaq issue. It seems some good sense has prevailed upon the All India Muslim Personal Law Board as it said that if something is not done about triple talaq, it will enforce social boycott. Talaq, which means an oath in Arabic, has been rendered und­esirable by maulvis. Ignorance is bliss for ­majority of people though, they just follow the clerics blindly as they have not read the Quran in full to understand that the idea of triple talaq has no ­validity in the Quran. There are provisions for three waiting periods in ­between the utterance of Talaq thrice, so that there is a chance for reconciliation between husband and wife. Also, if required, family and friends can intervene to save the marriage by counselling. But when people like Congress leader Kapil Sibal, arguing for the Muslim Personal Law Board, equate triple talaq with the Ram Mandir issue and call it a matter of faith, the whole debate gets twisted. By this yardstick, the evil practice of Sati, child marriages and polygamy can also be restored in the name of faith. Instead of making it a battle between majority and minority, triple talaq should be treated as a gender issue. A uniform civil code for all, not only for Muslims, needs to be implemented. Triple talaq, as practicsed in India, is fundamentally wrong, ­whoever has picked it as a political issue, and for whatever reasons, has chosen a winner.


    P.S.Kaur, On E-Mail

  • Jun 12, 2017

    This is an open letter of sorts to the youngsters of Kashmir and I am one among them. I can’t start by writing “hope you are doing well”, because I know you are not. At the outset, I also want to state that I feel I am a proud Indian. Some of you must already be terming me as a ‘gaddar’, ‘Indian agent’ and so on, but, I am not concerned with these labels and just want to speak my mind. In the nineties, one generation that took to armed uprising has already suffered the consequences. There are thousands of unmarked graves of people from that generation across Kashmir and many more are in prison. Looking at the situation in Kashmir today, it feels that an entire generation has again been put at risk. And if things keep escalating the way they have been in all these years, there will be no Kashmiri youth left behind! Let us try not to think of  India, Pakistan or Kashmir for a while and instead look at the number of deaths caused due to Indian army, militants, Ikhwans and Pakistan. How many intelligent minds have we lost! Lt Ummer Fayaz or Burhan Wani could have been two fine minds. What have we achieved in the last 20 years of the armed struggle? Half widows, orphaned children, hopeless parents and lone siblings. From Mirwaiz Maulvi Farooq,  Adv. Prem Nath Butt,  Justice Neel Kant Ganjoo, to the last killing in the valley, we have only lost intelligent minds. When it comes to some things, a practical approach has to be taken. We need to think hard about these questions that are perpetually haunting us: Where are the kith and kin of these so called freedom loving leaders? Why are schools being burned in Kashmir? Why do only students, activist, workers and small-medium traders die in clashes? Who is responsible for Kashmir’s drug problem?


    I know that most of the educated youth from Kashmir realise that an independent Kashmir lying between India, Pakistan and China doesn’t stand a chance. All three of these nation-states possess atomic weapons, have a history of occupation and are arch rivals. So, in the purely practical sense, Kashmir is better off with India. But most youngsters in the Valley are forced by the situation to follow, rather blindly, wherever their instincts are taking them.


    Zeshan Anjum, Jammu

  • The Major’s Shield
    Jun 12, 2017

    This refers to the story Morals And The Major (June 5). What about law and order? This nagging question naturally comes to the mind of the people whenever they see untoward incidents taking place in Kashmir. The present turmoil in the Valley is disturbing, moving fellow citizens to tears. Sadly, the continuous scenes of stone-pelting on the streets of Kashmir are the lowest points of the current turmoil. During my school days in the early 1990s, a family from Jammu and Kashmir came to live in my hometown Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu for a short period of time. As a schoolboy, I had met by chance a few members of that family my age. And one schoolgirl among them was often seen talking proudly about Kashmir. In fact the talk had made me develop love and respect for Kashmir. It was indeed an admirable place in my mind with admirable people living in it. But unf­ortunately, Kashmir today is not what I had made of it during my school days. It is a paradise lost due to the conflict. The unfortunate fact is that factors like strong strategies and great diplomacy are totally missing on the subject of Kashmir. As the first step, law and order should be maintained across the Valley at all costs. Secondly, the Indian government must wake up to the reality in Jammu and Kashmir and take steps to open the doors of education, growth, employment and business development to the youth and the public in Kashmir. Finally, the countries riding the waves of technology have the natural tendency of ‘acting rough and tough’ at the drop of a hat. They should check themselves. Maintaining good rapport with Pakistan and opening up a comm­unication route for strengthening ­bilateral tie-ups should be the ­imm­ediate tasks to be looked into by India without hesitation. Otherwise, things will only get worse.


    P. Senthil Saravana Durai, Mumbai


    The Indian Army awarding Major Gogoi for tying a Kashmiri voter to the bonnet of his jeep for supposedly saving the lives of election officials from stone-pelters is acceptable. It is distressing to note that the Opposition, instead of hailing the major for his presence of mind, has been critical of him even after his appeal to stone-pelters to give a safe passage went unheeded. Had this Opposition been in power, would they have given the same response? I seriously doubt it. Although the major was unmindful of an individual’s safety and dignity, he was acting in a larger interest. Although it sent a cruel message to the people of Kashmir, I’m sure it would have been instrumental in boosting the morale of the forces in the Valley for whom the Kashmiri youth have slowly become enemies owing to the agitation. Sometimes, these things have to be done for the larger good. 


    K.R.Srinivasan, Secunderabad


    While Outlook has appreciated the Lankan army for dealing firmly in eliminating terrorism without caring for human casualty, it has been highly critical of Major Gogoi’s action. All those who sympathise with overtly critical intellectuals and secular thinking people, who always seem to find some fault with the security establishment, can take a trip to Pakistan and see the truth for themselves. If the Major has used the gun to come out of this situation, he would have still been criticised. Dragging Jadhav’s case in this debate, as some have done, is uncalled for because both are totally ­incomparable. In my opinion, this officer deserves a pat on the back for saving the lives of many by taking a bold step on the spur of the moment.


    S. Sreenivas, Bangalore

  • Moribund Cop-Killers
    Jun 12, 2017

    This refers to Dilip Simeon’s opinion piece (Remember Your Humanity, Rebel, May 15) in your ‘50 Years of Naxalbari’ series. The author spins his role with clinical precision, but is nebulous about why the movement was started and what its pioneers wanted to achieve. Revolution—just like the British philosopher and broadcaster C.E.M. Joad had said about socialism—is “like a hat that has lost its shape because everyone wears it”, and so is the moribund Marxism the Left still embraces. Maybe that’s why the Maoists, who claim to believe in revolution and Marxism, are so deeply entrenched in certain parts of central India that more than 691 battalions (as of 2015-16; the deployment has increased since then) of the central paramilitary forces (Central Reserve Police Force, Border Security Force, Central Industrial Security Force and others)—including 259 battalions in the Maoist-affected areas of Chhattisgarh alone—have failed to stop the periodic massacres by the guerrillas. The government seems keener to go after cow-killers rather than pursue these cop-killers. In the latest massacre in Sukma on April 24, in which more than two dozen CRPF personnel were killed, a local adivasi was said to have informed the guerrillas of the presence of the paramilitary force’s road-opening party, helping them plan the ambush with killer precision. Later, there were media reports on an audio clip in which a CPI (Maoist) leader is allegedly heard claiming that the attack was in retaliation against “the innumerable attacks, murders, sexual violence and gang-rapes by paramilitary personnel and the police, and to protect the honour of adivasi women”. The April 24 massacre is now old hat for the TRP-seeking media. But why is PM Narendra Modi silent? Why isn’t he carpet-bombing the areas where the Maoists find local support to carry out their dastardly acts? Who is Modi afraid of?


    Shiv Kumar, Hyderabad

  • Slaves For A Life
    Jun 05, 2017

    This refers to your cover story Trafficked, Raped and Babies Sold (May 22). The revelations made by your story are ­utterly shocking! A demand for children among childless couples has given rise to this inhuman trade. And to think that the society is completely unaware of the horrifying back-story to child adoption is even scarier. In order for such a business to survive, the perpetrators have to have some links with cops, doctors, house owners who rent out their place for these activities, small-time hotels and hospitals. The victims often come from very poor families, which makes them extremely vulnerable. The field of surrogacy has always had issues, but this is an ext­reme situation of injustice and cruelty created by the needs of our society. 


    Kamal Anil Kapadia, Mumbai


    It is absolutely necessary to bring the culprits of this terrible racket to justice. That such crimes are being committed in such an organised manner in the country is a matter of great concern. Unfortunately, the mainstream media has its ears and eyes plugged in unimportant issues circulating in social media such as Twitter and Facebook. Everyday a new issue props up—either owing to some stupid tweet by a politician or some celeb gossip—and takes up all the news space while urgent issues such as this one get sidelined. The larger picture also needs to be understood if we have to understand why some sides of our society are so inhuman and ugly. Poverty and une­mployment have made people helpless and desperate while lack of education makes them directionless.


    Ramchandra Nair, Oman

  • Worn-Out Sweater
    Jun 05, 2017

    This is about the story on the crisis of credibility afflicting the AAP (Democracy Begins at Home, May 22). Amitabh Bachchan is being given a tough fight by Arvind Kejriwal—Just Dial, a brand being endorsed by Amitabh, is being given a tough fight by Monte Carlo through Kejriwal, who wears it in all advertisements for propagating the Delhi government’s policies. Big B is duly paid for his endorsements. I don’t want to pull off another Kapil Mishra by levelling allegations at the Delhi CM but all the same, I wonder—is Kejriwal a brand ambassador of Monte Carlo? Is he paid for the relentless endorsement, or does the Punjab-based company pay the AAP, or the Delhi government? Why is the Opp­osition silent on this; are they also being paid by the makers of Monte Carlo? The Centre needs to take a serious view of this unethical practice and after that we can look at that world ­famous muffler.


    Rajiv Boolchand Jain, Delhi


    After an AAP MLA demonstrated in the Delhi ass­embly that EVMs can be rigged, a thorough follow-up ought to have been conducted by the Election Commission soon. The EC’s recent decision to allow a challenge from a political party to demonstrate a malfunctioing EVM machine (chosen from those that were used in recently concluded polls in five states) within a few hours have been welcomed all around. EVMs are vulnerable, as chips and the display board can be tampered with. Tampering is also possible during assembling of the machine, when genuine computer chips can be rep­laced with duplicate ones, programmed ‘with software that counts electronic votes dishonestly’. It’s also possible to rep­lace the mother board of an EVM within 10 minutes. Seals similar to the ones used in EVMs can also be removed and rep­laced without detection. Let us hope the EC-initiated challenge to suss out EVMs will put the matter to rest.


    Laljas Singh, On E-Mail


    Even if one concedes that the allegations against Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal made by ex-AAP minister Kapil Mishra have ulterior motives, it does not explain why AAP leaders haven’t responded to the charges if they believe he is lying. All that they are doing is searching for ­motives behind Mishra’s allegations.


    K. Suresh, Bangalore


    Your Comment on the crisis in AAP appears to be giving veiled support to Arvind Kejriwal and Co. I think it’s incorrect to outrightly dismiss Mishra by saying that his credibility is ‘zilch’ just because he alleged corruption in the party only after being expelled and not before. Kejriwal came to politics riding on his ‘imaandar’ image and kept labelling his opponents, namely PM Narendra Modi, as corrupt without producing any proof of the same. His allegation regarding rigging of EVMs also doesn’t hold water as it is mere rabble-rousing for which he has been unable to give any proof.


    Jitendra, New Delhi

  • One-Liner
    Jun 05, 2017

    AAP could have activated its self-destruct mode sooner and saved everyone else the effort.


    Vijay Kumar, New Delhi.

  • No Sinecure
    Jun 05, 2017

    This refers to your story 13 Cooks Too Many (May 22) on the Opposition parties’ efforts to find a joint candidate to run for president. It won’t be easy to agree on someone with national stature and appeal. The president’s post is not a sinecure, even though the prime minister is all-powerful. When a president sends a bill passed by Parliament back to be reconsidered, it can be quite an embarrassment for the government. In these ideologically fraught times, the significance of that role cannot be overstated. The Opposition parties should zero in on someone like a non-controversial person such as Gopalkrishna Gandhi to stand against the NDA candidate. This is not the occasion to get some troublesome politician out of the way by kicking him upstairs. Let the parties keep national interest at heart while selecting the candidate. Rashtrapati Bhawan is no place for sycophants or a “compromise candidate”.


    L.J., On E-Mail

  • Friends And Neighbours
    Jun 05, 2017

    The current escalation of tension between India and Pakistan is disturbing. Both India and Pakistan emerged from the freedom movement against the British Raj. Why should they be enemies today? I rem­ember watching on TV a cricket match between India and Pakistan in my hometown Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu. It was the early 1990s and I still remember the joy and the kindness in the eyes of the players of both the teams. Only such rapport, kind gestures and a sense of und­erstanding will take us to the next level. Not heeding the concerns of the people and developing animosity will never create a suitable environment in which the natural ties between India and Pakistan can flourish.


    P.S.S. Durai, Mumbai

  • On Screen Beast
    Jun 05, 2017

    Apropos the write-up, titled A Message From Mahishmati (Outlook, May 22, 2017), I need to say that Baahubali 2 is a magnum opus. Unlike any Bollywood fantasy, Baahubali has managed to ­enthral audiences across the Indian sub continent. The reason for its appeal, apart from the marvellous computer graphic work, has been its simplistic plot which can be understood by a diverse crowd without any difficulty whatsoever. All credit goes to the team behind the blockbuster, which would have worked hours at end to execute such world class effects on screen. Finally, the public is the judge of how good any movie is and Baahubali 2 passes the test of the masses with high distinction. The mega success of Baahubali 2 goes on to prove that if a film is pumped with the blood of enthusiasm and a massive budget and combined with the latest technology, people will be entertained. Last but not least, the dedication and sincerity reflected in the performance of all the actors was what truly drove the film forward.


    Jayanta Topadar, Hatigarh

  • Once Bitten
    Jun 05, 2017

    This refers to your Comment (End Of A Dream, May 22). Whose dream has ended? Convinced by Arvind Kejriwal’s ­anti-corruption posture and his resolve to pursue a new politics, which was supposed to change the system radically, I had become his great admirer. I had even talked about this in a letter to Outlook.However, the way things went, or rather, the way he handled things as soon as he took charge for the first time for a 49-day-innings in December 2013, was the beg­inning of my disillusionment with him. The dharnas he staged during that time, his threat to disrupt the ­Republic Day parade and the threat to resign if the Lokpal Bill wasn’t passed in 2014, all pointed out that his approach tow­ards politics had become extremely narrow. His only strategy was to play ‘martyr’ to ­attract the sympathy of the public. My disillusionment with him was complete the day he dec­ided to field AAP in the Lok Sabha polls and pitted himself against Narendra Modi in Varanasi. Now, it appears most of the public shares my disillusionment.


    M.C. Joshi, Lucknow

  • Jun 05, 2017

    Your package on ‘75 Most Iconic Restaurants’ (May 15) is worth preserving. I have kept it for ­future reference, for it covers entire India. Good to see so many restaurants from my metro. I wish the special section came either as a supplement or with the facility of pulling that set of pages out from the edition.


    K.K., Mumbai


    Surprised, sad and shocked that not a single restaurant from Pune was mentioned in your list of restaurants. Perhaps you did not do a proper all-India survey. Our city has quite a few Maharashtrian restaurants that could have made it to your list such as Shreyas, Shabree, J1-Jevan, Vishnu ki Rasoi and Durvankur.


    Anant Savanur, Pune

  • Apt Representation
    Jun 05, 2017

    The picture on your May 1 cover exemplified the prejudices the average Indian has when it comes to skin colour (Ugly Fraud In Fairness Tube). The Aryan invasion that happened 35 centuries ago has left us with a complex that continues to linger in modern times as well. As sociologist Shiv Visvanathan correctly notes, the cosmetic industry in this country is bottled utopia.


    Rajiv Chopra, Jammu

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