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
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
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
AAP could have activated its self-destruct mode sooner and saved everyone else the effort.
Vijay Kumar, New Delhi.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
This is about Alka Acharya’s column on India-China economic ties (Economy Over Prickly Politics, May 15). Even though India and China are trading partners, over a period India’s exports to China have declined, while China’s to India are increasing. In order to maintain a comfortable balance, it is necessary to examine the reasons and find out the weaker areas. Information technology is one of India’s strongest exports, but China has scored even bigger with its IT hardware/electronics industry. Even top firms like Apple obtain their supply of chips from China. China also imports raw material from India and exports finished goods globally. India needs to strategise with regard to China keeping all this in mind.
Ranjit Sinha, Delhi
The article about the judicial adventures related to Justice Karnan is ambiguous as to what is absurd and who is absurd (Court of the Absurd, May 22). Justice Karnan is the making of judiciary. After exhausting all judicial gimmicks to uphold his judicial powers, he has reached the court of the President. Undoubtedly he has established his credentials worthy to become an MP! Shortcut attempts to get him declared as a lunatic instead of initiating impeachment process proved futile. Handle of the ‘contempt of court’ was the last resort of the majority in judiciary against him.
M. N. Bhartiya, Goa
The SC slapping a six-month imprisonment sentence on Justice C.S. Karnan for contempt charges leaves one wondering whether even the country’s apex judicial echelon has the authority to send a high court judge to jail. The seven-member bench even gagged the press from reporting more about Karnan. If the top court felt that he had overstepped the line, couldn’t it have recommended Parliament to impeach him? Even now it looks like a fit case for the President to intervene and ask the SC to review its decision.
David Milton, Maruthancode (TN)
The CPI(M) and the Congress are repeating a failed experiment—now on a smaller scale (Mirror, Mirror, Who’s Worse?, May 22). They came closer to it ahead of last year’s assembly elections in West Bengal; it would anyway have proved no match for Mamata Banjerjee’s political manoeuvre. Very recently, elections to that state’s three municipalities saw the Congress saying it is in a ‘seat-sharing agreement’ with the CPI(M), which insisted that its ‘arrangement’ with the Congress is ‘not something as formal as an alliance’. When the Trinamool Congress is still a formidable force in Bengal where the BJP is gaining ground, it will be good for the Congress and the Left to work together. Only that there needs to be a chemistry between them.
C. Koshy John, Pune
The cold blooded murder of a young unarmed army officer from Kashmir, Lt Ummar Fayaz, who was abducted from a private function he had gone to attend in South Kashmir by insurgents of the Valley, purportedly sponsored by Pakistan, is an unfortunate reflection of the fact that the ISI and Pakistani army are hell bent upon intimidating Kashmiris into not joining any of India’s security forces (From Pebbles To Bullets, May 22). The murder evoked widespread anger and condemnation from a cross section of people in J&K and across the country. It is high time that the youth of Kashmir understood the politics at play here.
K.R. Srinivasan, Secunderabad
This refers to the article by Dilip Simeon in the May 15 issue of your magazine (Remember Your Humanity, Rebel). Dilip rightly says that if Naxalism has survived for decades, it should serve to remind the Indian establishment—across the political spectrum—that the humiliation experienced by marginalised people can and will destabilise the system for an indefinite period. However, our worthy friends who have sympathy for the toiling people need to understand what Mao has rightly pointed out: “A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery; it cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentle, so temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another.” Mistakes are made, they have to be corrected and people have to move forward. And while remembering humanity you should also not forget Brecht who pointed out—when you think of us, think with forbearance.
Ravinder Goel, New Delhi
OUTLOOK TOPICS :
or just type initial letters