I speed-read through Ram Guha’s monumentally tedious excerpt (Who Milks this Cow?, Nov 19). So he has received hate mail over the years (yawn!) from overseas Hindus and seems to have archived and catalogued every last e-barb. Now, to establish how much more evolved than his generically labelled ‘Hindutva’ detractors he is, he painstakingly reproduces it so we can tell how superior and justified his loathing of them is. I searched the entire article and found not one hint of any substantive, constructive accounting of Guha’s own vision (if any) to resolve India’s ideological schisms and duelling perspectives. Considering he started out as an environmentalist, his book’s subject matter will constitute an unconscionable atrocity upon trees. There are those Indian intellectuals who’ll always define themselves as superior solely by virtue of not being NRI, and spend energy heaping indiscriminate contempt and vitriol upon them. Overseas Indians ought to let them be: they should step back from reacting to The Reactive, and instead interact with The Productive, that is, partner with and publicise the work of Indians, both NRI and in India, who make a real difference to the quality of life and access to learning of Indians across all social strata. Empty noisemakers should be received with sound-cancelling headphones, not handed a resonant echo chamber.
Chitra Raman, Grosse Pointe, US
Guha’s story is both confessional prose and his renouncement of the other side.
Priya Madhavan, Rochester
I found Guha’s article agreeable, and in some parts wonderful. Perhaps the lack of a good, liberal education at school and college level is responsible for such hate mail.
Sumirti Singaravel, Salem
Hatred is the staple diet of fundamentalists of all hues.
K.P. Rajan, Mumbai
It’s amusing to read the hate mail to Guha. In a way, they mirror the hate mail of Islamist or Christian fundamentalists on other sites.
Venkat, Raritan, US
Guha should stop stereotyping and patronising his readers. Till a few years ago, there was only one stream of accepted, imposed narrative—the Nehruvian consensus—which is now dead. So, of course, there is bound to be a raucous argument when the Right also makes itself heard. Live with it.
Isn’t it funny? The very article Guha trashes them in is being trolled by internet Hindus.
Khalid Jaleel, New Delhi
Come to think of it, all right-wing Hindutvawadis could just be trolls.
Aurko Sen, Los Angeles
Guha wonders who milks this cow. I wonder which hyenas he milks for survival. Can we soon expect his services to be rewarded with a Rajya Sabha nomination or a plum post in one of our top academic bodies?
Vijayakumar A.P., Coimbatore
Instead of wasting our time reproducing hate e-mail from disgruntled readers (he could have collected a lot more on the Outlook forum), Guha should have focused more on the cause of Hindutva than its effect. It’s easy to pick on conservative Hindu NRIs and automatically dub them internet Hindutvawadis. But could its rising popularity be a reaction of moderate Hindus to the Congress brand of secularism?
Dipto C., New York
Can’t agree more with Guha. A reasoned debate has become almost impossible with passionate Hindu, Muslim or Christian interlocutors.
Balu Krishnan, Cleveland, US
Hate mail is just a bloodless assassination of ‘ji huzoors’ like Ram Guha.
Damodar Nene, on e-mail
It’s people like Guha and Karnad who want to force-feed you extra secularism pills that only herd more and more people into the moderate to extreme rightist zone.
Srinivasan R.J., Zurich
Right or wrong, the article has provided wide publicity to the “Internet Hindus”, if the Twitter trending on it is any evidence. And, of course, gratis publicity to Outlook too.
Pramod Srivastava, Delhi
I don’t know who Guha’s targeted audience is but `700 for this bunkum? No way.
I am no Sharma, Shukla or those other ‘typical’ Hindutvawadis but I can say this piece is a complete travesty of facts.
Navien K. Batta, Muscat
In future, I hope Guha gets more mail questioning him rather than merely insulting him. Thankfully, in Hindu majority India, he is as free to express his views as others are to question them.
Kiran Voleti, Chennai
Guha wants freedom of expression for all and sundry except his adversaries.
Didn’t even bother reading this ‘I, me, myself’ account.
Who milks this cow? Guha, of course, and brazenly.
R.K. Singh, Gurgaon
It’s sad that while they decry the Taliban style of functioning, the Hindutvawadis aren’t averse to adopting its methods.
Amitabh Upadhyaya, Gorakhpur
It’s people like Guha and our ‘secular’ government which make me a fierce Hindu. I don’t understand why saying ‘I am a Hindu’ proudly makes me a right-winger and an extremist in my own country?
I am an ardent admirer of Guha’s writing on cricket and history. But everyone—Hindutvawadis included—has a right to defend their views.
Sampath Kumar, Chennai
Boring, boring, boring. My humble request to Outlook: please refrain from publishing any more of Guha. Even Arundhati Roy is preferable.
Gaurab Banerjee, Calcutta
The anxiety and paranoia of the “intensely chauvinistic tribe of Internet Hindus” reflects the success of the rss’s propaganda campaign of the past three or four decades.
Anwaar, Dallas, US
Is it only pro-Hindutva types who indulge in such silly, vulgar writing? Is there no malice in ‘Internet Muslims’, ‘Internet Dalits’, ‘Internet Secularists’, ‘Internet Christians’, ‘Internet Feminists’ or ‘Internet Sexists’?
Viswanath V., Kurnool, AP
Living in the West, I am well acquainted with Internet Hindus. These are folks who have done all manner of things to somehow get to the West, make donations to Hindutva organisations and claim tax benefits. Scratch below the surface and their fanatic attitudes show up! Most of them are good at working with computers—that’s all. They have absorbed no cultural or historical education and hence lack its moderating influence.
H.M. Siddhanti, Richmond
Internet Hindus are mostly well-educated NRIs burdened by sectarian cultural beliefs, looking to their roots, dreading the dissolution of traditional systems they took for granted before moving out in search of better opportunities.
R.V. Subramanian, Gurgaon
Guha has curried sympathy for his left-secular views with this article, even as more and more Indians are seeing the strength of their Hindu heritage. He’d put his energy to better use in understanding his faith.
Arun Kumar, London
The reason most of Guha’s quoted correspondence comes from ‘Dvija’ castes is because these sections are the most educated in India. And many people from these castes also have liberal views.
Kiran, Grenoble, France
It was the so-called upper-caste, NRI and male Hindus who were at the forefront of the freedom struggle. Why shouldn’t they or their descendants shout when they find that the gains of their blood are being eroded? It’s apologists like Guha living in ivory towers of self-conviction and pseudo-secularism who write against the grief of the majority community because it finds ready publishers and free laurels.
Krishna Prabhakar, on e-mail
I don’t know why Guha makes such a big fuss about ‘Internet Hindus’, who are usually frustrated NRIs who yearn to be in India but cannot.
Sivakumar, on e-mail
The variety of hate mail responses Guha gets is striking, but how are they all uniformly bad at spelling and grammar?
Anirudh Tagat, Mumbai
If the ‘Internet Hindu’ crew is vocal, it is primarily because of the extremely slanted and non-dispassionate views and analyses the media puts out (Shiva’s Tridents). I’m not necessarily aligned with the BJP, but it bothers me when I see the media going after them with a smile and not the others. When you keep picking one-sided stories, be ready to face discomforting comments.
After 60 years of b.s. from liberal, paid media and media mercenaries who character- assassinate anyone with a point of view different from theirs, we’re at last making it accountable for its words. Thanks, social media.
Dev Chatnani, San Jose, US
I’ve been labelled an Internet Hindu even though I’d be only too glad to see Hinduism go down along with all other religions. It’s easy to pick stupid, ignorant comments and use them to tar a whole category of commenters with the same brush. One-sided propaganda from the ‘secular’ press only does more to add to Internet Hindu numbers.
This is called cherry-picking. Taking a few comments from the far right and then painting everyone who questions the ‘queen’ and her subjects in the same colour. So these are Outlook’s credentials.
Pramod, Phoenix, US
The entire media community is now fearful of being exposed by Internet Hindus. Such articles only convince us of our righteousness. We’ll keep at it.
Himanshu Singh, Jaipur
After an unopposed stint lasting almost half a century, the left-liberal axis is today facing the heat on the internet. Is it time for self-reflection?
Mahesh Babbar, Delhi
Why don’t you write in the true tradition of liberal secularism and badger all religions equally?
This article is proof that the mainstream media is afraid of people relaying the truth about their dubious dealings and entrenched partisanship.
Internet Hindus are not the abusive, trash-talking trolls the media make them out to be. The vast majority of comments are expressed decently, only a small percentage of commentators are abusive.
Prasanth Nambiar, Melbourne
It’s an insult to Shiva’s trident that it should be used to headline a piece on divisive hate.
D.L. Narayan, Visakhapatnam
Bereft of any rationale to explain the inherent contradictions of their religion, Internet Hindutva warriors take refuge in any philosophy that suits them—all in the name of a cocktail Sanatan Dharma.
Shyamal Barua, Calcutta
This refers to Amitabha Bagchi’s column on the Girish Karnad-V.S. Naipaul controversy (The Never Forgetters, Nov 19). Karnad’s outburst is disturbing. Earlier, he had lambasted S.L. Bhyrappa for his Kannada novel Avarana, for its fundamentalist agenda. Bhyrappa had accused Tipu Sultan of being a religious fanatic who could not stand Hindus. Bhyrappa had also substantiated his argument based on facts, and pointed to several written historic references. It was expected of Karnad, who had glorified Tipu in his plays. Bhyrappa accused Karnad of being unfaithful to history. The novel created a record of sorts, and saw 10 reprints within five months.
K.S. Padmanabha, Secunderabad
There is no doubt that Karnad crossed all limits when he harangued the organisers of the Mumbai meet on Naipaul. That ill-advised action blackened his public record. If he didn’t agree with aspects of Naipaul’s worldview (in the public domain for decades now), then the right thing would have been to write and publish his views about it, and let readers decide themselves.
Manish Anand, on e-mail
Many critics have lauded Naipaul’s prose, its tensile strength, its perspicacity, and how uncannily accurate his predictions have turned out to be. Hosannas have also been sung for his three India books. Karnad is right to challenge that, but again, he is not the first one to point out that the emperor has no clothes!
J. Akshobhya, Mysore
Naipaul has a perfunctory view of Indian history. If we are into the politics of civilisational antiquity, then one needs to go back a millennium and find that so-called Hindus were also invaders at one point, that Sanskrit was also originally a foreign tongue, unlike Tamil! Dalits, Buddhists and Jains may not agree with the Hindu fundamentalists’ self-serving story that they are original inhabitants of the country, that Muslims have defiled their civilisation. The land at the time of the Muslim invasion was riven by casteism and superstition, while a large mass of humanity was permanently enslaved by the upper castes.
By saying that party insiders are behind the allegations against Nitin Gadkari, the RSS is just trying to divert attention (Saffron Succotash!, Nov 19). Gadkari, like Robert Vadra, is no ordinary citizen. He is the president of a national party which time and again proclaims it’s against corruption of all kind. Also, anyone with even a little legal knowledge of company affairs would immediately sense the unusual procedure behind the investments made by unknown businessmen in Gadkari’s company, Purti Sugar and Power Ltd. Why then did the Sangh parivar have to rope in a financial brain to come to Gadkari’s rescue and clarify (or certify) that he had done nothing wrong? Why should we accept a certificate of fair dealings by S. Gurumurthy? It’s more than clear that the BJP and the RSS are trying their best to control the damage done by Arvind Kejriwal’s expose. At least they are trying to delay his resignation till the Gujarat polls are over. As they say, you can wake up someone who’s fast asleep, but not someone who is only pretending to sleep.
Narendra M. Apte, Pune
Not just Nitin Gadkari, Mohan Bhagwat too should resign. He is ruining the BJP’s chances of coming back to power. He should be replaced by someone who is selfless, devoid of a bloated ego and is foresighted like a Hedgewar or Deoras. This is not the RSS we know. It’s helping the Congress and Arvind Kejriwal.
Anirudh Prabhu, Mumbai
Apropos the interview with Perry Anderson (‘Respect Gandhi if you will...’, Nov 12), it would be unfair to judge Anderson on the strength of this one conversation, but he has failed to understand Gandhi’s personality and ideas in their evolutionary nature. There are foreign scholars like Gene Sharp and Geoffrey Ashe who disagree with him and don’t hold Gandhi responsible for all of the Congress’s mistakes. Perry’s opinion on Nehru too is very biased.
Apropos the article Green Colour Paper (Nov 19) on a daily for Muslims. Agreed, the idea seems to be a newspaper which addresses Muslim concerns, celebrates Muslim civilisation, prints feelgood stories related to the community, highlights injustices meted out to them by the government or administrative machinery, takes out the black sheep within the community—in general imparts a sense of confidence and belonging to the youth of the community. In which case, look no further than The Hindu. You get all this in that esteemed newspaper.
The story on the US elections, and its effect on India, made for uninteresting reading (The World Is Horizontal, Nov 19). The point is, four more years of Obama will not affect India in any way, for it is a growing economy, and is still a magnet for many US companies waiting to plunge into the huge, untapped Indian market after various reforms.
Xavier Albuquerque, Mumbai
Though the effect on India will not be huge, and though the term ‘leader of the free world’ for the US president has also become defunct, as the leader of the only superpower and its largest military, the American president still plays a pivotal role in shaping the global order. Therefore, the world watches.
J. Akshay, Bangalore
Obama presides over a superpower in decline, and will be more concerned with fixing economic problems back home rather than playing global supercop. For India, the fact that the US geopolitical focus is on Af-Pak is much preferable than it being on Indo-Pak relations. Of course, some of Obama’s poll rhetoric had Indians squirming—he talked about US jobs being outsourced to India. It is certainly true to an extent. We offer services, produce little and work for low wages. It’s tempting to outsource to us! India has to make the argument that as a result of our competitive wages the products we help create cost less. More people can buy them. Overall, businesses gain.
Meghana A., Newcastle-Upon-Tyne
Uttam Sengupta’s column (Yo, Your Ballot’s Showin’, Nov 19) on the disparities in the US election was revealing. But democracy can’t be an end in itself, as the example of India amply shows. Despite democracy, we have a political dynasty that has had much power over the decades. Again, the ‘first past the post’ system means those elected are not really representative of the electorate. The huge sums spent by the candidates compels them to make a profit when elected, and above all our democratic system gives legitimacy to criminals.
Bahu Virupaksha, Pondicherry
It is much simpler to switch to elections where candidates are chosen by the popular vote. The US should try and use it at a future date.
Ashok Lal, Mumbai
The column is a lot of hyperbole masking one overriding reality—now even the US is voting on ‘caste’ (read ethnic) lines. Obama is now just another OBC/Dalit leader, an American Laloo or Mayawati.
Shubhang Shankar, Delhi
This relates to Saba Naqvi’s column on Obama (The Archon Speaks). Obama is an outstanding speaker, very telegenic and all the rest, but does it really matter? Did Obama’s speech really touch us or inspire us, beyond giving us the impression that he was articulate, in charge of a taxing job, and an excellent family man. A bit of grandstanding when the occasion presents itself is understandable, but why should Indian politicians even contemplate delivering speeches like Brando’s or Burton’s Mark Anthony?
Apropos the boxed article Jindalgarh: Jindal All The Way and second-lead story Where the Ore Sinks the Earth (Sep 24), we strongly condemn the biased tone demeaning the efforts of our founder-chairman and the misreporting of facts and figures on various issues related to JSPL’s operations in Raigarh/Tamnar. The lines “industrialist Om Prakash Jindal lives on in Raigarh, the heart of Chhattisgarh’s coal belt—not as Om Prakash, but ‘Omni Present’ Jindal” in the first piece are not only misleading but indeed despicable. He was a true business leader who believed in generating social wealth. His vision transformed Raigarh from a small, nondescript centre in Chhattisgarh into a bustling industrial town. JSPL needs no effort by design to change Raigarh’s name to Jindalgarh, it is embedded in the hearts of every dweller in the city by default. There is certainly no need for JSPL to flaunt its visibility. As for the impression conveyed by your second lead that JSPL took land from the villagers arbitrarily and illegally is totally baseless, besides being too naive. We are a responsible business house and do not need to indulge in or encourage any nefarious activities like faking mandatory clearances from local bodies. Also, the said public hearing was conducted as per norms. As for the allegations about the attack on Ramesh Agarwal, we do not indulge in such activities.
Ravi Muthreja, Senior VP, Corp. Communications, JSPL
Our correspondent replies: Muthreja points out no factual inaccuracies. Also, assuming gratuitously that Raigarh is by “default embedded” as Jindalgarh in the hearts of every dweller in the city proves the essential point of our article that JSPL has gone on an overdrive to stamp its founder’s name across the city. If there is no need to flaunt its visibility, why is it that hoardings featuring JSPL’s CSR claims feature disproportionately large logos and its projects are named after O.P. Jindal? Regarding the objections to the second piece, the company may claim that the contested public hearing was held as per norms but it may help if they re-read the National Green Tribunal’s order quashing JSPL’s clearance. Among the many violations, it says the draft EIA was neither made available in the local language nor at a notified place. It added that the entire JSPL “public hearing was a farce and makes a mockery of the public hearing process”. If all rules are adhered to, how is it that a member of the local panchayat can claim ignorance of the clearances given to JSPL? Nor are the complaints from locals fabricated. As for the attack on RTI activist Ramesh Agarwal, for which Muthreja says the company is not responsible, why have two senior security officers working for JSPL surrendered to the police on October 19 in connection with this case?
I read Talmiz Ahmad’s Berlin Diary (Nov 19) with interest. I was in Berlin recently. Sure, the Jews have their memorials, and they erected one, albeit reluctantly, for the Gypsies too. But what of the 20 million Soviets who died in what Hitler called the ‘war of extermination’ of subhuman Slavs, mainly after the invasion of ussr? They only get to know about the Shoah. In fact, when in east Berlin, one mainly learns about how terrible life behind the iron curtain was. One doesn’t know that for all its shortcomings, the gdr granted women full rights, which West Germany did not. One also doesn’t know that West Germany was a supporter of apartheid South Africa, whereas East Germany was behind the African National Congress. So much for the German state’s self-narrative.