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