Apropos Rape Happens (Jan 14), the gangrape of the 23-year-old medic in Delhi was no doubt a ghastly act, a reflection of the degradation that has crept into our society. Violence against women is a psychosocial problem, but the cultural sanction of rape in India has made it worse. The state, in order to humiliate the collective consciousness of dissenting peoples or to teach a lesson to a population seeking self-determination, has allowed its security forces, who enjoy immunity, to use rape as a ‘tool’ against them in Kashmir, Punjab, Assam, Nagaland as also against Dalits and tribals. Why, frenzied mobs dishonoured hundreds of Sikh women during the 1984 genocide, while Muslim women were raped in Gujarat in 2002 and nuns sexually assaulted in Orissa in 2008. And we won’t see an end to this atrocity till we do the following:
Ranbir Singh, Hoshiarpur, Punjab
In the last couple of weeks, one has read, heard and seen all gory details of heinous crimes against women across the country. This has left many women like me mentally stripped of honour and dignity.
Amrita Muttoo, Mumbai
The Hindware Italian Collection ad on page 16 shows a model exposing cleavage and thigh. She, as I understand it, is enticing people to buy the shapely commode by association. When women don’t respect their own bodies, why do they expect men to do the same? Why do we have to have a woman for a bathroom accessory ad? The same magazine has ads for Hero Cycles, Sparx shoes, Exide batteries, HCG et al which exhibit fully clothed male models depicting power, strength and ruggedness. Can’t a beautifully clad woman be beautiful or shapely?
Meera Neelakantan, on e-mail
Based on the second law of thermodynamics, which is universal, one can derive that the universal tendency of all systems is towards decay/disintegration, or a move from order to disorder. This is perhaps what’s happening in India, a part of which is the humiliation, indignity and violence being meted out to women. This can only be stopped or reversed with the creation of a positive emotional-social atmosphere towards which all resources and institutions should be mobilised.
Brig K.S. Iyer (retd), Mumbai
Legalise prostitution and then watch rape incidents go down.
Shubhang Shankar, New Delhi
All those refuting Meena Kandasamy are actually proving her point (How Do We Break the Indian Penile Code?) Indians live in denial and find it tough to accept reality. Soumya Saxena,
I mostly agree with what MK says, except when she calls courts misogynist for being careful about admissible evidence. If dowry laws can be misused, so can rape laws.
Abhishek Prakash, Jaipur
Outlook’s New Year mega issue, (India’s Biggest Bores, Jan 14) was a big disappointment for me. I hope your marketing team does some serious reader profile!
Anand Misra, on e-mail
Shobha De’s essay (Yaawwn) was terrible. It’s regrettable that you chose her to write on a few personalities who won’t give her the time of day. Call her ‘De Mega Bore’.
Suresh Tinaikar, Mumbai
Manmohan Singh deserves the top award, as his silence is as boring as his speaking.
Pramod Srivastava, Delhi
That Rahul Gandhi should be in the list comes as no surprise. All one sees in him is a perennial adolescent, who has none of the erudition and intellect of his great-grandfather, the charisma and people connect of his grandmother, the innate decency and vision of his father, or even the brazen chutzpah of his uncle.
Nirmal, on e-mail
Gucci Gucci Shobhaben, you may be a woman with a history, but Narendrabhai is a man with a great future ahead.
Ravi Patel, Baroda
Someone needs to tell Suhel Seth that he’s too old to compete for the Spelling Bee (The Abject Expert). His arguments are full of fancy words, but devoid of common sense.
V. Gangadhar’s list of boring cricket commentators brought on really boring memories (Glorious Certainties). I’d also have A.F.S. Talyarkhan, a real eccentric and first-rate bore, up there. He disliked sports administrators, calling them ‘brass-hats’. Again, he disliked stadiums—being all for the maidans, where he’d cuddle up in tents with lemonade, enjoying the scent of the turf. And if he fancied a catch, shot or wicket, he’d go on, with superlative encomiums eating up two or three overs.
Vinod Mehta, in his introduction to the reissue of his biography on Sanjay Gandhi (A Low-Flying Gandhi, Dec 24) is off the mark when he says Indira Gandhi took a courageous decision to revoke the Emergency. Actually, Indira had no choice—the decision to revoke the Emergency was taken at the last cabinet meeting after she was routed in the polls. That was the last decision before she submitted her resignation. Earlier, she had merely suspended Emergency operations.
N.M. Dhanaraj, Pondicherry
Instead of holding elections when she did, if Indira Gandhi had frittered away a few months more, the Morarji Khichdi of the Left and Right wouldn’t have tasted power.
Ravi Chandran, Secunderabad
Narendra Modi’s win is a slap in Outlook’s face for trying to portray that the people of Gujarat don’t want him (The Masque of Augurs, Dec 31).
Nitin Yadwad, on e-mail
I suggest that the BJP make Modi the party president, replacing Gadkari. Then, it should announce any other leader’s name—it could be L.K. Advani—as the prime ministerial candidate. Modi will bring organisational vitality to the party and may well enjoy the role of master puppeteer.
Suresh Sonpar, on e-mail
Nobody’s as obsessed with Modi as you are. You’ve written a Modi purana seven times the Mahabharata’s length.
Rakhal, Philadelphia, US
When it comes to the Congress, Outlook sounds increasingly like the North Korean state media on the Kims.
Mehul Kamdar, Appleton, US
Why the hype and hullabaloo over Modi’s alleged prime ministerial ambitions? After all, every Ranji player dreams of being on the Indian team one day. Some even dream of becoming its captain.
Rajneesh Batra, Delhi
Apropos Panini Anand’s interview with Govindacharya (‘BJP leaders are behaving like ostriches’), the right-wing ideologue is correct in warning against the overcentralisation of the Gujarat BJP unit under Narendra Modi.
Swooning gopikas? Outlook, you overdo yourself in your articles on Modi (The Benediction of Bens).
Harish Khare’s piece on Modi (See it only in 3D...), was a hilarious read, highlighting his own deception, disrespect and dabanggiri.
Pratik, Missouri, US
I hope all this loyalty to the Congress pays and Khare gets to go back to the PMO.
Arun Nair, Mumbai
So riot victim Qutubuddin Ansari is back in Gujarat (Hope-Nots). Whatever happened to the Bengal dream?
Apropos Nirmala Sitharaman’s Dimensional Appeal, the election was fought on caste and community basis, all talk of development/governance is hogwash. A perfect example is Sanand, where Modi even brought in the Tata Nano plant. They rejected all that, elected a Congress candidate, by over 4,000 votes.
Apropos Is the Heir Really Apparent?, Rahul Gandhi is an heir by default just as Manmohan is our PM by default.
K. Sundaram, Bangalore
Perhaps the Congress should consider an ‘heir’ transplant.
The moment Congress ousts Saint Sonia, Rahul baba, Priyanka Vadra and business broker Robert Vadra, it will find its Lal Bahadur Shastri or Narasimha Rao, and its rightful place in the polity.
Over the years, the Congress has promoted family-based politics, which example is followed by the entire spectrum of the ‘Congress parivar’, from the dmk to the SP.
Bahu Virupaksha, Pondicherry
I am sure the Congress had Rahul campaign only in those constituencies in Gujarat in which it was sure of a win, so it could brag about it later.
Pankaj Jethi, Jagadhri
Madhu Kishwar’s piece The Kettle Hits Back is a succour for people like me who aren’t really happy with Narendra Modi’s perceived anti-Muslim shades but still believe he must be given a chance to counter the feudal, crony order of the G clan.
Kumar Rakesh, Chandigarh
Madhu Kishwar, you’re a fearless, honest writer who tells it like it really is.
Krishan Chhibbar, Lorton, US
Can’t agree more with this tweet Kishwar put up once: ‘Congress darjanon riots hazam kar gayi, Modi ek bhi nahin kar paya. Secularism ka mukhauta laga lo, to sab maaf (The Congress could digest a dozen riots; Modi, not even one. Wear the mask of secularism, and all’s forgiven).”
Gurkirat Singh, Delhi
Were Outlook editors on holiday or what?
Jainarayan K., Chennai
Madhu Kishwar is either incredibly stupid or wilfully blind to the fact that once communal parties come to power and stay there, there will be no need for communal violence as the minorities will be terrorised and marginalised. Look only at Pakistan, there is no Hindu-Muslim violence as could conceivably have been the case. While healthy debate should be encouraged, Kishwar does not belong to a forum like Outlook unless she writes as a Modi representative and not as a columnist.
H.M. Siddhanti, Richmond, US
Gen Ashok Mehta’s column on the 4/5 Gorkha Rifles (Blood And Guts, Dec 31) is a fitting occasion to remember what Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw said once: “If a man says he is not afraid to die, he is either lying or he must be a Gorkha.”