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This refers to Speakout (Oct 15). Apart from such platforms, where are women allowed the space to speak their minds out? People are ok as long as the ladies can keep mum, but as soon as they open their mouth, everyone starts panicking.
Charu Shah, Surendranagar
The theme of women empowerment for the Outlook Speakout this year was quite inspiring. The contribution of highly accomplished and courageous women like Atishi, the AAP leader who has done exemplary work for the Delhi school education system is not as well known as it deserves to be. I wish all these women felicitated at Outlook’s event all the success in their endeavours. It is very important to tell society about such role models.
M.N. Bhartiya, Goa
Apropos of D.I.Y. Chandrachud (Oct 15), on matters of great bearing on the people, the nation also expects that the higher judiciary should respect the constitutional morality enshrined in the separation of powers and scrupulously desist from treading on the toes of the executive and the legislature. Except in rare cases, PILs should not be admitted in any such matter, and the court should advise the petitioner to approach the ministry concerned for redressal, or approach an MP/MLA/MLC to move a private member’s bill in Parliament or the state legislature. The torrent of PILs needs to be tamed into a trickle for optimum use of quality judicial time.
Nitin Majumdar, On E-Mail
Koka Subba Rao did not “retire” as Chief Justice of India as mentioned in your story. He resigned much before his retirement date, in order to contest the Presidential election.
P. Suryanarayana, On E-Mail
Speakout’s all good if accompanied by earnest attempts to ‘listen out’ by the menfolk.
Sneha Narayan, Bangalore
This refers to Predators! (Oct 15). As we all know, Bollywood works in various big camps—and until and unless the big shots stand up for this cause, nothing much will change at the grassroots level, and we will soon forget Tanushree Dutta’s allegations. Having said that, it would be foolish to jump the gun like this without hearing Nana Patekar and Vivek Agnihotri’s side of the story. And why did it take her eight years to make the accusation?
Bal Govind, Noida
Misogyny and patriarchy are deeply embedded in Indian society—and the film industry with its casting couches, and powerful directors and producers taking girls for granted, is even more misogynistic. In such a scenario, most women choose to remain silent; when someone like Tanushree Dutta dares to speak, all hell is loosed on her, asking why she remained silent for a decade. In the USA, the #MeToo movement has kept growing. Now it has been reported that since April 2017, more than 250 powerful people—celebrities, politicians, CEOs and others—have been facing sexual harassment, assault or other misconduct allegations. In India too, many gods have been found to have feet of clay, not just Nana, but many more in films, the media and the entertainment industry. This is definitely our #MeToo movement!
Rakesh Agarwal, Dehradun
The masculine gender seems to give its members so much overriding power that male actors are alleged to have sexually assaulted women directors, producers and writers. But, a misdemeanour is not the same as felony; similarly, lewd comments, obscene gestures or inappropriate touching are not the same as rape. They cannot be lumped together. One is not quite sure whether all #MeToo allegations can be taken at face value. We cannot say with any finality that no woman would make an allegation of sexual abuse to settle an old score. It is naive to imagine that sexual favours are never offered to curry favour with influential men. Still, the #MeToo movement deserves our full support as it is against sexual harassment and not against the joy of male-female companionship.
G. David Milton, Maruthancode
This refers to Predators! (October 15). Women of our country have started going hammer and tongs on men’s questionable behaviours. The onslaught has been rather sudden, catching the men off guard. Men have always taken for granted that flirting with women is their birthright. Looks like quite a few VIPs of all hues and colours have been taken by surprise that their casualness could cause them so much embarrassment and disgrace. It was high time men got out of their slumber and began acting gracefully.
T. Santhanam, On E-Mail
This refers to the diary by Sumita Paul, wife of the late Outlook editor-in-chief Vinod Mehta (Distaff Diary, Oct 15). After a very long time, I was happy and nostalgic reading some stuff written straight from the heart. As an old subscriber of your magazine, I, a 69-year-old, still miss Vinod Mehta’s forthright writing. He used to remind me of another great editor, Khushwant Singh. I hope Sumita Paul pens more such pieces, which appeal to people like me.
Sudhir Naik, Pune
Vinod Mehta has always been a quintessential prig. When every cricketing legend—Sachin, Dravid, Clive Lyod and Ricky Ponting—was rooting for the IPL, Vinod made a preposterous statement calling it an obscenity. He also didn’t care for the move to glam up the league by getting in cheerleaders. In TV talk shows, where participants routinely bark and howl at each other, I remember, many a time , the anchor had to “wake up” Vinod Mehta who would always be dreaming and dozing. I love the “Punjabi boy from Lucknow”.
Col (Retd.) C.V. Venugopalan, Palakkad
Last night I met Vinod Mehta in a dream. A drink in hand, he looked a bit sad. Surprised, I asked him why he looked so sad. He said: “I gave almost half my life to make Outlook group a great publishing house. The magazines we published found a special space in the crowded news, travel and financial space in India. But after I died, the subscription department is hell-bent to spoil the reputation. Now, an edition that hits the news stands on Friday is sent to its loyal subscribers on or after Tuesday. Sometimes it reaches them the next Friday. They don’t even care for complaints made through calls or mails. Nobody is bothered about this poor distribution network. They are taking the loyal subscribers for granted.” I was surprised that he knew every thing. I have been writing mails and calling the subscription department for months, but nothing helps. They always repeat the same line: “It won’t happen again. We’ve changed the courier agency.” A subscriber of Outlook magazines for more than 20 years, I didn’t know how to console Mr Mehta. And before I could say a word, he said: “See how long this lasts. I’m afraid everything I had put into it may end up going waste.” He left and I woke up in a haze, wondering whether it was indeed a dream?
Manoj Sachdeva, On E-Mail
So it’s business as usual with another edition of the magazine’s ranking on B-schools. Frankly, I don’t mind as a reader. The dosage of weekly news on my doorstep stops to give way to a light, flippable issue. It gives me more time to do other work in the house. Work is always piling up in the house; my fellow housekeepers will agree. I’m well past, in age and enthusiasm, for enrolling for an MBA in one of these prestigous business institutes, but I hope the rankings give some perspective to the young and aspiring bees for joining the right hive.
Ravi Ghosh, Delhi
I have a suggestion. Since Outlook cannot do without advertisements—like all magazines—the advertisement-heavy ‘ranking’ issues, like this B-school issue, should come separately with the weekly news issue, like you had for Chhattisgarh in one of your recent issues. That would make the readers not miss out on the weekly news cycle. That way, those not interested in B-school rankings can have their content in the dedicated supplement, while the news readers can go on with the insightful coverage of national news in the main magazine.
Refer to Bole To Blockbuster, part of your business school ranking package. It’s a good thing for the audiences that Bollywood is in good health with a string of content-rich movies finding success at the box office. It will encourage more producers to leave the age-old Hindi film formulas behind for more diversity. The only one, however, whom these new, progressive cinema trends shouldn’t concern for a long time is Sallu bhai, who thrives on the nostalgia of the formula film. That is fine too, an exception should always stand against the tide.
Vikas Chandra, On E-Mail
Apropos of Coaching a National Dream (Oct 8), the HRD ministry’s project of converting 2,967 test centres into free coaching centres, Kota style, may have good intentions behind it, but it’s bound to be a damp squib. The Kota-style coaching centres mushrooming all over the country—actually rote learning factories with 16 hours of cramming every day for about two years—are a great fraud retarding the natural intelligence of youngsters. Middle-class families with dreams of making their children doctors and engineers pay a total of about Rs 5 lakh for two years of coaching, not knowing the fact that only a fraction of the crowd succeed in getting admission at IITs and AIIMS. Full-page advertisements with photos of successful kids mislead parents, not realising that most cram-school pupils end up burnt out, unfit for innovative higher studies. It’s primary education that must be fortified to achieve the national dream.
This is about the story on the controversy over the Rafale deal (Pickling The Bandit, Oct 8). Whether it will develop into another Bofors can only be a conjecture now. But the ongoing war of words between the Congress and the BJP government over the deal, which can impact India’s security concerns, needs to be laid at rest. PM Modi must rise above politics and avoid the partisan path of defending his government just to deny the Congress’s charge of cronyism vis-à-vis Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence, which, it is true, has no prior experience in the field. A thorough probe also needs to be made into former French president Hollande’s remarks that the French had to accept India’s choice for Dassault’s offset partner. The Congress demand for a JPC to establish the full facts should be met by the government.
Lal Singh, Amritsar
No wonder, the Congress is surprised, even shocked, how the BJP can procure defence equipment without brokers and middlemen with bulging moneybags. With MIG jets fast becoming obsolescent, the IAF desperately needs next-generation flying machines to bolster its defence needs. The UPA government stalled the purchase of Rafale jets and left it at a dead end. Notwithstanding Hollande’s hints at favouritism, people believe Modi is honest, because there are no Quattrocchis to influence the deal. Rahul Gandhi’s hypocritical reference to the PM as a ‘thief’ and the defence minister as a ‘liar’ might win him some supporters, but will not help him win the perception battle.
Kangayam R. Narasimhan, Chennai
The Rafale deal again brings to the fore the Modi government’s propensity for taking off-the-cuff decisions, none of which have been proven to be sound. All these stem from Mr Modi’s over-confidence. So much power should never come in the hands of one man, isn’t that the cardinal rule of democracy?
Deepak Seth, On E-Mail
B-schools give good training from the outset—invest big in fees, get a job accordingly.
Raghav Srivastava, Delhi
Ruben Banerjee’s Switzerland Diary was warm, witty and perceptive (Sep 24). Though Switzerland is known for its breathtaking beauty, unpolluted environment, its famed banks and equally famous chocolates and watches, people are not aware of the salient features of its democracy. I think Outlook should do a cover feature on the distinctive features of the world’s leading democracies. This should give readers something to compare our democracy with, and learn from other systems. Instead, we trumpet our status as the ‘world’s largest democracy’, without realising the various shortcomings embedded therein and finding ideas for improvement. Also,in a supplement, give us some insight into how those delicious Swiss chocolates are made.
This refers to A Choppier Tale (Oct 8). The article details a large number of contradictions and improvements in the FIR lodged in the Jay Panda case. However, unless the FIR and the investigation are quashed—being motivated, as they are, by extraneous considerations to wreak political vengeance—the ordeal for Jay Panda and Abhijit Iyer-Mitra will not end soon. It is well known that in criminal matters, irrespective of the final outcome, it is the process which is the punishment.
Jana Kalyan Das, On E-Mail
The falling strength of IAF fighter planes is undoubtedly a matter of national concern. The whole Rafale controversy also shows the pathetic state of domestic manufacturing capacity. Though we can match international standards in space/nuclear matters, we are totally dependent on other countries for all sophisticated military hardware. It’s a glaring shortcoming. Even small arms have to be imported in some quantity, for our ordinance factories couldn’t supply them in adequate numbers. This is also the root of massive corruption in arms deals with foreign companies. Such scandals hit headlines every few years; the government should put in place a system that ensures full accountability in these matters.
Lt Col (retd) Ranjit Sinha, Pune
This refers to The Deluge That United (Oct 1). It quotes Kesari chief editor N.R. Madhu as saying, “political untouchability continues to prevail in the state. Politicos’ animosity towards other political parties is simple trade rivalry. They call each other thieves. The overawed commoner is flabbergasted. Many do not exercise their franchise, disgusted with changes bringing no change. As a rule, votes are cast not in appreciation of a party, but in fear of the bad party winning again; this is called the anti-incumbency factor. Genuine democracy emerges from a homogeneous electorate of liberal outlook. Cronyism, casteism and communalism have corroded the country. Let calamity recede and they will be back to brawls.
J.N. Bhartiya, Hyderabad
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