Letters | Aug 01, 2016
  • Flying high with the ISIS
    Aug 01, 2016

    Outlook’s extensive cover story (Upon Us The Shadow Of A Dark Hood, Jul 18) on the dangers of the so-called ISIS, its dangers for India and how to arrest its intended march upon India, was a good read. The disturbing fact is that constant terror attacks on different parts of the world have taken a heavy toll on those countries. And pointing fingers won’t do. Only through international cooperation and collective action can we defeat the menace of terrorism.

    P.S. Saravana Durai, Mumbai

    Previously, Outlook used to carry articles denying Muslim terrorism by attributing such accusations to RSS/Hindutva. Seems like they’ve shifted their position to admit such a possibility, but have blamed it on discrimination/dispossession. Under the guise of those two secular negatives, they want to exonerate the lowest common denominator, Islam. But, typical to Outlook, it doesn’t ack­nowledge that non-Muslims, living under the same conditions, do not act like the Muslim terrorists do.

    Akshay, Hyderabad

    It’s stupid to blame Hindutva for the rising ISIS threat. It’s like saying the Palestinian uprising is because of Israeli right-wingers and their popularity. The truth is more complex and not so straightforward.

    P.B. Joshipura, Suffolk, US

    Social activist Mahtab Alam’s comment was interesting, but I disagree with it. Whenever something becomes a group specific trait, it’s because of that group’s repeating the trait. Muslim violence is just spiralling out of control—in Indonesia they’re slaughtering minority groups, in Sweden they have vandalised cultural landmarks, besides attacking Europe. They even have no qualms killing minority Muslim group

    Robin, Huddinge, Sweden

    I totally disagree with S.A.R. Geelani. People like Geelani, Owaisi, Zakir Naik and the Grand Mufti are largely responsible for the radicalisation of Muslim youths. Hindus, Christians and Muslims live as brothers in a democratic India. And I don’t think the Muslim lot is better in Islamic countries.

    M.K. Rajagopalan, Ottapalam

    The best way to counter an ISIS threat is to make every Indian feel that they are not second-class citizens in their own country. However, Modi-bhakts are busy doing just the opposite.

    Deepak Seth, Faridabad

    Whatever the reasons for Muslim youths shifting towards organisations like ISIS, at the end of it all, everyone’s clocks turn back to politics, equality ­­and that which is called ‘true Islam’.

    Drupad Mehta, Vadodara

    Most articles and interviews in Outlook stressed the penetration of the internet and the spread of social media as prime reasons for the growth of sympathy for terrorism among Muslim youths. But no focus was given to seek the opinion of leaders of mainstream political parties like the Indian Union Muslim League and social bodies working among Muslims in Kerala. They habitually bring up the issue of the community’s low development indices. Their teachings play a central role to inculcate a feeling of Muslim identity.

    T.P. Sreedharan, Tellicherry

    The spectre of ISIS haunts India, but Islam-baiting is not the answer, as pointed out by several columnists. Alarming, hysterical outbursts by majoritarian groups, for whom it’s usual to taunt and provoke Muslims, are condoned unconscionably by the ruling party. Assailed like this, Muslim youth fall prey to the dangerous doctrine of the ISIS.

    M. Jameel Ahmed, Mysore

    I agree with what former CEC S.Y. Quraishi says about the ‘us’ and ‘them’ psychology. However, indoctrination and the cultural environment of a family and community also plays a significant role, and has to be tackled urgently.

    Atul Chandra, Mumbai

    The discussion in Outlook sadly misses one vital point—namely the role of Indian parents whose children have joined ISIS. It is expected of parents to report to the police when their children are missing. But none of the parents whose sons have left India to join the ISIS has ever complained of their activities. They have only maintained silence.

    Srinivas Duggaraju, Vijaywada

    The Dhaka terror attack brings home the fact that militants in Bangladesh are well-organised to stage large-scale atrocities. This is a shock to Bangladesh. The damage the attack inflicted is beyond anything it has experienced for a generation.

    J. Akshay, Bangalore

    The challenge before us is to shed phobias—mutual phobias. The major role in the creation of phobias has been played by vote and ideology politics. Politicians have left no stone unturned to keep the pot boiling. They are the biggest enemies of India.

    Ashok Sapru, Lagos

    The war on terror in our names is a profiteering agenda that scares victims, unites jingoists, and enriches weapons-manufacturing lobbyists. The seeds of terror have been planted by those very folks who are implementing the ‘war on terror’. This was a way to vic­iously perpetuate the cycle while they continue to profit from the military-industrial complex.

    Ahmad Pasha, Long Island

    Why ignore the religious aspect of terrorists? Why isn’t the world cowering from Hindu/Christian terror? Unless there is a shift in the education offered at mad­rassas, the situation will not improve.

    Milind Nijsure, Mandangad

    The ISIS threat must have seemed like a godsend to Modi, as all sorts of rumours can now be harnessed to frame innocent Muslims. Of course, Hindu IB officers and army officers conspiring to set off bombs and picking hapless victims are beyond suspicion.

    Nasar Ahmed, Karikkudi

    One should ponder—why is it that only Islam does not allow or encourage any critical thinking? Aren’t there fundamental flaws in the Quran itself? Many Muslims are either scared to talk about this or outright deny that something is wrong.

    Anup Menon, On e-mail

    ISIS has left Taliban and Al-Qaeda far behind in brutality. The act of beheading captives on camera and streaming them may even shame the Devil. It’s high time that those hiding behind the argument that terror has no religion, and that ISIS doesn’t stand for Islam, acknowledge that ISIS indeed is a brand of Islam, and it is gathering more and more followers.

    M.C. Joshi, Lucknow

    Taslima Nasreen is the first Muslim I have seen who has publicly and unequivocally ack­nowledged that the Quran advocates the killing of non-Muslims or any that reject Islam and its prophet. Any good in the Quran can only be acknowledged when the vicious and hateful violence it preaches is also accounted for.

    Babloo Baba, Kashmir

    In End Secular Sham, Go Sufi, it was good to see RSS pracharak Tarun Vijay expressing his positive expectations from progressive Muslims. It cannot, however, be denied that a small section of the Indian Muslim youth are vulnerable to the sed­uctive nature of jeh­adi ideology. The sed­uction is sometimes irresistible when the vulnerability is psychological, economic, driven by perceptions of injustice or resulting from anomie. Also, literalist reading of scriptures is dangerous. Even the Quran asks us to take the best meaning from it. And we should always remember that unflinching faith without doubt is unhealthy.

    Anwaar, Dallas

  • One-Liner
    Aug 01, 2016

    With few 'overs' left in Modiji's five-year-match, 20-20 experts have replaced Test batsmen.

    Rajneesh Batra, New Delhi

  • Aug 01, 2016

    Apropos Jack of Clubs and the Cardsharps (July 11). When I joined S.R.C.C. Delhi University more than 40 years ago, I came in contact with Arun Jaitley. Belonging to a middle class Lahore family of lawyers, Arun’s commitment to the nationalist ideology has never been in doubt. One of the first to be arrested on June 26, 1975, for leading a protest against the imposition of Emergency as president of the university, he spent 19 months in Tihar Jail. Because of his integrity, commitment and intelligence, Arun Jaitley is an asset to the Modi government.

    Rajiv Chopra, Jammu

    With reference to your July 11 edition titled The Artful Survivor, I express my words for your article The Crooked Nib. The system for selecting a Rajya Sabha candidate is so unique that sometime I wonder how our country will get rid of corruption. As is in the case of Lok Sabha members, RS members should also be selected by voters (NGOs, bur­eaucrats etc.) but not by MLAs because they can easily be purchased.

    Honey Mehta, Amritsar

    This refers to the interview on Essar Tapes in the issue dated July 11. I would rate Mr Yashwant Sinha a better foreign minister or finance minister than the present one. Sadly, he is one among the others in the 75-plus age group who have been bracketed or blocked by his party.

    A. Lino Samuel, Nagercoil

  • Aug 01, 2016

    The crux of historian Romila Thapar’s argument in The Colonial Roots of Hindutva ‘Nationalism’ (July 11) is that India as a nation is an imperial gift. There are shlokas in the Vishnu Purana and other ancient texts that mention the word ‘Bharat’ and ‘Bharati’ in reference to this geographical region. Religion varies a lot but it is the shared history of our ancestors that brings us together. While there are Islamists, missionaries and communists trying to curb it, there are also people who are working together to maintain harmony based on this notion. You want to create fear among the marginalised so that you can take advantage of their dissent and achieve your agenda of dividing this great land of my ancestors.

    Krishna, Delhi

  • Literary stir
    Aug 01, 2016

    Apropos In praise of Madras HC (July 18). In a fine piece of writing, the Madras High Court passed a judgment which stated, “The choice to read is always with the reader. If you do not like the book, throw it away…the right to write remains unhindered.” Whilst leg­ally, we should have the right to say whatever we want, we as individuals, must consider whether such literary ‘contributions’ are beneficial to the society at large, and therefore decide whether or not to express them. Writers have the moral responsibility to decide whether the possibly hateful or offensive things they have to say will cause harm. Yes, freedom of expression is sacred, but not absolute. 

    Col C.V. Venugopal (retd.), Palakkad

    The liberals in and outside the media are celebrating the Madras HC judgment in the case of Perumal Murugan and his book Madhorubagan. The book had invited massive protests in western Tamil Nadu by the Kongu Vellalar community, which felt hurt by its contents. The court verdict is wrong on facts. Since the writer himself claims in the book’s preface that the practice under question was going on in Tiruchengode, his withdrawing this comment later doesn’t make it fiction. The HC has not given a proper rationale for why it accepted the argument that the writer now thinks it was not based on res­earch. A balanced and evenhanded constitutional approach to ban or permit objectionable expression is needed. Right or wrong, the book got wide publicity.

    K.S. Jayatheertha, On E-Mail

  • Aug 01, 2016

    This is with reference to A PG Diploma in Social Engineering Studies (July 18) on the cabinet reshuffle. In a democracy, should the portfolio of a minister really matter? Almost all the media reactions to the recently rec­ast Union cabinet were typically same: “Smriti Irani shunted to textile ministry, Vankaiah Naidu’s wings clipped by allocating parliamentary affairs to Ananta Kumar,” and so on. Is the finance ministry more important than the textile ministry? Is it necessary for the media to needle?

    Padmini Raghavendra, Secunderabad

    The notable feature in the wisely-crafted reshuffle was the relegation of the half-baked, controversial and arrogant Smriti Irani to a not-so-important textile ministry and the handing over of her ministry to the deserving lawmaker Prakash Javadekar. Academicians, teachers and students, I am sure, will be heaving a sigh of relief on the former TV serial actor’s shifting from the HRD ministry.

    K.P. Rajan, Mumbai

  • Self-serving Netas
    Aug 01, 2016

    This is in response to the piece by Peter De Souza titled Privatisation of the State from the July 18 issue. A politician is the most reviled public figure in this era and the office he holds is very lucrative. There have been bad eggs even in an earlier era, but the rot has spread so much that it is hard to be fair to even the odd one who may be a white lily. Their public conduct, portrayal in movies and unexplained rise of wealth have contributed to this sullied image.

    Anand Srinivasan, Bangalore