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This refers to ‘Osmic’, your OSM awards special issue (May 7). The annual fete of the Outlook Social Media Awards recognises and celebrates social media, a platform that entered society’s consciousness from the backdoor, got entrenched in lives and is now a force to reckon with. Social media is now an ocean of information. But not like the encyclopedias of old. It’s actually a war zone with info used as artillery fire by and at you—news, emotions, videos, memes. And it also has its own celebrities; people who have made a name for themselves by attracting followers. Your OSM awards are doing a great job by acknowledging the importance of this space. Your coverage of the awards, which were attended by people distinguished in their own fields, gave a panoramic image of events to the readers. It was also a good thing that OSM focused more on non-political areas and non-political personalities. The only politicians included were Derek O’Brien, a seasoned, disciplined and non-controversial politician, and newbie politician, superstar Kamalahaasan. The latter is already well-known for his preference and stress on clean politics and governance. The inclusion of these politicians in the event did not taint it in any way.
M.Y. Shariff, Chennai
Priya Prakash Varrier, described as “the unknown girl (who) suddenly achieved stardom with the merest suggestion of playful naughtiness—a delicious wink”, was aptly given the OSM Viral Personality of the Year award. That tiny clip of Varrier, even before her maiden film was released, made the social media nation within nation stop and look at her. Anyway, what I also want to mention is that this issue of Outlook carries 126 pages. Out of it 53 pages cover information about universities or advertisements of universities, 19 pages are covered by your OSM feature, five pages have information about State Bank of India mutual funds and 10 pages carry general advertising. Only 38 pages are left for news. Isn’t it injustice to the readers looking for content on current affairs in a news magazine? Has it occurred to you that they may not be interested in universities, awards and mutual funds.
With the gradual spread of Hindutva forces and the advocacy of Tamil nationalism limited to a few shrill fringe groups, the support for the Dravidian movement is declining in Tamil Nadu (The Naadu Flickers, May 14). Bharati Raja, a leading filmmaker, asserts that one should speak only of Tamil Nadu and Tamilians instead of Dravidian nationalism. “Can leaders like Vaiko, who vociferously advocate Dravidian ideology, go to other southern states to sell their idea of a separate Dravidanadu?” he asks. While there are few takers in Tamil Nadu for strident Tamil nationalism, the younger generation is irked by the unending agitations by major political parties like the DMK and other fringe elements like Vaiko, Seeman or Velmurugan, who do not have representation in the Tamil Nadu assembly. Due to growing unemployment, underemployment and inequality, young men and women are in a state of perpetual tension in the state. For instance, bizarre rumours that north Indian kidnappers are campaigning in the state to kidnap children have led to violence against innocent north Indians in some districts. There is anger and resentment among the young educated class that Tamil Nadu is lagging behind other southern states in growth and development due to endemic corruption and lack of a strong leadership.
Kangayam R. Narasimhan, On E-Mail
Apropos of Lake Placid (May 14), history shows that China is not trustworthy. Business is the foremost concern of any country and China realises it too, so it is changing its approach on the face of things—but its actions do not indicate any change in its intention to grab Indian territory. Also, it is working hand-in-glove with Pakistan as it has an eye on Kashmir. India must always be cautious when it comes to defence and relations with China.
Mahesh Kumar, On E-Mail
It’s better to shift to social media to award talent since other media have become anti-social.
Anil S., On E-Mail
This is about the story on the unique Wuhan summit between Xi Jinping and Narendra Modi (Bending Fences, May 7). The PM’s China visit has certainly created a new warmth with China, finally buried the Doklam controversy and afforded an opportunity to India to clarify its Pakistan policy to the other side. Now is the time to also raise the uncomfortable topics—areas claimed by India that are under Chinese control and the final line on Dalai Lama and the thousands of Tibetans sheltered by India. But India should not be rigid; flexibility may work wonders. Cordiality in ties has many benefits, especially when we have a restive Northeast wherein China has a propensity to meddle. Actually, the limited trade that takes place there can be expanded manifold. The whole of Southeast Asia has to gain from good ties between China and India.
Lt Col (retd) Ranjit Sinha, Calcutta
The waltz in Wuhan has not come a day too soon. Repeated military confrontations on the disputed frontier, a growing trade imbalance in favour of China and the deepening divergence on many regional and global issues demanded that the two sides take a deep breath and start all over again. As the border issue is considered well nigh irresolvable, there was never an expectation that the informal talks would achieve a major breakthrough. But the Sino-India attempt for a rapprochement has a deeper reason—Trump’s promise to take stern economic action against China as well as the instability of his geopolitical stances must have made China realise the value of New Delhi’s support. Wisely, at Wuhan there was no attempt to gloss over a range of widening cracks in bilateral ties. The two nations are not on the same page on a variety of issues but, importantly, they decided to keep talking at a moment of global disruption and put at a premium the need for political maturity and diplomatic skill.
Lal Singh, Amritsar
In Why Fear A Hindu Rashtra (May 7), BMS president Saji Narayanan goes to great lengths to show that Hinduism, as a religion, is tolerant—while dismissing atrocities by Hindutva goons as an aberration. He, however, stays completely mum on the numerous episodes of violence carried out by goons of the Hindu right in the name of either love jehad or beef. These days, people sitting in positions of responsibility think they can peddle only one point of view while totally negating the other side of the truth. The writer lauds Indonesia for using Hindu symbols like Garuda despite being a country with a Muslim majority. After this, he goes on to say that “this is a lesson to minorities in India”! Hold on sir, to your own analysis for a bit: If a Muslim majority country can use a minority symbol, then, going by your logic, shouldn’t the lesson be applied to the Hindu majority in India? Convenient conclusions from a convenient analysis may be a self-gratifying exercise, but it only serves to widen the black holes in your dangerously feeble argument.
D.V.R. Rao, Pune
This refers to Verdict: Unimpeachable. Ever since the Congress was booted out of the government in 2014, its members have only grown desperate to save a once glorious political empire from crumbling down. This time around, the party has chosen to cast aspersions on the activities of the top-most member of the highest body of justice in the country, the Supreme Court. Earlier, the Congress has expressed doubt over the handling of EVMs during elections, demonetisation and GST, among other measures taken by the current government. All these allegations made by party leaders have only damaged the credibility of the Congress as they haven’t been backed with any solid evidence. This impeachment motion was not even supported by former PM Manmohan Singh. Congress president Rahul Gandhi has also claimed, among his many claims made in his by-now famously sensationalist manner, that if he is given 15 minutes to ask questions to PM Narendra Modi, he will expose him. I wonder what has been stopping Rahul from doing so in Parliament up till now.
Hemant D. Pai, Bangalore
At this juncture, in order to protect his accomplished image, Kapil Sibal must refrain from taking any further interest in the impeachment fiasco since it is clear now that the motion was merely a googly played by some parties in the Opposition to fluster the ruling party, a move that turned out to be a failure. Contrary to its intention, the motion has helped CJI Deepak Misra since the general perception sought to be built by all the allegations against him will now be seen as politically motivated.
M.N. Bhartiya, Goa
The impeachment of the CJI is not the ultimate solution to end problems confronting the higher judiciary. As it is incumbent upon the legislature and the executive to plug the inadequacies, if found, in a claim and follow the rules scrupulously as laid down under the Judges (Inquiry) Act, 1968, before contemplating a move to oust a judge in the interests of democracy, vice-president and Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu’s rejection of the notice to impeach Misra is proper and correct. Therefore, the Opposition’s questioning of it, when the notice lacked credibility in the first place, is only to politicise the issue. However, if the Congress wants to take the matter to the Supreme Court, it will be setting a dangerous precedent from an institutional perspective. In short, their actions amount to mockery of the Constitution and threaten the integrity of an independent institution.
K.R. Srinivasan, Secunderabad
Citing the “absence of credible and verifiable information”, Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu has rightly rejected the notice submitted by seven Opposition parties for a motion for the impeachment of the CJI. No wonder, eminent jurist Soli Sorabjee made a scathing attack on the Opposition decision, saying, “This is the worst that could happen to the independence of the judiciary.” Truly, the impeachment motion marks a new low in our politics. Actually, we see here the shadow of the bitter race for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls that has already contributed to an erosion of Parliament. Some judgements by the SC are unpopular. But each time the SC stood up to the executive, history has judged it highly. Each time it crawled, like during the Emergency, history hasn’t forgiven or forgotten. Ever since that press conference by the four top judges, it’s the political class which has benefited.
J.S. Acharya, Hyderabad
Holding a constitutional position does not mean something inherently noble in itself. People deflecting any criticism about the judiciary on grounds of a default honour being attached to judges should understand this. High up the judicial or administrative ladder, people are all the more responsible for maintaining standards rigorously. The justice system moves in the constitutional stream and nobody has the authority to tweak it. K.T.S. Tulsi rightly objects that proven misbehaviour was sought even before constituting an enquiry committee. Institutional integrity is most important to bolster faith in constitutional offices.
Thanks for publishing an educational article that gives unique information on Hinduism and Hindutva in relation to other countries where it has been abolished in the past few centuries. I am happy to learn for the first time that it is Hinduism’s character that has enabled it to survive foreign invaders like Timur and Babar, but in a way I lament Hinduism’s failure to adapt to aggression becoming the norm. This is because of the tolerant nature of Hindu culture with its motto of vasudhaiva kutumbakam. India never believed in expansionism like China. Indian democracy succeeded simply due to this mindset, whereas all other neighbouring countries gave in to other forms of government.
H.C. Pandey, On E-Mail
We must fear a Hindu rashtra. Or a Muslim rashtra. Or a Christian rashtra. But let’s stick to talking about the current threat—Hindu rashtra. The guiding principle of such a nation would be hatred, a sickening hatred not just against religious minorities but also against subaltern-caste Hindus, as exemplified by the Kathua and Unnao rape and murder cases. The Manusmriti will be the constitution of this nation, sanctifying the second-class treatment of all others.
Rakesh Agarwal, Dehradun
This refers to Raptors of Hate, your cover story on the Kathua and Unnao rape incidents (April 30). It was a good attempt to analyse the atmosphere of hatred that has taken over. I hope that maximum people will try to understand how we are fast loosing the lessons learnt from the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, Gautam Buddha and Mahavira and indulging in mind-numbing violence against our country kins. The roots of this violence lie in the history of pain that is the partition of India. My wife, who hails from Jammu, was 12 years old in 1947. She narrates how people affiliated to Hindutva nationalists went around killing minorities in the region during the partition. There was violence from both sides in that era, but this is to mention that Jammu has had a violent history unique to itself. Here, the saffron right has always been doing mischief.
K .C. Jain, On E-Mail
I have been an avid reader of your esteemed magazine for the past five years. Your cover story, Hatred, which featured an insightful and sincere interview by social activist Harsh Mander, was hugely inspiring.
Ghufran Ahmed, Lucknow
This refers to Revisionism Saves the Day (May 7). There has been much violence, including killings, in the run-up to the panchayat polls in Bengal. Those opposed to the TMC are not being allowed to file nomination papers. Yet the media, both print and electronic, is silent about this electoral injustice. The secular media is vociferous in portraying Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a dictator whereas Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee is hailed as a great democrat in spite of her party being responsible for much of the violence in her state.
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