• New Leagues Of Learning
    Jun 18, 2018

    This refers to your cover story on unconventional courses (Odball Courses: PhD In Pets Anyone?, June 4). I finished school in the ’90s when liberalisation was still in its infancy. Back then, we were told that unless we got into an engineering college of a medical school, or became lawyers or CAs, we didn’t have much of a bright future. There was also the ­canonical option of government jobs, but it had lost its sheen somewhat to the new crop of kids passing out from English medium schools. I took the overcrowded rout of ­engineering back then, and I don’t regret it so much. But seeing all these new refreshing career options makes me want to be a 21st century student. These seem to be ­exciting times.

    Hridhan Singh, New Delhi

    Just like a solid foundation is a must to erect a tall building, a strong, inclusive and integrated education, that introduces a world beyond just the textbooks to a pupil, is the necessary basic education that is required before students can even think of going to one of the colleges ranked in your special issue. (Odball Courses: PhD In Pets Anyone?, June 4) Sadly, education, more so basic education, hasn’t been the priority of the government. It is reflected in the budget allocation of successive governments. India’s budget share for education is lower than that of most BRICS nations. The share of education in the current budget is the lowest in five years. It’s safe to say that if Indian students are thinking of out-of-the-box education options like pet grooming, alcohol technology or tea testing, it is not because of the government, but ­despite of it.

    Rakesh Agrawal, Dehradun

    Greetings, I am an Outlook subscriber and I went through the June 4 issue which highlights India’s top professional colleges for 2018. As I am a pharmaceutical sciences student, it bothered me that the NIRF (National Institute Ranking Framework) of Indian pharmaceutical colleges was not mentioned in your issue. I don’t know the reason for skipping or ignoring this category but I would like to tell you that pharmaceutical sciences is very much a professional course. For many Indians, a pharmacy student is a “chemist” who runs a “chemist shop”. This is clearly a huge misconception. Pharmaceutical sciences is an important part of the medical profession that concerns the development of new drugs and therapies with the cardinal aim of ensuring and creating awareness about the safe and effective use of medicines. I harbour no hard feelings from this bypassing of the pharma sector in your issue, but I feel that an updated and aware magazine such as yours should have ­included the pharma school rankings as well. It will be nice to  see a pharma college ranking in your next special issue.

    Meghna Gill, On E-Mail

    This refers to the story Taal of the Work Art Balance (June 4). It’s so inspiring to read about these people. It shouldn’t be exaggerating to call them superhuman. Being an artiste requires a life time in itself. It is impossible for me to imagine juggling an art form with a professional career. But, maybe, it has to be done when their is so much love involved for something that you cannot bear to be apart from it even in completely contradictory circumstances. Coming back to superhumans, one must feel something like Clark Kent, turning up to ­office in a suit and donning the artistic cape ­before going on go ‘up, up and away’ to the spotlight.

    Shishir D., Hyderabad

  • One-liner
    Jun 18, 2018

    I’d have gone for alcohol tech, but given my affinity towards spirits, I doubt I’d ever graduate.

    Ramarko Dasgupta, Guwahati

  • Talk To The General
    Jun 18, 2018

    India has never been successful in halting Pakistan’s infiltrations across the LOC and the int­ernational border. This does not mean that the Indian sec­urity forces are incompetent, rather it shows that the ­civilian leadership of Pakistan has no control over border ­incursions into India (In & Around, ‘Head-on app­roach’, June 4). The government in Pakistan is just a puppet of the country’s army. Indeed, there has been no breakthrough since Narendra Modi visited Nawaz Sharif in Lahore to convey birthday wishes to the latter. Obviously, Pakistan’s military did not like the warm handshake bet­ween Modi and Sharif. It resulted, not in peace but in the attack on Pathankot. And the following surgical strike by India hardly helped to mend matters. Modi should invite Pakistan’s army chief, Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, to India. He has shown willingness to come for talks. India must not hesitate to talk to him, it’s in the interest of peace in the subcontinent. After all, when General Pervez Musharraf, who had the full support of the army and the ISI, talked with Vajpayee, it felt like the Kashmir dispute was about to be resolved.

    Kangayam R. Narasim­han, Chennai

  • Useless Tactics
    Jun 18, 2018

    Unity’s Field Test (June 4) rightly noted thus: “Clearly, the Kairana bypoll will test the Hindutva wheel and the opposition’s ability to dismantle it by coming together.” The strength of ­opposition unity won even after the BJP tried its best to polarise Kairana’s voters, not only this time but also in 2014. Back then, the rec­ently defeated BJP candidate’s father, the late BJP MP Hukum Singh, had raised a hue and cry (proved wrong) that Hindus (in UP) were suffering under Muslim domination supported by the SP government, and were fleeing the state. This time, the BJP’s campaigners changed their tactics when they learnt that the united ­opposition had nominated Tabassum Hasan but to no avail. I’m writing this letter just after the count in Kairana where Hindu voters have voted to teach the BJP a lesson by giving them a taste of bure din (bad days).

    Bidyut Kumar Chatter­jee, On E-Mail

  • Light On The Future
    Jun 18, 2018

    Apropos of Coalition of Compulsion (June 4), Siddaramaiah often compared himself to the late Devaraj Urs, Karnataka’s longest-serving chief minister and a champion of the backward classes. The former thought he would inherit the latter’s legacy and become a two-term CM. He tried to bring all the backward castes, Dalits and minorities under an umbrella to create a formidable political force. He assumed these groups would be with him and thought of splitting the Lingayat vote. Both plans backfired. After losing power, and having been deserted by the ‘vote bank’ he had cultivated over the years, , Devaraj Urs had become disillusioned. He lamented the fact that the people and leaders he thought he had empowered over a decade’s time, did not come to his support when he most expected. 

    K.S. Jayatheertha, Bangalore

    My letter refers to Outlook’s cover story on the drama of the recently concluded Karnataka polls (Saffron Knights, May 28). Whether its ‘winning formula’ worked or not, it was not right for the BJP to make a mad dash for forming the government after the assembly elections. It should have waited patiently and monitored others’ moves. Sadly, the government administration is perceived by the parties as a money-making system; ideologies do not matter so much. Though the lotus didn’t bloom in Karnataka, the top brass would have drawn some confidence in emerging as the single largest party. Now it’s up to them how they can build on this to prepare for the 2019 general elections. With a steady increase in prices of daily commodities, including fuel and cooking gas, the public, that is in desperate need of financial relief, will be  keenly watching the manifestos of all major parties.

    Ramachandran Nair, Muscat

    The successful formation of government in the Karnataka polls is the first hurrah of a fast uniting Opposition. It provides well-orchestrated optics for the opposition’s ‘Mission 2019’. But what are the chances of the Opposition dislodging Narendra Modi? For that to happen, it’s imperative that they come up with a positive agenda for the nation, rather than turn its campaign into a wholly negative tirade against Modi. They must then channelise these efforts into action on the ground in states where there is a level of disillusionment against the BJP and Modi. Relying purely on numbers might only lead to a counter consolidation and make Modi stronger.

    J.S. Acharya, On E-Mail

    It must have been educating for the country’s young voters as they glued on to the unfolding drama of the Karnataka hung assembly after the results were declared. S. Kashyap, ex-secretary-general of the Lok Sabha, was right when he said that we need to ­revisit and, if necessary, ref­orm our Constitution. Outlook must emphasise this point forcefully, as many tenets of the Constitution are out-of-date. Moreover, current leaders think nothing of stooping low and habitually breaching the lofty ideals in it. Let there be a code to be followed in case there is a hung assembly in the Constitution. It’s likely to ­happen more in the future.

    H.C. Pandey, Delhi

    The BJP’s unprecedented success in 2014 was largely due to winning big in new social constituencies, with even Dalits reposing faith in the party. In the past few months, that trust seems to have ­declined and the blame lies at the party’s doorsteps for turning a blind eye to the atrocities heaped on Dalits and Muslims by ‘cow vigilantes’. Though Modi’s popularity has taken a dip, the BJP losing one seat one after another comes as a surprise. It is true that Modi is the first towering all-India leader India has seen after Indira Gandhi. He has been the most voluble and visible leader. Yet, communalism and overconfidence have pushed the BJP back, signalling the need to ret­hink its values. In fact, continuing with its core ideology has not only made matters worse for the party, but also weakened its position, credibility and fortunes. Modi, however, cannot be written off with a few bypoll losses. If the BJP engages more with allies, displaying flexibility in its dealings and ­seriously introspecting its failures, it can reinvent itself to win back the confidence of voters, especially among Dalits and the minorities, and give a ­befitting reply to the opposition. 

    K.R. Srinivasan, On E-Mail

  • Hard-Pressed For Freedom
    Jun 18, 2018

    This refers to your editorial comment (Truth as Touchstone, May 28). The press, often referred to as the watchdog of the society, is not expected to be a lapdog, but as the polity has been turning increasingly criminal, the hazards in doing genuine journalism have been rising by the day. As you mentioned in your comment, even countries like Afghanistan and Chad fare better than us when it comes to freedom of press. This is not to say that these two countries are inferior to us, but only to point out that we need to seriously introspect when even nations which have been thrown into chaos and instability due to geo-political games have a better press rating than ours. All of us who value the freedom of press need to stand up for the lost lives of journalists else the sinister side of the system will soon overtake and rob us of the remaining freedom that we have left.

    J.N. Bhartiya, Hyderabad

  • A Fresh Start
    Jun 18, 2018

    This is in response to the fine editorial on the state of journalism (Truth as Touchstone, May 28). I want to congratulate Ruben Banerjee, the new editor-in-chief of Outlook magazine. This comes from an Outlook subscriber since the very beginning.

    Ishsar Saran Agrawal, Bijnor

  • Bullets for Stones
    Jun 18, 2018

    This refers to your story on civilian killings and stone-pelting in Kashmir (Killing Fields of the Nation, May 21). Contrary to what some jingoists may feel at times, the Indian armed forces are not as weak as they seem in front of the stone-pelters. If the establishment snaps further and lets them retaliate to stones with real guns, not mere pellet guns, the scene will change in the streets of Kashmir.

    S.P. Sharma, Mumbai

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