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Your cover story (Pati, Patni Aur Cam, July 23) shocked me initially, but then we realise that we are no more living in an era where sex is a taboo. The way couples in both urban and rural areas are filming their most intimate acts proves that people have shed inhibitions. But doubtless, they are venturing into dangerous territory, without knowing the repercussions of such acts. We are anyhow the land of Kama Sutra. But we need to take note whether all such clips are being put into the public domain with the consent of both partners, or it is the men who are breaching mutual trust and putting their partners at risk. An act which looks like fun may have ruined someone’s life forever if it was put out on display in the virtual world, which has a boundless memory.
Bal Govind, Noida
Your cover story on webcam sex tries to understand tales of 21st century visual intimacy. The analysis on inter racial-styled, ‘communal’ porn was quite interesting. It would have been nice to read your analysis on the incest phenomena prevalent in porn too. There lurks something more sinister behind these pornographic indulgences; it can corrupt the gaze of viewers, numbing them into objectifying not just bodies but identities as well. Porn needs regulations.
Manoj Oza, Gandhinagar
This refers to your special issue wherein Paromita Vohra states in her interview that “The only sex education people get to see is western commercial porn.” Ashok Nagpal writes: “Video captures intimacy we can’t observe’’. These are myopic observations. Sex is not limited to homo sapiens, live demonstrations imparting sex education and scenes of sex intimacy by cattle and dogs are seen in each and every corner of India in broad daylight. Children start getting sex education without any instructors. Outlook need not get unnecessarily obsessed with such topics, which use more conjecture than facts and reportage. It may increase the magazine’s counter-sales but it will be self-defeating in the long run as it will spoil its image. Khuswant Singh had applied these techniques as an editor of the Illustrated Weekly of India, which finally collapsed miserably.
M.N. Bhartiya, Goa
Selfie sex is a disturbing pattern which may be considered another form of pornography with live transmission. The consenting couples are no better than porn stars. While there is no harm having liberal views on sex, transmitting live intimate moments are a bit too much for me to digest. This is too much of pleasure and exploration of the sexual self to be handled in the current scenario. It is in some ways destroying the sanctity and decorum of the act, which is mostly kept under the ‘covered’ bedroom sheets for the wider public. If such trends continue, I wonder what kind of society we may have in the future.
Sanjiv Gupta, Perth, Australia
While some are engaged in legal battles with the government over bedroom-policing—surveillance and control over private lives—there are also those who revel in sharing their moments of sexual intimacy, ignoring the risk of it all ending up in porn sites. The trend is certainly a shock to the laws that police pleasure and sexuality.
M.C. Joshi, Lucknow
Cam the act if it pleases you, but beware the online voyeur republic and the perils of going viral.
Anil S., Pune
This refers to your story on Tenzing Bodosa (This Planter Doesn’t Stop the Elephants, July 23). Kerala, or at least my home district Palakkad, needs the services of somebody like Tenzing, who belongs to Assam. In Kerala, caparisoned elephants are a regular and necessary feature of any temple festival. Thrissur is famous for its Pooram, where the piece de resistance is the change-of-parasols competition between elephants of two competing sides. Massive feeding of elephants (aanayoottu) is an annual event at the Vadakkunnathan temple. And yet disturbing reports of attacks by wild elephants are quite common in the state. Some recent headlines: “Elephant raids: Adivasis sit-in at the Tekkadi Forest Station” , “Young villager killed by a wild elephant in a Wayanad plantation”, “Wild elephant herds: A nightmare in the Wayanad plantation region”, “Villagers and farmers on warpath against wild elephant raid”, “Crossing wild elephant herd stops train”…. In Palakkad, electric fencing fails to stop wild tuskers as they find alternative routes. And sometimes they refuse to move out of villages where they rest. With his dream of an ecosystem beneficial to both human beings and wildlife, Tenzing could surely help Kerala find its answer to the question, “Why can’t we think of giving back something to nature when we take so much from it?”
C.V. Venugopalan, Alakkad
As Feet Full of Barbs (July 23) makes clear, corruption reached a pinnacle with the building of the new capital. The bifurcation of states is designed to create more offices to allow politicians to earn on the sly and to strengthen the party. And the construction of new cities and laying of roads generally allows easy kickbacks that are difficult to prove. What was the necessity of splitting Andhra Pradesh when the massive funds thus wasted could have been used to better the living conditions of the poor? Paradoxically, those suffering most vote for the greatest exploiters.
J.N. Bhartiya, Hyderabad
Apropos of Minimal Support Price (July 23), the BJP, which has been at the receiving end of farmers’ protests in several states since coming to power at the Centre, fared badly in Gujarat’s Saurashtra region during last year’s assembly elections, as farmers complained that the government had failed to pay the procurement price. Now, in what is being hyped as a historic deal for farmers, the Modi government seems to have opened its coffers, offering the highest-ever MSP for 14 kharif crops. Though the aim is seemingly to bring small and middle-income farmers into the net of beneficiaries, it’s mostly those who have surplus produce who stand to gain. In most cases, only around 20 per cent of farmers will benefit—and those left out may turn against the government.
Will the Centre’s move to drastically increase the MSP for kharif crops solve the crisis of Indian agriculture ? Coming as it does ahead of crucial state and later parliamentary polls, it might improve the electoral prospects of the ruling party. But alternative avenues of employment in villages and towns ought to be found because agriculture cannot sustain such a huge proportion of the population without causing distress all around.
K.S. Padmanabhan, Chennai
Feet Full of Barbs (July 23) fails to capture the ground realities in AP. It is an open-secret that the YSRCP has a tacit understanding with the ruling BJP, a clear case of quid pro quo. Jaganmohan Reddy is the prime accused in a number of cases pertaining to money laundering and other economic offences, his trusted aide and MP Vijayasai Reddy being the co-accused. Both Jagan and Vijayasai are desperate to wriggle out of the plethora of cases pending against them and are hoping to get a clean chit before the 2019 elections, with the blessings of the ruling party at the Centre. In return, they would help the BJP come back to power by aligning with them after the elections.
The people of AP are furious with the BJP for going back on the promise of financial assistance to the residual state, and allying with them at the present juncture would be suicidal for Jagan’s party. Chandrababu Naidu timed his party’s exit from the NDA so well that the TDP now fancies its chances of coming back to power by cashing in on the anti-BJP sentiment prevalent in AP One would have to be naïve to expect that Jagan’s padayatra , the focus of which is attacking Naidu’s administration, would neutralise all the ill-will he and his party have generated by rubbing shoulders with the BJP and shying away from criticising the NDA government for the stepmotherly treatment the latter has meted out to the people of AP.
Shailendra Dasari, Bellary
Siddhartha Gigoo’s diary (July 16) beautifully brought out the pain of those who try to remain connected to their roots. Wherever one flourishes, the end of the journey is the point whence one started. People are displaced for no fault of theirs. Reading this article, I can feel the pain and agony of all, and I think this is an emotional connection of the unseen.
The Kashmir roundtable, organised by Outlook, was an informative read (The Human on the K-Table, Jul 16). However, after going through the entire package across 22 pages, readers would have been a bit confused—it was a true Babel of opinions and solutions. As I saw it, in the main there were three broad areas of alignment. The moderate view holds that though the Indian Constitution is applicable to J&K, it is only the pre-1953 version of the Constitution. A centrist view says that a plebiscite has to be held as per the UN resolution, with a conviction of its inevitable outcome—that Jammu and Kashmir will be out of Indian control. The extreme view, of course, holds that what is needed is freedom, or azadi, with the chance that it will become a part of Pakistan. Sadly, some of the speakers were just bandying words—deny, defend and defeat; acknowledge, accept and resolve—without clarifying what actually they meant. If this is what emerges from these talks, what outcome can one expect from a conference to solve the complicated issue?
G.L. Karkal, Pune
This is about the interview with Kamalahaasan (‘I am a politiculturist…’, Jul 16). Point is, if Gandhiji were to stand for election in today’s Tamil Nadu, he might lose his deposit! He would have to answer the question: ‘How much money can you spare’? Now, this vote-buying culture has spread to other states too. If Kamal could just remove this burgeoning cash-voter nexus in India, even if he were a political failure, he would have rendered valuable service to the nation. But then, it would take a miracle for one person, that also a political neophyte, to rid India of this blight.
G. Neelakantan, Bangalore