the fully loaded magazine
Your 26/11 cover story was a genuine update on our preparedness to foil another Kasabian terror attempt on the country’s soil (Is India Any Safer, Nov 26). Brigadier Sisodia’s word on the subject sum it up: “Security has to be invisible”. Terrorists know what they are at, therefore security personnel have to depend on deep intelligence networks. The 7,516 km of coast line is a new frontier. It is perhaps out of place to say, but the number of security personnel invested on the safety of politicians (read exhibition) could be a good topic for Outlook’s next special study.
Lalit Mohan Sharma, Dharmshala
The 26/11 attacks were a rude awakening for the country’s security networks, who were caught napping when terrorists struck the financial capital of India. The only consolation is probably the apprehension of terrorist Ajmal Kasab, but that too was turned into a spectacle by the media and political parties for petty benefits.
I think India is quite capable of thwarting terror attempts, but there has to be a strong will on the part of intelligence agencies and there should be no political influence on them. Your story mentions the improvements in weapons and strategies by the security forces to better the security of the State. Apart from these material aspects, better coordination is required between all the security organisations concerned. The number of NSG security personnel should also be increased as should their areas of operation. Last but not the least, security organisations need to be able to deliver fast executive orders. The delay in executive orders can render an entire operation ineffective.
Lt Col (retd) Ranjit Sinha, Pune
Vijay’s films Mersal and Sarkar are merely ordinary, and would have bombed at the box office but for the enormous publicity they received from Tamil Nadu politicians (Alms and the Superman, Nov 26). The AIADMK’s outcry over objectionable scenes in Sarkar are what one would normally expect from a democratic dispensation. While the film spares the DMK and its freebie culture, it is most vociferous in its denunciation of the AIADMK’s freebie economics and its lack of governance. It portrays many ruling ministers as jesters and takes vicarious pleasure in denigrating Jayalalitha through a negative female character. It is plain that the intention of the filmmakers was to malign the AIADMK government and its policies, and Jaya, their most respected leader. It is surprising how the censors were indiscreet in certifying many objectionable scenes in the film. As to Vijay, he goes overboard to cause maximum offence to the AIADMK. But, at the end of the day, the producers of Sarkar agreed to make the necessary cuts demanded by the AIADMK to be able to make the maximum money at the box office. After all, money is more important for the motion picture industry than artistic freedom!
Kangayam R. Narasimhan, Chennai
This is in reference to Modi, Minus 10, Can Still Win (Nov 19). Sanjay Kumar’s analysis lacks the depth and rigour a researcher of his calibre is generally expected to have. He has not followed a basic principle of research: the currency and integrity of data. So much water has flowed after the 2014 general elections. Assembly polls were held in several states—but instead of using the latest vote shares of each of the major parties, as reflected in the assembly elections, Kumar chose to rely totally on 2014 data. A serious flaw. The charisma and credibility of Narendra Modi and the alliance he leads have taken a severe beating in the past two years, about which a couple of good stories were published in the issue under reference. The Congress almost toppled the BJP in Gujarat, and retained power in Karnataka by joining hands with the JD(S). And more importantly, the Congress, NCP, JD(S), TDP and other like-minded parties are coming together to fight the 2019 general elections as a united front . It is preposterous on the part of Kumar to assume that the BJP/NDA’s 2014 vote bank remains intact, and to do his arithmetic solely on this basis, without factoring in the gradual denting of their credibility and the depleting loyalty of voters. His chutzpah is admirable, but he would do well to revisit his predictions and make a credible forecast after the results of the assembly elections in the five states have been announced. He should also take cognizance of the fact that the NDA was able to win comfortably in 2014 because of a major swing in the vote share in their favour, and in 2019 the swing could take a different direction, to beat his pedestrian calculations.
Dr Shailendra Dasari, Ballary
Great job on revealing counter-terror strategies of the security forces for everyone’s benefit.
Govindan T., On E-Mail
This refers to the article on M.S. Dhoni’s future in the Indian team (Straps on Those Daredevil Pads, Nov 26). It goes without saying that Dhoni remains one of the finest wicketkeepers the country has ever seen. Even at 37, his skills remain undimmed. Of late, his occasional failure with the bat seems to have called into question his calibre as a batsman. Truly, we don’t get to see very often those towering sixes and jaw-dropping helicopter shot. At times, he looks a shadow of his earlier self. His inability to accelerate in crucial stages of the game has given his critics a stick to beat him with. However, all is not lost. Dhoni has a golden chance to prove everyone wrong in the one-day series in Australia. Every cricketer, even great ones, goes through a lean patch at some point in their career, and Dhoni is no exception. And lest we forget, Dhoni is known to eat pressure for breakfast and is still considered to be one of the finest finishers of the game. He can be a bowler’s nightmare, many will agree. There is no question of leaving Dhoni out of the World Cup in England next year. He’s an asset to the team whose valuable advice is sought be everyone.
Aditya Mukherjee, New Delhi
This is about the article on the spate of changes in place names under the Modi government and BJP-ruled states like Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh (Welcome to Prayagraj…er Allahabad, Nov 26). It’s true that we changed Bombay to Mumbai, a city where many names of roads have also been changed. But go out in the street, keep an ear out for conversation in the streets, and you hear people referring to roads and places by their old names. All cab drivers and bus conductors—living enforcers of names—predominantly use old names. So, why change names for political reasons and make things difficult for common people and confuse tourists? Looking at the pace with which this is going, even residents of a city are confused about various locations in their backyard. But then, changing names is a cheap way to score political points. Working hard to improve infrastructure and quality of living—education, healthcare, connectivity, sanitation…the old bogeys—is not as easy any longer.
Kamal Anil Kapadia, On E-Mail
Only time will tell whether this name-changing spree will bring any political benefit to the BJP. And while I agree with historian Irfan Habib’s remark that “Hinduism is vast. You can go to a Dargah and still be a Hindu”, I do not agree this liberty is not allowed in other religions. It is very much in practice when followers of all faiths visit any Sikh shrine. And no one is expected to convert to the religion associated with a shrine one visits.
Lal Singh, Amritsar
Maybe the decision by the Uttar Pradesh government to change the name of Allahabad to Prayagraj seemed unreasonable. But then, why was it necessary for Mughal emperor Akbar to rename Prayag 444 years ago? If he needed a city named Ilahabad to go with his Deen-e-Ilahi, Yogi needs the renaming for his own convictions? Why all this hue and cry when elected representatives of the state try to undo this early act of renaming? Surely, Yogi is a CM, but he’s a Hindu monk too, isn’t renaming his ‘dharma’ or something? I remember wondering when there were so many paeans and songs to Prayag, there was no town by that name. If the name of an ancient Hindu pilgrimage town is restored, it should not be construed as an attack on Muslims. If Akbar is right, then, ipso facto, Yogi is right too, for different yardsticks cannot be used for the same act. It’s a completely different matter that Akbar lived in times of monarchy, where a king could take any decision, while Yogi lives in the age of democracy, where a leader should ideally take the people’s will into consideration.
J. Akshay, On E-Mail
This refers to your cover story Will Modi Win? (November 19). Prime Minister Narendra Modi certainly deserves a second term as it is difficult to judge a new PM and his policies in just five years. In 1996, too, the voters needlessly rejected a reformist prime minister, P.V. Narasimha Rao, and then by voting out the A.B. Vajpayee government in 2004, the voters did the wrong thing again. Both the PMs had done a wonderful job by keeping the nation’s interest above their party’s. And, though UPA didn’t deserve a second term, the people gave it to Dr Manmohan Singh and the entire nation suffered under the massive corruption of the Congress. Modi, by contrast, is doing a wonderful job in setting the systems right by plugging all the loopholes and killing the parallel economy that has been there since Independence. India’s image on the international scene is at its zenith and Indians are proud of their position in the international community. Modi is achieving many things that were unthinkable even a few years ago. When Modi took over as PM in 2014, he had promised to come back with his progress report and ask for votes. I am sure he will do that and convince the voters of the need to give him a second term.
Duggaraju Srinivasa Rao, Vijayawada
The more relevant question is not whether “will Modi win” but should Modi win at all. India has had enough of him already with demonetisation, GST, the arm-twisting of citizens over Aadhaar, mob lynchings, and ultimately, the unnecessarily, and expensively, bloated Statue of Unity!
George Jacob, Kochi