the fully loaded magazine
This refers to your cover story on the political ‘hot spots’ for the general elections this summer (The Lab Meister, March 25). I’m still wondering why Gujarat was singled out of all the states for measuring the mood of the voters? The story tries to establish that nationalism reigns over much of Modi’s home state. Election after election, the voter spectrum gets widened by the entry of millions of first-time voters—those who turn 18. This group is realistic, practical and unhesitant in openly showing their likes and dislikes. Nationalism is not a red rag for them like it happens to be for a particular camp of the older-generation of politicians and intelligentsia who have a mindset to link it with fascism. I am of the perception that this young generation cries for revenge for an attack like the one that took place in Pulwama and celebrates the retaliatory Balakot surgical strike. Nationalism reigns not only in Modi’s home state, but also in mine and yours.
M.C. Joshi, Lucknow
I write this immediately after reading last week’s amazing issue (Hot Spots 2019, March 25). Outlook used to be like that consistently. Instead of concentrating on advertorials, please focus on the content. I am an old subscriber. Hope you will retain me.
Krishnan, On E-mail
Elections in the world’s largest democracy are a festival of the masses. They change the course of the country in times to come. Many issues related to money power, muscle power and the reliability of EVM machines have marred the objectivity of the election process in the eyes of many. In the 2014 general elections, a large section of the population voted for Modi in the hope for “achhe din”, Rs 15 lakhs in their accounts, the end of corruption, control over price rise, the strengthening of the rupee vis a vis the dollar, the creation of employment and a minimum support price for farmers. They have become totally disillusioned and are suffering the pangs of joblessness and agrarian crisis. In 2014, many shared their selfies with pride on social media proclaiming that they had voted for development. But rising prices have broken the back of certain sections of society.
The fragmented opposition has realised the folly of disunity and serious, though not totally successful, efforts are going on to forge opposition unity. The opposition knows that the major reason for Modi’s victory, apart from massive propaganda and corporate funding, has been the fragmented opposition. While a lot more is expected from the opposition, the sharpening of focus on people’s issues is likely to become stronger as the elections come knocking on our doors.
Md. Zeyaullah Khan, On E-mail
The harassment of Muslim cattle rearers and traders at the hands of cow vigilantes, whom the government seems to be supportive of, should be unacceptable to any thinking citizen (Fangs of A Vigilante Herd). We the people should have taken a tough stand at this sick phenomena when it happened first a few years back in Dadri, UP. But that incident was treated as an anomaly initially. Look where we are now—such violence has become routine, and disturbingly normalised.
Anand Kaushik, New Delhi
This is in reference to Outlook’s cover story on Prannoy Roy’s new book, The Verdict (Mar 18). The increased participation of women in the Lok Sabha polls shows that more of them have become aware of the importance of exercising their franchise. Even then, many are yet to enrol as voters, as expressed in the interview (‘It’s a shame 21 million women can’t vote’). However, some progress has been made—women have political ambitions now, and in many cases, they are independent of the control of their husbands and father. Of course, to reiterate, it’s distressing to note that names of 23.4 million women are missing from voter lists. The Election Commission has to go door-to-door, and work for the inclusion of this massive chunk of India’s citizens on the voter rolls.
M.Y. Shariff, Chennai
Alongside electoral ‘hot spots’, watch out for divisive ‘hot pots’ being kept on constant boil.
Anil S., Pune
As an ardent reader of Outlook’s last-page glimpses into different worlds, I enjoyed Ruben Banerjee’s Brahmaputra Diary (Feb 25) a lot. Guwahati is the fast developing capital of Assam and a gateway to the Northeast. Once, as Ruben experienced earlier, the Assamese were known for their slothful nature. But the term ‘laahey laahey’, or ‘slowly slowly’ disappeared from Assam ages ago. A new generation is in step with the fast, globalised world. However, implementation of government schemes is still ‘laahey laahey’, as it were. This slowness is a legacy of past governments, and the current one is dutifully sticking to this legacy. Thus, people’s problems are far from over—though they voted for a pragmatic change, they lost hopes within one year. I am not sure if the BJP would be able to form a government in Assam again. Again, young people don’t have enough jobs, the roads of Guwahati are congested and the smart city of Guwahati is expanding in a totally haphazard way. Though the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority is there to check all this, approximately 500 big and small wetlands have been destroyed for the construction of skyscrapers.
Ashim Kumar Chakraborty, Guwahati
This is with reference to Roses Smell Sweet, So Do They, your story about the Afghanistan cricket team’s base in Dehradun (March 25). It’s heartening to see that India has welcomed the Afghan cricket team like this. They are a promising bunch of cricketers, as is apparent from the results of their recent matches with Ireland in Dehradun. That the team has found a home away from home in another country for their game is a testament to the truly transcendental and positive spirit of cricket. The sub-continent may stand divided on a lot of issues, but we are united in our love for the game.
Vinay Prakash, On E-mail
The public display of affection between Deepika Padukone and her father Prakash (Quiet Achiever, Glitterati, Mar 4) shows the strong and close bonds between the two. I do hope her married life with Ranveer is a smooth one. Here’s wishing her a long life of superstardom.
Jyotiranjan Biswal, Durgapur, Odisha
In the last two months, I find a drastic change in style, content and the selection of topics in Outlook. I ignored this initially but now I find that the new editor has put his mark therein. ‘Total urbanised sophistication” is how I’d like to put it. I have been a fan of this magazine started by Vinod Mehta, whose editorial tastes and pickings resonated with me. That’s probably the reason he used to reply to me personally. In the current issue (March 25), the topics are more ‘hi-fi’. They tend to put the old readers in a bit of a haze. I find that the magazine’s down-to-earth approach has changed. I had the option to keep quiet on this aspect, but then I feel ignored and sidelined when I go to this pet magazine of mine, hence this letter.
Harish Pandey, On E-Mail
Refer to Near Miss Is Seated Next To You (March 25). Thanks for shedding light on a secret best kept under wraps. I’m bound to be anxious on the next flight I decide to board. Let’s hope your issue doesn’t land on someone’s lap while they’re on a flight.
Ram Avadheesh, On E-mail