the fully loaded magazine
This refers to your issue of the year Faith or its Absence (January 13). I am an old reader of Outlook and may be one of the first to have subscribed when Vinod Mehta started this magazine. But during the past year, I found Outlook quite boring. Many issues lay on my table untouched and I had almost decided not to renew my subscription. Then this issue landed and I read it from cover to cover. After a very long time, you have come out with a readable issue. I am again thinking of renewing my subscription for another five years. Congratulations! Keep publishing such readable issues.
Krishnachandra Govil, Lucknow
Outlook’s year-end issue once again didn’t disappoint—its subject, faith, was well-chosen and the essays are wonderful reads. However, as usual, not all faiths were subjected to the critical lens equally. In India, we see expressions of Hinduism and statements of Hindus being targeted openly—claims at science congresses, a scientific paper presented by a vice chancellor, and statements from BJP leaders on cow urine and cow dung. Sadhus and mystics who claim to wield miracles are regularly exposed and ridiculed by rationalists and the media. Surprisingly, when the Pope canonised a nun only because a string of miracles was attributed to her, no questions were raised.
Duggaraju Srinivasa Rao, Vijaywada
Outlook’s special issue on faith presents some very insightful views. Indeed, there is nothing more intricate and intriguing than the weave of faith. It flows free of knots and joints…a seamless arrangement of thought processes. Be it throwing furniture out of a window as in South Africa to usher in the new year or discarding the extra crockery accumulated through the past 12 months in Denmark—a faith in this symbolic act of discarding past worries and starting on a clean slate, with new hopes and dreams, unites many cultures. A member of Jehovah’s Witness might refuse to sing the national anthem because of his faith or an ardent chanter of the Hanuman Chalisa might ignore doctors’ advice. Faith is the touchstone that makes such leaps—often into the unknown—possible.
Arun Kampani, New Delhi
Ghost Train of Our Memories by Rajat Mitra is written in a masterly lucid style with meticulous historical details. Congrats to the author for educating the present generation, which is unfamiliar with the history of our repressive past.
Harish Pandey, On E-Mail
That the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act continue to mount is a classic instance of faith in our institutions, with the Constitution serving as the leitmotif of this agitation. It is faith that gives us the gall, the spirit and the confidence to take the next step even when we can’t see the entire staircase. Faith is what spurs us on.
Abhimanyu K, New Delhi
This refers to your cover story Winter of Unrest (December 30). Whether this winter of unrest transforms into a spring of hope, only time will tell. I have a Muslim neighbour, a lovely lady with whom I share sun, rain and life. With all that is going on, this strange alchemy of votes and opportunism, would my relationship with her take a beating? The answer is a resounding no—the same no that India’s streets are screaming. This drives home the point that no matter who pits you against whom, no matter which political party is at the helm, ultimately, it is we the people who constitute the nation. We count. Our no to narrow divisions, our yes to pluralism, both work.
Sangeeta K., New Delhi
Leave aside intruders from Bangladesh in India—more than one million Indians, both Hindus and Muslims, have infiltrated Bangladesh as its growth rate is higher than ours and its economy might even surpass ours! Little wonder that when Sheikh Hasina came to Delhi in October 2019, Modi didn’t even mention this issue as he knows he can’t discuss it with her, but can sell this barrage of lies to the ignorant masses in India to buy their votes.
Rakesh Agrawal, Dehradun
Anti-CAA and NRC protests by the Opposition are unjustified. The linking of NRC with CAA and NPR is unfounded. The core issue is the votebank politics of the Opposition.
K.R. Srinivasan, Secunderabad
The reactions to CAA show the government’s failure in assessing the act’s repercussions. The unruly, ugly agitation could have been avoided with timely administrative preparedness. There was no single statement from the PM, home minister or any other leader of the government before the bill became an act to reassure the minority community. The fear among Muslims that they will be subjected to detailed verification of their identity carries weight at a time when CAA clearly states that if people of other religions fail to produce the required documents, they will be given citizenship. The Modi government must introspect before going ahead with a country-wide NRC.
Jaideep Mittra, Varanasi
The Birth of Politics, The Politics of Birth is quite informative—the problem of infiltration has been explained clearly. However, it seems to have been left to the wild imagination of readers to guess a possible solution. Does it mean that the writer is clueless? I wish the writer had stated his solution. This would have enhanced the prestige of Outlook, but clearly, you are playing it safe and leaving things irresolute.
Rohan Pandey, Mumbai
Thousands of young students—overwhelmingly Hindu by faith—have felt sufficiently motivated to come out on the streets and join demonstrations with Muslims against CAA. Their participation is strategically significant. They believe, rightly or wrongly, that CAA is the first step in the disenfranchisement of Muslims in India.
K.S. Jayatheertha, Bangalore
This refers to the interview of the West Bengal governor (‘I am a friend of the Bengal govt’, January 13). At the outset, we need the version of Mamata also for a balanced appreciation of the governor’s version. The level of public discourse has become deplorably low in the past decade. The discourteous treatment of the governor by the state government is in reaction to the attempts of the Union government to undermine the federal character of our Constitution. The intention of the makers of our Constitution was to make states equal partners in governance, except in national defence and external affairs. States deserve to be treated with respect in a democratic setup and not as mere sultanates of an empire.
M.N. Bhartiya, Alto Porvorim
This refers to Justice League (December 23). The staged encounters of the four accused of rape-murder and the jubilation following it portend a lawless future for the country. Inept policing, clumsy investigations and a slow judicial system have brought us to a point where people have more faith in extrajudicial killings rather than the courts. The craving for instant justice reeks of an uncivilised mindset. It’s often said that the law takes its own course, but what happens when it takes aeons for justice to be delivered? It’s time to transform the legal process.
Vijai Pant, Hempur
The letter from the editor in the anniversary issue should have spoken about Vinod Mehta. He wasn’t just any other editor—Outlook is what it is largely because of him. It’s like Dravid’s declaration in the Multan Test when Sachin was on 194, which has haunted Dravid since. I hope Ruben makes up for it in the silver jubilee year and publishes this letter because Vinod would have!
Naveen Rao, On E-Mail
Green day Amid the Watergate scandal, President Nixon received a letter from an 8-year-old