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Letters | Nov 18, 2002
Fangs And Fury
Near Right, Far Right, Absolutely Right
Nov 18, 2002
There’s no changing your Outlook, it seems. Your cover story, Fangs and Fury (November 4) again shamelessly indulged in Hindu-bashing. My biggest concern is a Muslim or Christian kind of reaction from the Hindus. Both Islam and Christianity are intolerant towards religions other than their own. Hinduism, on the other hand, by virtue of its pluralist moorings, can accommodate all. Let’s hope Hindus retain this character and our intellectuals refrain from inciting them by writing anti-Hindu articles.
Satish K., Bangalore
The world sees Ariel Sharon as a right-wing man. But in Israel itself, he’s considered a moderate compared to ultra-rights like Benjamin Netanyahu. Back home, our Thackerays are not even as right-wing as Sharon. But still our press calls them the loony right. Will we need an ultra-right wing in India to save the rss from being labelled right-wing by our ignorant media?
Kishore, Wisconsin, US
After a hard-hitting story on the Dumbing Down of the media, Outlook returns to doing what it knows best: Hindu-bashing. Why do you hate tough-talking Hindus? Is being weak-kneed or indifferent ingrained in our culture and something that should not be protested or contested? The images of the US, Israel or Russia have never got sullied because of their anti-terrorism policies, even though their actions too are religion-specific. India’s image as a pushover pendulum stems from pseudo-secularist politicians, bureaucrats and media vehicles like yours which excel in armchair commentary. The piece would have been less biased had it also attacked the Imam Bukharis, the Syed Shahabuddins, the Communists et al. It leads one to believe that Hindus are the most insecure in their own country, rather than anywhere else.
Sridhar Iyer, on e-mail
It is a matter of concern that the Hindus in the country have been suppressed by all governments to keep their peace with the minorities as the latter are seen as a votebank by parties like the Congress and the Samajwadi Party. Why does the media always overplay the Hindu baddies and downplay statements by the likes of Imam Bukhari who when the Kargil war was being fought had asked the Muslims to refrain from participating in it as it was fought against the Muslims?
Roshan Shetty, Miami, US
Let me play devil’s advocate and ask a few things. Tell me if they aren’t true. Aren’t Muslims multiplying at an alarming rate all over the world? Isn’t it a fact that the Indian Constitution has gone out of its way to give Muslims extraordinary privileges by allowing them to marry four times? Why does the government finance only the Haj and no other pilgrimage in India?
Apurva Madia, Ahmedabad
Bravo Outlook. This is exactly the approach to take with the loony right, not just in India but wherever it shows up. And it’s rearing its ugly head out of many holes in the ground around the world. I hope the other media too does "the right thing". These loonies should be given no slack when they look for publicity and approval for their inbred thinking.
Yes, the loony right is playing spoilsport in the sphere of economic reform. But in matters of religion, they have been provoked by Muslim fundamentalists. Anyway, the bjp is in power only in a few states. What’s stopping the Communists in Bengal and the Congress elsewhere from advocating reform and modernisation? They should stop blaming the bjp for all ills plaguing this nation.
Lalit Bagai, Denmark
I agree with all that you say. But can anyone suggest one party I should vote for in the next elections? The bjp is still the best choice left to me.
Chandra Prakash Sinha, London
Why can’t you distinguish between the simi and vhp? The latter are fighting for Indian values and are nationalists while the former are anything but. Is secularism in our country served only when Imam Bukhari exhorts Muslims to wage a jehad from New Delhi or the Pope on Diwali announces plans for conversions from New Delhi? Why not arrest them? Is it because they are the state guests of ‘secular’ (read spineless) India?
Devang Vyas, London
Your cover story is a biased, one-sided theme. Fifty years after Independence, we have no intelligent Leftists or Congressmen. Thank god there are a few rightists then.
Nanda Gopal, Kozhikode
Your cover story picture (of a dog wearing a "Togadia, hai, hai" board around his neck) was a delight. I felt sorry for the poor creature. What an insult to him. Especially as he looks one with a fine pedigree.
R. Venkatesh Iyengar, Gulbarga
If the loony right needs to be reined in, what about the malicious and devious left (like Outlook)? What should be done about preventing you from spreading lies and disseminating your poisonous venom?
Vivek Gumaste, New York, US
It’s unfortunate that Indian politics has stooped so low as to call each other names rather than focus on real issues. The Sangh parivar hasn’t made things easy with their brand of Hindutva. But a large portion of the blame must go to the Indian media which excels in highlighting their slavish thoughts, lies and hypocrisy.
Prasad Thenkabail, New Haven, US
Loony right or retro left, muddling in the middle is all they achieve.
Veeresh Malik, Pune
Healing Achilles Heel
Nice Try, Mr Punj
Nov 18, 2002
Balbir K. Punj (Healing Achilles’ Heel, November 4) has emerged as one of the Vedic Taliban’s loudest ranters. Like others in the pack, he lunges to the left and the right to grab pieces of historical excrement with which to plug the giant hole that is their boat. Typical of Sanghi diversion is his attempt to explain the calm after Akshardham with this remarkable twist: "But fortunately, ‘secularists’ conducted themselves as responsible citizens." Responsible were those Hindu butchers who unleashed the carnage after Godhra. Will Punj also care to say that the government of Gujarat too conducted itself responsibly after Akshardham?
Mukul Dube, Delhi
Good read after a long while and a true analysis of the Muslim psyche. Secularists, please give us a break. To be a secularist in India, you have to be anti-Hindu, it seems. The US fights its own terrorism, even Israel does so. But we have to put up with a Musharraf because we have been tolerant for aeons. We live like second-class citizens in our own country, thanks largely to the Leftists and the Congress, whose think-tanks probably sit in Islamabad.
S. Joshi, Sydney, Australia
Punj has been weary of the likes of M.N. Roy and Romila Thapar "walking extra miles" to put history in correct perspective, but has himself travelled back 900 years to distort it. Mahmud Ghaznavi and others who invaded India were no emissaries of Islam but medieval warlords of different nationalities typical of those times. For another thing, Islam is a doctrinally tolerant religion and strictly prohibits violence except in self-defence. Like the Bhagavad Gita does, Islam permits battle, but even this Quranic sanction comes with numerous riders for exercising moderation. Ghaznavi et al were descendants of pagan mercenaries. It is due to the inherent tolerance of Islam, as much as the greatness of the consortium of religions we today call Hinduism, that India remained a predominantly Hindu country despite 600 years of Muslim rule. And that was when there were no human rights groups, no UN, no Security Council. If Punj can look at what utter barbarism invaders have committed elsewhere, wiping out such high cultures as of the Aztecs, he’d be less disposed to vilify Islam for the un-Islamic deeds of some Afghans/Persians/Turks/Mughals.
Shahid A. Abbasi, Pondicherry
Lampooning India’s loony right on the cover and giving it space on Page 17. Does Outlook’s right arm not know what the left is doing? Punj should ideally have featured on the blank space on the bottom left of your cover.
Nilesh Korgaokar, Mumbai
Can we have an end to Punj’s nonsense in your otherwise excellent magazine?
Bharat Punjabi, Toronto, Canada
To Sow The Whirlwind
Nov 18, 2002
The article on a possible opening partner for Zaheer Khan opened with a line which was in bad taste (To Sow a Whirlwind, November 4). The reference to a recent rail accident where nearly 100 people died was unnecessary. If the correspondent wanted to bring out the fact that the bowlers were trying to achieve a speed of 140 kmph (which is incidentally 10 kmph faster than the Rajdhani; we also have at least 10 fast bowlers who top 130 kmph, including Javagal Srinath), then I am sure there were better ways of achieving that goal.
Saptarshi Sanyal, New Delhi
Grass Is For Cows
Nov 18, 2002
What the Sahariyas are going through is a human tragedy and should be looked into immediately (Grass is for Cows, November 4). I was also amazed at naib tehsildar Mohan Lal’s comment that it was a Sahariya settlement and not a revenue village. What a colonial attitude! Someone should tell him the Brits left a long time ago. But perhaps they have left behind the bureaucratic ethos. The Sahariyas are the most hard-working people I’ve met (in Pakistan, across the border) and do not drink away 90 per cent of their earnings.
M.C. Punjdayya, Michigan, US
One Too Less
Nov 18, 2002
In the article Degeneration X (October 14), you quote Ravi Vyas as saying "The New York Review of Books has one individual Indian subscriber". This doesn’t sound plausible. I’ve been a subscriber to the Review for the last 10 years, and I’m sure there are others whom your survey has not discovered.
Nergis Dalal, Dehradun
What Women Want
That’s What You Think
Nov 18, 2002
The issue What Women Want (October 28) could just as well have been titled "Your Sensuous Side, Eve". What do you want—a man (take five), good sex, dance, fine clothes...talk poetry, Sita and release your energy, Shakti. Is this all we want? No way. We want fame, power, money, better jobs, equal pay, the right to spend the money we earn as we want to, freedom to travel unmolested, social sanction to walk alone into a hotel or cinema, freedom to make our own choices without our father, brother or husband knowing better and more.... Next time around, please take the trouble of finding out what we really want and not what you think we want.
Kalyani C., Ooty
A Lecturer In Prison
May the Force Be With You, Sir
Nov 18, 2002
Hats off, Outlook. I know columnists like Prem Shankar Jha can’t find anything right done by the security forces (A Lecturer in Prison, November 4). Apart from being a brute force and reckless killing machines, can they be any good? The secularist media in India has a definite agenda for the country. And this has to be followed by the successive governments of the country. If they decide a certain Geelani is innocent, how dare the security forces (already frustrated because of the scores of bottlenecks created by the so-called ngos and Leftists in the garb of human rights activists) arrest him and try their tactics on him? What was their problem in calling up Prem Shankar Jha and asking him whether they could proceed with the interrogation of this learned lecturer? That is the least the forces can do the next time, if there is a next time, that is.
B.N.S. Sastry, Cardiff, UK
The Leap Of Faith
Nov 18, 2002
The name of U.K. Gautam was inadvertently published as Sital Das in the article, Leap of Faith (November 11). The error is regretted.
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