Pakistan giving transgenders an ‘Option X’ on the passport is a progressive step in the direction of ‘right to identity’ (In and Around, July 10). It’s something India can emulate—instead of the government announcing printing the passport in Hindi (along with English) and inviting the wrath of people in non-Hindi states. Surely, our think-tanks can come up with better ideas.
K. Suresh Nair, Chennai
This refers to It’s more than Rocket Science Outlook’s cover story on ISRO (July 24). One need not be a rocket scientist to understand the achievements of ISRO, they are quite apparent. But, surely these good times came after many tries and failures. The national leadership over the decades—Indira Gandhi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Rajiv Gandhi and our scientist President, Abdul Kalam, gave priority to ISRO. This is one of the reasons why it is more efficient than other government programmes.
V.N.K. Murti, Pattambi
It is great to know that ISRO successfully launched 31 satellites from Sriharikota in June. Among these is the NUISAT, a satellite designed by the Noorul Islam University (NIU) located in Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu. According to NIU, the NIUSAT will monitor agricultural data and deal with disaster management. The fact is that this Kanyakumari-based university has conceptualised the satellite purely out of the aftermath of the gigantic tsunami that had hit many Indian coastal areas like Kanyakumari. Interestingly the university is well-equipped with all facilities, like a ground station to keep tabs on the NIUSAT from its Kanyakumari campus. On the whole, how this interesting story unfolding is inspiring.
P. Senthil Saravana Durai, Mumbai
It wasn’t just some complicated rocket science that placed ISRO in an enviable orbit, but the willingness to use every failure as a stepping stone to success, buoyed by the dedication and determination of a disciplined team.
Dr. George Jacob, Kochi
The impressive performance ISRO has shown throughout puts India on the world map when it comes to space technology, the most advanced knowledge field in the world. Although things already seem to be going well the government should invest more in space research so that an area which is already strong can be bettered. This will be infinitely beneficial for the country’s global image, which in turn will reap huge benefits as India will be able to command more of a say in matters of technology at an international level. And there is no doubting the fact that technology is the main driving force for both economics and politics in the world today. India is often seen as a primarily agricultural country. But look at the state of agriculture here—farmers all over are struggling to even break even and scores of poor farmers are literally dying under the load of loans. However, it is the tech sector in which India seems to be making the maximum progress.
M.K.Somanatha Panicker, Alappuzha
This is about the ground report from Rudrapur village of Baduria in West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district (And The Hyena Laughed, Jul 24), where communal riots had broken out recently. Riots such as these have taken place due to the deep divide engineered by political and religious leaders to serve their political ends, garner votes, keep the communal pot boiling, while they themselves are insulated from all unpleasantness. The RSS and BJP—whose evil hand is evident in Bengal—are playing havoc in all states, disrupting the peace with slogans and strategies such as ‘love jehad’, ‘ghar wapsi’, ‘appeasement of Muslims’, Uniform Civil Code, controversies about triple talaq and horrific lynchings of Muslims and Dalits in the name of cow protection on the merest suspicion of possessing beef or transporting cattle for slaughter. All this is vitiating the atmosphere in the country, and the BJP has singled out West Bengal and Kerala for special attention.
M.Y. Shariff, Chennai
The sudden spurt of communal violence in Bengal is surprising (Prophecy of Blood, Jul 17). It’s clear by now that religious occasions of Hindus and Muslims, which have been celebrated in harmony for centuries in Bengal, are being deliberately targeted by criminal elements of both communities to fan mutual hatred. There is a distinct method in this madness. But, while ordering an inquiry, the chief minister has tried to shield perpetrators by blaming forces from “across the border” for the misdeeds.
J. Akshobhya, Mysore
We look skywards in the hope that we are looking at gods, and satellites stare down at us.
V. Kumar, On E-Mail
The item in In & Around (Finally, A Coach For The Team, Jul 24) on Ravi Shastri’s appointment prompted this letter. The selection turned out to be a ridiculous sham, making the BCCI and the CoA a laughing stock. And the twist in the tale is Shastri recommending Sachin’s name as the batting consultant. The choice of coach had been pre-decided by the captain and the coach, in turn, decided on his support staff, totally ignoring the recommendations of three of India’s cricketing legends.
Shailendra Dasari, Bellary
The India-Pakistan Diary by Kiran More (Jul 24) was quite refreshing! A message of goodwill and love among humans is sent by such positive articles by notable people. Such articles are in tune with Outlook’s lofty ideals, fashioned under the late Vinod Mehta. Thanks to Kiran More and Outlook!
M.A. Ahad, On E-Mail
This refers to your leader comment, Saleem the Saviour (July 24). The spontaneous reaction of the Kashmiri people to the July 10 attack on a bus carrying Amarnath yatris proves that the centuries-old culture of brotherhood, tempered with Sufi philosophy, is alive in the Valley despite the efforts of a few Islamist, pro-Pakistan fanatics over the past few decades. The bus driver’s professional loyalty to his passengers deserves to be honoured. Kashmiris have long been at the receiving end of unjust policies and chronic maladministration. Reduced to their immediate identity as Muslims, their distrust is only natural and it would take much effort to reassure them of India’s determination to target only terrorists and hate-mongers.
M.N. Bhartiya, Goa
Bihar’s Grand Alliance has almost crumbled after Nitish Kumar’s resignation as CM of Bihar (Taint Tales From Lalooland, July 24). Deputy CM Tejashwi Prasad is already burdened with an FIR the CBI has filed against him in a land-for-hotel case. In fact, the reason why Nitish quit was because Tejashvi refused to leave himself. After all, the CM had to save his anti-corruption image. But, he might not be able to save his other image, that of being a BJP critic in the last 20 months. The BJP had already indicated that it would support JD(U) if the RJD withdrew support. LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan had also advised Nitish to switch to the NDA.
Now, all thanks to Laloo’s stubbornness to not let go has made Nitish play the game the other way by resigning himself. The JD(U) had seceded from the BJP-led alliance chiefly on the issues of communalism and the projecting of Narendra Modi as the PM candidate in the 2014 polls.
Buddhadev Nandi, Bishnupur
While the write-up rightly paints Laloo as the villain of the piece, it seems to suggest that his children were accidental casualties in the RJD supremo’s quest for pelf. Well, the first family of Bihar has always thought they were a law unto themselves. It’s brazen the way the children were made directors of different bogus companies. That said, it would be wrong to assume that Tejashwi’s or Tej Pratap’s political future has now become bleak. The state’s age-old caste system wouldn’t let Laloo followers desert him anytime soon. The seasoned neta knows this too well to acquiesce to Nitish’s demands of Tejashwi’s resignation, which may also send the wrong (read right) signals of his son’s culpability.
Vijai Pant, Hempur
Such well-timed raids will seem more a political ploy—and only if the acts lead to convictions would the sincerity behind them be evident. Laloo is anyway a past master in politics with his rustic ways, so what is now saddening is the opportunism one can see from the part of Nitish. The most grievous act, though, comes from the Congress. Clearly, the grand old party’s support to Laloo shows it is not against corruption but only against the BJP. Yet another silly step from a party that is anyway on the slide.
L.J. Singh, Amritsar
This refers to Shobhit Mahajan review of Angela Saini’s book, Inferior (Did Marie Curie Love Pink?, Jul 24). Education isn’t only about gaining knowledge or being trained in some craft, art or science; it’s about developing one’s ability to make sound judgement. Empowerment of women is largely dependent on the way they ‘think’. If she’s brought up in a way that makes her think she’s ‘inferior’, she has already lost out. This is one of the biggest impediments in the empowerment of women. George Herbert Mead had given his concept of the ‘generalised other’, according to which a boy and a girl constantly try to imitate the behaviour of family elders. It begins from the time a girl is gifted dolls and kitchen sets and boy toy vehicles and weapons. This is when socialisation through sexual division of labour begins. Even historical narratives, folktales and mythology perpetuate this—portraying men as aggressive and powerful and women as meek, weak, emotionally delicate and self-sacrificing.
Priyam Sinha, On E-Mail
This refers to The Second Among Equals (July 24), your story on the Opposition picking Gopalkrishna Gandhi as its candidate for vice-president. The consensus on Gandhi’s stature and his impeccable integrity has united 18 parties, which had missed the chance to field him for President. The cracks that had appeared within the Opposition during the delay in announcement of the presidential nominee seem to have been mended for now. His nomination proves that the Opposition parties have not given up their ideological war against the BJP. Of course, a vice-president of its choice would help the BJP-led government sail through with its bills in the Rajya Sabha, of which the vice-president is chairman, but if it plays along with the Opposition on this one, it could be good for its image, showcasing both its respect towards the lineage of the ‘father of the nation’ and its keenness in seeking the Opposition’s cooperation.
P.S. Kaur, On E-Mail
A line in your editorial comment (Saleem The Saviour, July 24) reads: “We owe our tattered humanity and our withered identity as a nation to saviours like Saleem Sheikh, who can move away from the mob and see people as just that.” It is a convenient thing to pick out a ‘humanitarian’ sounding story from an incident and project it to the readers for a conscience clearing of sorts. And the ‘liberal’ media is always on a lookout to find and praise a ‘good Muslim’, much like our film industry.
Akash Verma, Chennai
This refers to your story on Ayur studies (Kashayam is More Bitter, July 10). What you have stated is very mild. AYUSH is a big disaster of non-action, internal politics and power struggle. It is just not interested in expanding Ayurveda. There is no inspection and control of the products of big companies, and India gets shamed internationally as a result. The ministry does not face that, unlike us who live and work abroad.
Vinod Verma, Freiburg (Germany)
Your cover story on BJP president Amit Shah (July 17 ) was informative. It is not for nothing that the party has been romping home with flying colours in almost all elections since 2014. The success is due to the party’s cunning strategy under him in the Uttar Pradesh elections and the Dalit-vs-Dalit card in the presidential polls. Mayawati’s shop seems to have been closed for now. Your interview with him, unfortumately, did not touch Punjab at all, where the BJP has a sink-or-swim-together symbiosis with its once-arch rival Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD). In the assembly elections held this January, BJP stalwarts such as Anil Joshi faced a crushing defeat because of corruption allegations and the party’s indifference to ally SAD’s 10 years of “loot”, which was, in a away, akin to inviting the Congress.
Mohan Singh, Amritsar
This refers to Stem Cell Spinoff: Cord Blood Firms Turn Astrologers (July 24). Cord blood and its derivatives, stem cells, are the Holy Grail of modern medicine. Stem cells are bound to change the practice of medicine forever. A huge body of current science suggests various types of stem cells do posses healing properties, but to understand how to benefit from this technology will take years of careful human study. Scientists are still only at the threshold of understanding the benefits and minutiae of stem cell therapy or regenerative medicine as it is also known. There are more than 200 different types of cells and how they interact with one another is the challenge. Stem cells have drawbacks as well; they can cause tumors . Rejection by the human body is another major technical hurdle. We should wait for a clearer understanding of the underlying processes and large-scale clinical studies before jumping on the stem cell bandwagon. Right now the stem cell promise is only a good business idea. All human disease and actions according to some are genetic in origin. A point to ponder is: doesn’t the whole structure of personal responsibility collapse if we accept that “my genes made me do it”!
H.N. Ramakrishna, Bengaluru
I refer to K.C. Singh’s column on PM Modi’s Israel visit, and the long diplomatic history that led to it (The Hard Trek To Mount of Olives, July 17). Modi’s visit is a complete reversal of Indian foreign policy vis-a-vis Israel since 1947, and is a hard knock to the hapless Palestinians, who are stateless in their own lands since 1948.
M.S., On E-Mail
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