21st Possible Futures

To Put Faith In Secularism

‘Secularism’ inhabits twin strands—one simply strives to control religion; another, more composite view, allows plural views on faith to coexist. Charting secularism’s progress in France and the US, Charles Taylor alights on the passionate debate it is generating in modern Europe and India.

Charles Taylor
The Anthropocene
Is the planet itself being changed by humans? All other futures are entailed in this one.
Pranay Sharma
The Anthropocene
Professor of Anthropology Kathleen D. Morrison on human's impact on the earth system
Pranay Sharma Interviews Kathleen D. Morrison
The mystical Gandhi doesn’t just die when ‘Harijan’ gives way to ‘Dalit’. In this very death, he also becomes a spectral force.
Ajay Skaria
Four activists and scholars with different religious identities take stock of what has changed for India’s ‘untouchables’ and what remains the same
Uttam Sengupta, Sunil Menon
New Left
New languages of politics will help free the system from the grip of corporate power
Aditya Nigam
Political psychologist Ashis Nandy speaks on the future of India, based on his reading of its past and present
Ajaz Ashraf Interviews Ashis Nandy
Kashmir: Memoir
Exile is a story that starts, and gets repeated, over and over.... This story will never end till the Pandit, the original Kashmiri, recovers what was lost.
Siddhartha Gigoo
Kashmir: Dialogue
Two writers. A ‘Kashmiri Muslim’, a ‘Kishtwari Hindu’. Both call themselves ‘A’. Can you tell whose voice is which? An enigma on the surface, a different clarity within.
Amit Kumar, Arif Ayaz Parrey
All that Islam needs for an inclusive, humane future is present in its own resources—scriptural and modern
Shajahan Madampat
Exactly a hundred years ago, the Great War was in full blast. The shock waves it set off still influence ‘modern’ sensibility.
Saikat Niyogi
Cities: Dialogue
Excerpts from a conversation between five diverse voices—architect Raj Rewal, activist Bezwada Wilson, conservationist A.G.K. Menon, poet-linguist Rukmini Bhaya Nair and artist-photographer Dayanita Singh
Sunil Menon, Satish Padmanabhan
What would Nehru see if he were to revisit India today? He’d be happy to see his basic blueprint in action. (So what if the details mess it up.)
Mani Shankar Aiyar
You could say it’s liberal democracy that grants literature freedom. Or maybe, the other way around. The onus is on the writer to set us free.
Paul Zacharia
The more we endeavour with science, the more we realise we do not know
Shobhit Mahajan
What if the science of prediction is a fictive process and nothing more? Is the future, then, even if loosely knowable, specifically unpredictable?
Kajal Basu
Talking about Mahasweta, the history that made her and her literary challenge to history, and the practice of translation. Two scholars in dialogue.
Sunil Menon, Gayatri Chakraborty Spivak, Samik Bandyopadhyay
Technology is not in itself a disruption, but a partner in jugalbandi with the ‘old’. But we must hearken to music’s politics as much as to its aesthetics.
T.M. Krishna
Memory is a contested field. Demagogues have tried to erase and rewrite it. State apparatuses have bent it to their needs.
Manas ‘Firaq’ Bhattacharjee
When the Anthropocene winter does come, what will it do to our food?
Soity Banerjee
Vetri Maaran on cinema in times of the ubiquitous camera, multiple screens for consumption and the democratisation of the craft.
Vetri Maaran
R. Prasad



Books were once engaged in with lusty physicality. Now, a tablet’s cool glow gives quiet satisfaction.
Parashuram Ray
It’s the season of predictions, so let’s be audacious: Twitter will be the human race’s #pathtosurvival
Abhinandan Sekhri
Narcissism is everywhere. Leave the selfie alone.
Dipsikha Thakur
Confession: I took a Facebook daily-fix break before writing this. Pl like and share!
Nandini Lal
E-tailing has rewritten the rules of selling—and how!
Arushi Bedi
Siddhartha Mishra on Pokemon mania, a gateway to VR revolution
Siddhartha Mishra
Stuti Agarwal on the ephemeral Snapchat
Stuti Agarwal
Bibek Bhattacharya takes a look at five unique apps that cover all your wandering and vacationing needs
Bibek Bhattacharya
Dating apps foster relationships with no strings attached
Arushi Bedi
Skype keeps the flame alive across 500 miles or more
Anoo Bhuyan
Stuti Agarwal on the Instagram experience
Stuti Agarwal
Food Apps
Satish Padmanabhan on how food delivery apps bring the best of delicacies to your doorstep in no time
Satish Padmanabhan
Choice has shrunk for virtual Jack Sparrows—alas, writes Martand Badoni. Then there’s Netflix.
Martand Badoni
LinkedIn connects job-seekers and providers
Arindam Mukherjee
Wikipedia stores all the free-flowing information we need
Siddhartha Mishra
Fitness Apps
Forget sloth! Fitness apps are here to exorcise the lazy monster in you
Satish Padmanabhan
Martand Badoni on how WhatsApp has redefined instant communication—and conflagration
Ushinor Majumdar
Mob Wallets
Mobile wallets are taking over the way Indians pay
Arindam Mukherjee
Law Apps
Apps serving up law are already active; many new ideas await developers
Ushinor Majumdar
Sexual violence against women is fine, exploitation too. But the heavens will come crashing if she watches porn. And yet she does!
Sreemoyee Piu Kundu
An honourable Svengali and his Mujib-speaking protege ply their trade in liberated Bangladesh. Imam weaves a hyper-realistic tale of tragedy, farce, idealism and power.
Leader Comment
As Outlook celebrates its 21st anniversary, we look at the exc­iting and ominous possibilities ahead
YouTube inverted the entire logic of scarcity and desire that drove us on hot, lonely afternoons to tiny cassette shops
Sunil Menon
Outlook in Rewind
10 Years Ago
Even in the still and serene surroundings of his 2,000-acre estate on the Sahayadri slopes in Chikmagalur in the Western Ghats, Ashok Kuriyan can feel the hustle-and-bustle and the pace of the Indian economy. At Balanoor Plantations, the "feelgood" factor has gripped every worker, including its MD Kuriyan. After all, despite a huge rise in input costs, it netted a cool profit of Rs 30 lakh this season, compared to a "no-profit, no-loss situation" in the previous one. "If we had not got the Rs 25 lakh subsidy last year, we would've been in serious trouble," says Kuriyan.