This refers to your cover story on the BJP’s mission to conquer the states that have stayed out of its control (Operation Akhil Bharatiya, March 22). God forbid, if the operation succeeds, the patient will die as the life-saving supply of oxygen—the praan-vaayu of pluralism and empathy—would be cut off!
Rakesh Agrawal, Dehradun
Outlook has outdone all other weeklies in its coverage of the pre-election mood in all the five states going to polls, including Pondicherry. Your magazine has clearly analysed the pro- and anti-incumbency mood prevailing in all these places, and the strengths and weaknesses of the contesting parties. We as a nation should strive to find leaders with clean records and good qualifications from the grassroots level.
There is a need to turn our nation into a ‘parivar-mukt Bharat’, not a ‘Congress-mukt Bharat’, as we need a national party like the Congress to keep the ever-growing BJP in check.
Rangarajan T.S., Bangalor
Whether it helps the BJP electorally or not, the saffron party has done enough to counter the DMK’s anti-Hindu stance (Saffron Spritz in Dravida Land, March 22). When the Karuppar Koottam channel, enjoying the DMK’s patronage, abused the Kanda Shashti Kavacham chant revered by millions, it was the BJP that came out with an innovative Vel Yatra to condemn the DMK and the channel. Seeing the adverse reaction of people to derogatory remarks on Lord Muruga, M.K. Stalin asserted that Hindus are a majority in the DMK. In his party manifesto, Stalin has promised aid up to Rs 1 lakh for pilgrimage to Hindu temples. But, in a land where bipolar politics is more real than religion, it is unclear how V.K. Sasikala’s sudden decision to step aside from politics and public life is going to help the BJP. The saffron party may perhaps storm the AIADMK’s citadel with the help of Sasikala and O. Panneerselvam the moment the AIADMK is defeated at the hustings. But with skyrocketing prices of petrol, diesel and cooking gas, and large numbers of the middle class and senior citizens incurring more expenses than their income, it is doubtful if the BJP could win more than five assembly seats in the state.
Kangayam R. Narasimhan, Chennai
This refers to Fang Shui: The Martial Art of Mithunda (March 29). West Bengal politics and filmstars go hand in hand. Whether young or not-so-young, the contribution of stars to bringing in the crowds to election rallies cannot be ignored, but expecting them to turn around the fortunes of any party would be unfair. Mithun Chakraborty has now completed his full circle from the Left to the BJP. He is bound to be clueless about the real issues that matter to people and would be uncomfortable attacking Mamata Banerjee as he was in the TMC not so long ago. We should not underestimate today’s voters, who have become quite smart and don’t get carried away by the charm of filmstars beyond a point.
Bal Govind, Noida
In his interview (‘Farmers Our Brothers, Misled by a Handful’, March 22), Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Kattar says nothing new about the ongoing farmers’ agitation. He drums up the familiar trope of ‘farmers being misled by a handful’, which the BJP and its cronies have been repeating ad nauseam ever since the agitation began against the three new farm laws enacted by the Centre. The lacklustre interview saw the CM attempt to plug the hole with darkness, which never works.
George Jacob, Kochi
This refers to Pope Francis’s whirlwind tour of Iraq (Sans Frontiers, March 22). The Pope is respected as a spiritual leader all over the world, mainly among Christians, irrespective of some controversies in the Vatican due to his moderately reformist approach. Iraqis have come out of a long period of strife and devastation, and their wounds are still fresh. The pope’s words of perennial wisdom, calling for greater unity among all faiths, are a soothing balm for the injured feelings of Christians, Muslims, Jews and others. No virtuous leadership professes hatred and violence. It is tragic that mostly self-declared spiritual leaders have been marketing different religious brands with the support of imposters donning outfits of various shapes, sizes and shades. They paint their trademarks on their foreheads for propagating the superiority of their own brand, causing unholy competition and clashes among people.
M.N. Bhartiya, Alto-Porvorim (Goa)
This refers to your Poliglot item on Hyderabad being ranked 24th by the Union ministry of housing and urban affairs on the ‘ease of living’ index, among 49 cities with million-plus populations (Hyderabad Blues, March 22). But for the emergence of the terroristic group called the Razakars, the Nizam’s rule in the erstwhile Hyderabad state had kept Hindu-Muslim amity intact for three centuries. Hyderabad’s architecture was cosmopolitan, heavily influenced by European and Islamic styles. The annexation of the state into the Indian Union after Independence replenished its diverse cultural heritage, especially its metropolitan character—a unique feature of Hyderabad. Present-day Telangana has nothing to be proud of except its capital city.
Seetharam B., Warangal
This refers to Spring Silence (March 22). India and Pakistan agreeing to follow the 2003 ceasefire agreement along the LoC is welcome, but at the same time it does not enthuse at all because it could be a ploy by Pakistan to bring the Kashmir issue to the fore after having failed repeatedly at the United Nations and other platforms. A few presidents and prime ministers of Pakistan have in the past delivered the same message of peace, but did nothing later to normalise Indo-Pak relations. Therefore, Pakistan PM Imran Khan putting the onus on India to start talks in order to bring peace in the region appears to be just a soothing balm and mere rhetoric. The truce comes at a time when relations with Pakistan have plummeted and the process of rapprochement has been stagnating for long due to Pakistan’s inability to address concerns about frequent attacks in India by Pakistan-trained terrorists. Pakistan is also unable to stop infiltration of non-state actors into our territory, which reveals its lack of sincerity to resolve issues with India in a peaceful manner. The truce is likely part of a game plan to pressurise India into a dialogue on Kashmir. The olive branch extended by Imran Khan to India without taking any action on the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks and the Pulwama attack on the CRPF only exposes his duplicity. India must keep a close vigil at the borders to thwart any nefarious designs.
K.R. Srinivasan, Secunderabad