Friday, January 21, 2011



I e-mailed the following letter to Ms.Saba Naqvi, Journalist of the "Outlook", on the night of January 21,2011, in response to an E-mailed letter which I had received from her earlier in the evening, which is also reproduced below.Her letter was in response to a letter written by me to the Editor of the "Outlook" drawing his attention to a distortion of my view on some recent alleged incidents of some Hindus taking to anti-Muslim terrorism in an article by her titled "Swami And Friends?" which was carried by the print and online editions of the "Outlook" ( ). My original e-mailed letter to the Editor of "Outlook" is available at I had marked a copy of my letter to Shri Vinod Mehta, Editor of the "Outlook" as well as to Shri Sundeep Dougal, Editor of its online edition. An article titled "Agenda Journalim" written by me after e-mailing my letter to the two Editors is also relevant to this debate. It is available at

2.I am a proud Hindu. At the same time, I have been a strong critic of some aspects of Hinduism and sections of the Hindutva cadre, including the suspected resort to anti-Muslim reprisal terrorism by some members of my community. People who know me well will testify that normally I do not make a prestige issue of small things and am generous in overlooking acts of unkindness by others to me. I did not overlook Ms.Naqvi's action in attributing to me a view which is not mine because I saw it as an attempt by her to use my name in an exercise to project the Hindu community in negative colours. I have a terrible feeling that she rang me up not to get facts or insights, but to use my name in her article in a manner that would project the Hindu community in a bad light.


Dear Ms.Saba Naqvi,

I greatly appreciate your kind courtesy in writing to me.

2.I would appreciate it, if my letter to the Editor, Outlook, is published as written by me with whatever comments you may have.As mentioned in my letter, I did not make the statement which you have attributed to me.My attention to the quote attributed by you to me was drawn by some of my senior journalist friends in Delhi, who have known me for many years.They were taken by surprise by the quote since they knew well my views on the subject about which I have been writing and speaking since the first Malegaon blasts of September 2006.They strongly advised that I should draw attention to the incorrectness of the quote and not let it pass.I did so.

2. I was happy to have spoken to you over phone even though I did not know you because I have always had implicit trust in the journalists of the "Outlook". This was my first interaction with you. I would prefer that this remains the last since it has left a bad taste in my mouth.

3. I am taking the liberty of marking a copy of this to Shri Vinod Mehta, Editor, and Shri Sundeep Dougal, the Editor of the Online edition, who had also carried your article. I am proud to have had a long association with the "Outlook" for over a decade. I have been interviewed off and on by its journalists and its online edition has published many of my articles. I have never complained before during the last 10 years or so because I never had this kind of unhappy experience before.

4. I have always held the "Outlook" and its wonderful team of journalists in very great esteem. This unhappy experience with you will not change that esteem.

5.You are welcome to publish this letter to you too in full, if you so wish.If you decide not to do so, so be it.I will not look reduced in the eyes of people who have known me for years.

Warm regards.



Dear Mr Raman

Your letter has been forwarded to me by Mr Vinod Mehta, editor, Outlook. He has requested me to inform you that if you want the letter to be published we shall do so in next week's issue along with a reply from me.
We are also aware that the letter has been circulated on the internet. As this is the first time I am being accused of misquoting someone I have gone through my notes and really do not find any discrepency that should merit this response. Also you suggest that I have passed of your views as my own along with misquoting you. I recall discussing the fact that Indian Mujahideen was blamed for many incidents now being attributed to so called Hindu groups. You mentioned that the group responsible for the Coimbatore blasts appears to have lost its fire-power. Such routine information has been written as facts in the copy as they indeed are.
Although I remain an admirer of your no nonsense views these are hardly original ideas that I would pilfer from someone else.
Please do let me know if you would like your letter to be published.
All the best
Saba Naqvi
Bureau Chief (Delhi)

1 comment:

shaan said...

She may not have done it deliberately. But she may have taken the notes wrongly as she may have had a notion strongly embedded in her mind which made her hear it wrong. Belonging to a non-Hindu community she should have taken care to ensure that she is impartial and her own views don't impact what she writes, but she has failed to do it. Many journalists today are like this and their editors are reluctant to take action. Consequently people's trust in the media gets eroded.