I am writing this open letter to FHM India, due to a “Tip” that appeared in “Earn your summer man stripes” article in FHM India’s September 2014 Issue.
So what is the way to earn summer man stripes, according to the folks at FHM India?
Pee in Pangong Tso!
Yes that’s right, a global men lifestyle magazine, advised its readers to go to Ladakh, see Pangong Tso and then pee in it! And then they justified it by saying that it is fine, because three fourth of it is with China!
For someone like me, who loves to visit Ladakh again and again and has firsthand seen the ecological damage being done to it by irresponsible tourists, this article represented all that is wrong with tourism in India. Hence I had to write the following letter to the editor of FHM India.
Dear FHM India,
I am appalled by the juvenile behavior and utter contempt for nature and decency exhibited in your September issue, that too on the pretext of earning man stripes! Even more appallingly, you attempted to justify it by giving it a patriotic fervour.
At a time when the world is attempting to move towards responsible tourism, in order to minimize impact of travel, such an advice, published in a lifestyle magazine is utterly disgusting and makes me question the ethos of not only the writer, but also the editor who approved such an article!
Shores of Pangong Tso are already littered with bottles and waste left behind by irresponsible tourists, and now I shudder to imagine the stink, that would come out of it, if people started following your advice!
For someone who has traveled four times to this natural wonder, and each time kept even the chewing gum wrapper in his pocket, so that it could be disposed of later at a safe location, I personally feel offended on seeing such callous attitude exhibited in your magazine.
My friends and friends of friends are equally appalled and disgusted by this, a fact apparent enough on my Facebook post, which received far more comments and shares than any of the post on your official Facebook page!
While I have received recommendations ranging from reporting you guys to environment and tourism ministry to actually filling a PIL against your publication, as a strong advocate of freedom of speech, I leave it up to you to decide where you stand now and in future. Because the last thing I want to do is stifle your ability to make a fool of yourself, in front of your most loyal readers and followers.
I know that I cannot support any magazine financially, which engages in such callous and destructive attitude and won’t be renewing my subscription of FHM India in future, unless an immediate apology is published by you in your magazine. Furthermore, I will also recommend others to not buy such a juvenile magazine and instead spend their hard earned money on magazines with substance, class and responsible attitude.
An enraged traveler and ex-avid reader of FHM India