I write in response to Outlook’s cover story about the possible advent of a two-fold world order again, involving China, in addition to the US (The New Silk Road To Empire, May 15). Despite the rest of the world evolving in a certain way, there being regional centres of power, America still continues to be at the helm of crucial world affairs. It still has enormous reach, and readily uses its military hardware (for good or evil). China, though strong in many respects, doesn’t inspire the confidence the world’s nations easily repose in the Americans.
India has come a long way in terms of development and especially economic clout, but its awful administration—where power and the fruits of democracy reside only in a thin, creamy layer—and equally terrible infrastructure have held back its progress. Meanwhile, China has stolen a march only by dint of discipline that only a one-party nation can impose on its polity, people and economy. The Americans have realised the Chinese mood of expansion too, and has partnered India in resisting it. Any which way, the coming century should be an Asian century, and India and China should be its two focal points.
Ramachandran Nair, Oman
We witness a historic change destined to transform the world. The developed world which, for over a century has meant the West—US, Canada, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand and Japan—is being rapidly overhauled in terms of economic size by the developing world. The western view has been that through globalisation the rest of the world would become increasingly westernised, with the adoption of free markets, import of western capital, privatisation, rule of law and democracy. They thought these fundamentals would change little with China’s rise, that China would acquiesce in the status quo. But such assumptions are grossly misconceived. The rise of China will change the world in the most profound ways. For India, it’s a time to be wise. Many believe that at every confrontation, “India seems to blink and then go hysterical”. It’s time to rescue the Indian reading of China from defence analysts, security experts and technocrats. Let us try to make Chinese history part of our curricula. It’s our biggest neighbour; it’s time to break the grim perception it has in our minds. As far as OBOR is concerned, since India lacks the resources to set up a competing network, it may be prudent to participate in those parts of OBOR which improve India’s connectivity to major markets and resource suppliers.
Col (retd) C.V. Venugopalan, Palakkad
China’s economic figures are all smokes and mirrors. For long, it has belittled democratic forms of governance, justifying its style of leadership as beneficial for society. However alluring the achievements of China may be, democracy is best suited for a multi-lingual, multi-faith, multi-ethnic society like India.
Ramakrishna Hosur, On E-Mail
It’s fashionable to talk about China’s ascendancy these days, but the superpower role in international politics is still being fulfilled by the US. China remains a bristly predator and thus has little credibility, as do its products and brands. That said, one thing is clear—India will be irrelevant in the world arena, thanks to our myopic politicians.
D.K., On E-Mail
China has developed on the shoulders of borrowed western technology. An expansionist power, it’s asserting itself too early and has a long way to go before it can dominate its neighbourhood, forget US and Europe.
With the isolationist government of Donald Trump, America will fast lose its influence over its old allies. Look at the exchange they have over the funding and operation of Nato! South Korea, Japan—they are all important trading partners with the US; what does Trump have to say about trade ties with these countries vis-a-vis China? Actually, the US-China trade relations make China America’s truly significant partner. The US has capital investments in other nations, leading them to feel they have a stake in the US. But how much does the US government earn from private investments in other countries? Also, why can’t India and China resolve their old disputes for mutual benefit?
Aditya Mookerjee, Belgaum
“With policies like Aadhaar for cows, there’s little hope of a greater global role for India.”
Dinesh Kumar, Chandigarh
This refers to your interview with Hurriyat Conference leader Mirwaiz Umer Farooq (‘Kashmir could lead to a nuclear accident if there are no talks’, May 15). There is little chance of violence and stone-pelting ending in the near future even after the army chief’s stern warning. The only ray of hope is in CM Mehbooba Mufti’s recent statement acknowledging that only PM Narendra Modi can resolve the conflict between India and Pakistan, thereby ending the stalemate in the Valley. It’s high time New Delhi resumed talks with Kashmiri leaders to restore normalcy.
K.R. Srinivasan, Secunderabad
B.N. Roy is way off the mark in his letter about China and the UN (The Curious Case, May 15). The United Nations was founded after the end of the second World War. To become permanent members were the US, Britain, France and the erstwhile Soviet Union, leaving the fifth slot vacant. The US, along with France and Britain, were in favour of getting Formosa—now Taiwan—to fill that place. Pt Jawaharlal Nehru suggested that the slot be filled by mainland China, which is PCR.
Mani Sheshadri, Chennai
This refers to Six Point Nothing (May 8) by Sachin Nirmala Narayanan on Chetan Bhagat “literature”. Bhagat’s novels are stuffed with the escapism much sought after by the stressed out and the langourous. Literature enlightens and unravels the minute nuances of thought and human conduct—frailty and stupidity, utility and futility, evil and virtue, mystery and destiny—all aimed at refining human nature and subduing the savage in man, besides jettisoning hypocrisy.
J.N. Bhartiya, Hyderabad
Your cover story on AAP (Error in the Machine, May 8) was topical and informative. Arvind Kejriwal and AAP came to power by capturing the imagination of those who were fed up with the deeply ingrained ills in the system of governance. They were seen as crusaders who carried the hope of a new India free from corruption. And they did manage to ensure the lowest power and water tariffs, besides increasing spending on education and healthcare, and bringing down corruption among government officials. So how did they become unpopular? Because, instead of focusing on his strengths, Kejriwal was busy blaming everyone else for his failures—the Centre, and now even EVMs. What can be the fate of a ship whose captain blames the wind and the waves? It is the dharma of the captain to take the ship across troubled waters and reach the cargo and the passengers to their destination safely.
B. Unnikrishnan, Kochi
This refers to Veil Can’t Hide This Sorrow (May 1) on triple talaq. Members of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board are being adamant on their stand in favour of retaining the practice even as woman after Muslim woman is coming out with stories of how they were made to suffer by in-laws misusing the triple talaq provision. Only a fool will deny that the way triple talaq is being practised in India, under the patronage of the clergy, has turned the lives of many Muslim women into hell. However, in the form prescribed in the Quran and the Sunnah, talaq is still the best way to end a marriage in case of dispute.
Aleem Faizee, On E-Mail
Pakistan is only bringing shame and disgrace to India. It is waging proxy war on our country. It exports terrorism and prints counterfeit currency, besides helping stone-pelters and separatists to create chaos and disturbances in India. Unprovoked firing and shelling across the border also continue unabated, and our soldiers are being beheaded. Even women and girl students have started pelting stones at our valiant soldiers. All this happens because we are taking it lying down and not retaliating properly.
Are we afraid of facing Pakistan, which is just one-fifth the size of India? This tarnishes the image of the BJP in general and PM Narendra Modi in particular. We must explore options to bring Pakistan to its knees without waging war as both countries are nuclear powers. Instead of asking the US or the UN to declare Pakistan a terrorist state, we should declare it ourselves and act accordingly.
Let’s cancel the Indus Waters Treaty to teach them a lesson. Let’s appoint Dr Karan Singh, son of the erstwhile Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir who signed the treaty of accession with India, as the main spokesperson on Kashmir. Let’s withdraw the most-favoured trading partner status we have given Pakistan without any reciprocation from it. Let’s snap all links with Pakistan, as it is in economic doldrums and will not be able to withstand it.
S.P. Sharma, Mumbai
Dear Editor, Outlook
This is in reference to your cover story Ugly Fraud in Fairness Tube (May 1). We are extremely surprised and disappointed to find that a reputed magazine like Outlook ran the story based on a sub-judice consumer case, with only one-sided inputs by Paras Jain and Nikhil Jain in reference to our brand Fair and Handsome, and without referring the matter to us. Surprisingly, you claim Emami did not respond to Outlook’s e-mail query even though no one from Outlook had contacted us for this cover story.
The article contains many invalidated and incorrect information regarding the case, which seem to have been provided to you by the complainant, to mislead the readers by creating a false impression of having won the case. The half-truths of the case, thus represented in the article, have greatly damaged the image of our brand. Emami has not paid any money to the consumer court or pulled out any ads as claimed by the Jain brothers, since the appeal was admitted by the state commission and was under judicial consideration.
To apprise you of the current status of the case: the judgement of the District Consumer Forum (on which your article is based), which had held the Fair and Handsome advertisement as misleading, has been set aside by the state commission by a judgement dated May 1, 2017. This judgement has been passed on the following grounds:
(1) The state commission felt that the district forum was not right in arriving at a conclusion that the advertisement is in contrast to written statement by considering only a few lines of the written statement out of context.
(2) Reports from reputed labs and research agencies (like IMRB International) have been ignored while giving the finding.
(3) The state commission held that the complainant has also not produced any expert evidence except his own affidavit by stating he had used the cream and it had no effect on him.
(4) The complainant has also not appeared before the district forum, nor was the product in question produced before the district forum.
(5) No evidence was filed before the district forum by the complainant about the condition of his skin prior and subsequent to the use of the said product.
In view of above discussion, it was found that while passing the impugned order, the district forum has not considered the entire material on record. Therefore, the impugned order has been set aside and the case has been remanded back to the district forum. We request you to kindly publish a corrigendum to this effect in a prominent position so that your esteemed readers are aware of the correct scenario and not misled by incorrect and outdated information shared by biased individuals.
We feel that, as a neutral, fair and unbiased publication, you will appreciate our position and concern. We solicit your cooperation to project the case in a rightful and fair manner.
Mahasweta Sen, Head (Corporate Communication), Emami, Calcutta
The correspondent replies: The orders passed by the district consumer court clearly stated that Emami’s claim of “fairness” was a “misrepresentation to the public at large”. The district court had ordered “Emami to pay damages of Rs 15 lakh”. That Emami eventually chose not to pay, whatever the reasons, constitutes no inaccuracy on our part. The court also asked Emami to stop misleading ads. A copy of the order indeed bears these out. We first made a telephonic inquiry seeking comments at +91-33-6613 6264 and were referred to the e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org, but failed to get a response. The relief given to the Emami group by a higher consumer court on May 1, cited in your letter, was granted after our story was published.
The profile of Mr Ramesh Chauhan, founder of brands such as Bisleri, Maaza, Thums Up and Gold Spot, which appeared in the April 3, 2017, business special issue of Outlook magazine (India’s 50 Greatest CEOs Ever), mentioned the net worth of Bisleri to be Rs 1,200 crore. The company, however, disputes the figure since it does not release net worth estimates to the public. The story also inadvertently mentioned that Chauhan sold his brands to Pepsico, which is incorrect. He actually sold his brands to Coca Cola. The error is regretted.
I write in response to Outlook’s cover story on the Aam Admi Party and Arvind Kejriwal (Error in the Machine? May 8). One of the disappointing things about AAP is its utter inflexibility. The BJP, the party ruling the MCD, discarded the non-performing old set in a tacit admission of non-performance, fielded fresh faces and yet swept the civic polls. Why? People who had experienced the way AAP performed realised that the cure offered was worse than the disease.
K. Suresh, Bangalore
According to your cover story, AAP did a lot more good than other parties and the media circus is to blame for the BJP’s succes. And yet the writer attacks Kejriwal too. Indians want transparency in government, and that is AAP’s USP. If the people fall prey to media manipulation, AAP can do nothing about it. People don’t want development; they want sugar-coated promises. They are ready to trade their hunger, suffering and injustice with illusions of grandeur. Let them face it now.
Nasar Ahmed, Karikkudi
AAP’s severe drubbing at the MCD polls shows that Kejriwal is no match for PM Narendra Modi’s charisma. That Kejriwal refuses to accept the verdict shows he will never learn his lessons. AAP couldn’t connect with the people in the past two years, and failed to build mass campaigns on civic issues. Besides blaming ‘faulty’ EVMs for their dismal show in Punjab, Goa and MCD and throwing darts at the PM, Kejriwal has precious little to say.
K.R. Srinivasan, Secunderabad
One mistake Kejriwal made was in starting a political party without realising that “to succeed in politics, it is often necessary to rise above one’s principles”. He promises to eradicate corruption, but every action he took towards that end has invited an opposite, negative reaction. All his ministers were street-fighters, and messed it up in governance when made ministers.
A.S. Raj, On E-Mail
The BJP’s strategy of beating 10 years of non-performance has paid off. Kejriwal ignored basic duties in Delhi to indulge in flights of fancy in Goa and Punjab. Looking within is not an AAP quality as blaming or accusing others is part of its DNA.
Padmini Raghavendra, Secunderabad
Kejriwal and AAP represent the disappointment of an electorate that yearned for cleaner, more accountable politics. The recent turn of events, however, seems to mark the beginning of the end of that dream.
George Jacob, Kochi
Except for reverses in Delhi and Bihar, PM Modi has perfected his technique of harvesting votes. The most significant point made by the Delhi voter was the rout of the Congress. AAP comes across as little more than a one-election wonder.
J. Akshay, Bangalore
AAP tried to run before it could learn how to walk. Little wonder it fell down flat. The rookie party started paying more attention to political expediency than to probity. Kejriwal brought some reforms in power and water tariffs, but this was small change compared to the high expectations from him. When all Kejriwal did was snort and cry—about the L-G, the Centre, Modi and about EVMs—people had a second, hard look at their idol and AAP’s downhill walk in terms of perceptions began. Kejriwal should do a course correction and become the humble, sensitive person he was, not the dictatorial know-all he has become.
Rakesh Agarwal, Dehradun
In 2015, AAP denounced the VIP culture, and yet its ministers soon embraced the same culture wholeheartedly. Many members of the party, born out of the anti-corruption movement, were booked for corruption. Still, the leaders defended the erring members. Many upright founding members, like Prashant Bhushan, were thrown out because they dared to voice dissent and demanded debate. AAP became a one-man party where only Kejriwal’s writ runs. Instead of governing Delhi properly, he was only interested in increasing his tally in other states, but to no avail. MCD results are an indication of people’s disillusionment.
M.C. Joshi, Lucknow
That the BJP’s performance in the MCD has been pathetic is to say the least. AAP’s undoing has been their playing the victim card throughout their charge in Delhi, though, admittedly, the Centre did make things tough for them. As for the Congress, they should seriously look at a change in leadership. Let us hope the MCD does something tangible this time, instead of being bogged down in fights and controversies at the citizen’s cost.
Pradeep Mathur, Delhi
Kejriwal was not undone by EVMs, but by his own faults. He was the only vote-catcher in AAP, but voters saw him concentrate on everything else but Delhi. AAP focused on the negatives of opponents rather than the good work it did.There was also a rift within AAP and it was unable to present a new narrative, while bijli, paani and anti-corruption have become stale and unattractive.
C.V. Venugopalan, Palakkad
AAP has made much headway in a short span of time—government in Delhi and a good showing in Punjab. In comparison, the BJP took a much longer time to establish itself. Like any other party, AAP too has made mistakes. Like any other leader, Kejriwal too offered development and good governance, but for over-activism and vigilantism in the beginning, and controversies over fake degrees, sleazy videos and extortion charges involving ministers later. Who else is a sacred cow in Indian politics? Once he got into politics, Kejriwal too was tarred in the deep muck.
M.Y. Shariff, Chennai
This refers to ‘Criticising Modi constantly did not make good politics’ by AAP candidate Abhinav Mishra, who lost the municipal election from Ward 57, Rohini. It seems Arvind Kejriwal forgot that punching ‘Hit Me’ sandbags can never win you a real medal.
RB, On E-Mail
This refers to Done In By More Theatrics Than Action. Free water and cheap electricity mean loss of revenue. Combined with so much money spent on self-advertisement, this ensured AAP was left with no money to fulfil any other promises.
P.B. Joshipura, Suffolk (Virginia, US)
Voters can’t be bought with ‘alms’ anymore, but won over by strengthening their ‘arms’.
Rajneesh Batra, New Delhi
This refers to Six Point Nothing (May 8) by Sachin Nirmala Narayanan. I have read every book penned by Chetan Bhagat and make it a point to never miss his column. Yes, he writes trash and loves populism as much as our politicians do. His last two books have invited controversy, with allegations of plagiarism. He is an ‘inspirational’ writer with a big ego, and whether or not you include him in a syllabus, he has already made his mark as the ‘best trash writer in India’.
V.N.K. Murti Pattambi, Pattambi
What about the allegations of plagiarism levelled by a woman writer against Chetan Bhagat? She alleged that Bhagat copied the main theme and substantial content from her already published short story. Bhagat has refuted the allegation and called it unfounded, but he has not challenged it in a court of law. The woman writer, on the other hand, has given a full account of why and how she has made the allegation. If there is smoke, there must be a fire.
Parshuram Gautampurkar, Sawai Madhopur
Apropos Red Bumps on the Highway, May 8, I penned this poem:
They flocked togetherIn hoards and drovesPouncing uponUnsuspecting soldiersThey let their bullets outAll the army men succumbedTo the MaoistsWho felt they had won their battleA battle that leftChildren orphanedYou women widowedFathers having to bury their sonsMothers drowned in tearsWeeping and sobbingCrying their hearts outAnd more importantly a battleThat wiped out humanityFrom the face of the earth
Alok Vinod Kulkarni, Hubli
This refers to A Girl, A Basketball, A Stone (May 8) on the students’ protests in Kashmir. What is the state government doing? One day they allow schools, colleges and shops to open and the next day they impose curfew because of the violence that ensues. The students must be feeling that the government treats them callously. The government doesn’t seem to know how to work for its own interests. No wonder the people are no longer taking it seriously.
Social media is being used to spread misinformation, and that is turning Kashmiri youngsters into radical Islamic extremists. There should be no doubt over the fact that Kashmiris are not fighting for independence but the rule of Islam. Pakistan will fight India to the last Kashmiri.
Rajiv Chopra, Jammu
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