Our government has got its priorities in a knot (Silence is Audible, Jul 12). Agriculture, which provides livelihood to over 70 per cent of our population, is being grossly neglected in favour of the IT, service and manufacturing sectors. It does not help that our agriculture minister is involved more with the ipl and icc than in the affairs of our farmers. While our rich are caught in the ‘Superpower India’ hyperbole, our poor struggle for one square meal a day. It is starting to look like France in the 18th century or Russia before the Revolution. I hope the ‘Audible Silence’ of our poor is not the calm before the storm. As for Mani Shankar Aiyar, his column ‘The poor of India are doomed’ maintains the Congress culture of blaming the predecessors. First, the party blamed the British, then the Janata regime, now Mani Shankar Aiyar blames the Gowda-Gujral governments. Never mind if the Congress has ruled this country for more than 50 out of the 63 years that it has been independent. Why only the poor of India, Mr Aiyar? The whole of India is doomed, thanks to the Congress and its inept policies. G. Natrajan, Hyderabad
Jimmy Carter in a speech in 1979 had said, “Human identity is no longer defined by what one does, but by what one owns.” The same seems to hold true of India today. The poor are where the votes come from but they seldom have a say in determining policy. Rahul Mudholkar, Mumbai
Our problems today can be traced back to the ’90s when real issues were replaced by emotive Mandal and Mandir issues since they required hardly any intellect or vision, just caste and religion to ignite the partisans. So the bjp took up cudgels for Hindutva, the Samajwadi Party and its ilk made minorities their cause, the Communists always had the labourers, the bsp adopted the scheduled castes while regional parties like the dmk, Trinamool etc rallied around local aspirations, leaving no one to think about issues like inflation, agriculture or international affairs. Sudhir Panwar, Lucknow
The middle class in India is not one entity: it’s fragmented in thought and identity. It’s just a phrase invented by economists. To expect this patchwork population to come together and protest is too much to ask. Ram Yeggina, on e-mail
What can a people say when they have reproduced so much that it’s hard to count the citizens, let alone plan and provide for them. Silence is the only answer they can have. Rakesh Krishnan, Kigali, Rwanda
Remember the old saws: Silent waters run deep and beware the fury of the silent man. Subodh Khanna, Kanpur
Of course, the bandh had to be a success, what with lumpen elements destroying public property worth crores and forcing their diktat on innocent citizens so brutally. T.N. Mehta, New Delhi
If a picture is worth a thousand words, the expression on the face of the lady buying vegetables from the vendor in the picture inside says it all. Kangayam R. Narasimhan, Chennai
The rice on the cover of Outlook is Rs 66 a kg, not Rs 35. Brig Lakshman Singh, Noida
It’s sad that where its cover story bemoans rising prices, Outlook dedicates its first page to Taj Holidays, the fourth to a Samsung led TV, the sixth to George Clooney and Omega, the eighth to Roca, the 10th to Honda and so on till the fruit of the loom! The inside story quotes Congress and rss views on the “credit card culture” and, lo and behold, you have two full pages of the Visa Debit Card! Amitava Lahiri, Gurgaon
Montek keeps saying prices will come down with a good monsoon. Don’t we know that already—only god can help us. Srinivasan Vishal, Doha
Apropos of Unfuelled Anger (Jul 12) on the absence of protests against rising food prices, I am 66, and remember how, in college, students would readily participate in protests over important public issues. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case.
From where did you get the current price of sugar at Rs 45 per kg in your cover story Silence is Audible (Jul 12)? In fact, it was between Rs 27 and 39 per kg in June 2010, dipping further in July. Was it to sensationalise the issue that you introduced a variation of 50 per cent? In fact, what you should have mentioned was how cane prices, which constitute 60 per cent of the sugar cost, have gone up by 150 per cent, from Rs 100 to Rs 250 per quintal, the direct beneficiary of which is the farmer. O.P. Dhanuka, Riga Sugar Co Ltd, Calcutta
Our correspondent replies: The figure, as we mentioned, was the official June average for Delhi, as recorded by the consumer affairs ministry’s price monitoring cell.
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