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Dec 31, 2012
Exit Stage Right Lead of His Own

Let us accept that doing business in any country, and particularly in India (with its many states and their many parties in power), is a tough proposition. In this scenario, Ratan Tata has done a commendable job (Exit Stage Right, Dec 17). Indian cars like the Tata Indica or Nano should be considered a national pride, even if they are far from perfect. Remember Ralph Nader’s immortal comment—“unsafe at any price”—about American cars. Hopefully, RNT successor Cyrus Mistry will take to new heights the business conglomerate which does business in a far better way than the others who made it big under the licence raj.

Narendra M. Apte, Pune

Tata Sons, the holding company, does not have more than a 10 per cent share in the group, except perhaps in Telco, where it might be 16 per cent. This is no exception, but almost a rule in the corporate world, that ‘owners’ have only a 2-5 per cent stake but wield all the power in the company. That said, Tata companies are dependable. You can invest in low cycles of stockmarket, and then forget about them. The bonus and dividends over the years, or even in 10 years, can help you recover your investment.

B.V.G. Rao, Hyderabad

None of the Tata Group companies is a symbol of excellence. Instead, they’re like government-run companies where the decision-making is slow and the work ethic pathetic. Mistry was one of the members on the committee to select a successor for Ratan Tata, and ended up becoming the successor himself. All in the family, ultimately. What a sham!

Kiran Voleti, Chennai

RNT is retiring at a time when the conglomerate has started to stumble thanks to the group’s telecom fiascos. Mistry will have to squeeze out all his business acumen to steady the ship.

K.C. Kumar, Bangalore

Do the Tatas use the complexity of our regulatory environment as a strategic strength?

Ashok Lal, Mumbai

Unreservedly proud of Ratan Tata and the group and their success in showing the world what Indians can do.

Atul Chandra, Mumbai

RNT is more of an industry leader than a businessman. His frugal lifestyle, personal humility and dedication to the group put him in a league of his own.

Rishi Vyas, Kangra

Heartening to hear that RNT, post his retirement, plans to set up a veterinary hospital of international standards in Mumbai. An ardent dog-lover, he can at last devote time to his ‘pet’ project.

Beena Mathur, Pune

As per reports, Tata Motors rejected Pakistan’s request for 380 Tata Sumo Grandes for their police, because of its involvement in 26/11. The group could have made more profit, but for them the country came first. I wish our government could also emulate them.

Mahesh Kapasi, New Delhi

It was on these pages that Outlook carried a rant by Arundhati Roy against the Tatas, painting them as blood-sucking evil capitalists. Now it has a whole cover story singing paeans to the man. Is this Outlook’s idea of ‘balanced reporting’?

Ramesh Raghuvanshi, Pune

Dec 31, 2012
A Half-Turn In History Throbbing Temple

Apropos Swapan Dasgupta’s column on Dec 6, 1992 (A Half-Turn in History, Dec 17), what have we gained, and what have we lost? A 464-year-old heritage mosque was destroyed, but there’s no sign of a temple in its place. Our secular fabric has been forever riven; the leaders who championed the Ayodhya cause are now marginalised. Time, I guess, has paid its dividends.

M.Y. Shariff, Chennai

Seeing Swapan Dasgupta write an apologia for Hindutva, and that too as a take-off from an anti-social act, was no surprise. But his debunking “the idea of India” in the very first paragraph certainly was.

Anwaar, Dallas

Swapan must be thanked for having the courage to stand up to inane Indian pseudo-secularists. In India, we have belief systems whose core philosophy is based on hatred of others and then they have the temerity to accuse Hindus of starting a hate movement. It’s obvious that Ayodhya was a reactive movement to this saga of hypocrisy.

Arun Kumar, London

The author is right, the Ayodhya movement is still a work in progress. The kind of positive social awakening this movement should have generated is yet to be realised.

Ashutosh Kaul, Toronto

Ramjanmabhoomi was in no one’s consciousness till the late ’80s. Whatever the spin, it came as a hate-the-Muslims movement which is unacceptable to me as an Indian.

R. Saroja, Mumbai

Dec 31, 2012
Fundamentally Wrong Nothing Moronic

I agree with Bhaichand Patel (Fundamentally Wrong, Dec 10). Ram Guha is a decent writer, but I don’t think he’s the last word on Hinduism.

Ramesh Nambiar, New Delhi

Loved Patel’s piece. I’m a practising Christian but a great admirer of Hinduism, in fact, of all religions. Hinduism’s beauty lies in its all-encompassing, tolerant outlook on life. Fundamentalism of any kind can only be blamed on politicians.

Col Romy Sakharia, Kochi

Hindu fundamentalism is not an oxymoron. A Hindu can surely be a fundamentalist, maybe a reluctant one. Malegaon and the Samjhauta Express blasts prove it.

Richa Jayal, Dehradun

Dec 31, 2012
438 Kms Of Mileage Misled Step

Apropos 438 Kms of Mileage (Dec 17), Amit Baruah forgets that Porbandar has been a crime capital for six-odd decades. I’ve been visiting the place for long and remember times when private citizens would move with bodyguards.

Madhukar, Hyderabad
Dec 31, 2012
The Cops’ Eye View Misled Step

How come Outlook is sympathetic to officers in jail (Cops’ Eye View)? Didn’t you write about their wrongdoings and fake encounters? Had Modi protected them, you’d have criticised him for doing so. And what do you really mean by “nondescript posting”?

Abhijit Kane, Mumbai
Dec 31, 2012
NaMo, NaMo, NaMo Misled Step

Apropos NaMo, NaMo, NaMo (Dec 10), proportionally, Gujarat has the most Muslims in the police force. Even Syed Shahabuddin has accepted that Muslims in Gujarat are better-off than in other states. Most of all, Modi’s reputation of incorruptibility shines stainless.

Rajiv Chopra, Jammu
Dec 31, 2012

Suchitra Balasubrahmanyan is wrong in saying dissenting views find no space in the local media or in public discourse (Opportunity Costs of a Leader). Instead, local newspapers are full of anti-Modi reports and editorials. And what does she mean when she laments the “lack of access to diverse views through the media or public”? That people in Gujarat have no access to national news channels, which are mostly unkind to Modi?

Saroja B., Ahmedabad

It’s sad that the UPA has not been able to call Modi’s bluff.

Gilbert D’Souza, Bangalore

Dec 31, 2012
The Colours Of Fallacy Left in the Cold

Mulayam Singh’s actions in the FDI debate were predictable (The Colours of Fallacy, Dec 17). As for his Left leanings, he has been using the Left since H.K.S. Surjeet’s time. The SP decimated the Left in UP through defections, luring even a CPI secretary away. And they still pucker up to him.

Devraj Phogat, Charkhi Dadri

Unless all the ‘divided’ people understand that political parties are using them, we’ll have continue to have such unprincipled, opportunistic parties leading the nation.

Pankaj Hedaoo, Kuala Lumpur

Dec 31, 2012
Living With A Legend A Likeable Other Presence

Apropos Living With A Legend, the awesome talent, the grounded humility, the dignity of speech and conduct—truly, an era has gone. Are we really the richer for forgoing these qualities for much baser attitudes?

Rajesh Chary, Mumbai

Very heartening to learn about Sairaji’s taking care of Dilip Kumarji as befitting a well-cultured Indian lady. Especially as there are examples of actresses abandoning their husbands in the last phase of their lives. Parshuram Gautampurkar,

Sawai Madhopur, Rajasthan

Dilip Kumar is indeed a living legend, the first superstar. Yusuf saheb started his career prior to Partition, yet felt the need to adopt a ‘Hindu’ screen name as he felt his real name would restrict his appeal. Over six decades later, we have Aamir, Shahrukh, Salman, Saif among others, who have had no problems becoming superstars using their given names.

D.L. Narayan, Visakhapatnam

Dec 31, 2012
Kesari Bath A Likeable Other Presence

Apropos Great Ideas, Kesari Bath is a very popular dessert that’s included in all  varieties of south Indian meals. It’s popular in north India too as ‘sheera’ and ‘sooji’ halwa, which is actually a simpler form using only a little ghee and sans kesar.

K.S. Jayatheertha, Bangalore
Dec 31, 2012

Since Y.C. Deveshwar took over, he has focused on making ITC a brand to be admired and followed for its diversification, integration and commitment to the betterment of society (‘Sometimes, not taking a risk is the biggest risk’, Dec 17). The success story vindicates the company’s strategy and innovation in transforming itself from being known for cigarettes to an FMCG hub. All credit to the chairman.

Keshav Kumar, Pune
Dec 31, 2012
Global Warming A Likeable Other Presence

It’s interesting to note that many of the most critical ingredients of Indian cuisine were not available in India only a few centuries ago (Global Warming). Asoka’s edicts talk of ‘curries’ being made out of peacock and deer, but doesn’t say anything about their preparation. Sadly, I don’t think there are any documented ancient Indian recipes.

Prasanth Nambiar, Melbourne
Dec 31, 2012
Delhi Diary What Next?

Read Vinod Mehta’s Delhi Diary (Dec 17) with the usual interest and amusement. So when can we expect the biography of Meena Kumari to be reissued?

Sharat Chandra, Kalpakkam

While reading VM’s diary, especially the title used by The Daily Beast for reviewing Sanjay Gandhi’s biography, I recalled an old Malayalam saying: “Going to the udder of a cow, full of milk, the mosquito goes for the blood.”

K.S.C. Nair, Indianapolis

The best comment about the Emergency came from Indira Gandhi herself. “Not a dog barked,” she quipped contemptuously.

Arun Kumar, Lucknow

Mr Mehta rightly lambasts our Victorian attitude towards matters of sex. A man may amass billions by cheating and stealing from public funds, but he enjoys full social prestige. These days, it’s nothing new, after a few months of fruitless enquiries, everything is forgotten in the avalanche of the next scam. But character assassination by way of pointing out a personal sexual ‘escapade’, whether true or not, unfailingly bludgeons a man’s reputation. Just look at Julian Assange.

J.N. Bhartiya, Hyderabad

I see no reason for Mr Mehta to defend Gen Petraeus. It’s just that some countries expect certain things from their men; it’s not hypocrisy. Europeans may be lenient about adultery, but they are quite hypocritical about other things.

Abhishek Prakash, Jaipur

Madhusudan aka Monty Panesar is as English as the rest of his teammates, never mind his beard and patka. He was born and raised in Bedfordshire and attended Loughborough University. For people like him, India is a place from where his Dad ran away, thank god, and England the country that gave them an opportunity to flourish. It would be natural if he has little or no affinity for India.

Ganesh Natrajan, on e-mail

You read Tavleen Singh, Mr Mehta? Terrible taste, I say.

Manish Banerjee, Calcutta

Dec 31, 2012

Read Suresh Menon’s column with interest (In One Autumnal Face, Dec 17). His contention that sports replaces its champions and thus they should retire when their time is up is generally true, but there are exceptions. Sometimes, the decision to retire is not up to the individual, but is taken by the controlling body. Now that our cricket team is in a process of transition, with younger players still finding their feet, there must have been a message to older players to hang for a while till the new team is well-formed. Sachin Tendulkar, I am sure, finds himself in such a situation today.

Venkatesh Iyer, Chennai

An era has surely come to an end, the most charismatic batsman of our times has retired. Ponting’s journey through the ’90s was ours too. The Tasmanian devil decimated the best of attacks on his day, and was one of the fittest players in the circuit. His achievements lie before one’s eyes: three World Cup titles as captain, a 5-0 sweep of the Ashes Tests, two Champions Trophies. Also remembered are that unforgettable 140* in the ’03 WC final, the 156 at Old Trafford during the ’05 Ashes series, and a marauding 143* against South Africa.

Anoop Hosmath, Mysore

The Indian cricket team has finally met its Waterloo, as England decimated it in the Tests at Mumbai and Calcutta. It was an ignominious defeat, and has punctured the pride of the bcci, whose president expressed displeasure at the pitch. In fact, it’s the board which is responsible for Team India’s undoing. The board is mighty upset at the showing, but the country is more upset at its autocratic attitude, putting more emphasis on money, rather than improving quality at the grassroots level. In the ongoing Ranji format, many players make meaningless triple and double hundreds on featherbed tracks against mediocre bowlers. And on slightly difficult tracks even ordinary bowlers become demons. It’s when they face quality opposition that their true colours are exposed.

Shanmugham Mudaliar, Pune

Tendulkar’s appalling drop in form—an average of 15 in a few Tests—has caused a huge concern in selectors’ minds. Yet, because it’s Sachin, no one wants to annoy him by his advice. It’s instructive, at this juncture to recall how Ponting and Gavaskar went out. The board now has to take a tough call.

K.R. Srinivasan, Secunderabad

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