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Feb 25, 2013
The Nandy Bully In the Court of Unreason

Apropos S. Anand’s piece The Nandy Bully (Feb 11), does Ashis Nandy’s comment strengthen the politics of self-respect, dignity and social transformation? No, it does not. Nandy’s contribution to the country’s intellectual history cannot be moral justification for what he said.

Vikas Tripathi, New Delhi

Why denigrate an institution (CSDS) and question the integr­ity of academics supporting Nandy to counter the latter’s arguments? Is Anand trying to settle personal scores? While no empirical study proves Nandy’s assertions, there is also no empirical study that disproves it. How then do we know the truth? It can only be known first by theorising, making a conjecture, and then validating it with empirics. Is the author trying to say there’s no place for theory in today’s scientific world? Truth isn’t always politically correct (look at Galileo).

Conan Mukherjee, Calcutta

Disagreeing with Nandy does not mean I agree with whatever Anand spouts. Both are talking nonsense.

Sharat C., Kalpakkam

This is an angry, lopsided exe­rcise in rejecting well-known ugly realities. Anand has perhaps never gone to plead or fight his case before any authority with discriminatory power, reeking with deals of reverse discrimination and corruption. If he had, he wou­ldn’t be writing this twis­ted piece of abject denial.

M. Singh, Nashik

I am disgusted by these purveyors of outrage. Of what good is a writer if he can’t speak his mind, eternally worrying about every idiot misconstruing what he says! As long as the well-oiled outrage machine of Anand & co keeps at it, India can forget about being a free and fair country.

Kiran, Grenoble, France

A bizarre self-righteousness, as was witnessed in the Amb­edkar cartoon controversy.

Dheeraj Pandey, via Facebook

First his response to Aamir’s Satyamev Jayate, now this. Anand has a one-track mind.

Pramod Khulbe, Phoenix

Can’t agree more with Anand. To call for Nandy’s arrest trivialises the Dalit cause, portrays them as intolerant and projects upper-caste supremacists like our sociologist as victims.

Rajesh Chandra, Phoenix

Superb article! One of the best I’ve read in Outlook. And yes, I say this as a twice-born upper caste, whatever that means.

Amit, Tucson, US

Nandy’s statement is sinister only for one reason: because the people he accuses of corruption are its biggest victims.

Kishore Dasmunshi, Calcutta

Comparing ticketless travel and film ticket blackmarketing urchins with multi-crore defence the physicist Wolfgang Pauli would say, “This is not even wrong!”

H. Brahmbhatt, San Diego

You can’t make such sweeping, politically incorrect statements from a public platform, calling corruption “a social equaliser” and “a hope for the Republic”.

R.D. Singh, Ambala Cantt

“It would be a sick irony if the police, who routinely refuse to file atrocities FIRs on even the most grossly violent att­a­cks on Dalits were to file one against this completely non-violent pontiff of unreason.” Perhaps Anand should explain how he understands ‘violence’ so that his characterisation of Nandy as “a completely non-violent pontiff” is easier to grasp.

Anil, New Delhi

Nandy’s is but an extension of the colonial mindset that created a list of criminal tribes.

Manish Banerjee, Calcutta

We need to grow up and see issues as they are instead of looking at them through hate-tinted eyeglasses. An eye for an eye is never the answer.

M. Turumella, via FB

After the vacuous mediocrity of Kancha Ilaiah, I was waiting for the uber hack to crawl out of the woodwork. S. Anand didn’t disappoint. The­re’s a good reason why Nandy hasn’t found time to write about the organisational ideals of evr—simply because there aren’t any!

D. Anjananeyulu, Chennai

Caste is a curse and should be looked squarely in the eye. I like the reasoning of Anand’s article. Arresting Nandy is not right. Exposing the hol­lo­wness of his ideas is.

Sheikh Pervez Hameed, Delhi, via FB

Corruption has no caste and is not confined to any majority or minority community. So let’s not blame anyone, and let’s punish the corrupt.

V.K. Kamath, via FB

Feb 25, 2013
Varna Of Money In the Court of Unreason

Power, and not caste, decides an individual’s corruption pot­­­ential (Varna of Money, Feb 11). Dalit leaders should fight to protect their rights but I wish they were magnanimous eno­ugh to allow for the freedom of tho­ught of someone like Nandy. Why not counter a wrong view by making the right arguments based on reason rather than action under a draconian law?

Narendra M. Apte, Pune

The comparison with Akhand Pratap Singh and Neera Yadav does not serve the story. Neera is a Brahmin who married a Yadav and reaped a rich harvest.

Sanket Biswas, Calcutta

The one instance of Chandan Basu shows the double standards among Bengalis.

Surya Sharma, Calcutta

The Suresh Kalmadi picture was captioned “arrested for the CAG scam”. CWG, I presume, unless the man’s been messing with our national auditors too.

Ashfaq, on e-mail

Indian sociology is identity-driven and ends up strengthening the very same identity politics which needs to be checked in India.

Bahu Virupaksha, Pondicherry

It will be interesting if the caste-corruption study was conducted taking into account political affiliations and ideological perspectives.

Hari, Chennai

Feb 25, 2013
How Some Gather Silver In The Fog In the Court of Unreason

Aakar Patel’s piece (How Some Gather Silver..., Feb 11) is full of innuendos and half-truths. He gat­hers convenient facts to couch his rather predetermined conclusions.

Novonil Guha, Delhi

What about the scams of your media brethren, Mr Patel?

Ravi Patel, Baroda

Is this supposed to be a reasoned rebuttal to Nandy’s comments? If so, it fails miserably as it supports the man’s thesis—corruption among OBCs, SC/STs etc is in effect levelling the playing field and providing equal opportunity.

Arun Visvanathan, Chennai

Feb 25, 2013

Apropos your cover story How to Waive Crores Goodbye (Feb 11), whenever such we-are-for-the-poor sche–mes are announced, expect a scam. It’s a sure way of getting rich quick for our netas and babus. Wonder what the government is cooking for the 2014 election. A larger loan waiver?

M.K. Saini, Delhi

Is it any wonder that people are referring to India as Scamindia or Corruptistan?

M. Kumar, Delhi

With CAG auditing only 10-15 per cent of the instances, the scam is gigantic. It is curious how after a brief report on one English channel, the story was ignored. As the first scam of 2013, it deserves to be probed thoroughly, unless there is collusion between different parties. Not even “rural aff­airs editors” seem keen.

Venkat M., Chennai, on FB

The government of a man who was touted as the most honest in politics will go down in history as the most corrupt.

Dinesh Kumar, Chandigarh

If the loan waiver was a post-paid scam of the 2009 elections, the direct cash transfer charade will prove to be a pre-paid one for 2014.

K. Suresh, Bangalore

Feb 25, 2013
Sins Of Our Fathers Who’s Your Daddy?

Apropos the story on Akhilesh Yadav (Sins of Our Fathers, Feb 11), do you think Tamil Nadu, which has two major political parties that are no better than the ones in Uttar Pradesh, still delivers better economics and development. Any thoughts? I ded­uce that this was made possible by state leaders from the past, who from the 1940s till the ’80s focused on bringing about social uplift, especially through education and a democratic dismantling of the old feudal order. In contrast, the feudal order still looms over Uttar Pradesh. But of late, Tamil Nadu has seen a strengthening of reg­ressive and casteist forces not unlike the kind that blights UP.

Sampath Kumar, Bangalore

When Mulayam made his son the CM, it was evident he would rule through his son.

Parshuram Gautampurkar, Sawai Madhopur

At the National School Athletics meet in Etawah, CM Akhilesh gifted each participant a bicycle, which happens to be the symbol of his Samajwadi Party. Thank God the party symbol wasn’t a train.

K.S.C. Nair, Indianapolis

The people of Uttar Pradesh pinned their hopes on Akhilesh Yadav. Little did they realise what was evident from the beginning—that his father and uncles and their henchmen would continue to rule the state by proxy.

Pramod Srivastava, Delhi

Feb 25, 2013
Have Mouth, Will Shoot Who’s Your Daddy?

Your appraisal of Uttar Pra­desh was fair. Azam Khan’s comment on wanting to demolish the Taj Mahal can only evoke a sardonic smile.

J.N. Bhartiya, Hyderabad
Feb 25, 2013
Death In The Beef Market It’s a Riot

Apropos Teesta Setalvad’s column about the Dhule riots (Death in the Beef Market, Feb 11), why hasn’t she been as eloquent about the 2010 Deganga riots victims? (Deg­anga, for those who don't know, is in North 24 Parganas, Bengal. A riot had broken out over a plot used both as a Muslim cemetery and as a site for Durga puja mandaps.)

Alakshyendra, Hyderabad

After the RSS and its affiliated bodies, I think the police is the most communal organisation.

Imran Ahmed Khan, Bangalore

Ms Setalvad has as usual forg­otten to mention how the riots started. Most newspaper repo­rts concur on the sequ­ence of events: the spark was the ref­usal of some Muslim youths to pay for the vada-paav they had at a Hindu hawker’s stall.

Charan Dewry, Guwahati

After Gujarat, Ms Setalvad has set up shop in Dhule.

Madhukar, on e-mail

Ms Setalvad’s been running a cottage industry of deceit.

N. Guha, on e-mail

Feb 25, 2013

Let’s suppose Rajnath Singh (I never met Sadhvi..., Feb 4), did meet Sadhvi Pragya. That still doesn't make him a Hindu terrorist. If meeting someone were the criterion, so many political leaders of Kerala would count as terrorists, for they have all made a beeline for Abdul Nasser Madani.

K.V. Menon, Thiruvananthapuram
Feb 25, 2013
Inside My Khanate The Stars are Aligned

This letter comes from an Egyptian. We were introduced to India through Shah­rukh’s movies (Inside My Khanate, Feb 11). We learned about your society, culture, civilisation, festivals, morals etc all through his movies. Many of us first thought of visiting India, learning your language etc just because we loved the image that he gave us about India. We loved India through his heart and eyes. Believe it or not, my daughter changed her plans and deci­ded to do her masters in India instead of Germany because of SRK. He couldn’t have planted all that love for India in our hearts if he hadn’t had a true, deep, sincere and roo­ted love for it himself. So cherish him. Of course, he is not a perfect god. He has his mistakes and defects. After all, he is human. PS: A person’s religion is between him and his God only. Only God can judge us. So please hold on to each other and never allow anything or anyone to separate you Indians.

Aliaa Ahmed, via FB

Shahrukh seems to suffer from a persecution complex, forgetting that he owes his success to the masses who loved him without heed to his religion. By not responding to Hafiz Saeed, he did a great disservice to the country.

Sudhir Das, Assam

Funny and articulate! And conclusive proof that Hafiz saab does not ‘get’ subtlety or have a sense of humour.

C. Ramesh, Bangalore

I missed Shahrukh’s piece when it was first published in the Turning Points issue. Many thanks for repeating it.

M. Ratan, New Delhi

Feb 25, 2013
The Broken Image Reel Image

Artistic sensitivity ends where religious freedom starts (The Broken Image, Feb 11). Kama­la­haasan, who rails against cultural terrorism, must avoid hurting religious sentiments.

K.R. Narasimhan, Chennai

Now that political parties, religious bodies and courts have become the final arbiters to ‘certify’ the quality of films, wouldn’t it be better for the government to wind up the censor board, whose members are reportedly not being paid their honorarium?

K.P. Rajan, Mumbai

It's heartening that people from all cross-sections of our society stood with Kamal. Now that the ban on Vishwaroopam has been lifted, the Madras HC should take the state government to task for the troubles it caused him.

S. Balakrishnan, Jharkhand

Feb 25, 2013
Ragas For Late Winter Century Stand

Apropos Ragas For Late Winter (Feb 11), Ustad Abdul Rashid Khan, though a devout Muslim, is actually a living embodiment of gracious conduct as described in the Gita.

Amit, Texas

An amazing artist. I wish him many more healthy, happy and musical years.

Maha, New Jersey

Wah, kya baat hai! I hope and pray Khan­s­aab lives for ano­ther 100 years! Encore!

Amit Thakur, Tokyo

Feb 25, 2013

A big shabash is due to Vri­nda Gopinath for the gutsy, hard-hitting style of her article on the Padma awards (Padma’s Easy Slim Zone, Feb 11).

Soli Canteenwala, Mumbai

The day is not far away when a reservation quota is dem­anded for national awards. They have already lost all their charm and prestige thanks to all the lobbying. Such anomalies are inherent in the system.

Padmini Raghavendra, Secunderabad

Valid points, but the next time Vrinda dares to attend award functions or cocktail parties with these ‘Kiss my cellulite-busted a**’ celebs, she might want to guard her own.

Shyamal Barua, Calcutta

When half-naked women who prance around trees can bec­ome MPs and CMs, why not a businesswoman Padmashree?

Nasar Ahmed, Karaikkudi

Come to think of it, on what grounds was Rajesh Khanna given a Padma Vibhushan? It would have looked like a fake university degree on him. Who will they think of next? Rakhi Sawant?

Bharti B.K., via FB

Feb 25, 2013

Those who gathered at the Jaipur Literary Festival were mostly mediocre writers and publicity-mongers (Then, Now, Thereafter, Feb 11).

Ramesh Raghuvanshi, Pune
Feb 25, 2013

Apropos An Open Slot For Bitter Pills (Feb 11), the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954, must be invoked by the government to prosecute people carrying misleading ads in print and on TV.

C. Nithyananda Pai, Puttur

India is better by comparison. The late-night products most peddled on US channels are for erectile dysfunction.

Anto, Bangalore

The late-night TV ads are not intended to inform, but to manipulate viewers.

Beena Mathur, Pune

Feb 25, 2013
Delhi Diary Set ’em Free

It’s a bloody shame that an otherwise fine journalist like Vinod Mehta pushes for restrictions on freedom of expression in the name of not offending the sentiments of the myriad groups in our country (Delhi Diary, Feb 11).

Kumar Rakesh, Chandigarh
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