Right from the title (Revenge for Hansie, October 8) to the last word, Pat Symcox’s blatant bias shows. Indians should seek to avenge this disgraceful piece, if nothing else. And the best way to do it would be to outperform the South Africans.
S. Venkatraman, on e-mail
Looks like Symcox has been appointed cheerleader for the SA team and he’ll be waving Outlook copies instead of pom- poms in the cricket grounds. If Kallis is the world’s best all-rounder, then cricket’s being played badly by all opponents of SA. One thing I’ve discovered is that 99 per cent of all cricket reporters are biased, patriotic trumpeteers of their own country. And Pat’s not amongst the 1 per cent.
Tushar, on e-mail
I’ve been reading numerous stories on "trigger-happy Texans" on the Internet and yours was the worst. The US is responsible for deaths because we didn’t send in troops? We killed babies in Iraq? Are we required to give an enemy state what they want or need? What’s India, Japan, China, Saudi Arabia, etc doing for them? We help our friends and shoot our enemies—at least, we don’t invite the latter to dinner. If you don’t agree, do something to help yourself.
Steven Brown, on e-mail
Dear Outlook, on September 11, I and my fellow Americans had a taste of what India and many other countries have suffered for years, namely the evil of terrorism. We learnt that we’re not immune from attack; we’re shocked but not afraid. The good people of the world outnumber terrorists. People like Osama bin Laden cannot walk the streets in freedom for fear of being recognised and apprehended. Their evil actions are the bars of their cages. The shame is theirs.
Edward Clayton, Dallas, Texas
I’ve lived in Canada and the US for 30 years and now moved back to Delhi. Anita Pratap’s column Trenches of the Mind (October 8) should’ve resonated with me but I found her piece full of banalities. While Huntington has a great thesis, he confuses economic disparities for cultural divides—terrorists do not strike the slums of NY or any other city. As for Indians having moved on, our liberal attitudes has won no friends in our neighbourhood and our policy of appeasing everyone has led to conflict on almost all fronts—in Kashmir, the northeast and the south.
L.P. Kachroo, New Delhi
When Israelis were pushed out of their holy land, they carried the idea of Israel in their hearts and kept it alive for centuries. Likewise Hindu civilisation may be pushed out by Islam, Christianity, colonialism, communism or pseudo-secularism, but Hindus will carry the Vedas in their heart, wherever they go.
Ahmed Diwan, on e-mail
I agree with Anita Pratap that aggressive feeling on the part of Indians won’t help the cause of Indo-Pak relations. Nor will Pakistan’s inability to transcend defining the core of its nationality by anti-Indianism.
Sayantani Jafa, on e-mail
The tragic, untimely death of Madhavrao Scindia and seven journalists is distressing (Agenda for Icarus, October 15). As many as 93 iaf aircraft have crashed, killing 34 pilots and many others, in the last five years. The details of these crashes are seldom revealed, which makes it tough to institute corrective measures. Even more disturbing is the allegation from MiG Corporation that India buys outdated spare parts from Ukraine and East European nations.
Dr A.K. Tharien, Oddanchhatram
Roy does it once again, with incisive analysis and indisputable facts. This is how every Indian feels but couldn’t say so aloud so as not to be seen as unsympathetic and because of the presence of at least one close family member dependent on the US economy. But one thing’s clear: bullies are run over ultimately as the other person has nothing to lose and that is his strength.
Ashok, on e-mail
Roy’s ramblings may sound like a prize-winning 8th-grade convent school essay but she does manage to hit upon one truth: that the Americans are pompous and have never looked beyond their interest. But India should stick to minding its own business.
Jayant Dwarkadas, UK
Roy is right in clarifying that America’s past deeds have come to bear on it. But she omits any discussion on the circumstances that led the US to do what it did, in Iraq and in Afghanistan. Nor does she give any prescriptive solutions beyond demonstrating that Americans can’t see beyond their noses.
Sandeep Juneja, Delhi
It’s amazing how the western media has kept away from the issues Roy highlights and history at large. Her essay is lucid, precise and highly evocative.
Shruti Singh, on e-mail
Arundhati is a first-rate writer. And that’s precisely why she’s dangerous. You can be so completely engulfed in her mushy, seductive yarn that you barely remember what’s right or logical. You even forget what the point of the whole article is. You emerge out of the commentary the same way as you come out of fiction—under the spell of the writer.
Sudheer Thakur, on e-mail
Roy asks for evidence of Osama bin Laden’s complicity. America has complete evidence of bin Laden’s complicity in the earlier attacks on the US consulates and the wtc. And if she thinks the US is driven mainly by its own interests, rather than condemn it, India should take a lesson from it and participate actively in its self-interest. Blind America-baiting won’t take us anywhere.
Muralidhar, on e-mail
A little too fiery but a good essay (assuming that the background research is authentic); excellent prose. A bit of anti-rhetoric maybe, like one is taking a potshot at an already wounded giant.
Saraswathi, on e-mail
Roy’s previous two—rather strident—essays, one on the nuclear tests and the other on the Narmada, had people lined for and against her. But I don’t think any sensible person can find anything wrong with The Algebra of Infinite Justice from the first word to the last. And the closing lines were too good. No one could have put it better.
Dr N.C. Edul, Pune
Roy’s essay made me uneasy. Like we humans have turned the world into a place gone horribly wrong. Where innocents are losing everything because a mighty country decides to play God.
B. Sita Shanti, Hyderabad
I suggest Roy’s article be made a case study for the Harvard Business School. After all, it’s a mindwar that’s going on. And America by waging the war is proving how immature its thinking and rationale are.
Raghu, on e-mail
Excellent! May sanity prevail.
Loa Jones, on e-mail
Back in January 2000, Outlook had written a series of articles severely criticising Vajpayee and the bjp for their "insensitivity and cruelty" in hesitating to release Maulana Masood Azhar in exchange for the hijacked IC-814 passengers. You should now justifiably claim moral credit for the deaths that have taken place due to the strikes by Azhar’s Jaish-e-Mohammed (Where Lies the Detonator?, October 15) on the Kashmir assembly.
Deeptanshu Verma, Bellevue, Washington
Arundhati Roy’s essay, The Algebra of Infinite Justice (October 8), was excellent. Wish President Bush, Prime Minister Tony Blair and the American people happen to read it.
Rahul Kulkarni, on e-mail
Roy’s written a lucid and sensitive comment, which I, living in London, found incredibly refreshing. It’s true that the horrible tragedies would not have affected us here as much had it not been televised and taken place in a county we know well. Now is the time to ask ourselves whether our current setup is sustainable and whether it can be reconciled with the values the West allegedly stands for.
Domenico de Soto, London
Roy’s essay reminds one of what Gandhi said in ’42 about America and England: "Let me remind you that I do not regard England or for that matter America as free countries. They are free after their own fashion, free to hold in bondage coloured races of the earth." Are England and America fighting for the liberty of these races today? Those words are as relevant today as they ever were.
Himanshu Thakkar, New Delhi
Awesome and thought-provoking, but are the people who matter ever going to read it, and if they do, will it have any impression on them? I refer to the average thick-headed American Joe for whom life is significant only in so far as it concerns him. Where is the global culture we ostensibly live in?
Demis Bhargava, on e-mail
Though rather long-winded, Roy’s piece was peppered with her characteristically clever turn of phrase. However, all her America-bashing ends up sounding rather hollow—coming as it does from a one-book wonder, sitting atop a pile of multi-million pound royalties. She and her ilk owe their champagne and caviar lifestyles, their suites at the Dorchester and so on to the largesse and the critical acclaim showered on them by the West.
Ranjith Thomas, on e-mail
After the twin towers disaster, a traumatised American child asked: "Why do these people hate us so much?" Perhaps Roy’s article can be sent as an open letter to the US president and people.
I.T. Lazarus, on e-mail
Roy very rightly concludes that "President Bush’s ultimatum to the world—‘If you’re not with us, you’re against us’—is a piece of presumptuous arrogance". In the post-Cold War era, the US got blind drunk on power and has been brought rudely to its senses in the aftermath of September 11’s towering infamy. The intention is not to condone the assaults but to emphasise the virtues of humility in the midst of plenty. Making things worse is its flooding Pakistan with money in return for the latter’s cooperation to get at bin Laden dead or alive.
Tarlok Singh, New Delhi
This is one of the worst pieces of "one-eyed" journalistic nonsense I’ve read in a long time. What is Roy suggesting? That we sit back, wring our hands while anarchy and chaos reign unrestrained across the world?
M.G. Dorsett, on e-mail
The Roy essay is amazing for its clarity. The only thing I’d disagree with is this—genocide has occurred inside the US borders as well. The Amerindian wars and the attempts to destroy their surviving cultures, the enslavement and subsequent mistreatment of the West African peoples, the internment of people of Japanese descent in WW2; and just outside the borders—The Fruit Companies’ economic assault in Central America, the sabotage of democracy in South and Central America, etc.
Greg Kosmicki, on e-mail
Before she condemns freedom-loving and democratic nations like the US, Roy should also focus on the causes of America’s foreign policy—namely murderous and genocidal Stalins and Maos.
Gopal Kamat, Sydney
I just want to thank you for this illuminating essay on the why of the September 11 attacks. It so clearly says what I tried to put into words and sent to different people trying to make sense of it all. I added outlookindia.com to my favourites and am glad that my daughter tipped me about this story.
Marianne Sormani, Amsterdam
I love the way Roy (as usual) is high on contorted rhetoric but low on solutions.
Manjunth T.M., on e-mail
I’m with Roy in so far as she says that it’s all about power ultimately and not humanity, freedom or nobleness. But I don’t agree with her idea of "presenting evidence in a court of law" as real life does not play out like a Sherlock Holmes whodunit and the ‘enemy’ is too smart to leave behind evidence. Sometimes it just takes intuition to spot the enemy and if you search for "substantial evidence", you may never find it.
Surendranath G., on e-mail
Roy pretty much sums up what the silent majority from poor but self-respecting countries feels but does not have the media backup to put across. The bottomline is, might is right and all that matters is how you dress up a situation to suit yourself and present it to the world. Can you imagine the US otherwise talking of terrorism and enlisting Pakistani help in the same breath?
Munish Gupta, on e-mail
"Why not the Statue of Liberty? Could it be that the stygian anger that led to the attacks has its taproot not in American freedom and democracy?" It’s because there aren’t many people at the Statue of Liberty at 8.45 am on a weekday and they wanted to kill innocent people, remember!
Lakshmi, on e-mail
Hats off to Roy for beautifully exposing America’s behind-the-scenes terrorism. It has paid the price for its misuse of economic and military might. The countries supporting it now are doing so not due to the fear of terrorists but due to the fear of America. I wouldn’t praise Osama for what he has done (if he has done it), but would definitely salute him for bringing America back to its senses.
Sridher Iyer, Nagpur
What would Roy have America do? Conduct an inquiry like India did after the Bombay blasts and let seven years pass for just a warrant to be issued against mastermind Dawood through the Interpol. Monsters deserve no mercy even if this lady is in the habit of swimming against the tide.
Sujit Sharma, Calcutta
Roy’s essay is biased and her criticism of the US reaction unjustified. Would she have reacted otherwise had she lost a family member in the wtc attacks? Does she want the US to follow India’s policy: we keep complaining to the whole world about Pakistan’s involvement in terrorism, yet maintain diplomatic ties and even invite its president for talks.
Abhilash Thadani, Ahmedabad