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Pokemonia, as you call the madness for Pokemon (A Pied Piper Called Pikachu, August 1), proves our incorrigible passion for mindless junk. Pokemon joins a long list of things we have adopted to make our lifestyle synchronised with that of the West. They only help to dull our intelligence and take our minds away from the real world. Even harmless-looking, profit-minded businesses can have a nefarious effect: games like Pokemon will turn our youth into techno-savvy morons—ultimately, it’s our human capacity for democracy that will get weakened.
M.K. Somanatha Panicker, Chertala
As if Facebook and WhatsApp were not enough to rob grown-ups and kids alike of time, now there’s a new monster in their pockets. This new GPS-enabled game requires players to go outdoors (thank god!) and apparently bond while they hunt down digital monsters. But, attention riveted on their phones, Pokemon players have banged into people and objects, fallen into ditches, walked into oncoming vehicles, even been electrocuted. Police forces abroad have in fact issued safety warnings. Indeed, your cover shows the kind of bizarre situation a Pokemon fan can get into.
M.C. Joshi, Lucknow
Pokemon is a dreadful craze drawing young and old alike into a search for illusory devils in city squares, temples, mountains, garbage dumps, railway tracks and even inside the wardrobes of their wives. There are instances of people dying in accidents because their attention was too focused on their smartphones for them to see where they were going. Though temporary steps might be required to protect people, I think this craze will die out soon—only to be supplanted by another one from Nintendo. Till then, enjoy this episode of dumbing down via your smartphone DELHI Rajneesh Batra: It seems the next part of the Hollywood film Dumb & Dumber will have the West playing dumb and us playing dumber.
A.S. Raj, On E-Mail
It seems the next part of the Hollywood film Dumb & Dumber will have the West playing dumb and us playing dumber.
Rajneesh Batra, Delhi
This is about the story Mundra: The Port of No Call (August 1). I don’t think anyone should be surprised by the behaviour of the Adanis, the Ambanis and others of their kind. They are pillaging the country and its resources to fill their coffers. The Adanis were not even heard of a few years back; look how much wealth they’ve amassed in a few years through a crony link with Modi. Confined to Gujarat at first, now they’re expanding their empire to the whole country.
T. Nayak, Washington
Crony capitalism, to promote so-called development at all costs, is at its glaring best in Gujarat, where it’s destroying rich marine life and pristine mangrove forests. Of course, it’s payback to Adani, who had financed the BJP’s election campaign in 2014. Remember, Gautam Adani had travelled to Australia with Modi and was awarded a $1 billion loan from SBI for a mine project—so controversial, it was cancelled.
In metros, the 50-paise coin is no longer acceptable, and also the one-rupee note. The one-rupee coin is in short supply. It’s the government’s duty to ensure sufficient supply of coins of all denominations. At least a crore one-rupee coins must be minted. And their intrinsic value should be lower, for there seems to be a racket of people who profit by melting them.
Mahesh Kapasi, Delhi
Forget political leaders—whether from the Congress, the BJP or the Communists. Put pictures of glorious nature, animals, great monuments. If a portrait is required, put in some scientists, singers or poets. Or best, R.K. Laxman’s ‘common man’.
Hafiz, Abu Dhabi
Noteworthily, the fact remains that it’s not the face embossed on the rupee notes that matters, but the face-value of the paper itself. (If you have it, that is.)
V.N.K. Murti Pattambi, Pattambi
Ironically, Pokemon Go has expanded a world that had shrunk to the size of a smartphone.
Richa Juyal, Dehradun
In his Trinidad & Tobago Diary (August 1), Bhaichand Patel has stated that Nobel literature laureate Derek Walcott belongs to the place. This is incorrect. He is actually from St Lucia.
Satish Pendharkar, Mumbai
I was very glad to see the Ethiopia Diary (July 25). I worked there as a teacher from 1967 to 1975. I would like to point out a few mistakes though. “Ethiopia in the horn of Ethiopia,” is meaningless. It should be, “Ethiopia in the Horn of Africa”. And, “after being under a lavatory for decades” is a false statement. Selassie was arrested on September 12, 1974. He died on August 22, 1975. Then how can it be decades? In 1967, I was appointed to a school named after him—Haile Selassie 1st Secondary School in Addis Ababa. Its silver jubilee was in 1968. The emperor also took part in the celebrations. I had my photo with him when the emperor visited our exhibition stall; it’s still with me. Later, I saw him at the airport, when he came to receive the president of India. Selassie also used to visit the Holy Trinity Cathedral in a procession through the streets of Addis Ababa to celebrate his birthday, accompanied by his security guards. I had also seen him on those occassions.
Mathew Abraham, On e-mail
When, according to the IMF, Papua New Guinea is the world’s fastest growing economy, with Ethiopia coming second, how could the Union finance minister and his minions claim that India is the fastest? Even the PM’s LPG subsidy reduction claims have been put to rest by a CAG report. On Bank Yojana, the fact that withdrawals are more than deposits rubbishes the much-touted bank reform. But Modi does have a dubious hat-trick—the abolition of the Planning Commission, the burial of India’s long-cherished non-aligned foreign policy and a slow death for the panchayati raj. What a record!
K. Shirasagar, Hyderabad
This refers to your Leader comment on Sachin Tendulkar (Aug 1). Sachin is no role model. He is a great cricketer, but that’s it. He is not a person to be emulated off the field. I was a big fan of his till he requested for that famous duty waiver and road-worthiness tax waiver for his ‘gifted’ car. That one incident brought him down from his pedestal for me. Post that, I heard of many such incidents. Remember Pullela Gopichand, the All England champion? After his famous victory, Pepsi approached him for a brand endorsement. He refused because it was not a healthy drink, and obviously lost out on a big paycheck. After that, not many brands chased him. Though crores were there for the taking, he stuck to his principles. And to me that is a role model champion. But, he built his own badminton academy and created many champions. Now that’s giving back to the sport. We Indians are in a habit of worshipping many false gods and Sachin Tendulkar is on that list.
Ravindranath Ramakrishna, Bangalore
The frailty of the master blaster—Sachin Tendulkar—has been exposed in your Leader comment. Kudos for this timely piece on a national icon who is idolised by a vast number of people. The spirit of journalism is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.
Apropos The Cow Protector’s Justice (August 1), wasn’t a Dalit boy beaten and hospitalised in Pune by Muslim youths a few months ago? There was some uproar at the time about the incident but nothing like this. I still have my doubts that these vigilantes are really the ‘gau-rakshaks’ they are portrayed to be. They could very well be like the paid stone-pelters of Kashmir. They should be thoroughly investigated. Una in Saurashtra is a strong bastion of the Congress party in an otherwise BJP-dominated Gujarat.
P.B. Joshipura, Suffolk
Apropos Eternal Hypnosis of Hindu Devotion (August 1), it is a well-known fact that Outlook is blatantly anti-Hindu and anti-BJP. You are quick to pounce on groups like the Sanatan Sanstha or anything remotely Hindu and easily demonisable. I wonder why you are silent on hate-mongers on the other side like Zakir Naik or Kashmiri separatists who want to break the sovereignty of India. It’s time to grow up Outlook.
Anup Menon, On E-mail
In the interview with Prithviraj Chavan (“Saffron men in key positions, won't go after the sanstha”, August 1) Outlook did not ask him a basic question: Why could the Congress not arrest any culprit for 21 months, whereas the BJP did the job within three months? The usual biased outlook of Outlook.
The BJP hate politics unleashed by the Modi-Shah combine is blowing up in their faces now. Cow protection was intended to fix the Muslims, but has now alienated large sections of society. Modi can keep visiting countries in his shiny clothes, but the public feels disgust for this man now.
Dinesh Kumar, Chandigarh
This refers to Eternal Hypnosis of Hindu Devotion (August 1). Why are the young attracted to violent perversities of religions as exemplified by the likes of Sanatan Sanstha or the Jamaat-e-Islami of Bangladesh? Are these alienated young people seeking strong group identities of the kind that some fanatical societies provide? Or are they the outgrowth of a general communal paranoia diffused throughout communities in such a way as to drastically change the ethos of society? Or is it something that we just cannot comprehend?
Apropos Arundhati Roy’s ‘Azadi’ (July 25), there are two ways of looking at the Kashmir problem: One, it’s a local uprising of Kashmiris, who have been suppressed for decades by the Indian government. Two, it’s a resurgent movement of radical Islam, intending to establish Dar-al-Islam.
Rajiv Chopra, Jammu
Your report on Kashmir forces me to say that when everything in life is sought to be explained on the basis of religious texts and mythology, one is forced to bid goodbye to the hope of mankind becoming rational. The only choice that remains is of going from nowhere to nowhere. It may appear wonderful to define azadi as a state in which there’s good governance, people are empowered and there is equality. But the suspicion is that the Pakistani government and military establishment may be indirectly supporting the Kashmiri movement—and it certainly does not want to create the sort of azadi defined above. When world opinion favours azadi, it will be easy for Pakistan to gobble up Kashmir. It’s up to the world to see through this nefarious design, before it’s too late.
C.L. Karkal, Pune
Must give it to her—Arundhati Roy says what she thinks is right. She suggests that we let Kashmiris decide whether it’s ‘Indexit’ or ‘Indmain’. In a way she’s right: after all, India and Pakistan were created on the basis of a Hindu-Muslim divide, and Kashmir remained with us only because the discretionary vote was with a Hindu raja who made a panic decision. The problem, however, is that if Kashmir wants to remain azad, the azadi will be short-lived. Pakistan will pounce upon it and take it over.
Suresh Deolalkar, On E-Mail
Why not give Kashmiris a little more autonomy, somewhat on the lines of territorial councils created for the Bodos and the Gorkhas? What the majority of Kashmiris want is the azadi to live without oppression and without facing bullets—not separation from India. If the hearts and minds of most Kashmiris can be won, the separatist elements will die out in due course of time.
M.Y. Shariff, Chennai
Not surprised at the reappearance of self-styled intellectual Arundhati Roy. If she’s so sure that borders and maps are not sacrosanct, it’s better she choose which side she wants to remain on at the earliest. She seems to want to remain in the limelight by stoking only controversial subjects—Maoists first, now jehadis in Kashmir. And I hope this pro-Congress magazine will muster the courage to find out what has kept the problem in Kashmir alive for the last six decades.
The cycle of violence and death of innocents will continue in Kashmir as long as we allow politics to get the better of us in the troubled state. Let it be clear: Pakistan fans trouble in Jammu & Kashmir. And the only language the Pakistani military, which influences politics in that country, will understand is that of force and strength. Taking the youth and common people along, we must isolate the separatists. Let’s also stop bashing the army, which is doing a thankless job in a hostile environment.
Col R.D. Singh (retd), Ambala Cantt
Is Arundhati Roy an anarchist? Or is she angling for awards, which are easily given these days for anti-Hindu arguments? Perhaps both.
Dr Kishore C. Padhy, Bhubaneswar