• Startled Start-ups
    Apr 03, 2017

    This refers to your cover story on the downfall of start-ups (How Start-Ups Die…Plop!, March 20). Not too long ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced a grand plan for ‘start-up’ India as part of the ‘Make in India’ scheme. The aim of the programme was to guide and aid budding entrepreneurs interested in opening start-ups. But as this article shows, the optimistic vision is far from being realised. Start-ups are rapidly failing. In order for the start-up India programme to succeed, the government must monitor the work of tax officials, public sector ­departments and nationalised banks, all offices which can help start-ups to ensure that the programme runs smoothly.

    Mahesh Kumar, New Delhi

    Start a big company. Buy bubble gum for Rs 100 on credit. Sell it in retail for Rs 90. Do not clear your debts to the vendor, target next vendor. Do the same to the next. Go online to connect. Raise the bar both in inventory and sales. Forget about relationship, the first ethic of business. Then you lose trust, you burst like a bubble. So before any start-up, smart up! This rhyme, in short, is the story of the start-up culture.

    V.N.K. Murti, Pattambi

    This refers to the opinion piece by R. Jagannathan (Value For Losses). Over the years, though perceptions largely remain the same, customers have been taken for granted. In the digital world, in any form of trade, the challenge and aim is to always attract the customer. Several ‘special discounts’ and schemes are launched in order to somehow catch the attention of a potential customer. Most of these schemes are hollow and nothing but a false front to lure the buyer. Since the competition now is so aggressive in the market, several norms which were followed in business earlier are being overlooked.

    Ramachandran Nair, Oman

    For any new business to take off, a lot of ground work has to be done. A solid product backed by market research infrastructure has to be launched and aspects such as buy back facilities, banking support, export promotion, certifications and issuance of licenses have to be taken care of. Clearly, as your cover story shows, in order to rush into the much-touted idea of start-ups under the Make in India project, many entrepreneurs bypassed these procedures. Thus, the start up bubble burst as no solid ground was prepared for it to flourish.

    Rakesh Agrawal, Dehradun

  • More Green Machines
    Apr 03, 2017

    Your article on the auto of the future (Relax, Digi Driver Is Here, March 20) reminded me of the condition of my city, New Delhi. The city is one of the most lethally polluted metropolises in the world. Something needs to be done urgently to control pollution here. The future cars described in your article are aimed to make the ride as smooth as possible. But what we really need are green cars, which make lives of the driver as well the people around easier and less hazardous. Since cars have become almost a necessity for a large section of people, they should be made to suit the environment. The true technology of the future would be an eco-friendly one.

    Mahesh Kapasi, New Delhi

  • One-Liner
    Apr 03, 2017

    The start-up philosophy is trying to run a marathon like a 100-metre dash. It doesn’t work!

    Rajneesh Batra, New Delhi

  • Reservation, The Ransom
    Apr 03, 2017

    Refer to A Farm Twist To Caste Power (March 20). Every now and then, a relatively dominant community, like the Jats in Haryana, resorts to large-scale vandalism and public harassment in the name of reservations. They demand reservation because they are aware that the Indian government has a history of responding to the politics of appeasement. The solution to these recurring disturbances would be to scrap the reservation system altogether and instead bring in revolutionary reforms to uplift the economically backward section. While affirmative action is desirable to a degree, we must realise that we are functioning, as a country, in a free market economy where numbers and statistics have almost become more important than human beings. Decisions are taken on the basis of these statistics. In this context, reservations do hinder the country’s economic development.

    M.K., On E-mail

    An overwhelming number of Jats from Haryana are agitating for reservations yet again. The fact that they got away lightly after wreaking havoc in the north Indian state last year, when they looted shops and homes, burned property, indulged in violence and disrupted public life, has only encouraged them to blackmail the government again. It’s time for the state and central governments to put their foot down and check this menace. The tendency to treat this mob as a vote bank must be stopped altogether. The majority of the people in the state are gullible and instigated by a few ­anti-social elements, who tell them that the government will give in to their demands. If stern action is taken, they will understand the futility and danger of their actions. Yielding to their threat of violence will be asking for more protests and similar demands from other communities as well.

    L.J. Singh, Amritsar

  • Scion Unscathed
    Apr 03, 2017

    Apropos your Leader comment The Plot Thickens (March 20), why was it necessary for you to defend Rahul Gandhi? Some say the Congress won in Punjab precisely because of Rahul’s absence in the state campaign. The Congress has faced so many electoral defeats in the past five years, and yet Rahul remains its face. It’s curious that despite the party’s present condition, there is no end to sycophancy within the Congress towards the Gandhi dynasty. Ever since Modi became PM, Rahul has spent most of his time in rhetoric, targeting him rather than doing any substantial work.  The results of all that Modi-bashing have been quite counter-productive. No wonder BJP leaders are saying that Rahul is helping the BJP accomplish its mission of a Congress-mukt Bharat.

    M.C. Joshi, Lucknow

  • Stern State Matters
    Apr 03, 2017

    By organising and encouraging Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, India is increasing chances of hostility with its most powerful neighbour—China (The Hint Of A Forked Tongue, March 20). Unfortunately, in an age of globalisation, where fast-growing economies spell success, Tibet and Dalai Lama are anomalies. Agreed, the Lama is a reminder that as a civilisation, India is more than the sum total of territory, sovereignty and citizenship. But the bitter truth is that rubbing China the wrong way can add to the trouble at the border. Dalai Lama is refused entry by nations who do not wish to incur China’s disapproval. Though India shouldn’t be nursing an ambition to be a hegemonic power like China, it should not encourage the Lama’s visit to a ‘disputed’ area like Arunachal. After all, international relations are all about diplomacy. It’s in our interest to seal the border issue as fast as possible. The realist in me believes it is inconceivable that Tibet would be granted freedom by China.

    C.V. Venugopalan, Palakkad

    India is clear and consistent on the status of Arunachal Pradesh as an inalienable part of the country. India is not a vassal state of China, to be cautioned against its residents visiting it. The Dalai Lama, known for his commitment to compassion, universal ethics and harmony amongst religions, is a revered figure across the world. Besides, China should note that the sixth Dalai Lama was born in Arunachal in the 17th century and the Tawang monastery is a sacred home for Tibetan Buddhism. China is glaringly insensitive to India’s concerns too—it occupies 38,000 sq kms on the Aksai Chin plateau, nor  does it care for our positions on the Karakoram highway or the proposed CPEC corridor that cuts through the disputed territory of Pakistan occupied Kashmir.

    H.N. Ramakrishna, Michigan

    China’s opposition to the Dalai Lama’s visit to Tawang has become a dilemma for India. We can improve our ties with this powerful neighbour if we use the Tibet card intelligently, not as a blatant provocation. The Sino-Indian relations soured when Dalai Lama was allowed to form a government in exile in India. We should just humbly ask that holy entity to relocate itself. Remember, if we have warm ties with China, we can contain Pakistan well.

    P.L. Singh, On E-Mail

    Despite extreme Chinese sensitivity to Dalai Lama’s public engagements, India has enjoyed the better of the ­exchanges. Now, when there is still a month left for Dalai Lama to visit Tawang, it’s unfortunate that the Sino-Indian war of words is getting into high gear. China claims most of Arunachal as part of south Tibet. China ought to realise that after it held up the UN’s decision to declare Masood Azhar a designated terrorist, it is hardly well placed to raise objections on Dalai Lama’s social engagements.

    J. Akshay, Bangalore

    The Dalai Lama has been a bone of contention between India and China for far too long. To the rest of the world, he is a spiritual leader, but China sees him as a kind of fugitive. All said and done, the fact is that he’s a refugee in India and in my view, no diplomatic difficulties should be created for the host country on his account.

    J.N. Bhartiya, Hyderabad

  • Flashy Fakes
    Apr 03, 2017

    This refers to your cover story Amicus Curious (March 13). Fake lawyers have been duping clients with their con skills, flamboyance being an essential one here, for a long time. This menace is also seen in the medical and engineering professions. What are the regulatory bodies doing?

    G.L. Karkal, Pune

  • Sorry Diplomacy
    Apr 03, 2017

    This refers to your Leader comment Gurmehar, My Daughter (March 13). Had Gurmehar Kaur said her father, an Indian army officer martyred during the Kargil war, was killed by Pakistanis and not war, she would have been hailed as a nationalist by a large section of people. But, her plea for a more humanistic approach earned her disgusting comments by trolls and insensitive remarks by even celebrities. What else can be expected of a rabidly nationalistic public space that has been created out of our collective frustrations? Under the present government, the ABVP feels it can get away with anything. The Ramjas College incident, where the police largely stood as mute spectators to ABVP’s violence, is just one proof of that.

    Vimal Kumar, Hyderabad

  • Apr 03, 2017

    Your story, Here Clive Ate His Noonday Tiffin (March 20), made me think about history as such. Visiting historical sites helps us rediscover the past glories of civilisation. Nobody can disown the past or rebuild it to suit one’s interests, although there are attempts to do so. We have to make use of every opportunity to make our past work for us and provide sustenance for the future by understanding it. During a visit to the Brihadeswara temple in Tamil Nadu, I imagined the days when kings employed artisans to build the structure with massive blocks of rock. Recalling the past is like walking back through a familiar path to reach a destination already arrived at by someone else. It tells one about civilisation, fellow humans and a little about oneself.

    M.K. Somanatha Panicker, Cherthala (Alappuzha)

  • Rainbow Hatred
    Apr 03, 2017

    Apropos your story (Red Blobs on the Rainbow, Mar 20), I would like to state that prior to issuing a devastating directive banning the entry of people from six Islamic countries into the US, President Donald Trump would have done well to ponder on US history and the antecedents of millions of ‘Americans’, including his own. Many communities, like the Eastern European Jews, prosper in the US. It’s the immigrants who made America a great country, a superpower.

    Lt Col Ranjit Sinha (retd),  Pune

    I agree with the observation that the Indian community in the US is fragmented. There’s no pan-Indian identity and it will take a long time to develop one. One point where I’d like to diverge from Kumar’s viewpoint is that I do not believe the present government under Modi can help this enterprise given his RSS roots. This is something the diaspora has to take on for itself and not rely on the Government of India. Also, Indians who feel they have been accepted into the American society can no longer assume so. Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ campaign is openly an agenda to unleash racial abuse and violence on those who are brown, black, or whoever belongs to the ‘other’ in the white American imagination. To all those Indian-Americans who voted for Trump, I hope you are experiencing buyer’s remorse.

    Raja Panwar, Edmonton

    This is in res­ponse to P.K. Hanspaul’s letter under the sub-head Chinese Checker (Mar 20). It says that China got a UN seat due to Nehru’s benevolence. I am surprised that he doesn’t know that China (PRC) became a member of the UN in 1972, whereas Nehru passed away in 1964. One should check facts first.

    B.N. Roy, Nagpur

  • Light In The Dark
    Apr 03, 2017

    Notwithstanding the story of a Kerala priest having been arrested for alleged rape, the state has several Catholic fathers working in villages, rendering social services, including the spread of literacy (Most Foul and a Father Too, Mar 13). Kochi had a clergyman who even trained youngsters by the turn of the last century to take up entertainment as a means of livelihood. The late Fr Abel Periyappuram’s Kalabhavan, primarily founded to promote Christian devotional music, went on to produce top-ranking mimicry artistes—some of them even became stars in Malayalam cinema. Not to be forgotten is the service that nuns, too, provide. Aberrations do exist in any segment of society, but let’s see the good work for what it is.

    Rajiv Chandran, Hyderabad

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