• The New Poll Eves
    Feb 02, 1998

    Women are victims of the promises political parties make before all elections—promises which are soon forgotten (The Female Principle, ’98, January 19). The BJP’s new-found love for women, as Zoya Hasan points out, is sheer hypocrisy. Women should only vote for those candidates who believe in gender equity, particularly 33 per cent reservation. Without such reservations all talk of equity is meaningless.

    Shiela Trivedi, Lucknow

    After reading your story on wooing the woman voter, people may start singing ‘Pardesi Pardesi jana nahin’ to counter the BJP’S ‘Pardesion se na akhiyan milana’.

    E.S. Wallace, Bhopal

    Finally the democratic wheel has turned full circle with the realisation that the country’s women are a substantial vote-bank. Today, more than ever before, our country needs the upliftment of women who have hitherto been treated as second-class citizens—victims of dowry, rape, molestation, female infanticide and gender discrimination. Women’s issues sadly have never found their way on the national agenda. It’s ironical that even women leaders like Indira Gandhi, Jayalalitha, Lakshmi Parvati et al did precious little for women.

    Lalima Aneja Dang, New Delhi

  • Dishonesty Wins
    Feb 02, 1998

    P. Chidambaram calls VDIS a resounding success (But Where’s The Money?, January 19). Yes, it was resounding victory for dishonesty. People who hadn’t paid taxes for almost 15 years and who had accumulated black money worth crores were painted honest overnight. A salaried person like me has paid income tax to the last penny while others were busy gathering wealth worth Rs 740 crore. What had happened to the government’s so-called "revenue intelligence" then? Except submitting a list detailing the names and amounts of top income-tax defaulters to Parliament year after year, the government does little to realise its tax dues. In India there are amnesty schemes for everybody—dacoits, criminals and tax evaders—making honesty a highly-discounted commodity.Here, the catchphrase seems to be: "Pay 30 per cent tax to get 100 per cent peace of mind, but pay 100 per cent tax to lead a miserable life."

    D.V. Madhav Rao, Chennai

  • Feb 02, 1998

    I couldn’t control my laughter seeing the plight of Villain Kesri on your January 5 cover. I actually had to move my fingers across the cover to confirm that it wasn’t a prank by one of my kids. Even Mr Vajpayee appears to be laughing wholeheartedly at Kesri’s plight.

    S. Shashidhar, Bangalore

    Kesri, the archvillain who outshone all other scoundrels in ’97, has at last won an election—in the Villains of the Year contest! Sheer hard work over sleepless scheming nights earned him this distinction.

    But I was dismayed at the shabby treatment accorded by your selectors to the leader of the Bihar Mafia, the inimitable Laloo. Is it fair to dump the leader of the Rs 1,000 crore scam—the man who installed his wife as Bihar CM and who might now become our PM—in the ‘Worst of the Rest’ list, alongside petty criminals?

    P. Govindarajan, Bangalore

    To quote Javed Akthar, creator of the Amitabh Bachchan phenomenon: "History is witness to the fact that people tend to celebrate the fall of icons". Your correspondent’s done exactly that. But upon what authority? Can she name a single actor who can match Bachchan’s range, versatility, dialogue delivery or steady stream of hits since Zanjeer in ’73?

    We’ve seen the last superstar or as Amit Khanna once put it—"Bachchan is like the lone tree of the Troy legend." And legends never die, least of all by the efforts of an officious media.

    Rajiv Shukla & Sheelu, Mumbai

    How could you list Amitabh among the villains? Calling the piece yellow would be an understatement. Guru Dutt’s Kagaz Ke Phool, Raj Kapoor’s Mera Naam Joker, Subhash Ghai’s Trimurti, Kamaal Amrohi’s Razia Sultan, K. Asif’s Son of India et al were unqualified disasters. But they don’t diminish the legendary stature of these gentlemen. Similarly, Mrityudaata doesn’t in any way lessen the Big B’s numero uno position in Hindi cinema. If Ms World proved to be a losing proposition for ABCL, it’s ridiculous for the Spastics Society to demand fat donations. Bachchan’s been the most popular (refer Movie opinion poll ’97) actor since the early ’70s. Till the time you find an actor who can equal his track record, he remains king. Amen.

    S.M.M. Ausaja, Mumbai

    Vinod Mehta makes the pertinent point that the Gujral government was brought down by Sonia Gandhi; Kesri was only the stooge.

    The Indian electorate has been spending huge amounts to keep Sonia and her family at 10, Janpath. In return she only encourages her sycophants to withdraw support to the UF government and force another election on this poor country.

    Do we need this Bofors-tainted Italian with friends like Ottavio Quattrocchi to lead the Congress or the government if her party gets a majority?

    Annie Thomas, Chennai

    Your year-end issue gives a fair picture of the year gone by. The achievers covered in the issue are worth their weight in gold. The choice of villains, however, makes one wonder at the omission of some of the obvious ones. The 13 chosen ones do not include Kanshi Ram or Mayavati, Laloo Yadav or Jaya-lalitha, Mulayam Yadav or even Air Marshal Sarin despite the fact they held centrestage during the year. Surely they deserve more attention than Amitabh Bachchan or Salman Rushdie.

    K.P. Luke Vydhian, Bangalore

  • No One’s Afraid of BJP
    Feb 02, 1998

    It’s heartening to note that the BJP has finally realised that Ayodhya, Article 370 and the uniform civil code can’t give them a majority (The Taming of the Shrew, January 5). Their rethinking on the minorities issue has led Muslims into thinking of giving the BJP a chance since 45 years of Congress misrule has only given them untold miseries. The minorities fear that once the BJP comes to power, they’ll become victims of communalism. But in fact, the BJP will not risk the chance of losing such a hard-won battle.

    As for the Congress, Sonia may attract crowds, but not necessarily the votes. It’s a shame that in the 50th year of independence, the Congress has to depend on a foreign national to win votes. I, as a Muslim, would rather prefer a "Ram Raj" than a "Rome Raj".

    A. Shafiqur Rahman, Chennai

  • The Metre Gauge
    Feb 02, 1998

    Apropos my erudite friend Pavan K. Verma’s The Demise of Delhi (January 5), a slight correction is called for in the last line of the penultimate para where Zauq’s misra-e-sani—the second line of his sher has been quoted as ‘Kaun jaye par ab Dilli ki galiyan chhod kar’. It’s not only grammatically incorrect but also falls short in metre, an egregious mistake Zauq was incapable of committing.

    In fact this misra is derived from the maqta—last couplet of a ghazal—in which Zauq the poet unmistakably uses his pseudonym which reads thus:

    In dino garchay Deccan mey hai bari qadray sukhan Kaun jaye Zauq par Dilli ki galiyan chhod kar I hope only the printer’s devil is responsible for this.

    Reza Pervaiz, New Delhi

  • Devil in Disguise
    Feb 02, 1998

    All Amit Khanna in his Nirvana is Here, It’s TV (January 5) seems interested in is selling programmes to foreign media. Cultural invasion is indeed a reality, as is evident from the changes in our outlook since ’90. I quote from the book Invisible Crises: "A child today is born in a home in which television is on an average of over seven hours a day. For the first time in human history, most of the stories about people, life and values are told not by parents, schools, churches, or others in the community who have something to tell, but by some distant conglomerates who have something to sell."

    Amar Sethi, New Delhi

    Viva Espana ˜

    Vinod Mehta’s Delhi Diary (January 5) made interesting reading, though I am not clear why 1997 should have the zodiacal sign of Cancer. I have always rued the fact that the Spaniards failed to successfully colonise India. If they had, we would at least have had a few grand Baroque churches to add to our architectural heritage.

    We would also learn the right use of the definite article for in all Latin languages, unlike English, it changes with the gender. El Nino˜ (pron. ninio) is a little male child and has a wiggle, a diacritical mark, on the lower case n. Perhaps your typesetters could incorporate the tildes and accents to become more international. English letters unfortunately look barren and are never crowned.

    D.C.V. Mallik, Bangalore

    Vinod Mehta is envious of Mr Vajpayee when he says that the latter can’t be very mature if he gets impressed by the media blitz launched on his birthday. The Congress has been using public money to celebrate the birth and death anniversaries of Gandhi, Nehru and his family. The upper classes are not bothered about the common Indian, but are interested only in playing sycophant to the one family solely responsible for the mess this country is in now.

    K.S.S. Raghavan Bangalore

  • Brighter Side of Saffron
    Feb 02, 1998

    Glancing through some of the articles in your magazine and allured by your "Power Drive Offer", I was thinking of registering myself as a subscriber. Your December 15 issue, however, became a dampener on my intentions when I read the "Six reasons why India is afraid of the BJP". The reasons are a childish analysis of the Indian mind and a blatant tirade against the BJP. As an Indian, often described by anti-BJP forces as a member of the ‘minority’ community, I’m convinced the BJP is the only party which is effective in safeguarding the interests of minorities. The selfish and corrupt leaders belonging to the Congress and 14 other political parties forged a fragile United Front to hoodwink the Muslims and are quite incapable and inept in safeguarding the interests of Indian Muslims. It would be proved in the forthcoming election—whatever support you may muster against this nationalist party by such ill-conceived articles.

    M.D. Razzak, 24 Parganas, WB



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