Letters | Feb 23, 1998
  • Villains Among Journos
    Feb 23, 1998

    Vinod Mehta’s opinion (A Lesson In Humility, February 9) is most appropriate, especially his admission that ‘one gigantic example of the journalists’ genius for getting things gigantically wrong is our assessment of the Sonia Gandhi phenomenon’. Why didn’t you include a journalist or two among the list of ‘villains’ in your year-end issue (January 5). We read so many quickies which are incredibly non-researched. And see the harm done to society by your tribe, many of who believe that the sun shines out of their fundamental orifice!

    Rr Adml Satyindra Singh, New Delhi

    I’ve always felt sad that the newspapers you edited out of Bombay (The Independent, if I’m not mistaken) did not go on....Please accept my hearty congratulations for the runaway success of Outlook.

    Your recent editorial on Sonia Gandhi is, as usual, rewarding and, unlike others, candid in its admission of the Sonia factor. I hope she goes on to win the election.... I was for the BJP, but they’re only slightly better than the others...they are more hungry than Sonia...see Thackeray and Munde in Maharashtra.

    Saurabh Sharma, Received on e-mail

  • Talk About Irony
    Feb 23, 1998

    The article "We’ll Go Nuclear"(February 9) had a quote from Mr Jairam Ramesh which said: "If the country is economically strong, it will be taken seriously...we love to be taken seriously but this is not the way to be taken seriously". It’s ironical that a well-informed person like him made such a remark. Can’t he see that in the Iraq-US standoff, the US is rallying for Russian support, not Japan’s.

    Rishi Kumar, New Delhi

  • Don’t Make Iraq Pay
    Feb 23, 1998

    I find it ironical that in a permissive society like America, it’s president is being charged with accusations of ‘extra-marital affairs’ (Clinton’s Ominous Starr,

    February 9). After all, the sexual escapades of earlier presidents like Kennedy, Eisenhower, etc were known facts and they were not impeached for their misconduct. I feel that this orchestrated campaign against Clinton indicates a deeper conspiracy which may not be revealed to the public at all. Meanwhile Clinton, with supposedly liberal credentials, dons the mask of a republican to wage war against Iraq to stem the tide of public discontent. The people of Iraq should not pay the penalty for the sexual misdemeanours of the American president.

    K.S. Sundar, Bangalore

  • Win Back the Youth
    Feb 23, 1998

    Your cover story The Lost Electorate (February 9) is the one political analysis before the elections that makes sense, because all of us know that the same old bunch of corrupt politicians will commence proper horse-trading only after results come in. All the current posturing is only for the benefit of a naive media, since the not-so-naive public isn’t taken in at all. Crowds collect anywhere in India, and

    are by no means a barometer for anything except inquisitiveness. By that yardstick, the 23 per cent that approved of dictatorship should stand out as a beacon. If we had provided ourselves as an electorate with the option of a limited period dictatorship or semi-democracy under, say, the armed forces, we would see them win hands down.

    Which other cohesive force has the infrastructure, the communication skills, the experience, anyway?

    Veeresh Malik, New Delhi

    It’s hardly surprising that today’s youth are disinterested in politics or don’t want to cast their vote. In this age of materialism, corruption and nepotism dominate all spheres of activity. Everything has a price, and people are willing to pay it. The values and ideals of our freedom fighters have lost all meaning. The only ambition the younger generation has is to reach the top rung fast, regardless of how many toes it treads. For them elections just mean having swanky cars and cellphones or wearing trendy labels. Most want to go abroad for studies; some do want to return home but are dissuaded because nothing works in this country. I sympathise with these youth for whom elections have little meaning. For in post-Independent India, there are few values to be proud of.

    Arshi Azmi, Bhiwandi

    On going through your survey findings, I find that its results have been published without taking proper care. While the total percentage in all cases should add up to 100 per cent, in some the count is more than 100 per cent. One can’t help but feel that the survey does not convey the correct picture.

    K. N. Pillai, Mumbai

    There were multiple answers to some of the questions.

  • Talking Points
    Feb 23, 1998

    Apropos The Issues No One Talks About At All (February 2), though India has made remarkable progress over the past five decades, the twin menaces of increasing unemployment and the population explosion have undone many of those successes. Geographically, India occupies only 2.4 per cent of the world’s area, yet its population ratio is 16 per cent, which is likely to double by AD 2010. India’s overall income from 1960 to 1991 rose to 215 per cent, but per capita income stood only at 58 per cent due to these two chronic problems. At present the birth ratio in India is 40 per second and the death ratio 39 per second. By this count we’ll have 10 crore people on Employment Exchange Cards by AD 2010. Indeed, a sobering thought.

    P.P. Mehta, Anjar-Kutch

    It was heartening to see that someone has at last focussed attention on ‘the issues no one talks about at all’. It would have been better still, if instead of the banal Bofors, you had made it the cover story. By neglecting the real issues, our politicians have time and again proved that "You can’t fool all of the people all of the time—but a majority would do." (With due apologies to Abraham Lincoln.)

    Abhinav Goel, New Delhi

  • Subscribe in Haste...
    Feb 23, 1998

    We have subscribed to your magazine for five years. Now I repent for the hastiness we showed. We had a lot of expectations from your magazine regarding ethical standards. But you have let us down by publishing the views of the would-be assassin of the Mahatma (‘I regret I wasn’t the man to kill Gandhi’, February 2).Every terrorist psychopath will have a logical reason (from his or her viewpoint) for his or her action, which may wreak havoc on the world community. Even the Nazis might offer ‘good’ reasons (good for them for the Holocaust.

    Sridhar K.K. ,Bangalore

  • A Hideous Comparison
    Feb 23, 1998

    How can one compare the legitimisation of prostitution with that of professional blood donation (Dying for Blood, January 26)? A healthy adult goes to a sex worker by choice whereas a patient (who may even be an infant or a child) in a hospital may not even be aware that he might be receiving blood from a professional donor. Is it not shameful that professional blood donors have to be encouraged in a country which has 900 million people?

    A professional blood donor will visit one blood bank today, another tomorrow. How can his blood possibly be labelled safe and healthy? Why can’t we encourage voluntary blood donation instead? After all, it is a social and community responsibility. Let us not shirk the issue.

    Dr Vidya Vishwanath, Vishakhapatnam

  • Push the Stop Button
    Feb 23, 1998

    After reading the poll forecasts (BJP 35 Short of Magic Figure, January 26), there’s just one question on my mind: Is there no way at all you can stop the elections?

    Jimmy John, Calcutta

  • Goebbel’s Torchbearers
    Feb 23, 1998

    The article India’s New Spin Doctors (January 19) made interesting reading. But you failed to mention that the BJP’s spin doctors have formed the largest ‘daisy-chain’ for any party in the history of independent India. The party’s spin doctors are no ordinary people, they are the torchbearers of Joseph Goebbels.

    Ashok R. Mundhada, Amravati

  • Feb 23, 1998

    I have no words to express my sorrow after reading And The Wretched (January 26). We, as Indian citizens, need to wake up and take active interest in how people in villages are being exploited by politicians along with local ‘hoodlum entrepreneurs’. I feel the judiciary, with the help of citizens, should take these politicians to task. I appreciate the initiative taken by you because it is the responsibility of the media to inform the public of the transgressions being made. Now the ball is in our esteemed courts.

    Bindu Choksi, Mumbai

  • By the Congress, for the Congress?
    Feb 23, 1998

    Apropos Sonia Halts the BJP March (February 16), the opinion poll reads as if it was conducted for the Congress, if not also by the Congress. The interpretation is certainly of the Congress. Had it been otherwise, how is that the BJP and its allies are found to be gaining in eight of the 10 most populous states whose detailed data is given? Only in Madhya Pradesh, BJP and allies neither gain nor lose and in Maharashtra they are predicted to drop nine seats by the opinion poll. On the other hand, according to your opinion poll, the Congress is expected to lose seats in UP, West Bengal, Rajasthan and Gujarat. Yet the extrapolations of the fin-dings show a big jump for the Congress. We have held you and your publication in high regard for the width of reportage and the objectivity of analysis. The article, or rather its prediction, therefore comes to us as an unfortunate surprise. Its partiality is still incredible to us.

    Prafull Goradia, Member, BJP Media Cell, New Delhi

    Editor’s note: The poll was conducted by the world’s largest market research agency, A.C. Nielsen, known for its professionalism. Outlook played no role in the findings of the poll, except pay the bill.

  • Give it to Sir, With Love
    Feb 23, 1998

    It’s indeed disheartening to learn that a great visionary like Arthur C. Clarke (1998: A Strange Odyssey, February 16) could have his knighthood nomination forfeited merely on the basis of his sexual preferences, and that too, for something that happened decades ago. This reminds me of a classic Shakespeare quote: "Men’s evil manners live in Brass, Their virtues we write on water."

    Debranjan Dutta, Calcutta

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