• A Mental Problem
    Mar 23, 1998

    If, after 50 years of independence, a country of 900 million people cannot produce some young, able and dynamic person to take its people to the 21st century, and we still have to look towards the Nehru-Feroze Gandhi dynasty, there must be something wrong with our democracy, political system and, perhaps, even our minds.

    Raj Kanwar, Faridabad

  • Murderers at Large
    Mar 23, 1998

    All who take the sword, will die by the sword—Mt 26.52.Rounding up small fry (Echoes of Bombay, March 2) won’t contain violence in the country as long as the real criminal forces are free to strike with impunity. Till today, the murderers of 3,000 Sikhs in Delhi, the destroyers of Babri Masjid and the slaughterers of Bombay remain scot-free and even enjoy political power. If the programme of any political party includes the destruction of places of worship, has the country any right to expect peace?

    F. Shenoy, Bangalore

    The picture of the injured being evacuated by the rescue personnel was stark and very disturbing. What was even more appalling was the way in which the evacuation was handled—without proper stretchers and equipment. Whether this reflects a lack of sensitivity on the part of the rescue personnel or just an infrastructural problem is a moot question. The point is, when will the health authorities train and equip its personnel so that such callousness can be avoided and the bare minimum help is at hand for emergencies?

    Maj. Joseph Augustine (rtd), Chennai

  • Dignity a Foreign Word
    Mar 23, 1998

    J.N. Dixit’s article, No One’s Above the Law (March 2), was interesting, but I’d like to know: what has been done since? Has the MEA demanded the return of Leila Abdaoui to her country or has it chosen to brush the episode under the carpet? The foreign service, as well the rest of the bureaucracy in India, suffers from a peculiar phobia. While an American or Englishman can go to his embassy and thump the table for protection with definite assurance of protection of rights, Indian embassies have repeatedly been criticised for their apathy towards visiting countrymen. Embassy staff forget that one of their functions is to look after Indians abroad. Once in Baghdad, I had an appointment to see the ambassador. On reaching the embassy, I was told my appointment had been postponed as a local Iraqi had dropped in to see the ambassador, without an appointment and he could not be refused. Does this not undermine the dignity of India?

    Hemi Bhagat, New Delhi

  • In Name Only
    Mar 23, 1998

    By fielding non-serious Muslim candidates in six constituencies where Muslims comprise 40 to 70 per cent of the electorate, the BJP has proved its pseudo-secular stance.(The Onus of Optimism, February 23). Eyeing a probable division of votes among candidates of secular parties, it fielded these (so-called) Muslim candidates for indirect benefits and to prove its secular plank. Muslims can’t be fooled by such decoys whose Muslim identity lies only in their Perso-Arabic names. Muslims prefer secular candidates, not Mir Jaffar types. If it’s so keen, why doesn’t the BJP field Muslim candidates in Hindu dominant constituencies, thus pressing its flock (mostly upper caste Hindu) to accept Muslim representatives?

    M. Ishteyaque, Muzaffarpur (Bihar)

  • Party to Deceit
    Mar 23, 1998

    The falsehoods heaped by various parties on the gullible electorate were exposed in the article on the different political manifestos (A Promise to Betray, February 23). The parties promise the impossible and try to hoodwink the public. Once elected,they forget these promises.In The Problems of the Day, P.R. Sarkar, the seer-philosopher, says that after polls, if a candidate does not live up to his stated policies, and this is proved in court, his or her election should be cancelled.

    Surjit Sen Gupta, received via e-mail

  • Basu, See Red
    Mar 23, 1998

    Thanks for exposing the true face of Jyoti Basu and his 20 years of misrule (An Eye On Delhi, February 23). Not only has he been successful in fooling the people of Bengal by false promises but he is also successful in forcing Shaw Wallace, Brooke Bond Lipton, Philips, ICICI, GEC and Dunlop Tyres to shift out to other states. He has successfully made West Bengal one of India’s poorest states (57 per cent of people live below the poverty line) and one of India’s most illiterate states. Now, Basu wants to become the prime minister of India. Does he cherish the dream to make India one of the poorest, most illiterate and undeveloped nations of the world?

    S. Paul, Calcutta

  • The Sikh Story
    Mar 23, 1998

    Amrik Singh’s review (The Sikh Psyche, February 23) dwells on the history and the psyche of the Sikh community mentioned in Sangat Singh’s book, and chooses to ignore its more sig-nificant aspect, the documentary record—from media and official sources—of events leading to Operation Bluestar and later the November ’84 anti-Sikh riots, especially the role of the government machinery. This book probably has the greatest source material of facts for historians to interpret.

    H.S. Hanspal, Delhi

  • Offensive Cheapshot
    Mar 23, 1998

    Your magazine has much to be proud of in that it does not allow things to be swept under the carpet. But some of its writing is downright offensive.I don’t know in what capacity Bhaichand Patel served in the UN but I doubt he could have been a diplomat. His ‘joke’ about the bishop (Catholic Tongue Twister, Manila Diary, February 9) was outrageous. It also says much for the outlook of the editor who allowed it to pass. Are these the kind of people who inform our intelligentsia? Whither decorum? It seems anything will go, almost, to boost circulation.

    R.P. Coelho, Bangalore

  • Two Sides to a Murder
    Mar 23, 1998

    Your article on the views of the would-be assassin of the Mahatma ("I regret I wasn’t the man to kill Gandhi", February 2) is startling. I commend you for uncovering what has always been treated as a matter of shame. Till now there has always been a one-sided coverage of the assassination of Gandhi. We now have a historically illiterate person like Sonia Gandhi saying that the BJP is responsible for Gandhi’s death. Absolute blasphemy and an irresponsible accusation against a political party which evolved only in the ’70s. I do not uphold the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi but I feel there are two sides to a coin. By expressing both, wild accusations such as these are put to an early death.

    Devika Singh, Ambala Cantt.

  • Deadly Strikes
    Mar 23, 1998

    The article Death of a Cricketer (March 9) by Manoj Prabhakar was very touching. Raman Lamba was another example of the growing number of talented sportspersons who are denied their due by the authorities. His death is an unforgettable tragedy and is also very alarming. Use of proper protective gear by players in such dangerous positions should be made compulsory by the rules of the game, by the ICC, to prevent tragic recurrences. Will they act or is it going to be just ‘all in the game’?

    Dr Shashikiran V. Bikaner (Rajasthan)

  • Today Never Dies
    Mar 23, 1998

    Apropos Sight and Sound Bites (March 16), please stop your TV Today-bashing. To me it sounds like a bad case of sour grapes.India Today ranks top on my list and you guys need to stop acting like a glossy mag and pick up a few tips from that magazine. A good circulation does not a good mag make.

    Secondly, stop BJP-bashing by airing the views of people like Ved Marwah and Congressmen. Anyway, the BJP rules despite mags like yours and the so-called guardians of Secular India.

    Rahul Ray, Received on e-mail

  • A Time to Act
    Mar 23, 1998

    Apropos Kalinga Reinvaded (March 9), the curse of encroachment began in the early years of independent India. Now it’s an established business run by the estate mafia. The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Remains and Sites Act, 1958 or 1992, is ignored at every step. Under the provisions of this Act certain business houses were invited by Lt Governor Tejinder Khanna in September 1997 to adopt some of the protected monuments in Delhi with the twin aim of rescuing them from obscurity and getting much-needed funds for their upkeep. In turn the business houses were allowed to display their logos etc near the monuments. The proposal seems workable. If it is given practical shape, the scheme can even be promoted and applied all over India.

    S.S. Saar, New Delhi

  • On Collision Course
    Mar 23, 1998

    Apropos the cover story Tough Act (March 16), the political scenario that emerged after the elections was most nauseating. All major parties were looking for coalition parties with whom they could form stable governments. And proved that they were all collision parties rather than coalition parties even before forming the government, as was illustrated specifically in the case of the outrageous AIADMK.

    Jayalalitha’s unexpected victory stemmed not from her popularity or power, but in her slogan: Stable Government at Centre. Before that she held BJP to ransom by making unreasonable and unethical demands. The reason for such demands, it’s not diffi-cult to guess, was to safeguard her personal interests. But ask anyone in Tamil Nadu about her attitude and they’ll either say "I’m not surprised at her demands, what else do you expect from Amma, what’s wrong with her demands?" or "What else do you expect from her, arrogance and betrayal is her way of life". Either way Tamilians weren’t surprised with the situation, but the BJP learnt its lesson the hard way.

    P.S. Raja Ramalingam, Bangalore

    The stunt riders’ photograph in the cover story was brilliant. It’s amazing what imagination and ingenuity can do to bolster an article concerning a topic as common as politics.

    Vinay Menon, Calcutta

    As expected, the 12th Lok Sabha elections threw up a hung Parliament with no party having a clear majority. For a while the BJP’s prospects for forming a stable government dimmed considerably and the Congress and UF were again thinking of getting together. It made me wonder why the Congress triggered the election rigmarole at all. They played the cards of regionalism, casteism and what not to be in Parliament, though in vain. Their tactics are still a misfortune for the public at large and it’s regrettable that the public are still being wooed by dubious politicians.

    Joydeep Thapa, Dharamsala

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