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Letters | Jun 01, 1998
The Mobocrat's Whip
A Stitch in Time...
Jun 01, 1998
(The Mobocrat's Whip May 18)
There’s nothing wrong with the Sena, the BJP or any other party enforcing a moral code of conduct (The Mobocrat’s Whip, May 18). After all, they are elected by the people to do so. It’s only a problem when they’re not consistent or uniform in their approach. If Nandgaonkar had stopped Saali Puri Gharwali in the first place, other plays of the kind would not have taken the lead. And if a stop had not been put now, who knows the malaise might have spread to other parts of India within a year.
Saurabh Kumar, Mumbai
The Outlook poll which shows an astonishing 82 per cent of the people polled in Mumbai as favouring closing bars by 11.30 pm seems to have been taken in a bar, and that too, by someone having sampled a sizeable quantity of whatever it is that the bar was offering. Please, do let us know how, in your infinite wisdom you have arrived at a conclusion that by polling 313 persons in a city of almost 1 crore you are giving us a majority opinion.
Angry Bar/Pub visitor, Mumbai
To respect each others’ sentiments, at least religious ones, is a sign of civil society. If those who assaulted artist M.F. Husain are to be condemned for their act, Husain himself should be condemned for hurting the religious sentiments of Hindus through his art. An artist does not live in isolation but within a society.
As per Mumbai-based daily Iqbal’s editor: "The outcome of Husain’s recent paintings (about Sita) is that such attitudes increase the distance between Hindus and Muslims."
Vijay P., Mumbai
The recent happenings in the Indian social and political scene have evoked the fear of god in liberal democrats like me. The BJP’s clarion call for nationalism—long shown to be more divisive than integrating—the unfortunate emergence, albeit with covert party patronage, of Bajrang and sundry other Dals as moral police in different parts of India, Ms Sushma Swaraj’s poser with regard to I&B censorship, all point to an emerging pattern that’s chillingly similar to the early 1900s.
Will these philistines, who can’t tell a Menon from a Monet, tell artists how to paint, poets how to sing and writers how to write? It stinks only of one thing: fascism.
Dr S. Vaidyanathan, Pondicherry
Jethmalani Nails Jethmalani
Missing the Nail
Jun 01, 1998
The article Jethmalani Nails Jethmalani (May 18) refers to "contributions" being made to certain funds to help the "Bofors investigation" by "Jethmalani’s son Janak and daughter Geeta". Mr Jethmalani’s daughter, who is an American citizen, is named Shoba Gehani. My formal name is Geeta and I’m his daughter-in-law, being married to Janak Jethmalani. I’ve never made any contribution to any "funds" as alleged.
Manya Patil Jethmalani, Mumbai
The Day The Music Died
Ghulam Ali: Vox Populi
Jun 01, 1998
You did well to publish the interviews of Uddhav Thackeray and Shatrughan Sinha (The Day the Music Died, May 11). People from both sides are tired of hating each other, but clearly politicians are not. Is it because they want to retain power by fooling people with propaganda? Let the people revolt against them. It was the politicians who divided us in the first place and who continue to keep us apart.
K.N. Pareek, New Delhi
The treatment the Sena meted out to Ghulam Ali was shameful. Even worse was Uddhav’s citing the Kashmir killings as the provocation (!)—even as he lamely admitted the Sena had erred. Did it help even a single Kashmiri in any material way? Art has no frontiers. Don’t hold it hostage to political whims.
Abhinav Suman, New Delhi
You hit the nail on the head in describing the Sena’s shameful act as a brazen exhibition of its nuisance value. All those missiles that seem to worry Uddhav Thackeray so much can’t be allowed to solely define Indo-Pak relations. The ties between the people, who share so much in culture and language, ought to be based more on public opinion. Cultural exchange of this sort only helps bridge a highly artificial, imposed gap.
Vivek, New Delhi
The Ghulam Ali episode is only the latest instance of a dangerous sort of vandalism—it’s officially sponsored and so skew-eyed. Unlike Michael Jackson’s music, the ghazal derives from Indian classical music. Ghulam Ali is an internationally acclaimed artiste whose adayagi is permeated with the true spirit of Indian culture. It transcends all geographical boundaries. Targeting artistes like him isn’t merely insulting him, it’s a grave insult to our own culture.
Mahesh I. Sharma, Delhi
Peace, Thanks To The Pile-Up
We Shall Overcome
Jun 01, 1998
In the concluding paras of his opinion Peace, Thanks to the Pile-up (May 4), Mirza Aslam Beg seems to make deliberate use of phrases like ‘war of liberation’, ‘sacrifices of the Kashmiri people’, ‘righteousness of the cause’ and ‘forces of tyranny and injustice’ to indirectly support the Pakistani claim on Kashmir. How could an Indian magazine of national repute publish such an anti-national piece? The fourth estate is deemed to be a watchdog but Outlook’s editors must be sleeping. Beg and others of his ilk should know that the ‘war of liberation’ will free POK, ‘sacrifices of the Kashmiri people’ (killed by Pakistani insurgents) won’t go waste, ‘righteousness of the Indian cause’ will triumph and ‘Pakistani forces of tyranny and injustice’ will fail.
Kaushal Pujara, Mumbai
An Intriguing Dualism
For a Few Laughs
Jun 01, 1998
I wonder how inane, bigoted words could find a place in a new-generation mag like yours (An Intriguing Dualism, May 4). Vijayalaxmi Dixit can go around saying "one drop of Tamil blood ensures quickness, intelligence, a quality...other communities simply don’t have" and "we feed our children rasam... anybody who can master Tamil can then master any other language". Let her keep these ideas to herself, we are not buying Outlook to read such crap.
The Tamil society is a traditional one like any other which keeps its women on a pedestal as Tai (mother), yet female foeticide/infanticide is among the highest. That’s the sort of dualism one wants analysed.
S.V. Prasad, Kochi
It was an amusing cover, the properties of rasam being most interesting! But seriously, can the alacrity with which one does arithmetical calculations on the movement of stars, etc, be transmitted to the next generation, without the latter having to work for it?
C.V. Ganeshan, Coimbatore
Eat Karl, Drink Marx
View From the East
Jun 01, 1998
Apropos Eat Karl, Drink Marx (May 4), companies are shifting headquarters from Calcutta not because of trade union problems but because of management/financial difficulties. The Left Front minister’s dispute with Coca-Cola is unfortunate. But it does not mean the government isn’t allowing other MNCs into the state. After the open industrial policy since 1994, West Bengal has seen major development. The people have been deprived of its fruits only because of Centre-state politics, wrong state-level policies, trade unions etc.
Parthasarathi Bera, Bangalore
Inside The RSS
The Hindu Saviour
Jun 01, 1998
Inside the RSS (April 27) was interesting and informative. The ‘secularist’ hue and cry about the RSS’S growth being pernicious to India’s integrity is malicious propaganda. Witness the RSS’s humanitarian service, extended to all sections of Indians: women, tribals etc. The RSS is vital for Hinduism’s survival in this country—only it can save its innocent, illiterate poor from large-scale conversion by foreign agencies.
C.S. R. Murthy, Hyderabad
I used to look with disfavour at Outlook because of its glitzy, sex-laced content; but your in-depth cover has made a convert of me. The RSS has so penetrated the warp and weft of the national fabric, its dismantling appears difficult now. This is why the Faizabad collector was seen calmly lighting a cigarette in Ayodhya while the Uma Bharatis, Advanis and Joshis were pick-axing the Babri Masjid to the ground.
I was never an admirer of Jinnah’s theory that sundered the fair frame of our beautiful country, but now I’m inclined to believe he was perhaps a greater visionary than our theorist leaders. Can any sane man imagine H.K. Mahatab of Orissa, who used to swear by his mentor Gandhi, would die as the state chief of the RSS?
M.Y. Sadiq, Bhubaneshwar
Pokhran-II:What Led To The 53-Kiloton Bombshell?
An Example to Others
Jun 01, 1998
By testing the nuke bombs, India has set an example to other countries that a sovereign, democratic, independent country need not be afraid of the so-called superpowers, and can, and should, take decisions vital for its security (Pokhran-II, May 25). Indian scientists have done the nation proud. China is indeed the real threat if one is to believe the information and statistics appearing in the press. It was also a fitting reply to the hidden military coalition between the US, China and Pakistan, from the head of a coalition government.
The defence minister’s statements days before the tests, for which there was a lot of hue and cry both in the local and foreign press, were, I believe, pre-planned to set the groundwork for the tests. George Fernandes doesn’t shout unless there is a reason.
The tests will also effect a rethinking of India’s policies, and enable Indians to tap the vast hidden resources and strengths that lay hidden in this country, and which are essential now in the face of the sanctions. I guess, this is what the BJP meant when they stressed on ‘swadeshi’ during their election campaign.
Ravishankar, New Delhi
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