Letters | Sep 07, 1998
  • The Missing Villain
    Sep 07, 1998

    It was nice to read 50 Things We Don’t Need (August 24). But I was surprised to see your omission of Hindi chauvinism even while you mention regional chauvinism in your list. Being citizens of this country, every Indian has the right to understand the speech of their president/prime minister/ministers. But all these leaders speak in Hindi which many citizens can’t understand. Doordarshan, which is supposed to be an Indian national channel, has 80 per cent of its programmes in Hindi. As long as this continues, regional chauvinism will also continue.

    Anna Raju, received by e-mail

  • Sep 07, 1998

    There seems to be some confusion in the quote I gave over the phone for your article Dark Facts Behind the Men in Khaki (August 24). Talking about the composition of the police force in the country I had said, "It is dominated by upper-caste Hindus. It is not only Muslims, but Christians, Dalits and other groups which should also have greater representation."

    Y.P. Chhibbar, Delhi

    Policemen are also part of the society and their thinking can’t be considered any different from the rest of society. The communal feelings of a society are bound to surface when ‘secular’ parties like the Samajwadis seek votes from ‘Muslim’ blocks etc. Communalism means ‘political grouping of the people on the basis of religion’. Treating religion as a unit of politics has done immense harm to India.

    Parvin Kumar Jain, Delhi

  • Hype and the Man
    Sep 07, 1998

    If I was legal advisor to Bill Clinton I’d sue Pfizer and Nike for the president’s current discomfiture—for selling him the current American dream—Have Viagra and Just Do It.

    Jayant Gaur, received by e-mail

  • Sep 07, 1998

    Your correspondent Anirud-dha Bahal started well with many an exposé on cricket. But he now seems to have fallen into the usual trap of temptations powerbrokers lure journalists into. His earlier article on Mark Mascarenhas, a person of not a very clean reputation, with a full portrait photo (a privilege Outlook hasn’t given even to Vajpayee, Abdul Kalam and Ratan Tata) raised eyebrows, but now his surrogate advertisement of Mascarenhas’ wealth and patronising power through a highly-readable story on Sachin Tendulkar (Sachin: An Intimate Portrait, August 24) has made Bahal’s credentials very suspect.

    Can Bahal please write a story on WorldTel’s balance sheet, tax paid in the US and India; Mascarenhas’ personal wealth, from ’92 onwards, if he has paid all the money contracted to BCCI and PILCOM; why India is visiting Sri Lanka every year only after WorldTel got TV rights there, and how Bangladesh got the rights to stage the mini World Cup at a single venue when India has eight floodlit stadia, with Indian sponsors to boot, only after WorldTel got TV and marketing rights there?

    P. Matilal, New Delhi

    Our correspondent replies: We cover Mascarenhas because he matters in cricket, and makes news—whether or not anyone likes it—not because of his alleged ability to ‘lure journalists’. I have no control where Tendulkar chooses to stay. Is Mr Matilal indirectly also casting aspersions on probably our most aboveboard cricketer? As for my credentials, my editors are the best judge.

    Tendulkar is God’s gift to Indian cricket, that goes without saying. But why this hype only when the team is winning? Just because India didn’t win too many matches during Gavaskar’s playing days, was he any less?

    Prabhu Rangarajan, received by e-mail

    Much as I hate Pepsi (and Coke), I couldn’t help appreciate their thoughtful ad in the midst of your cover story—a photo of a five-year-old Sachin, bat in hand, taking guard.

    Deepak Sapra, received by e-mail

    A lot has been said about India’s cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar. Outlook’s coverage of his holiday in Connecticut was welcome but what it said was nothing new. One would’ve better appreciated a cover on those who’ve dedicated their life to this country. The brave armymen, for example, who fight endlessly on the fronts to protect our freedom.

    Rahul Singhvi, Bharuch, Gujarat

  • Reform or Perish
    Sep 07, 1998

    Nitish Kumar says the expenditure on the 16 lakh railway employees is unavoidable (Steaming the Engine, August 17). To cite an example of wasteful practice, a long-distance train has 12 or more TTEs checking tickets and allotting any vacant seat/berth. If the railways have to improve passenger traffic and freight they have to prove their services are cost-effective. More aggressive marketing is needed to promote rail traffic and make it competitive with road transport, especially for short and medium distances. Since the bulk of the earnings of passenger traffic is from second class/sleeper class, rather than AC or first class, more fast and comfortable Janata trains must run between cities. Privatisation of loss-making areas of operation like catering/maintenance is a sure way of improving overall efficiency. What’s needed is a holistic approach to different modes of transport—land, air and sea—and rationalisation of fare structure.

    D.B.N. Murthy, Bangalore

  • Lies, Lies...
    Sep 07, 1998

    The Australian high commissioner may hold that his country’s stand is not hypocritical (There’s No Wizard in Oz, August 10) but it’s belied by his country’s policy on non-proliferation issues.

    Mr High Commissioner, what was your country’s reaction to Rajiv Gandhi’s plan presented in the UN in ’88 for complete and global disarmament by AD 2010? Zilch! The present nuclear weapons, barring the Chinese, are held by the whites for the security of the white nations. Can the high commissioner name one single black or brown country that’s covered by the security paradigm adopted by the West?

    Tarun Panikkar, New Delhi

  • Gems for Ms Roy
    Sep 07, 1998

    From The God of Small Things to The End of Imagination (August 3), or should I say from the sublime to the ridiculous. Obviously, Ms Roy believes that on the strength of the Booker Prize she has the right to pontificate about what our leaders should do about national security. Is she aware how many Indians have laid down their lives to make our (and her) future secure? Have peaceful dialogues led to any fruition? Is she aware of the wanton killings of Indians in HP? How does the US grant MFN status to China when it tramples over human rights and provides N-technology to Pakistan? Would she give up her Booker Prize and all that goes with it to support the national cause against sanctions imposed by the West? There’s one thing I learned when I was a boy scout, and which Ms Roy should know—‘Be prepared; or else we will be caught with our pants around our ankles!

    Jagdeep Parsram received by e-mail

    To follow on the heels of Arundhati Roy with the impossibility of better words than hers, blasting the myth of all arguments in favour of the bomb when faced with the physical fact of annihilation, not only of Man but of planet Earth, and to castigate in no uncertain terms the dangerous mischief of the monkeys in the trees of political forests everywhere, would be just to lend another voice, importantly to the small but increasing army of apolitical human beings, all over the world. And this I do as impassionately asI can, and not insignificantly, I hope.

    Ronnie Patel, Mirzapur

  • Dubious Revolution
    Sep 07, 1998

    The Udham Singh Nagar debate has, rather rudely, denuded the Indian Communists of their hypocritical revolutionary veneer. They’re actually the champions of neo-Brahminical-feudal resurgence, and have once again dialectically re-established their anti-native stance through politburo elites like Harkishen Singh Surjeet. This Land is My Land (July 27) reminds one of the identical plight of the Koch Rajbonshis in North Bengal where the Communist regime has been systematically reducing the native Rajbonshis into virtual beggars by snatching away their land through state power under the dubious banner of ‘land reforms’ and ‘property to the have-nots’ only to ensure land to Bengali migrants from east Pakistan.

    J. Prodhani, Assam

  • Who’s Scared of Y2K?
    Sep 07, 1998

    There are some mags that thrive on investigating reality and others that thrive on hype. You are among the latter. For you every issue is a potential story. Only the interest value of the buyers has to be high. Plain capitalist business methods, nothing wrong with that... Only that about 97 per cent of Indian companies are expected to be Y2K compliant by December 1999 (526 Days to Doomsday, July 20). And that figure is one of the highest in the world. It’d make sense if you did a little more research on these topics.

    Subhash Chandra, received by e-mail

  • Grave Omissions
    Sep 07, 1998

    A notable omission in the 50 Things We Can Do Without (August 24)—pretentious articles denouncing India’s nuclear tests by writers who claim to have renounced allegiance to India.

    S. Venkatesan, Delhi

    You include plastic bags in your list because they never die. But ironically you send your subscriber the magazine in translucent plastic covers. Do they seem mortal and harmless to you? You should remember the old saying—Example is better than precept.

    N. Deepak, Bangalore

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