Letters | Jul 24, 2000
  • Sites of Native Shame
    Jul 24, 2000

    Daniel Lak’s feature (Bullocks to Them..., June 19) was amusing. But the reactions of my countrymen frustrates me. Why do we care about how we’re portrayed in the foreign media? There’s nothing shameful about a bullock cart but there’s certainly something shameful about corruption, prejudices, increasing violence, etc.

    Deepa Kandaswamy,

  • Dances in the Dark
    Jul 24, 2000

    Your outlook in Ten Years After (July 3) was cheery. But you use the symbol of the Dancing Ganesha wrongly. A dancing Ganesha is a manifestation of his displeasure and destructive attitude, not the good omen you seem to think it is.

    Savita Jagtiani,
    on e-mail

    Every once in a while, Outlook seems to lose its objectivity and gets convulsed in a bout of almost fascist optimism as far as India is concerned. So it is with this cover story. India is a disgrace to every Indian who lives in it, because the country has so much potential and it’s marred by crooked politicians and bureaucrats. And all you hacks can do is sit back and cheer while economists live like parasites off the blood and toil of most of us.

    Mehul Kamdar,
    on e-mail

    Your story’s nothing but a sudden bout of optimism. India still abounds in Lak’s bullock carts. Our much-hyped progress comes to nought before our billion-plus population.

    Deepak Singh Manral,
    on e-mail

  • Just Chipping In
    Jul 24, 2000

    Let’s hope the vulgar, pretentious display of middleclassness by the likes of Narayanamurthy ends up throwing at least a few more crumbs to the needy than the vulgar display of simplicity of those Gandhitopiwalas who have been ruling the country all this while (How 2 Invest, June 19). Scepticism asks for only a few small mercies.

    Usha Balakrishnan,

  • Southern Discomfort
    Jul 24, 2000

    You always seem to have diaries on Delhi, Mumbai, New York, London and even Bangalore at times. But never on Chennai or other cities in the south? Away from home, we’d love to know what’s happening there.

    Karthik R.,

  • Disrobing Nature
    Jul 24, 2000

    No doubt, decoding the book of life is the greatest scientific revolution since antibiotics and vaccines (Reading the Book of Life, July 10). The scientists involved in this work deserve accolades. Every human on this earth should be grateful to them, for the hope genomics will bring to those who’re part of the genetically-defective chain, either as carriers or patients. What’s ironic though is that when the world is heading towards revolutionising medical science, India is still struggling and fighting unsuccessfully to control its population growth.

    Sangeeta Rajiv,

    The revealing of nature’s closely-guarded secrets will open up modern life’s biggest Pandora’s box. It’s a question of time before our future generation finds out what we have left for them-a pathway to a brighter, disease-free world or a pursuit of racial superiority? And, let’s see how nature responds to its superiormost creation domineering it.

    K. Uma,
    on e-mail

    The human genome project promises better diagnostic tools but also raises ethical, legal, and social issues including the role humans can or should play in manipulating nature. A task force has to be established to define the scope of activities centred around the confidentiality of genetic data if we have to utilise the full potential of the genome results.

    A.S. Raj,

    Allow me to point out a few errors in the graphic accompanying the cover story. For one, the bonds between ladder-shaped structures (two strands of DNA) have been labelled as RNA that must be a bond of either adenine-thymine (A-T) or cytosine-guanine (C-G). Nor does unzipped DNA allow its code to be read by RNA. In fact, the DNA’s transcribed into a molecule called RNA, which has some slight chemical differences (thymine is replaced by uracil (U)). After some structural modification RNA changes to messenger RNA and only then it is read by a piece of cellular machinery called ribosome.

    Dr Rizwan Manzer,
    Centre for Biochemical Technology, New Delhi

  • Correcting Past Deeds
    Jul 24, 2000

    I admire Khushwant Singh as a writer. But he fails miserably to justify his support for the Emergency (Why I Supported Emergency, July 3). Was Emergency the only tool in the government’s hands to tackle the violence during JP’s protests? History records how Mrs G crushed the railway strike. And none can dispute her love for power and disregard of the Allahabad high court verdict. And Singh’s calling Sanjay ‘a loveable goonda’ is certainly a scaling down from the open sycophancy of 25 years back. Nor was Jagmohan the only one demolishing slums "with ruthless zeal". Sanjay was a party to it too. Singh himself says so in the February 20, 1977 issue of the Illustrated Weekly of India. He also admits Sanjay did it without authority, yet lauds his work. He may try hard, but his stand remains suspect.

    P.G. Harikumar,
    New Delhi

    Khushwant Singh, in his piece, calls Blitz owner Rusi Karanjia "the most unprincipled editor of our times". Arun Jaitley returns the compliment in Nazi Priestess saying, "The editor of ...Illustrated Weekly...converted the magazine into a house journal of the dynasty". Isn’t Khushwant’s then a case of ‘the pot calling the kettle black’?

    P. Babu,
    Geddanapalli, AP

  • Degrees of Separation
    Jul 24, 2000

    It seems Farooq Abdullah wants Kashmir as an entity separate from India (For Old Times’ Sake, July 3). What is the relevance of the state’s accession to India in 1947? Were all grants and resources spent on it charity and the sacrifices made by our soldiers in vain? It’s high time the special status given to Kashmir in the Constitution be scrapped and Pakistan be made to vacate PoK.

    T. Padmavathy,

    The demand for autonomy is nothing but a political strategy the National Conference is using to counter the Hindu card being played by the BJP and the Sangh parivar.

    Suresh Tinaikar,

    It’s rather late in the day for Prem Shankar Jha to wake up to Farooq Abdullah’s lack of moral authority to either rule the state or to introduce a bill for autonomy (Last Nail in the Coffin). For the last 50 years, India’s ruled Kashmir with the barest pretence of any moral authority of its own. For all practical purposes, it has acted as an occupying force and never cared for legitimising its hold over J&K, through people’s genuine participation.

    Ghulam Muhammed,

    Farooq Abdullah seems to be making some very glaring anti-India remarks. There’s one where he says: "If Kashmir had been with Pakistan then maybe now I would have been the prime minister of that country." I could think of a worse fate for him-either serving a life sentence as Nawaz Sharif is or the gallows like Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

    on e-mail

    There’s nothing wrong with Farooq Abdullah’s demand for autonomy so long as his ultimate aim is not secession. Other reasons for his demand could be a confrontation with the NDA, a fear that New Delhi might have a dialogue with Hurriyat or quite simply an ensuring of his comeback in the coming Assembly elections. He should not, in any case, worry about the last since nobody else can rule this state. The clan of Sheikh Abdullah is born to rule-with or without autonomy.

    Dr U.S. Iyer,

    Kashmir is non-negotiable. It is a part of the Indian Union and should be treated as an equal partner. Autonomy to Kashmir will result in demands of autonomy to other states.

    K.V. Sharma,

  • Colours of Objectivity
    Jul 24, 2000

    I can’t understand why you call the results of the Calcutta Corporation polls a setback to the Left (More Than a Red Alert, July 10)? In the last parliamentary polls, the Left led in only about 20 wards in the Calcutta municipal area while the Trinamul led in about 120. Eight months later the Left Front’s won about 60 seats-the same as Trinamul. This is a threefold increase for the Left while Trinamul’s performance has been halved. Nor did you do any story on Bengal’s recent municipal polls. Was it because the Trinamul came a poor third? And what about panchayat polls in UP where the BJP was thrashed by both SP and BSP? Red may be out of fashion currently and saffron in, but why should Outlook lose its objectivity?

    P.R. Ramesh Kumar,

  • Words in Drift
    Jul 24, 2000

    In Polscape (July 3), you use a quote of Pooja Bedi’s which said that the Indian man is no longer looking for virginity from his wife and if he is, the women aren’t bothered. That quote was from my story in The Asian Age and I think the source should have been acknowledged.

    Prerna Bindra,
    on e-mail

  • Spectres in Green
    Jul 24, 2000

    Why does the RSS have to hold Muslims responsible for everything that’s wrong with India (Dharma Cola, July 3)? It’s the government’s shortcoming if extremists and terrorists are having their way. It is high time our ‘leaders’ realised that running the government is no joke and that Mandir and Masjid can earn votes only once.

    Zohra Javed,

    What next? Will Panchjanya now publish a "scoop" on how D Company has propped up Azim Premji’s Wipro or an expos on the ISI connections of India’s missile man Abdul Kalam? Fortunately, even today 70 per cent of the Hindus don’t subscribe to the views and propaganda of neo-fascists in the RSS and the Sena.

    Imran Ahmed,

  • Careful With Those Words
    Jul 24, 2000

    How could you be so irresponsible as to write that Navneeta was celebrating what could be her last birthday (Dusk Falls at Dawn, June 26)? She suffers from cancer and is presently being treated at our hospital. She is doing well and her condition is much better now and, don’t count it out, she might even be completely cured.

    Navneeta and her parents are very hopeful of her complete recovery. For that reason they allowed you to photograph her for your magazine. But instead you wrote that she might be celebrating probably her last birthday. This might be sensational for your readers but it was very, very traumatic for the family. They are already depressed and on reading your article they started crying and gave up all hope (whatever was left of it).

    As doctors in this field, we feel defeated when parents come to us with statements published in leading journals like yours which virtually ask them to give up. The purpose of such articles should be to give some kind of moral support to the child and his/her family. I hope you understand our point and apologise.

    Dr Sumeet Gujral,
    Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai

    Maybe we overdefined these cases as ‘terminal’. We regret any distress we might have caused Navneeta and her family.

  • Fleshy Mistakes
    Jul 24, 2000

    I read with interest the article Geography of Sex (July 3). But the survey you have published was conducted mostly on the Internet. And most surfers on the net who respond to such surveys (relating to sex) are men in the age group of 20-30 years. The Net also confers a sense of anonymity to the respondents. Thus, men in these age groups, especially when given a sense of anonymity, tend to brag a lot about their sexual prowess. Needless to say, any results of such studies have to be taken with a pinch of salt.

    Dr Sreekumar V.,

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