• Pervezive Malaise
    Jan 08, 2001

    It is a matter of shame for the Pervez Musharraf government that it let Nawaz Sharif escape (State of General Dystopia, December 25). It is a blow to the judiciary and the people of Pakistan and sets a bad precedent. Sharif is revealed as selfish and a coward; he is a businessman, not a politician. Faced with a similar situation, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto chose not to compromise. As for the Saudis, they decapitate ordinary thieves, but have now chosen to shelter a bigger one.
    M. Saeed Awan,
    Gujranwala, Pakistan

  • Animal Husbandry
    Jan 08, 2001

    Spousal abuse is a well-documented evil in the US and is an issue that’s given coverage in the form of TV shows, films, etc (Wedded to Torment, December 18). There are laws to protect battered women from their husbands and organisations to help them seek asylum and custody of their children. Why is it that abusive husbands get away scot-free here? Are there no laws in India? If there are, shouldn’t people be made aware of them? I commend Outlook on its coverage. But I wish our films too, instead of including mandatory ‘rape scenes’, could highlight these issues instead.
    Percy,
    Hyderabad

    It’s high time women realised that suffering in silence is not the honourable thing to do even if it has been the done thing so far. They should carve out an identity that is not linked to their marital status alone.
    Sonia Kumar,
    Bangalore

    I applaud Outlook for exposing the naked truth of wife-beating and bringing out the hushed tears, blood and wounds out of the torture chambers (that are their bedrooms). How can these wife-beating devils be termed ‘husbands’? And is Section 498(A) of the ipc really functional? Hope Outlook will be able to answer these sometime.
    Shalu Rana,
    New Delhi

    It was heart-rending to read about the plight of closet sufferers of domestic violence. Stringent action should be taken against perpetrators of such barbarous acts. At the same time, the authorities should judiciously sift the genuine complaints from the frivolous and vexatious complaints of harassment lodged by women against their husbands and family members. The draconian Section 498(A) of the ipc is one such convenient tool in the hands of liberated, avaricious and self-aggrandising women.
    Goya Sodhi,
    Mumbai

  • Column Sans a Spine
    Jan 08, 2001

    Will you please stop Anita Pratap’s columns? She’s getting on my nerves. What’s she trying to say in her ‘essay’, The Pitfalls of Fame (December 4)? At times, she supports writers, then contradicts herself. Can’t she make up her mind? My sincere advice to her: think again before publishing your forthcoming book.
    Sophia Ajaz,
    on e-mail

  • A Quaintness of Imagination
    Jan 08, 2001

    For those well aware of Delhi’s dargah of Nizamuddin and its qawwalis, the glitterati from the Gymkhana thronging to the Thursday Night Fever (Madhu Jain’s Delhi Diary, December 18) sounds very amusing and also sad. To begin with, Thursday night here is not really anything special, qawwalis are performed everyday and all the time. And does the place really carry its medieval world charm any more, with its mercenary sajjada nashins (keepers), beggars and very ritualistic performances, one wonders. Maybe it does not matter if you are coming from the Oberoi’s bar and going to the famous Karim’s for dinner.
    Sadia Fatima,
    New Delhi

  • Mission Incomplete
    Jan 08, 2001

    I don’t think Vinod Mehta in his Delhi Diary (December 11) achieved what he set out to do: "banish politics". When he queries in his preamble if it’s possible to produce a full diary page sans politics or politicians and concludes diffidently in the tailpiece whether he might have banished politics, he did have politics in mind, didn’t he?
    C. Kesi,
    Chennai

  • Masochist Streak
    Jan 08, 2001

    Outlook is perhaps the only political weekly which welcomes its own criticism in such graceful manner. Is there some strange policy to publish letters that disagree with your viewpoint?
    Shariq Ashraf,
    on e-mail

  • Fleecing Fees
    Jan 08, 2001

    Your cover story The Big Fix (December 11) was an eye-opener for us. It’s extremely shocking to know that your reputed schools take bribe in the name of donations. Here in Pakistan, schools don’t take donations but charge hefty fees—a second- or third-standard student pays between three and five thousand rupees a month.
    Saba Nadeem,
    Lahore, Pakistan

  • Trash This Trash
    Jan 08, 2001

    Your Trash of the Fortnight column in Downtown: DEFINITELY Avoidable.
    Ravi Dhingra,
    New Delhi

  • An Unger Dissatisfied
    Jan 08, 2001

    Arundhati Roy’s essay (Power Politics, November 27) was persuasive and disturbing. Brooke Unger’s attempt at rebuttal (The Errors of Arundhati, December 18) was nothing more than a piece of selective nit-picking padded with the cliches about capitalism that businessmen and Americans seem to think are axiomatic. His feeble defence of the politics of greed served only to underline the cogency of Roy’s powerfully-reasoned essay.
    John W. Hood,
    Calcutta

    Brooke Unger presents his case with sufficient vagueness to deflect any serious counter-argument. But I must say GE has not done Indians any favour by employing them to do back-office work for the company. It’s cost-cutting at its meanest best, nothing else.
    Shailesh K. Trivedi,
    on e-mail

    Arundhati Roy represents the lonely voice of India’s higher conscience at a time when India is being brokered to the world by a few who would sell their nation’s sovereignty at the price of spinach. Hers is a voice of urgency. If it sounds shrill, it’s because it touches the central nerves of the nation.
    Richard Stevens,
    on e-mail

    Arundhati’s essay made interesting reading. But when she could root for so many foibles in the mncs, how could she publish her book through one such multinational gnome?
    Sudhir Viswarajan,
    Washington DC, US

  • Disputed Territories of the Soul
    Jan 08, 2001

    The cover story The Second Coming of Lord Ram (December 18) reflects the sad U-turn Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has taken. The man whom I believed to be a moderate is turning out to be another Hindu fanatic. Will the construction of a Ram mandir solve the problem of poverty, population or education in India? Does our PM not realise that people are still starving in Orissa, that problems in Kashmir and the Northeast are far from over, that atrocities on Dalits continue apace?
    Bharat Mysore,
    California, US

    Why is there such a hue and cry over mandir and masjid in Ayodhya? It will not solve the tussle between Hindus and Muslims. It is better to build a school or hospital over that land. At least people from both communities will benefit.
    Kenjom Angu,
    on e-mail

    "Oh no!" moaned all those who had invested in Vajpayee’s secular image. "Thank God, he’s still with us," said the Sangh parivar. "I told you so," said sceptics. Will the real Vajpayee please stand up?
    Dev Kumar Vasudevan,
    Mhow

    May I offer a few suggestions to the PM on the Ayodhya issue—advise the Muslims to refer back to the Somnath adventures, call it a 17-1 victory and still be ahead; opt for a fifth battle of Panipat; invoke the Din-e-Ilahi and build the RamAllah Cathedral; invite the Ahmediyas to build a mosque there or call Dolay Shah to raise mouse-men there.
    Veeresh Malik,
    New Delhi

    With the PM’s assertion on Ayodhya, the bjp’s liberal mask has been torn to shreds. Some may attribute it to the compulsions of the rss and the upcoming UP polls. But to the Muslims, it’s the plain truth. There can never be an understanding between the minorities and the rss. The PM has only cleared the ‘liberal’ confusion.
    Shakeel Ahmed,
    Bangalore

    Vajpayee’s ‘weak-kneed’ actions will take us nowhere. He is either senile to rake up the Ram mandir issue at regular intervals or is a clever manipulator. Is it necessary for him to be reminded every now and then that he is the PM at the behest of the nda constituents?
    Somnath Amin,
    Mumbai

    It’s unbelievable to hear such things from the the head of a country. The bjp’s sentiments on the Ram temple or Babri Masjid are not the country’s. At most, it is a regional party and at best a north Indian one whose views only reflect the Hindu chauvinist movement. Its partners may not pull out of government because of regional considerations but the country is getting divided unnecessarily.
    Suja Nambiar,
    on e-mail

    The Babri Masjid was demolished when Narasimha Rao was PM and the late Rajiv Gandhi had permitted the shilanyas for the Ram temple. Rao was not given the ticket to contest Lok Sabha elections as the Congress high command felt he had been unable to protect the mosque. Now the same Congress is enacting a drama in Parliament as champions of the Muslims by demanding Advani’s resignation. They’re mistaken if they think it’s going to help them garner Muslim votes.
    A. Srikantaiah,
    Bangalore

    I was recently in Ayodhya. There is no mosque. So another one cannot come up in its place. Consequently, what the prime minister has said makes sense. Let the Ram mandir be built in the same place and let there be a new mosque. Muslims should join Hindu brothers in kar seva to build the mandir and likewise Hindus should help in building the mosque. That should restore harmony between the two communities.
    Dr Leo Rebello,
    Mumbai

    By calling the demolition of the Babri Masjid a reflection of the national sentiment, Vajpayee has convincingly demonstrated his rightist leanings. His blissful ignorance of what’s happening to the Christians in Gujarat also reveals his soft corner for Hindu fundamentalists.
    Sanjay Kumar,
    Delhi

    Why is the Opposition raising such a furore against Vajpayee’s support for the Ram mandir? Had he suggested a mosque at Ayodhya, he would have been termed a champion of secularism. Hindu issues always seem communal while appeasement of minorities is considered secular.
    B. Kartik Shenoy,
    on e-mail

    When you come to the end of a rope, you tie a knot and hang onto it. Morally, our PM has no choice but to hang on, no matter what the circumstances.
    G. Thrivikram,
    Bangalore

    Even though Uma Bharati’s statements reek of political overtones, I’d still subscribe to her views that a court of law cannot echo the sentiments of a nation at large. In my opinion, the only way to resolve the Ramjanmabhoomi impasse is to host a nationwide referendum to settle the issue once and for all.
    Debranjan Dutta,
    Calcutta

    Till now, whatever was said about the bjp and ‘allies’, I found myself trusting Vajpayee as our ‘leader’. Now this very ‘leader’ has let us down by suggesting that anything be built on ‘disputed’ land, land that has been ‘acquired’ by force, disrespect and shamelessness. Thank you for a timely report on this idiocy, and the many others that our country seems to be suffering from, courtesy our ‘leaders’.
    Abdullah Sayyed,
    Bangalore

    Please, Mr Vajpayee, don’t waste your time on dead issues like Ayodhya. You and your fellow countrymen can’t afford to go back to the 15th century. We as the world’s second-most populated country have some real issues like the rising population, economy, internal security, poverty and much more that need your attention.
    Ashutosh Jha,
    New Delhi

    The bjp should not forget that it might sail to power once or twice using a communal trumpcard, but will not necessarily continue to win.
    Dr Daniel Sathiaraj,
    Hyderabad



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