• What’s Your Creed?
    Apr 09, 2001

    Consistently inconsistent. That’s Outlook.

    Prakash Jaisingh, on e-mail

    The response to the Jay’s World contest in our year-end issue was overwhelming; there were a total of 8,442 entries. The winners of the grand prize—32-volume Encyclopaedia Britannica—are Gopal Sarkar, Calcutta; Gaurav Kumar, Bangalore and Mrs Ruby N. Thakker, Surat. For answers to the contest and the list of consolation prize winners go to Jay's Contest Winners

  • Bold and Beautiful
    Apr 09, 2001

    Outlook’s done a commendable job in publishing a review of Katherine Frank’s Indira (Mrs G’s String of Beaus, March 26). It shows Mrs Gandhi as just another human even if some narrow-minded people think it’s a bad idea.

    Harshavardhan, on e-mail

    Though her troubled relationship with Feroze was well-known, it doesn’t mean that Indira was sexually close to other people. After all, there’s no concrete evidence in support of her relationship except the claims of some people.

    A. Kabir, on e-mail

    If I was in the bjp, I’d hasten the release of this book. The Congress would be too busy burning copies to bother any more with the Tehelka revelations. Let’s face it. Even 17 years after her death, She makes for a better copy than her daughter-in-law.

    Pankaj Mehta, Mumbai

    Even though I was in jail during Emergency, I refuse to read such nonsense about Indira Gandhi.

    Rasiklal Dave, Vadnagar, Gujarat

  • How About a Privatised CBI?
    Apr 09, 2001

    It would be hardly an exaggeration to state that the trio have usurped power and appropriated all authority to themselves, completely sidelining senior officials in various ministries and departments (Reign of the Triad, March 26). To top it all, the PM’s foster son-in-law Ranjan Bhattacharya has been acting as an extra-constitutional authority, who has shown special favours to his favourites. It’s time that the nation got rid of influence-peddlers.

    V.B.N. Ram, New Delhi

    Not only does corruption not suit the overall profile of the bjp, they do not even know how to go about it. And if they are so eager to indulge in it, they should take proper training from the masters and breeders of corruption for over five decades—the Congress.

    Chandra Mohan Bajaj, Lucknow

    A lot of hue and cry is being raised over the Tehelka exposé. During my 35 years of service in a state electricity board, I’ve interacted with a number of politicians (of the two largest national parties) and have not met a single honest one. Nor have my colleagues in a neighbouring state. I’m neither surprised nor upset.

    K.N. Shrivastav, Nagpur

    The best way to root out corruption from public life is to privatise the business of catching thieves. The functions of government departments like the cbi, Vigilance Commission or the Enforcement Directorate should be handed over to private agencies like Tehelka.

    Baldev Raj Dawar, Delhi

    If even after Tehelka’s revelations, the bjp and allies come to power again, it would make two things clear. That the majority of the Indian electorate believes more in Hindutva than in nationalism. And that, as a corollary, Indian nationalism and Hinduism are not synonymous, a delusion faithfully nurtured by the Sangh parivar.

    Ahmad Zeeshan, Allahabad

    Sometimes the toughest of men are broken by allegations of dishonesty. To take the Tehelka exposé as clinching evidence against a man who is not directly implicated—George Fernandes—is premature. As in match-fixing where the cbi pronounced Prabhakar guilty and let Kapil off, Tehelka may not be always right. In which case, we might stand to lose a national treasure.

    Parashar Borkotoky, Bangalore

    The irresponsible and immoral conduct of a few individuals has brought disgrace to the revered institutions of defence. The guilty have to be brought to book at the earliest, to prevent any further decline in the morale of our intrepid soldiers.

    Akhilesh Kumar, Lucknow

    When Outlook kept saying "The emperor isn’t wearing any clothes", no one was willing to believe you. Now that some of your former colleagues have produced clear, graphic evidence of the nudity, almost everyone seems convinced. A pity though that the emperor himself still walks around with no clothes on!

    P.R. Ramesh Kumar, Thiruvananthapuram

    I’ve been deeply disappointed with the abysmal state of journalistic integrity in the reporting of Outlook. This week’s cover story, like so many in the past, is based on shoddy research and simplistic assumptions. Vinod Mehta’s penchant for sensationalism coupled with the remarks he made post the 1984 riots leave a bad taste in my mouth. I’m now more likely than ever to believe that he’s nothing but a tool of the Congress.

    Vivek Oberoi, on e-mail

    Tehelka’s exposé has made me ashamed of my country. They have done a perfect job in exposing the loopholes in our bureaucracy. There’s no defence for the actions of Messrs Fernandes, Jaitly or the triad. Playing with the defence needs of the country is downright treachery. And the PM has to show them the door.

    Ranganath Achar, Abu Dhabi

    Sure, it surprised everyone. Not the brazen way the powerful have been found taking bribes, but their cavalier attitude. Their ‘frank’ discussions with total strangers (in this case the Tehelka journalists) suggests that they care a damn about the Indian law. And they are right. After all, how many corrupt officials have been put behind bars?

    P.G. Dodeja, Abu Dhabi

    There’s only one word that can describe Indian politicians—Disgusting. Their naked greed and nefarious designs will no doubt plunge India into chaps but also make it an intellectual pauper. God alone can save us now.

    Baadal, Canada

    The irony is that even the holiest and most pious of men occupying the country’s highest office has been a mute spectator to such goings-on.

    Krishnamani, Hyderabad

  • Twisting the Olive
    Apr 09, 2001

    As army nursing officers we’d be obliged if you could take up the issue mentioned in Olive Twist (March 19) at the highest level. We’re ready to contribute for any legal action that can be taken on this. We’ve spent a lot of money on this change and will be humiliated only because of male ego and the dictatorial attitude of male officers.

    Army nursing officers, on e-mail

    The army nurse has long been given the status of an officer, placing her at par with doctors. This was perhaps to insulate women in some way from soldiers below officer rank. But does she still need that insulation if she’s asking to be treated at par with men? Their healing touch notwithstanding, it’s time we stopped pampering the army nurses to the point where she’s jostling for space amongst other officers, a status that truly belongs to leaders in the army.

    Jayashree, Coimbatore

  • Some Don’t Dos
    Apr 09, 2001

    Reading Anita Pratap’s Funerals of the Spirit (March 19), I was grateful once again that I’m happy living in the West. Being from a middle-class background myself, I can’t help but notice the febrile aspirations of most middle-class Indians to the next level—the nri. Not the nris who work hard for a living but the ones living in apna desh—the Nouveau Riche Indians. Each year I visit India and return with a sense of relief to my outdated decor and untrendy wardrobe as also the choice of not having to be a culture vulture if I don’t want to. If living away from one’s dear ones is a price to pay for this luxury, I feel nouveau richer for it.

    Nimmi Rajiv, on e-mail

    Isn’t what Anita Pratap is saying a case of sour grapes, especially for a typically middle-class person? Even I feel irritated at times by charity balls, etc. But won’t most of us do the same if we were in their position?

    Abhinav Goel, on e-mail

  • The Original Sinners
    Apr 09, 2001

    I was pleasantly surprised at Vinod Mehta talking well of Vajpayee and simultaneously expressing his criticism of the Congress in his Delhi Diary (March 19). The latter is a party of carpet-baggers and I’m amazed that they should attack the government over the Tehelka revelations and speak about probity in politics.

    Lalit Bagai, on e-mail

    How come Vinod Mehta is lionising present-day journalists who’re ferreting out stories with hidden weapons? Is it not backstabbing and unethical? No doubt, it’ll do some good for our polity. But no one will talk to journalists unless they’re sure of the 11th commandment—Thou shalt not be caught.

    Wg Cdr (rtd) Venugopal, New Delhi

    Won’t women be able to handle the ‘baby’ that Vinod Mehta & Co are set to deliver (Size Doesn’t Matter)? Does he mean to imply that all other general interest magazines fly above women’s heads? He’s one man I don’t expect to be a sexist!

    Indira Acharya, Mumbai

  • The Truth of the Don
    Apr 09, 2001

    Apropos Sorab Shroff’s letter (A Bit of a Cheat, March 19), the decision regarding the appeal made by the fielders was not left to Donald Bradman but made by the umpire himself. This is what Denis Compton, a member of the fielding side, had to say in his book, End of an Innings: "To everyone’s astonishment, he (the umpire) gave Bradman ‘not out’, and the game continued." Bradman in his autobiography says the ball touched the bottom of his bat just before hitting the ground and so it was not a catch. It’s been a much-debated incident and opinions differ as to whether Bradman was out or not.

    S.A. Bashir, New Delhi

  • Inept Monitor
    Apr 09, 2001

    Apropos Bear-Hug and After, March 19), sebi needs to be disbanded immediately as it has ignored the interests of small and genuine investors and played into the hands of speculators and bull operators. Prior to sebi, the cci or the Controller of Capital Issues was much more effective in the smooth running of stockmarkets and never allowed exorbitant premiums in ipos, which sebi is doing since its birth and which is the root of present ills.

    Sukhninder Singh, Bhatinda

    Recalling the darkest hour exactly eight years ago, a series of bomb blasts rocked Mumbai and the stockmarket building was the prime target. Now the stockmarket in Mumbai has suffered a shock treatment and the setback is worse than that.

    C.R. Krishnan, Ghaziabad

  • After the Beaus, the Arrows
    Apr 09, 2001

    Why do Indians find it difficult to believe that their leaders can have a sex life too (Mrs G’s String of Beaus, March 26)? It’s not possible for ordinary mortals to be maryada purushottam Ramas, and Indira Gandhi, or anybody else for that matter, was but a human being. Indians have to go a long way before becoming really democratic in their thoughts without resorting to burning down or pelting stones at anything that they might have an objection to.

    T. Cherian, on e-mail

    I think you guys ought to be ashamed of yourselves for cashing in on somebody’s personal life, and that too after their death.

    Rajendra Samaluru, Germany

  • Glimpse of the Past
    Apr 09, 2001

    Amitava Kumar’s ‘We are all converts’ (March 19) brought back beautiful memories of my student days in Hyderabad. I’m sure you can still find the likes of Amitava and Gulzar there. The photograph of an Indian and Pakistani soldier was a picture worth a thousand words.

    Sunanda Menon Satish, Bangalore



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