• Scam-Dunked
    Apr 16, 2001 Murali Duggineni , Hyderabad

    What a fall it was for A.B. Vajpayee. He who stood so tall among leaders (Uneasy Lies the Head, April 2). The "party with a difference" was exposed when its own president was seen accepting cash. Our PM should now initiate steps to normalise the situation with Opposition leaders rather than declare ‘war’ on the Congress.

    D.B.N. Murthy, Bangalore

    I had the shock of my life when I saw the new issue of Outlook titled Closed Till Further Notice. Mom even went to the extent of criticising you, for having closed further publication without even a notice to the subscribers. Anyways, it was a fantastic punchline.

    R.K. Joshin, Pune

    How is it that reporters in India have suddenly woken up to the importance of investigative journalism? Every other fash-trash magazine and newspaper has taken to India-bashing in a passionate way. Why is it that everybody talks about problems and no one provides solutions?

    Vikram Prabhala, Dublin

    The interview with Arun Jaitley featured in The Side Show showed quite clearly how politicians evade tough questions. I wonder whether it’s fear or whether such rambling comes naturally to politicians.

    Rohan Nathaniel, on e-mail

    Thanks for giving a true picture of the Rasputins ruling our country. Reading and watching the events, I wonder if we’re still living in medieval ages, where citizens had to suffer their rulers’ buffoonery.

    Naveen Remanan, on e-mail

    The timing and targeting of V. George smells of a sinister plot of vindictiveness. It’s an illegal use of extreme state coercion to achieve a political goal.

    Jaswant S. Hans, on e-mail

    Little did we know that a private secretary was so important. The entire party being up in arms to defend V. George presents a baffling spectacle, revealing the depths to which Congressmen—claiming to be the Mahatma’s inheritors—can stoop in servile solidarity. The Daridra Narayan has always occupied prime position in our scheme of things. And garibi hatao need not necessarily be through irdp alone!

    R. Sajan, Ernakulam

    Sandipan Deb might think The Clock’s Turning Back. But it’s only doing so in New Delhi. The rest of the country—or at least some parts of it in the south and the west— seem to be doing very well on their own, thank you. In fact, the clock of progress would not miss a beat if all the area within a three-km radius of Rashtrapati Bhawan vaporised all of a sudden. It might even do better, by throwing away some yokes of inertia.

    Veeresh Malik, New Delhi

    Farewell to Arms? appears to overlook an important point: one must be wearing blinkers to view middlemen as facilitators of corruption. In less corrupt countries, middlemen compete in highlighting the virtues of the product they hawk. In corrupt nations, they realise that the order carries the price of bribery. Perhaps this simple truth eludes our government but it stares at the man on the street—whether it’s seeking a ration card or a driver’s licence.

    R. Sunder, Bangalore

    We didn’t elect our MPs to rush to the well of the house and raise slogans. And none other than the Congress president and leader of the Opposition egged on party MPs at the Bangalore session to force the Speaker to keep the house adjourned till March 23. Incidentally, if the speaker of the Andhra legislature can suspend Congress mlas for the rest of the session for being unruly, what stops the speaker of the Lok Sabha?

    G.S. Sampath, Bangalore

    While presenting Budget 2001, Yashwant Sinha advised the Indian film industry not to do anything chori chori, chupke chupke. But his own party president was caught taking a bribe. Shouldn’t the government at least practice what it preaches?

  • Apr 16, 2001 Jose Verghese, Kottarakkara, Kerala

    A writer has every right to judge a prize, but I don’t think Amitav Ghosh’s explanation for rejecting the Commonwealth prize justifies his decision (‘Authors Too Can Judge Prizes’, April 2). Once published, a book can evoke myriad responses from readers and critics. An unbiased writer would value that opinion, even if it contradicts his intention of writing it. When Ghosh says he rejected the prize as he didn’t want his book to belong to a specific genre, he seems to be dictating terms to his readers.

  • The Crouching Tigers
    Apr 16, 2001 Sachin S. Pilankar, Mumbai

    Who is to blame for the current state of affairs in the pmo (Reign of the Triad, March 26)? Regrettably, it’s the PM himself. With both age and health against him, Vajpayee’s relying increasingly on his three trusted aides in matters of governance, even as they show imperious disregard for constitutional dicta. Perhaps it’s time we began seeking an alternative to Vajpayee.

    Aniruddha Basu, New Delhi

    Vinod Mehta tells us, "It is incredible the number of enemies (George Fernandes) has made in politics, and how much journalists detest him." A politician naturally has enemies in politics. But why do journalists detest him? Can you shed some light on this?

  • Batman’s Cobwebs
    Apr 16, 2001 K. Venkatesan, Chennai

    I read letters (Let Ganguly Be, April 2) on the need for the public not to poke their nose in the personal lives of cricketers. Though I agree with the spirit of the letters, I think the tears shed by an honest wife because of her husband’s escapades will definitely bedevil the latter’s mind more and more. No wonder the Indian captain is failing so often with the bat.

  • TINA Tidings
    Apr 16, 2001 Stuthi Raghavan, New Delhi

    Anita Pratap’s A Few Good Men (April 2) raises more despair than hope. To think that the present government rode to power on the credo of clean governance! Hopefully, it won’t get away with the tina (there is no alternative) factor.

    Cdr (rtd) C.D. Pereira, Mangalore

    Anita Pratap’s Impressions came like a breath of fresh air. Over time, the emphasis of the media has shifted towards sensationalism and publicity to crime, perversion and corruption. In the old days, people used to pray first thing in the morning; today they turn to newspapers to read about rape, murder, dacoity and fraud. Believe me, there are still good things left in the world and the media should do some positive reporting in its role as peddler of enlightenment to people.

    O.P. Tandon, New Delhi

    Do tell your readers the name of the rare breed of politician Anita Pratap mentions in her column. Let there be some honesty amid the dissembling world of Indian politicians.

  • Figures of Speech
    Apr 16, 2001 John D., on e-mail

    The opinion poll published in the article Sleeping with the Evil (April 2) throws up some interesting information. Respondents in all cities hold politicians more responsible for corruption over bureaucrats and officers, whereas in Hyderabad it’s just the opposite. Chandrababu Naidu better watch it. The Hyderabad he so succeeded in transforming into ‘Cyberabad’ could end up becoming a ‘Briberabad’.

    Vikramaditya Kunte, on e-mail

    Apart from the 10 steps you enumerate to clean up the system, the most important one I think is to have a relentless drive to improve the efficiency of ordinary services provided by the administration. If we become casual about these, and shrug them off as unimportant, they become the starting points of corruption. Our problem is that we like to be known as intellectuals at iic but can’t be bothered with the nitty-gritty.

    P.R. Iyer, New Delhi

    Armsgate truly epitomises the hypocrisy in our society. How many people out of 100 manage to get something they’re entitled to from a government department without greasing any palms? I doubt if the actual figure is even 1 in a 100. The more regulation you have in society, the more corruption there’ll be.

  • Hang the Sheriff
    Apr 16, 2001 B.R.S. Saxena, Lucknow

    The article From the Barrel of a Gun (April 2) gives a vivid view of the jungle raj in Bihar. It’s a matter of shame for our parliamentary democracy that an individual with over 25 criminal cases pending against him becomes a member of our Parliament, by virtue of his minority status. Not only that, he enjoys the support and is sheltered by the rjd president and shadow chief minister of Bihar.

  • Commissioned Czars
    Apr 16, 2001 Burjor Poonawala, on e-mail

    Prem Shankar Jha’s His Bouncing Cheques (April 2) was an excellent piece. Watching the Tehelka tapes on Zee, I was amazed to see the casual stance of almost all players. It was revealed that Russians usually give 15 per cent but they want half back. I dread to think what amounts have been paid and to whom when billions of dollars worth of arms have been purchased not only from Russia but also from the US, UK, Germany, Sweden and many others. In any other nation of the world, the guilty would have been tried for treason, in China they’d have been shot, but in India, they’ll manage to get away with murder!

  • Victim of Delusion
    Apr 16, 2001 Anita Desai, Delhi

    Apropos ‘We are all converts’ (March 19), people like Amitava Kumar should remember that old truism—Hinduism is not just a religion but a way of life. Conversion to another religion means you do not believe in what all religions preach—that ‘God is one’.

  • Pass the Chair, Please
    Apr 16, 2001 Suja Nambiar, on-e-mail

    Apropos The PM’s Achilles Heel (March 26), it is unfortunate that the Opposition parties are demanding the resignation of the government after the defence minister resigned. They must be willing to spell out what next if this government goes. Can they form the government and, if yes, then who will be their prime minister and how long will that government last? It’s easier to break a government than to build one. The Opposition can scarcely rein in its MPs in Parliament but is still dreaming of governing the nation. The fortunes of millions of our countrymen should not be put in jeopardy by a non-functional government on permanent crutches. The government did make a mistake but all these shady deals are being conducted at all places, at all levels, by all people all the time. This was only the first time that they got recorded on camera. And finally to quote from The Bible: "Let the man cast the first stone who did not commit a sin." It’s sad that our society today respects and admires a man who’s dishonest and is a cheat by branding him smart and despises someone who’s honest and gentlemanly and calls him a fool.

  • Bar Barmer
    Apr 16, 2001 Dr Haricharan Shenoy, Udupi

    Yeh Manvendra Singh kaun hai? Yeh Barmer kidhar hai? Stop it, pleeeease!

  • Spare Her Soul
    Apr 16, 2001 Hindumal M. Shah , Adoni, Andhra Pradesh

    There’s journalism and then there’s that of your magazine’s kind. By publishing obnoxiously selected extracts from Katherine Frank’s "well-researched" book, you’ve managed to put Outlook in the news. Congratulations! This is but a cheap tactic to up your visibility, in Maharashtra and outside. I wish you’d understand that your readers identify Frank’s unfounded babbling as just a gimmick to help sell an otherwise insipid account of the extraordinary life of an extraordinary woman. Please keep your bedroom ‘secrets’ at home. I don’t know why we should be paying to help you grow in this manner.

    Rajendra Sharma, Mumbai

    I understand that Katherine Frank, the brave biographer, has also written accounts on Emily Bronté, Mary Kingsley and Lucie Duff Gordon’s lives. Was she as explicit about their sexual selves as she has been about Indira Gandhi’s?

    B. Jambulingam, Thanjavur

    Your review of Frank’s Indira
    concentrates on the sexual aspects mentioned therein, overshadowing her political achievements. Compare this with The Hindu’s review of the same book by Hasan Suroor. Is it impossible to avoid sensationalism, especially when we deal with a person like Mrs Gandhi?



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