• Alienating Swadeshi
    Jun 04, 2001

    Apropos Wages of Dissent (May 14), you present the case of swadeshi-wallahs as though the goi is a foreign government and swadeshi—being totally native—is violating its own principle by getting aid from the goi.
    S.D. Laghate, New Delhi

    It’s not as if the Centre’s doling public funds to organisations connected with the rss. Also, Pragati Maidan is open to anyone on earth. What wrong has the Centre for Bharatiya Marketing Development done if it arranged a grand swadeshi mela on its grounds?
    Dr Balram Mishra, Noida, UP

  • The Significant Other
    Jun 04, 2001

    It’s high time writers explored the other ma-in-law—mother of the wife (Mother-in-Law Fixation, May 28). She can wreck any marriage effectively.
    Rakesh Sharma, on e-mail

  • An Affair Gone Stale and Rancid
    Jun 04, 2001

    People like P.D. Tandon are living in a fool’s paradise (The Truth about Indira, May 21). Most historical figures like Kennedy, Nehru, Tagore, Field Marshal Montgomery, Napoleon and Hitler have had their personal lives and nobody’s ever felt that the historical role they played is marginalised because of that. "No man is a hero to his valet," goes an old adage. So it is with Indira. Some 15 years ago, a very senior minister—who held office in the cabinets of both Nehru and Indira—in a private conversation with me confirmed much of what Katherine Frank has written. As for Indira’s "love affair with India", Tandon should know that it only resulted in populist and economically suicidal measures like bank and insurance nationalisation, fooling people with nonsensical slogans a la ‘Garibi Hatao’, institutionalising corruption and degrading virtually every institution of this country. If the Congress is in a shambles, much of the blame can be laid at her doorstep.
    Arvindar Singh, Dehradun

  • Slightly Better Off
    Jun 04, 2001

    Apropos Hearthless Homes (May 21), I think we divorced men are better off compared to Allah’s Forgotten Daughters who are even denied alimony and suffer due to the apathy of society at large. For men at least, there seems life beyond divorce, provided they don’t hit the bottle or frequent red-light areas.
    Satish Pradhan, Pune

    I stand astonished at your temerity in writing such an article, even if the facts and the conclusions be substantially true. Given the temper of the times—and the prevalent power structures—it is politically most incorrect, nay quixotic, to even hint at the trials and tribulations oppressed males find in a divorce situation.
    Ranjit Thomas, on e-mail

    Without being too judgemental, the essay was pure rhetoric. Men can’t handle the pressures of marriage or divorce as they have always had their parents to mollycoddle them. And though it isn’t easy for women, they’ve learnt to pick up the pieces of their lives, find work and take care of their children. No Indian woman wishes or welcomes divorce, unless the man’s a wimp or slave driver.
    Chitra Amarnath, New Delhi

    I’m Brazilian and cannot understand why the Indian law always gives the privilege of children’s guardianship to the mother? Don’t fathers have any responsibility? I’m doing graduation in the culture of peoples and an explanation on this would enrich my work.
    Fabiana Rodrigues, on e-mail

  • Slimy Crutches
    Jun 04, 2001

    It’s strange that the Indian government’s lobbying in the UK through the discredited Hindujas, taking their help to seek appointments with heads of governments, and then having them present at meetings with the heads of governments where highly confidential matters of state are discussed (Mr Indispensable, May 21). Obviously, Brajesh Mishra, unlike Mahatma Gandhi, believes the end justifies the means.
    Surinder Kalia, on e-mail

  • Spare This Jaitley
    Jun 04, 2001

    I fail to understand Aniruddha Bahal’s vicious, vitriolic and vituperative diatribe against Arun Jaitley in Mutation of Intent (May 21). Of all the nda leaders, he’s perhaps the only one who has advised that instead of shooting the messenger, listen to his message.
    Rajiv Chopra, Jammu

  • Jun 04, 2001

    Apropos your review of Yashodhara Dalmia’s book, The Making of Modern Indian Art: The Progressives (April 16), the first artists’ group formed in India was the Calcutta Group in 1943, of which I was a founder-member and Prodosh Das Gupta and his wife Kamala Dasgupta, Subho Tagore, Nirode Majumdar, Gopal Ghose and Prankrishna Pal were other members. Our first exhibition in Calcutta in 1943 was received very enthusiastically. Mulk Raj Anand invited us to hold a show in Bombay in 1945 which was welcomed by the Bombay artists (who later formed the Progressives Group) with open arms. They asked for copies of the constitution of our group to help them write their own.
    Paritosh Sen, Calcutta

  • Same Difference
    Jun 04, 2001

    No so-called reform in the personal law or a secular civil code can solve problems Muslim women face in the marital domain (Allah’s Forgotten Daughters, May 21). A divorce is a divorce, whether effected instantly or through lengthy judicial action. To impose lifetime maintenance on a husband is as unnatural as giving partnership rights to a person who has left a company. As for polygamy, it’s an honourable means to rescue destitutes, spinsters and widows, better than burning them alive.
    A.T.M. Anwar, Vanasthalipuram

    I’ve worked with a feminist organisation despite being a male and understand the problems of Muslim women. But is the position and status of non-Muslim women any better? If Muslim men commit excesses, it’s not because of Islam, but due to a lack of informedness about it.
    Zafar Abdul Bari, Riyadh

  • Law Unto Themselves
    Jun 04, 2001

    "If the lamp of justice goes out in darkness, how great is that darkness," Lord Bryce had said. Recently in the Jessica Lall case and earlier in the bmw case, witnesses turned hostile. Is justice blind? Or is it that procedural matters are given so much priority that it’s relegated to the background? It’s high time the judiciary became proactive and ensured that justice isn’t denied against the rich and influential.
    Niladri B. Panda, on e-mail

  • Monkeying Around
    Jun 04, 2001

    Is the monkeyman menace (A City Gone Ape, May 28) a ploy by the bjp-led government to deflect attention from its assembly poll debacle and the earlier tehelka exposure?
    Joseph D’Souza, on e-mail

  • Figure This Out
    Jun 04, 2001

    In the article The Great Highway Robbery (May 21), you present figures and statements that are at first extremely shocking. For instance, "According to highly-placed sources...the government will pay two half-yearly instalments of Rs 69 cr for 12.5 years. What’s not factored in is that the actual 65-km stretch would cost no more than Rs 325 crore to construct, while ultimately the government would be forking out...Rs 1,725 cr." But calculate the present value of payments the government intends making (at 8 per cent rate) and you get Rs 760 crore: half the amount you reach.
    Ankur Sarin, on e-mail

  • Lest He Do It Again
    Jun 04, 2001

    In Bibliofile (May 21), you talk of Amitav Ghosh and "the other Commonwealth prize, the Booker". The Booker’s a strictly British prize, in that though the author can be a Commonwealth citizen, the book has to be published in the UK, in English. Books in other Commonwealth languages are ineligible. So Ghosh’s reason for withdrawing from the Commonwealth prize doesn’t apply here.
    Renuka Chatterjee, Harper Collins Publishers

  • Better My Finger on the Button
    Jun 04, 2001

    Apropos The Triangle (May 21), I’m filled with dread over the proved inefficacy of the Americans while handling sophisticated missile technology. As it happened on July 3, 1988, when technology-savvy American war-merchants—manning their fleet in the Persian Gulf—shot their missile on a civilian flight soon after it took off from Khurramshehr in Iran, causing the deaths of some 200 passengers—my sister, her husband, a daughter and two sons among them.
    Kafia Farooqui, New Delhi

    The BJP government may have committed a faux pas in Kargil, Kandahar and Pyrdiwah but to give the devil its due, the decision to welcome the nmd is laudable. Protests that it will lead to an arms race are emanating from Beijing, Moscow and Islamabad which are technologically not in a position to neutralise the nmd shield.
    Meraj Ahmed Mubarki, Calcutta

    By developing a more friendly tie with the US, India would benefit both in terms of business interests and geo-political strategy. We could also avoid US interference in Kashmir and get its tacit support for a solution more on India’s terms. For this, India will have to pay a price and that’s to endorse the NMD. That done, however, we should bid goodbye to Panchsheel and the nam rhetoric.
    Dr S. Paknikar, on e-mail

    Developing arsenals to match China’s is a fool’s strategy—by the time India develops these, China would have moved further ahead. It’s wise therefore to move to the higher orbit of the nmd. And should the US start influencing India unduly at a later date, our negotiators will have to be hawkish enough to obviate such risks.
    Arun Kumar Jha, on e-mail

    Agreed that the US has committed grave violations in bombing innocent people in Iraq and Belgrade, but that’s no different from China’s human rights violations in Tibet. And how can China suspect India’s intentions—as Dingli Shen points out in his column, India’s Intention Suspect—when its very own with regard to proliferation in South Asia have always been suspect? How can it forget 1962 or that it still occupies part of our territory, does not accept Sikkim’s accession to India or that it has nuclear-tipped missiles aimed at India?
    Sandeep Magavi, Dallas

    I’m as much of an Indian as A.B. Vajpayee or Jaswant Singh is. But I agree with Shen that "the more secure the US is, the more insecure the rest of the world feels". Our China-bashing is beyond comprehension. For us Dalai Lama is an apostle of peace, while Kashmir leaders are "terrorists". But the fact remains that whatever be their means, they’re all separatists. As for China helping Pakistan, it happened only after we aligned so closely with the ussr. Also, how is it that there’s so much hue and cry over Chinese dumping when Coke and Pepsi have finished off homegrown brands and 700-odd categories of products are further getting dumped under wto regulations?
    R. Radhakrishnan, on e-mail

    Shen expects India’s unilateral hand of friendship towards China. But how does he justify his own country’s hob-nobbing with the Pakistanis?
    P.V. Jayashankar, Bangalore

    Instead of trying to keep Beijing in good humour, we should make decisions on the nmd based wholly on our national security interests.
    Kanoth Nijyl, on e-mail

    Why should we appreciate China’s concern when our own have only been aggrieved by the Dragon all these years?
    Shyam Mukundan, on e-mail

    Does Shen forget that China took illegal possession of Kashmir—gifted to it by Pakistan, that Taiwan is not a Chinese province, that it occupied Tibet by force, that it continues to support militancy in our northeast or that it has close military cooperation with Myanmar to monitor India?
    Praveen Koratala, on e-mail

    The only explanation for the bjp’s euphoria over the ludicrous and unworkable nmd is a desire to out-quisling Quisling. But then the bjp, given its enthusiastic participation in every scam, be it roads, power, telecom or defence, is showing its true colours anyway.
    Bishwapriya Purkayastha, on e-mail

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