• The Company of Pygmies
    Aug 27, 2001

    While Vajpayee the Person comes across as intelligent, honest and charismatic, Vajpayee as Prime Minister has failed to live up to his vaunted statesman image (A Man Dwarfed by His Shadow, August 13). Call it the irony of politics. He has succumbed to the pressures of the Great Indian Political Circus to become a joker for the Opposition and a trumpcard for the shaky nda allies. Given the mishandling of the Agra summit, the uti crisis, allegations against the pmo, the drama in Tamil Nadu, Phoolan Devi’s murder—the PM had no option but to pull the political stunt of resignation to create a brief crisis within the nda and the Opposition, reminding them about the paucity of their choices.
    Ashish Shukul, Vadodara

    It’s the irony of Indian politics that a man who should have quit his chair (Yashwant Sinha) refuses to do so and the man who should continue (A.B. Vajpayee) should offer to resign.
    M. Kumar, New Delhi

    The nda government in general and Atal Behari Vajpayee in particular have failed to come up to people’s expectations. The people expected efficient and clean governance from the bjp and its allies. Vajpayee, alas, has proved a ‘weak-kneed’ prime minister and his government ineffective and wavering. He now seems intent on just completing his tenure. But he and the nda should know that they must deliver or quit.
    Anusha Singh, Ooty

    Flair for political histrionics alone does not make an effective prime minister. Where is good governance and the party with a difference? Vajpayee should certainly leave the chair if he cannot provide leadership.
    A.S. Lall, on e-mail

    Why should the prime minister resign for the mistakes of his colleagues? Vajpayee is one of the most seasoned and able politicians India has seen in a real long time.
    Jinu Matthew, on e-mail

    Vajpayee’s threat to resign seems to be an admission of defeat and the inability of his government to deliver, on the economic and diplomatic fronts. It’s becoming clear that the more the number of parties in the nda, the less the chances of effective governance. It’s high time the PM got to govern the country rather than just his coalition partners. Guarding the pmo for him is proving more difficult than guarding the chair.
    Suja Nambiar, on e-mail

    I was traumatised after reading your cover story. It’s obvious that every individual’s day begins by encountering corruption and ends with the same. I sympathise with the PM who, despite his dignified means, has failed to save his sinking canoe. Courtesy, not the Opposition this time, but his very own flesh and blood.
    Shruti Kulkarni, New Delhi

    Vajpayee’s resignation offer was the consequence of the inner quarrels among his selfish crew of nda partners. They are together only because of their vested interests and devote all their time to pulling the rug off from under each other’s feet to gain political mileage and benefits to their own states.
    Faisal Inamdar, Hyderabad

    A.B. Vajpayee is an honourable man. His stature of a colossus however takes a beating because of the hordes of pygmies he has for company.
    Vivek Khanna, Panchkula

    I can only see truth in what Shakespeare said: uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.
    R. Ramasami, Tiruvannamalai

    The short-lived resignation drama enacted by Vajpayee was nothing but another act of emotional blackmail to gain time and restore his fast-eroding authority within his own party and among his cantankerous allies.
    D.B.N. Murthy, Bangalore

  • The Hidden Facts
    Aug 27, 2001

    Ajit Bhattacharjea’s opinion on j&k (First, The Third Option, August 6) was traitorous. He conceals the enactment of the j&k State Constitution, 1957, in which the non-amendable Section 5 conceded to the Union of India powers that went beyond subjects included in the Instrument of Accession. Several constitutional orders transferring large areas of jurisdiction to Parliament were passed during Nehru’s lifetime itself, not after his death. As for Mountbatten’s pious wish about "reference to the people" of j&k, Bhattacharjea should read our chief justice’s scholarly book on the j&k Constitution before he next dares to write on the subject.
    Arvind Lavakare, Mumbai

    Ajit Bhattacharjea’s opinion on Kashmir is commendable. The onus lies on the shoulders of the security forces as they are there for the protection of our own people. Our leaders need to create a sense of home for the people of Kashmir.
    Raman Sharma, Kochi

  • Garbage Feud
    Aug 27, 2001

    Natwar Singh’s tailpiece on the "distinguished rubbish" spoken by foreign ministers (Delhi Diary, August 6) is amusing, though not in the way he meant it. Apart from his alter ego as a man of letters specialising in E.M. Forster, Singh has been a career diplomat, with spells as a head of mission and as official and minister in the mea. He knows better than none that the formal statements of ministers, the sort delivered at unga, are drafted by permanent officials. Should we take it that he was the lone exception who, whether as diplomat or minister, never talked rubbish? Judging by this anecdote, I am afraid not.
    S. Venkatesan, Mumbai

  • Case of a Missing Law
    Aug 27, 2001

    A Zoo Story (August 6) is also the result of the blatant violation of Art 244 (V Schedule) of the Constitution by past Tamil Nadu governments. It’s the only state that doesn’t have any legislation to restore alienated lands and restrict transfer of adivasi lands to non-adivasis. Had the state included adivasi habitations as Scheduled Area under the V Schedule, the poramboke lands could not be leased to the (non-tribal) Coimbatore Zoological Park vide Samantha case, 1997, at all.
    Gopala Krishnan, Coimbatore

  • Aug 27, 2001

    Apropos For a Morsel of Common Sense (August 6), we can ill-afford to overlook the irony that in a democratic state like ours, it requires an SC directive to enjoin that "no person should go hungry when our granaries are full". It does little justice to our pretensions as a modern society, much less to a growing regional power hungry to assume its role in the comity of nations.
    Amitabh Shankar, on e-mail

    It’s all very well for the PM to declare that "democracy and hunger cannot go together". In the Indian democracy, it’s only before election that no voter has to go to bed hungry. Parties aspiring to win organise langars for all. The hungry simply have to decide whether to go for dal-roti or khichdi.
    Partho Dasgupta, Pune

  • To the Devil, Her Due
    Aug 27, 2001

    I read with revulsion Mala Sen’s obituary of Phoolan (Phoolan, Point-blank, August 6). What, pray, are her credentials? Who is she to cash in on someone else’s misery? Sitting comfortably in her London home, did she ever stop to think if her so-called "realistic portrayal" could actually make Phoolan more vulnerable, expose her to danger and destroy her privacy? Sen has the gall to tell us how she managed to haggle a payment fee of Rs 2 lakh from dear Jill but the project fell through because they couldn’t accept Phoolan’s views on little children working in the carpet factory. Tsk, tsk.... So what did Mala and Jill do to keep their conscience clear? Checked into the nearest five-star hotel rather than stay in Phoolan’s bungalow!
    Dimpy Chopra, on e-mail

    Could you please tell me why on earth Phoolan Devi should grace an Outlook cover? Why her, and not the late Sivaji Ganesan? The thespian deserves to be on the covers sheerly on the merit of his contribution to Indian cinema. What did Phoolan contribute to India other than being a dacoit and becoming an MP courtesy Mulayam Singh Yadav?
    Sankar, on e-mail

    Since her life was marked by so much violence, why can’t Phoolan be allowed to rest in peace? I’m sick of reading accounts of how she lived by the bullet and died by it. Even a worm turns, and Phoolan was only human. Why has no one spoken about what Phoolan must have gone through to become what she did? Why can’t we be more charitable towards her in death?
    Sophia Ajaz, on e-mail

    It was sad that a young woman became a victim of repeated sexual abuses, social bigotry, humiliation and untold cruelty at the hands of the upper class and turned dacoit to avenge the injustices. But it was equally sad to witness helplessly the metamorphosis of a dacoit into a lawmaker. But what’s insufferable now is the attempt by some conscience-stricken politicians to deify her and accord her a place in the Indian political pantheon.
    Keshu Joshie, on e-mail

    Had it not been for the tragic circumstances of her death, one would have gushed over the innovative cover on Phoolan. The poor lady was exploited right through her life and had it not been for the talented Shekhar Kapur and Mala Sen, the world would have been unaware of the plight of women in backward, oppressive geographies of the world. Phoolan was the John Doe of modern India.
    M.R. Navindutt, Kalyan

    Strangely, the killing of Phoolan Devi did not evoke any sympathy among people. It’s a resounding message to politicians that criminalisation of politics must be avoided at all cost, lest our society become one giant killing field!
    K.V. Raghuram, on e-mail

    Outlook has done it once again. Been at the forefront of bringing us the news. First, it was the Gujarat earthquake, now it was the Phoolan cover story.
    Dr Rajni Kant, New Delhi

    The way Phoolan Devi was murdered has taken everyone aback. Right in the heart of the city, outside an MP’s bungalow, where security should have been foolproof.
    Rachna Sinha, on e-mail

    In 10 years’ time, we shall hear about Sher Singh Rana, alias Pankaj, becoming an MP!
    R. Sajan, Ernakulam

    Mother Teresa can now take a break. With Phoolan having been canonised as a saint by the media, contestants in the Miss World and other such pageants can have a new idol to look up to.
    Sunil Shibad, Mumbai

    Was the picture of the dog shown in the Phoolan picture the St Bernard mentioned in the story? Because the dog in the picture is certainly not a St Bernard. It may seem a trivial issue, but not to dog-lovers.
    Jaya Basu, on e-mail

  • The Usual Suspect
    Aug 27, 2001

    Apropos your story Patients as Guinea Pigs (August 6), rcc has been wrongly written as rss. The media seems so obsessed with the word rss that the letter R is automatically followed by SS. I hope and pray that you do not hold the ‘Sangh’ responsible for the experiments on cancer patients.
    S. Chandrashekhar, Organise

  • Needed: Total Recall
    Aug 27, 2001

    With the dismal performance of the present team, especially in the triangular at Colombo, it’s become imperative—irrespective of the yet unproven charges—to recall Azhar, Ajay Jadeja, and the good old Robin Singh, Venkatesh Prasad and Anil Kumble.
    M. Hanif, on e-mail

  • Keep to the Left
    Aug 27, 2001

    A word for the designer of the latest sportswear for the Indian team for odis—the logo of the country should never be on the right side of the shirt pocket.
    Dr S.K. Singh, Bulandshahr

  • Logical Conclusion
    Aug 27, 2001

    It wasn’t only a former IFCI chairman who took a kickback of 3 per cent as stated in your article Scripts for Disaster (August 6). A minimum ‘fee’ of 2-3 per cent has been a norm in dfis, both at the state and the national level. When a bribe, rather than the viability of a project becomes a sine qua non, asset quality, not surprisingly, suffers.
    D.S. Mahanty, on e-mail

  • Might Ain’t Right
    Aug 27, 2001

    Both K.P.S. Gill and Rear Adml Raja Menon seem to forget that terrorism can only be crushed by the will of the people and not by sheer military might (Wooden Panel, July 30). If the latter was the case, then Adolf Hitler would be the greatest historical figure and the Nazis, the rulers of the world. I really wish Gill, who incidentally was a complete failure in Assam, would devote his time to hockey, which has been in bad shape ever since he took over.
    Amitabh Agarwal, Lucknow

  • The Patel Formula
    Aug 27, 2001

    As a self-proclaimed dove on Pakistan (Talk. Talk. Talk., July 30), it is now your duty to sell to Indians the Chenab Plan which Musharraf and his cohorts want India to accept. This salesmanship will never make you ‘anti-national’. You can remind your readers that one of our greatest patriots, Sardar Patel, never wanted j&k to be a part of India—though he invited 550 princely states to join the Indian Union, he never invited j&k to do so. It was Nehru, the purveyor of secularism, who got us into this quagmire.
    Girish V. Wagh, Bangalore

  • Cricket Facts
    Aug 27, 2001

    Your summit special (July 23) was excellent. Except that Danish Kaneria also represented Pakistan in the Test series against England in 2000-01 rather than just the odis Rizwan Ali mentions in Let’s Play for a Gandhi-Jinnah Cup. Also, Amir Elahi, besides A.H. Kardar and Gul Mohammed, represented both India and Pakistan. He played in one Test against Australia in 1947-48 for India and thereafter in all five Tests of the 1952-53 series against India.
    Subhash Rege, on e-mail

  • Summit Sidelights
    Aug 27, 2001

    One Pervez Musharraf came and showed how stupid Indian politicians were, how ridiculous the Indian bureaucracy and how inept Indian editors and mediamen were. A hundred crore Indians could not produce one Indian of substance who could match the general’s cunning word for word, step for step, gesture for gesture.
    Rakesh Singh et al, Jammu

    No invisible hand, no breakfast slipups; it’s just India’s open culture and socio-economic advances that Pakistan just cannot stomach.
    H.K. Sanjay, on e-mail

    Pakistan wants peace, a piece of Kashmir, a piece of Punjab, Rajasthan, Himachal... (with apologies to a graffito on Israel in a London toilet)!
    Dev Kumar Vasudevan, on e- mail

  • Emoting a Whole Culture
    Aug 27, 2001

    Kamalahaasan’s views on the late Sivaji Ganesan (The Stylist Forever, August 6) made for mundane reading. If he did have so much respect and admiration for the thespian, as he so articulately puts across, then he could have refrained from commenting on Sivaji’s lack of reading. Moreover, it would have been nice of him to mention Sivaji’s masterpieces like Veerapandiya Kattabomman, Thillana Mohanaambal, Thiruvilayaadal, Paasha Malar, instead of boringly harping on the film Thevar Magan in which Kamalahaasan himself co-starred with the great maestro. As for the general criticism that Sivaji was prone to overacting and was loud, it was in keeping with Indian tradition. An outrageous exhibition of emotions—whether it is happiness, sorrow, fear or pity—is in consonance with the culture of India.
    T.S. Sanath Kumar, Thrissur

  • Brightest Spark of All
    Aug 27, 2001

    Dear Mr Mehta, in the whole of your pseudo-liberal and pseudo-secular magazine, the only bright spot is Rajinder Puri. It is a joy to read his column (Bull’s Eye) and his views. I know it is your mission in life to criticise everything about this government but when Puri does it, he does not spare anyone.
    Kanishka Pawar, Amsterdam

  • Welcome Clubbing
    Aug 27, 2001

    The story The Foreign League (August 6) was stimulating to say the least. Outlook talks about San Francisco, but in a small city like Laramie in Wyoming, Indians have led the way and now have a cricket club partly sponsored by the University of Wyoming, with not only Indians, but also Americans. The old saying is as true in this context as ever, "You can take a man out of India but you can’t take India out of a man!"
    Sameer Pathak, on e-mail

    Great story! Cricket is no longer considered a ‘new’ game in the Bay Area—it has come a long way in a short time.
    Sreela Sen, on e-mail

    Wherever the Englishmen settled, cricket flourished, except in the land of the Red Indians. Hope the South Asians, headed by the Indians, make the game popular there. Wish them luck.
    V.S. Bhatt, on e-mail

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