• Mulligatawny is a Merry Soup
    Sep 03, 2001

    Thank you for a fabulous edition (August 20). Sanjay Subrahmanyam’s Golden Age Hallucinations was just what I needed to read after reports of saffronisation of education and worrying conversations with young middle-class Indians about Babri masjid (I’d never realised how many educated people actually supported its demolition). As a PhD student of Indian history travelling all over the country, I find it quite depressing sometimes to see how history is manipulated by various interest groups and swallowed unthinkingly by the public. Thank you for giving us something to think about.
    Emma Flatt, on e-mail

    It’s regrettable that none of your eminent contributors referred to sources like the Vishnu Purana and the Mahabharata which clearly state that our land has been known as Bharatvarsha. It was known to extend from the Himalayas to the Indian Ocean; even the great Andhra emperor Srimukha Satavahana described Sindhu river as India’s border on the west.
    M.V. Ramanarao, Mumbai

    James Michaels is one journalist who speaks his mind. I wish our Indian media were also this forthright.
    Anurag Mehrotra, on e-mail

    James W. Michaels has at last brought out the one truth that the nation should have acknowledged long ago but could not due to our genetic attribute of sycophancy and hero-worship—that Nehru was independent India’s greatest disaster.
    S.S. Saxena, Noida, UP

    I couldn’t agree more with Michaels. Nehru was the chief architect of the idea to cede a big chunk of land in the nefa to China without a whimper. Indians remember him for creating linguistic states, which bargain with each other for sharing water and other national resources as between different countries.
    K.V. Raghuram, on e-mail

    The article My Land’s End by Sandipan Deb was exceptionally well-written. But why was the cover so badly designed?
    Meenakshi Dhar-Patel, on e-mail

    I loved reading Sunil Menon’s Mapping Cacophony. Why not invite scholars to do popular articles on the migration of races in pre-historic India, a critique on the migration theories of S.C. Rai and K.P. Jaiswal based on their studies of excavations, interpretation of ancient scripts and analysis of gradation changes in dialects, west to east and north to south?
    Col B.K. Rai, New Delhi

    How does it feel to be an Indian? For Orissa’s poor, there’s only one answer: wretched!
    Fareena Mahmood, on e-mail

    U.R. Ananthamurthy’s interview (‘The educated have lost touch with their local almanac’) was disgusting and ridden with contradictions. His veiled attempt to glorify Manu’s four-varna system finds no favour in the unipolar world. It’s this sense of exuberance manifest in diversity that has exposed saffronised intellectuals like him. Don’t forget he got his Jnanpith award only after the bjp came to power.
    H.B. Muralidhara, Mumbai

    Rajmohan Gandhi’s essay The Eternal, Ephemerised is nothing but incoherent rambling. He should be politely reminded that when people have nothing to say, they should say nothing.
    Jay R. Sokhi, on e-mail

    Does Rajmohan Gandhi think that his Swatantra Party could have saved India?
    P. K. Verma, on e-mail

    Whereas Galbraith deserves thanks for his compliments to the people of India, he also deserves pity when he fails to see the universality and cosmopolitanism of Hindutva.
    Dr Balram Mishra, Noida, UP

    How close are Galbraith or Gunter Grass to Indian realities? Their comments were both patronising and abstract. What does Grass know about the life of a lower-middle-class Indian schoolteacher or government employee to say that the middle-class ignores the Indian poor? Does he know how they have to queue up for food, tickets, cooking gas, etc, every day? Do they have the time or the resources to help the poor?
    Prateek Mishra, on e-mail

    Even after 54 years of Independence and thousands of years of history, we still have to ask the opinion of foreigners on ‘what is Indian’. That’s us.
    Nishant Bhatnagar, on e-mail

    Being Indian is actually asking two phirangs the same question, listening quietly to one of them say "Nehru was the biggest disaster to ever hit India" and printing it in an Indian magazine celebrating the country’s independence.
    Hrishikesh Wagle, Mumbai

    The Outlook special has done a remarkable job of presenting a thousand Indias. At the best of times, it would be difficult to present a single coherent view of our multi-faceted land.
    S.K. Saksena, Mumbai

    One rarely comes across a more confused editorial than the one by Vinod Mehta (Thank You, Peter Sellers). The Sangh parivar does not arrogate to itself any such accomplishment as redefinition, rediscovery or whatever of the Indian identity. But having conceded defining the Indian identity as impossible, why has he, as the editor, embarked upon what he believes to be an exercise in futility?
    G.R. Saha, Calcutta

    Though we may be brilliant individually, as a team we personify our greatest invention, the zero.
    K. Sahasranaman, Mumbai

    The one aspect which describes Indianness is inconsistency. We excel in it, whether it’s in sports, education, administration or economy.
    G.S. Rao, on e-mail

  • Mulligatawny is a Merry Soup
    Sep 03, 2001

    Kancha Ilaiah needn’t lose heart (The Buffalo’s Unholy Milk), India is a much better place to live in. I’ve lived in the West for some time. In London, I was physically attacked at least five times for the colour of my skin. True, we have a caste structure and Dalits are treated miserably but no one attacks you on Delhi or Mumbai roads for your skin colour.
    S.S. Singh, on e-mail

    Kancha Ilaiah seemed to be the only one making a contrarian point in your whole issue. The rest were the usual suspects. Can’t you have a special issue without Sunil Khilnani? And what about women? Worse, Vinod Mehta equates ‘India’ with ‘Hindu’ in his editorial—good Hinduism that even secularists have been forcing down non-Hindus’ throats? At least Hindutva-wadis are more open about it.
    Saira Malik, Hyderabad

    By no stretch of imagination could former England captains Colin Cowdrey and Douglas Jardine be considered of "Indian origin" (Indianama). Both were born in India during the British Raj of British parents. You could’ve taken a cue from Cyrus (I am Indian, Because...) and mentioned West Indian cricketers like Dhanraj and Chanderpaul instead.
    Gulu Ezekiel, New Delhi

    A few things about your Indianamas. For one, the base of Mulligatawny is not chilli, but pepper and thanni (water). And forget slurping the watery Milagu Rasam off your arms, experts can slurp it out off the plantain leaf without letting it run out. And then you forgot catamaran, the origin of which is kattumaram or ‘bound logs’.
    Sqn Ldr B.G. Prakash, on e-mail

    Your Lingua Indica has an ‘I’ for Infy and a ‘W’ for Wipro, but no ‘R’ for Reliance’ or an ‘H’ for hll. The Ambanis and Bangas may please note the latest ‘outlook’ on ‘India today’.
    Shubhrendu Khoche, New Delhi

    More power to Lingua Indica: Blood brother, first class first, greencard holder, innocent divorcee, load shedding, milky-white complexion, tip-top...
    Maj Tathagata Bose, Bareilly; Meera Dhawan, New Delhi

    I lost my freedom to choose when I paid Rs 20 for the Independence Day special.
    Murali Duggineni, Hyderabad

  • Among the Mutes
    Sep 03, 2001

    Count me in among those who hit the mute button when N.S. Sidhu comes on air (Downtown, Trash of the Fortnight, August 13). His is more of a rant than a commentary, the language a bundle of clichés and the accent affected. Most of all, he lacks objectivity, which is so crucial for a commentator especially when his country is playing.
    M.A. Ramaswamy, on e-mail

  • Sep 03, 2001

    While I agreed with most of the article The Mouse Ran Down the Clock (August 13), I can’t believe your assumption that leader niit—without improving the standard of education—is going to appoint 700 new franchisees by just following their revenue maximisation model. A leader never runs after fortune, but fortune runs after him.
    Ashok Kumar Patnaik, Cuttack

  • No One Does it Better
    Sep 03, 2001

    To Outlook goes the credit of bringing out the chhupa rustam in M.S. Gill. His excellent obituary on Phoolan Devi (End of an Insurrection, August 13) reveals yet another aspect of the man of many parts that he is. Keep him on your muster.
    Ravindra Wagh, Mumbai

  • Ease the Armslock
    Sep 03, 2001

    Apropos Safe in These Arms (August 13), when will India learn to trust Indians with freedom? Research by US doctors Joanne Eisen and Paul Galant shows that gun crime actually rose in the UK after gun ownership was tightened. In the US, states that allow liberal ownership of firearms have far lower crime rates than states which restrict firearm ownership. If the goi can arm village defence committees in our border area, why not ordinary citizens?
    Mehul Kamdar, Chennai

  • That Homey Feeling
    Sep 03, 2001

    With the launch of its own brand of pizzas (A Slice of Pizzazz, August 6), Amul’s done great service to Indians. In Bangalore, mtr or Mavalli Tiffan Room, known for quality and tasty foods, is fighting mncs by marketing cheap and excellent fast foods. I wish the message reaches our youth: locally produced food products are as good as mnc-produced ones.
    L.S. Chickanagappa, Mysore

  • Missing Filmi Fundas
    Sep 03, 2001

    Has Amaresh Mishra written a review or a PhD thesis on the "influence of Javed Akhtar and Honey Irani on Farhan Akhtar’s Dil Chahta Hai" (Glitterati, August 27)? He should be sent for a film appreciation course.
    H.P. Padhy, on e-mail

  • Just a Simple Man
    Sep 03, 2001

    Your interview with Amitabh Bachchan (God, In First Person, August 13) was extremely insightful. As usual, he came out as a candid, simple, humble and a good human being.
    Anusha Saharan, The Nilgiris

  • Great Shot, Mr Sinha
    Sep 03, 2001

    Shatrughan Sinha, star bjp MP, has voiced the opinion of millions of people when he says that "after Tehelka, the bse scam, the customs scam and so on, we’re no better than the Congress" (From the Barrel of a Shotgun, August 13).
    G. Naveen Khariwal, Bangalore

  • Errata:
    Sep 03, 2001

    The picture on Page 48 in the West Bengal supplement (August 27) is a rifle factory at Ishapore not a gun production factory at Cossipore. We regret the error.

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