• May 22, 1996

    only way to get the intelli-entsia to vote (Cerebral and Cynical, May 1), is to have a nk square on the ballot aper—where they can stamp denote that none of the par- or candidates deserve to ontest. This would be revea-. Besides intellectuals, oth-too would ‘vote’ for this blank’ party.

    Ignatius Martin, New Delhi

    I agree with Balwant Gargi that ushwant Singh should be Prime Minister of India. In about 10 years ago I wrote Singh in the Illustrated eekly, wondering whether he going to join politics. He kind enough to reply. A ecade later, the common man confused—he doesn’t know he should vote for as all ndidates in the fray are harif gundaas’. Let us strive to efeat the present brigade of oliticians and save India. In opinion, the council of ministers should read like this: Khushwant Singh, Prime Minister Amrita Pritam, Minister Nani Palkhiwala, Law Minister Javed Akhtar, Education Minister Jyoti Basu, Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee Harkishen Singh Surjeet d above all, T.N. Seshan hould be the President.

    Bakshish Singh Arora, Jalandhar

  • Bihar-Proud
    May 22, 1996

    After reading Examination Blues (April 17), I couldn’t help feeling a sense of satisfaction. Earlier, incidents of question paper leakage, cheating, corruption and violence were usually associated with Bihar. Not any more. We do have our share of scams, human rights violation and killings but they are nothing compared to what is happening on the national level—hawala case, Purulia arms drop, Bombay blasts and so forth. The relative improvement in the state has nothing to do with Bihari activism of course, but the situation is so bad elsewhere that even Bihar seems to have surged ahead in every sphere of life.

    Subhendu Bhattacharya, Hazaribagh

  • Too Far-Fetched
    May 22, 1996

    Your article, Stressed out? Try Voodoo, (April 17), was a piece of absolute trash—the worst ever since your magazine was launched. The sadistic approach to relieve stress is, at best, a western idea but I am sure my Indian brothers are sensible enough to cope with pressure in their own way. We Indians are known to be the most tolerant and gentle of all the homo sapiens on this planet. The people of the West are fanatical about a lot of things and don’t, or can’t, understand the Indian psyche and ethics. Ours is a country which is known to forgive even its greatest enemies. We gave the West the science of yoga and look at the difference its making. Here is a bit of advice: those who are looking to relieve stress must try a more tolerant approach, instead of fanatically following instincts and giving vent to feelings which are dividing humanity. I hope you will be more careful in the selection of topics for your articles in future.

    Yogendra, Chandigarh

  • Lack of Sensitivity
    May 22, 1996

    True, the ban on Bandit Queen was absurd (The Cutting Frenzy, March 27). Yet what is questionable is whether the film drew packed houses due to the sense of moral outrage or because of the titillating sequences it offered. Shekhar Kapur packages pain in graphic and disturbing scenes which are neat, definitive, slick and sensational. As a member of the audience, it was unnerving to see a section of the audience completely desensitised, often resorting to lewd remarks and catcalls. The lack of subtlety distorts the theme and a film loses its purpose and message.

    Sarvar Abbi, New Delhi

  • Personal Points
    May 22, 1996

    After working with South Indian Brahmins in Delhi and within the United Nations for over 35 years, I have come to the conclusion that they are orthodox, secretive, highly clannish and arrogant. They can be ruthless and unscrupulous. They can be unmindful about rules and regulations, the careers of other people, the overall interest of the country or organisations so long as they can place a member of their clan in a coveted position. This seems to be their guiding beacon in life. When they head a department or an organisation, then it becomes a monopoly for the community.

    The South Indian Brahmins hardly made any sacrifice in the freedom struggle, yet strangely enough, every successive Congress Government generally appointed presidents, vice-presidents and ministers from this community. Also the top echelons of Central government bureaucracy in Delhi has been largely dominated by these people ever since 1947. They wield a clout in Delhi far out of proportion to their infinitesimal percentage of population even in the South. Where are all the norms for proportional representation and reservations for which there is so much clamour in the country? It is unethical to concentrate power in the hands of orthodox, inward-looking people in Delhi—a place where fresh winds must blow from every nook and corner, if India is to survive.

    A. Sanyal, New Delhi

    We do not agree with Mr Sanyal’s sweeping generalisations. Editor

  • Benevolent Dictator
    May 22, 1996

    Because of the ‘putrefied’ men -tality of our politicians and those at the helm of the nation, the Indian democracy is not functioning as it should. Therefore, India now badly needs ‘benevolent’ dictatorship. I would like to place one question before our President, Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma: Will the President of India, with the help of army, naval and air chiefs, take action in this direction?

    Dhananjay Patro, Bhubaneshwar

  • Only God can Save Us
    May 22, 1996

    I agree with Vinod Mehta (Tired More Dangerous, April 24), the Congress is like a jaded dinosaur—on the point of extinction. But that places the hapless voter between the devil and the deep sea. If he doesn’t vote for the Congress, then won’t he be diving from the frying pan into the fire by opting for either the fundamentalist Bhartiya Janata Party or the ‘cattleshed’ politics of Laloo Prasad Yadav?

    Some countries have a ‘none of the above’ alternative on their ballot papers. Forty-nine years of Independence have led me to the conclusion that I’d rather be governed by ‘none of the above’. Corrupt politicians aside, we must be the only country in the world where ex-bandits and murderers stand up to be counted among the ruling class. In India, freedom is a licence. Our democracy has degenerated into a farce where parties opt for alliances not for ideological reasons but to ensure a slice of the ‘power cake’. What will we do when one of these convenient coalitions comes to power at the Centre? How are they going to stay united and keep the nation from going to the dogs?

    Everyone tells me it’s a moral crime not to vote. I did exercise my franchise but with a sinking feeling that perhaps only God can save the nation from the leaders we choose.

    Hena Pillai, Trivandrum

  • Identity Crisis
    May 22, 1996

    This refers to the Pollscape: Election Special, April 17, where you mentioned that the mega-star Mohan Babu was contesting the Lok Sabha from Amal-apuram in Andhra Pradesh. The contestant was comedian Babu Mohan and not Mohan Babu, who is a Rajya Sabha member at present.

    Sterzy Rajan, Hyderabad

  • You Forgot the Reader
    May 22, 1996

    My god! The Election Special issue (May 8) wiped out your popular readers’ letters page altogether. It is indeed a pity that while we cast votes to elect our own representatives on the one hand, you suppress the reader’s voice by devoting an entire issue to election surveys, commentary, analysis and what have you. Surely, you didn’t need 88 pages. I think you overdid the coverage, especially since we were already getting an overdose of it on television and other newspapers.

    Alima Aneja Dang, New Delhi

    Editor’s note: Sorry, it will happen only once in five years!

  • Less Politics Please
    May 22, 1996

    I have enjoyed reading your magazine from the very first issue and have recommended it to many relatives and friends. It has become fashionable in the English media to be Hindu-baiters—many English magazines suffer from the allergy of ‘Hinduism’. It is heartening to see that you have chosen to be fair. Please keep it up. Only one thing, your magazine should include more features on health, social work and literature and carry interviews of colourful personalities. You may cut down on your quota of politics and politicians.

    R.S. Raykar, Bombay

  • May 22, 1996

    Apropos Vinod Mehta’s Delhi Diary, (March 6), instead of inviting letters from the people on "the TV serial you hate most", you should have asked for discrepancies in your magazine and awarded prizes.

    To begin with, you have completely overlooked science and technology, and made no mention of the PSLV’s success. Again in the article titled The Wages of Greed (April 10), your reporter failed to explain what the Creutzfeldt Jacob Disease (CJD) is all about. Finally, you interviewed Sandip Patil (10 Questions, April 17) with reference to Singapore and Sharjah when the Singapore tournament was over.

    Atul Bhuskari, Maharashtra

  • May 22, 1996

    Ever since I began reading Outlook, I have rightly guessed the ultimate policy of the newsweekly. That of a reconciliatory approach to the Indo-Pak crisis by providing exclusive reportage that aims at bringing together people from both sides, for as Mr Haq suggests, (Diary, April 10), a "bypass operation" by "the people" around reluctant Indian-Pakistani politicians, using the "borderless media" as a tool. This is the most subtle and decisive way of solving this problem that has taken epic dimensions, courtesy the inept politicians, whose Kashmir packages always turn out to be a sham.

    Zahid H. Javali, Bangalore

  • Foolproof Prank
    May 22, 1996

    The largest circulated Tamil Weekly, Kumudam, reproduced your item on Mamta Kulkarni (Glitterati, April 10), peddling it as an exclusive, ‘top secret’ story. It even mentioned that "Mamta Kulkarni’s nude pictures will appear in the April issue of Playboy". The largest Tamil evening daily, Malai Malar, also appears to have been fooled because it published the same Kul-karni item with the same picture your magazine used. Both publications seemed to have missed the April Fool’s Day dateline.

    K. Deivasigamani, Madras

    Your April Fool’s Day Glitterati fooled me and my friends. Unaware of your gimmick, we in turn, fooled many others. My best wishes to the magazine so that it can churn out more such items on April Fool’s Day for centuries to come.

    Laxmiprasad J. Kharat, Bombay

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