• Shiamak’s Arsenal
    Dec 31, 2001

    Madhu Trehan needs to be applauded for calling a spade a spade in Knock-Off Nation? (December 17). But one important factor she does not address is that with no apparent credentials to do so, Shiamak Davar goes ahead and opens a Shiamak Davar Institute of the Performing Arts. Performing arts? When all they do is shake their ass and no one in Bombay has ever expressed any outrage that he usurps this space and cheapens it. What’s more, year after year, he churns out kids with stars in their eyes and a thrust in their pelvis.
    Jenny Pinto, on e-mail

    Halfway through Trehan’s column, I was confused. On what authority has she—with no experience in theatre—formed her published critical opinion? The fact that she’s the wife of a famous doctor and the sister of a certain editor of a certain magazine? Contrary to her unfounded opinion, the Yes! show was something India and Shiamak Davar should be proud of.
    Avnish A. Chopra, on e-mail

  • House of Commonplaces
    Dec 31, 2001

    "This was an attack not just on Parliament House, but a warning to the entire country. We accept the challenge. We will foil every attempt of the terrorists," Prime Minister Vajpayee said in a live TV address. The trouble is Vajpayee and Advani have made similar statements after every such terrorist act. Is there no end to their shameless incompetence? We Indians can only pray to the Almighty to protect us in the next inevitable terrorist attack on India. If at all someone has to die, let it be these politicians instead of our brave policemen, soldiers and civilians.
    Mukund Kher, Bloomington, Illinois

    It’s easy to make speeches about "proactive policy", "liquidating terrorists", "fighting back", etc. In actual fact, most of those bigshots in Parliament must have wet their pants during the recent shootout. The only sad aspect of this episode is that six cops had to die defending such a useless bunch.
    Vithal Sonawane, Sangli

    The recent attack on Parliament exposes our intelligence set-up, which chose not to heed the warnings of the Mumbai police commissioner. Instead of applying poto in view of this attack, the foremost priority should be to overhaul the security of India.
    Neetika Arora, Delhi

    Indeed, the government and people of the country should strive to prevent incidents like the one that occurred on December 13. But it should not be at the expense of the human rights and liberties that Parliament and the Constitution safeguard. If the Hindutva-obsessed bjp tries to exploit this tragedy to impose poto on the country, it will be unfair, unfortunate and against the Indian spirit. The establishment should resist the misguided temptation and desist from converting India into a large concentration camp.
    Habeeb Haris, Hyderabad

    I’m sure the December 13 attack will unite Parliament into taking action. But confining itself to the mere passing of poto will not prove a panacea for all terrorist ills. There is also no point in drawing parallels between this attack and the one on the wtc and Pentagon. America did not have any inkling; we not only had a warning but also a precedent in the attack on the j&k assembly.
    Mohan Siroya, Mumbai

    Though one appreciates the quick thinking and the presence of mind of the security personnel, it’s hard to digest the fact that as many as five strangers who had absolutely no business in the premises of the Parliament House could so effortlessly enter through the gates and launch attacks. Entry to Parliament should be limited, especially when it’s in session, and its doors and gates locked. Also, an appropriate number of smart and efficient police dogs should be employed around the Parliament building because the next time the terrorist plan an attack, they may not come via the gates.
    Sairam Sanath Kumar, Thrissur

    To call our government impotent will be an understatement. They represent the immovable, incorrigible scum of the universe, which is forever condemned to suffer such humiliating experiences.
    Ramesh Chopra, New Delhi

    I am ashamed of the people who share my religion but whose warped mindset and acts do no justice to Islam or its followers. Moderate Muslims must unite and force out from our religion people of such extremist views.
    A.A. Rafiq, Chennai

    The attacks on the seat of our much-envied democratic system are the result of the moderate and tolerant stand taken by our rulers during such times of crisis. Tolerance, after all, is a trait arising out of the inability to strike back.
    Jaideep Rau, Bangalore

    Following the fidayeen attacks on Parliament, there are many who would like to attack Pakistan. But before we do any such thing, it’s imperative to remember that Kashmir is a festering wound in the subcontinent and unless it’s resolved, any other measure is futile.
    Ravi L., Chennai,

    Insofar as the government is taking its own sweet time to solve the Kashmir problem, Thursday’s attacks were a failure of the government.
    Prakash, Chennai

    Why does our Opposition have to oppose everything that the government does or does not do? Irresponsible utterances and stalling the House proceedings on every issue only encourages anti-national terrorist groups and weakens our security forces’ resolve.
    Ravi Kant Mahajan, Chennai

  • Macaulay’s Devils
    Dec 31, 2001

    What is wrong if D.N. Batra says our education system must also encourage systematic and scientific study of contributions made by Indians, ancient and contemporary, or when he proposes that a foundation course on Indian culture and human values be introduced at the university level (History, Vacuum-Cleaned, December 17)? Isn’t it sad that even after 50 years of Independence, we should still follow an education system devised by Macaulay?
    Madhav Ghangurde, on e-mail

    It seems richly ironic that a group of supposedly ‘nationalist’ historians has to look at foreign counterparts, especially those of the colonial period, to exemplify its ideas on history. Are they trying to say that for the 50-odd years they were out of power, they were unable to produce a single work of historical research? I think the conservative movement should be taken out of the hands of the bjp-rss, else they’ll convert it into a Nazi-like movement. They should be exiled to the intellectual and political sidelines of the country, where they rightly belong.
    D. Khanna, on e-mail

  • On Slippery Ground
    Dec 31, 2001

    Without prejudice to Rafiq Zakaria’s scholarship, I’d like to point out two factual errors in his letter to the editor (Mathematics of the Aftermath, December 17). According to the last census before Independence (1941), Muslims were a little less than 10 crore in the total population of 40 crore. It would make them only a fourth, not third, of India’s total population. Secondly, Muslims were not in power in five of the 11 provinces in 1946-47, only in three. NWFP had a Congress ministry while Punjab had a Unionist ministry which was a Hindu-Muslim-Sikh coalition.
    S.V. Ramakrishna, Hyderabad

  • Biased, Not Blind
    Dec 31, 2001

    Apropos It Ain’t Over Till... (December 17), the judiciary is the root cause of all ills in India. It’s the legislative and the executive that keep getting the brickbats, but if we look carefully, it’s the abysmal conviction rate (except in contempt of court cases) which helps people like Jayalalitha and Laloo to thrive. Who says justice is blind? In India it carefully scrutinises who is rich and powerful and delivers them from harsh judgements.
    Sanjeev Jha, on e-mail

  • Your Sun, My Sun
    Dec 31, 2001

    Paranjoy Guha Thakurta’s was a praiseworthy attempt to glorify George Harrison as a performer and an unassuming Beatle (There Goes the Sun, December 17). But by (mis)quoting unsubstantiated sexual allegations against Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, he has hurt the sentiments and damaged the reputation of students like me, who represent an institution run under the guidance of His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
    W. Mathews, Bangalore

  • Lesson in There
    Dec 31, 2001

    Your article Fight Fire With Paper (December 17) is a cautionary tale for any American concerned with the rise of the radical Christian extremist right wing in the US. That movement parallels fundamentalist Islamist, Jewish and other conservative religious movements in other countries.
    Jim Pivonka, on e-mail

  • Misguided Cadres
    Dec 31, 2001

    Do the cadres of pwg and mcc really think that attacking factories and mnc establishments is an act of revolution (Counter-Revolution, December 17)? Violence is no means to a glorious goal, if they really are so dedicated to their ideals they should renounce violence, come to the mainstream democratic process, win elections on their strength and then serve the people.
    K.M.G. Vivekanandam, on e-mail

  • Self-Absolved
    Dec 31, 2001

    Since the name of our organisation, Foster Parents’ Plan International, figures in your article The Trojan Horse Act (December 3) on the proposed law to check "unwarranted" foreign funding, I’d like to respond to avoid any misconception about Plan. Ours is a child-focused development organisation without religious, political or government affiliation. We work in partnership with local ngos spread across 11 Indian states. Our support is for interventions in the domains of education, health, habitat and livelihood of deprived children.
    John Chaloner, Country Director, Plan India

  • Turning Logic on Its Head?
    Dec 31, 2001

    The point of your cover story Top of the World? (December 17) strains credulity, unless we happen to be looking at an inverted world economic pyramid, with us in the august company of basket cases like Bangladesh. Even if your contention is valid, it only goes to show the extent to which our fabled, all-pervasive parallel economy underpins our overall economic being.
    Ranjith Thomas, on e-mail

    Our honourable finance minister says, "Some people just enjoy rubbishing me". Fact is, Yashwant Sinha has great luck with disasters. In his first stint, the Gulf War provided him a ready excuse for the crisis in the economy. In his second stint he has so far had Kargil, the Gujarat earthquake and 9/11 as alibis for his failures on the economic front.
    M. Kumar, New Delhi

    No one’s rubbishing the FM but just see his track record. In the initial phase of his tenure, he was rightly called ‘Mr Rollback’. Nor can he be absolved from the mismanagement of many public financial institutions that have collapsed, leaving their stakeholders high and dry. And these are just some of his misdemeanours. Sinha just seems to be suffering from a persecution complex.
    V.B.N. Ram, New Delhi

    It was indeed amazing to learn that India’s economy is still a force to reckon with, despite the global recession. Talk of the Indian virtue of resilience in the face of grinding poverty, colossal population and diverse economic downers.
    K. Chidanand Kumar, Bangalore

  • Erratum
    Dec 31, 2001

    In A Healing Touch (December 24), the photocaption wrongly identifies Naga leader Th. Muivah as fellow partyman Issac Chisi Swu. The error is regretted.

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