• Apr 15, 2002

    I am profoundly touched by J.S. Bandukwala’s feelings about what happened to him and his community in Gujarat. I am in complete agreement with everything that he writes, except that he gives the rss too much importance when it does not represent most of us Indians.
    Ajay Raina, on e-mail

    I am an 18-year-old college student born and brought up in Baroda. From the numerous articles I’ve read of Bandukwala in various dailies, he evidently comes across as a secular and liberal-minded person. It’s sad therefore that the hooligans chose him as a target. The Sangh parivar and the Ghanchis of the Tableeghi Jamaat have made Gandhi’s Gujarat a communal cauldron. Even my soul lost its innocence on February 27.
    Rajat Ghai, on e-mail

    I extend my wholehearted sympathy to Bandukwala who’s had to suffer personal loss in the recent madness in Gujarat. But I was born and brought up in Kuwait where no temples are allowed and non-Muslims are persona non grata. In Saudi Arabia no one is allowed to worship any other god except Allah, even in their own homes. Hindus, on the other hand, have for long tolerated the desecration of their holy sites. I hold no brief for the vhp or how they go about spreading their message but I find it difficult to accept the status quo, unless I become apathetic. Secular India cannot exist in a vacuum, surrounded by non-secular countries and influences.
    S. Sharma, on e-mail

    I agree with Bandukwala’s concerns over the atrocities committed against humanity in Gujarat. And I think the media and the political community have a huge role to play in this. The former goes overboard in trying to be secular while politicos divide humanity in the name of caste, class and religion to prop up their vote banks. Muslims in India are generally poor and downtrodden. But instead of doing something for their socio-economic upliftment, our politicians play with their religious sentiments.
    Debabrata Mishra, on e-mail

    I found Sandeep Adhwaryu’s illustration offensive as it showed the national flag being torn by a trishul. I can understand artistic expression of anger, but can you spare the tricolour please?
    Satish Dubey, on e-mail

  • ’Tis The Fall Season
    Apr 15, 2002

    Notwithstanding the claims made by the nda, the countdown for its fall has already begun (Feud in the Family, April 1). And the reasons are not only Ayodhya and Gujarat, but an overall dissatisfaction of the public as the government has let it down on all fronts. Its allies still pretend to be united as the political scenario for them is "hard to swallow and difficult to digest". Hence the drama of some bjp-bashing culminating in some sort of tame bargain or the other. Truly, the nda has been nothing more than a ‘Non-Delivering Asset’!
    P.K. Srivastava, Ghaziabad

    ‘Kala Chakra’ determines the Karma Chakra. In the case of Atalji, it’s a reverse syndrome. For him, life is a jigsaw puzzle with most of the pieces missing. The pieces are of his own and bjp/rss making and he’s being meted poetic justice.
    A.S. Raj, on e-mail

    Your coverage of the Gujarat violence has been exemplary. However, we are surprised that even a magazine like yours has not thought it fit to establish a relief fund for the victims of the riots. The apathy this time seems to come from everyone.
    Anurag Mehra, on e-mail

    The events in Gujarat have once again dealt a big dent to India’s secular image. It’s worse because it was not actually communal violence but a state-sponsored one. There’s one bright spot in all this, though—as long as people like Virsinh Rathore, Amritbhai Rathore and the residents of Ram-Rahim Nagar exist, communal forces like the vhp and the Bajrang Dal will not find it easy to exploit people’s religious sentiments and divide them along communal lines.
    Ahmad Azeem, New Delhi

  • Apr 15, 2002

    Accommodation Available: Muslims Don’t Apply (April 1) set me thinking. Would I rent out to a Muslim? No, I concluded. I’d rent out to any other minority—Jains, Christians, Sikhs; I’d prefer Kerala Christians—but I’d rent out to a Muslim only if he were known to me. Blame it on my mindset, fashioned as it is by constant media reports about terrorists, underworld dons, fanatics and their connections with Pakistan, Dubai, etc. Perhaps it’s time the media highlighted the role of people like the late M.C. Chagla, Dr Abdul Kalam, Kannada poet Shishunal Shareif, Sufi saints and organisations like the Muslim Satya Shodhak Mandal.
    V.R. Bapat, Bangalore

    Manu Joseph’s article successfully tore the mask off the secular face of our society. This country belongs to all Indians. We are only butchering a great tradition of India to form a cluster of ghettos filled with hatred.
    Nikhil Sharma, on e-mail

    Sad story, but true. A vote-bank is being created in Bandra.
    K.S. Ramesh, on e-mail

    Muslims already form distinctive pockets in cities; a minority area like Juhapura in Ahmedabad for instance looks like a lane straight out of Lahore. The ever-growing communal divide is assuming dangerous proportions and if things continue like this, we may be heading for another Partition.
    Krishna Kumar, Ahmedabad

    Alas, our country has always been divided on caste lines. Mohallas were named Mahabrahmanan where pundits lived, Kanoongoyan where Kayasths lived, Haiderganj where Muslims lived. And people preferred to stay in their own communities, peacefully. It’s only the power-thirst of a few that has poisoned the atmosphere and turned man into a beast.
    Col (ret) Mohsin Shamsi, on e-mail

  • What Genocide?
    Apr 15, 2002

    Events in Gujarat can by no means be generalised to cover the country as a whole. Doing so and equating India with Pakistan as Rajinder Puri does (Bull’s Eye, April 1) is even worse. Eager to sympathise with minorities, he makes unfair allegations of a genocide. We seem to be blind to the equal status our ‘minorities’ have—persons from the minority community have led our cricket team and our country in the past and we have a defence advisor whose mission has made our country a nuclear power. Barring this event of provoked but self-limiting violence, the entire ‘minority’ population lives in harmony and dignity amidst the rest. Few countries can boast of this.
    B.N. Gangadhar, Bangalore

  • Invented History
    Apr 15, 2002

    Apropos Kanchi Silk (march 25), it’s incredible to note that the official website puts the date of the establishment of the Kanchi Kamakoti math as 482 BC. It’s more or less an established opinion of the historians that Sri Adi Shankara himself was born in 788 AD!
    H.N. Kailas, Mysore

  • Doubting Thomas
    Apr 15, 2002

    The article Let the Good Times Roll (March 25) seems to be propaganda to promote the government’s disinvestment policy as the writer fails to throw light on some important points. For instance, why contract labour? What about bonus and other terminal benefits like provident fund, gratuity, etc, for these workers? Has the Balco management absorbed all the workers of Malco? Or have they been retrenched? Above all, why can’t these efforts—365 days of work, pay hikes or modernisation—not take place under government management?
    Prakash Rijwani, on e-mail

    The nda government should be congratulated for its disinvestment efforts. What I can’t figure out is: why are some parties and ministers like Ram Naik, Ram Vilas Paswan, Sharad Yadav or Ved Prakash Goyal opposed to privatisation? Is it because once a company is divested, the role of trade unions gets reduced, the concerned minister cannot intervene in the company’s affairs and reservations in jobs comes to a halt, candidate selection will purely be on merit and not along caste lines?
    Puneet Kale, Mumbai

  • Colour of Money
    Apr 15, 2002

    Is it not amazing that in a country where the income-tax department says only 45,000 people have incomes exceeding Rs 10 lakh, there are more than 300,000 people opting for personal insurance cover of more than Rs 1 crore (where the premium exceeds Rs 7 lakh). It’s high time the media highlighted the amount of black money in India and the role of income-tax officers in aiding and abetting corruption.
    Prateek Dwivedi, Udaipur

  • Channel Noise
    Apr 15, 2002

    What Madhu Trehan says in her column Index for Censorship (March 25) is absolutely true. We run a local TV newschannel by the name of ‘My TV’ in Surat. We too were banned in the recent violence in Gujarat and asked to show movies and not news on our channel. The police too entered our premises but we went to court and our channel has started again.
    Mayur Pathak, Surat

  • The Sorrow is Hers
    Apr 15, 2002

    Natasha’s is the story of the fractured life of an Indian woman, of the tears and deprivation at the hands of an indifferent and spoilt husband, of pedigree and political connections—a deadly combination of power and privilege wielding death to anyone who dares to defy it (Pushed Over the Edge, April 1). And Natasha is only one among myriad women who have buckled under the callous pressures of society.
    Chitra Amarnath, New Delhi

    Can anyone please explain how an inebriated woman stood atop a hotel and sent a flurry of perfectly lucid sms to several friends? Was the terrace floodlit that night or what?
    Maryam Reshi, on e-mail

    Unfortunate souls like Natasha as it is live on the edge and it’s all too easy for them to fall over. Most such people have had unhappy childhoods, where their parents give them all the money they want but no love; shunting them off to reputed boarding schools, more for the sake of status than education. No wonder these misguided children of selfish parents grow up with a grudge and a warped sense of values, and find it only too easy to go over the edge.
    Prabir Nath Banerji, Meerut

  • Reality Bites
    Apr 15, 2002

    Apropos Barkha Dutt’s Covert Riots and Media (March 25), when Gujarat was burning, TV channels indulged in a mad race to show as much flames, looting and arson as they could. Did it in any way help the law and order machinery in controlling the situation? Are not mediapersons also Indian citizens? Is it not their responsibility to keep their commercial interests aside and pour water, not fuel, when there is fire?
    M.C. Joshi, on e-mail

  • A Collective Eviction Notice?
    Apr 15, 2002

    Your article Accommodation Available: Muslims Don’t Apply (April 1) touched a chord. I’m a bachelor living in Anand, Gujarat, and have been staying in a multi-storeyed apartment building, along with 23 other families, most of them salaried class. After the Godhra incident, I’ve been asked to find a place elsewhere. No reasons cited, just an ultimatum. My landlord too has been threatened over the phone. It has been so unexpected. During troubled times, I expect support and strength from neighbours, not mistrust and doubt in their eyes. The depressing fact is that all of them are young, educated and professionals. And wherever I have been to look for accommodation, I’ve been told, "We have no problem but, you see, our neighbours might." I do not know who to blame for this state of affairs. I’m sure this hatred has been building up over the years, Godhra alone cannot justify it. It’s time the sleeping consciousness of the people was awakened and they were shown that religious affiliation has nothing to do with the character of a person.
    Jawed,Anand, Gujarat

  • Be Bipartisan
    Apr 15, 2002

    You seem to have employed many scribes from Akbar Road (the Congress office). Be fair, Mr Mehta, recruit some from Ashoka Road (bjp office) too. I regret my husband’s decision to subscribe to Outlook.
    Vandana Singh, Nagpur



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