Letters | Jun 03, 2002
  • Feature of Worth
    Jun 03, 2002

    I’m a Belgian lady who has been coming to India frequently for the last few years. I read Outlook regularly on my visits and find it to be a most informative magazine. One of its most unique features, I think, is Making a Difference. It must be a difficult task indeed to choose from all the cases submitted to you but I find each of the entries informative and worthy of help. The only thing you could do more is mention the pin code.
    Marie Lippens, Belgium

  • Friends Forever?
    Jun 03, 2002

    Apropos your article To Bridge the Gulf (May 20), despite our support to the Arab and Palestinian cause since the days of Nehru, we have always had a raw deal when it comes to Islamic terrorism. What do the Arab nations think of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism? I would not expect much support from these theocratic, authoritarian states where there is little democracy and where secularism is an unknown word.
    Umesh K., Kochi

  • Equivocating Voice
    Jun 03, 2002

    Why does Prem Shankar Jha want to defend the central government’s handling of the Gujarat crisis (Perils of Half a Measure, May 20)? Don’t you think Vajpayee’s biggest mistake was not to dismiss Modi? Had he done so, possibly some 2,000 people may have been spared their lives and over a thousand wouldn’t have been living in relief camps.
    Irfan Iqbal Gheta, Bangalore

    When confronted with non-Indians asking me about Gujarat, all I can say is the government did not do what it should have but, more importantly, when it should have. Jha is right. The whole country faces the danger of being under the guillotine and when it will fall is anybody’s guess.
    Anjali Ramachandran, London

    Jha’s defence of the PM is pathetic. Hindutva zealots may be crowing about having wreaked vengeance upon ordinary Muslims for misdeeds mostly imagined. In the process, they have driven a community that was trying to join the mainstream back into ghettos and created a nationwide atmosphere of hatred and mistrust.
    D.V.R. Rao, Pune

    For once Jha made sense. His latest column was a welcome deviation from his hitherto pro-bjp columns, which he writes with all the twisted logic in the world to justify the bjp and Sangh parivar leaders.
    Josh, Boston

  • Crime’s a Crime
    Jun 03, 2002

    As mother to a four-year-old, I am shocked by the stories of rapes of pregnant women and the killing of little children in Gujarat. What saddens me even more is the attitude of my Kashmiri brethren and their sympathisers. They’re actually glad that ‘somebody finally taught these bloody Muslims a lesson’. Don’t they realise that an eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind? Nothing, but nothing, justifies the killing of an innocent. I appeal to all sane Kashmiri Pandits and other Hindus to raise their voices and stop this madness at once, before it consumes us all.
    Nirupama Kotru, on e-mail

  • What a Cuppa
    Jun 03, 2002

    Apropos your cover story Fever Pitch (May 20), one of my favourite foods is pizza and I love the Italian football team with their azure blue jerseys. But I don’t want an Italian to be our prime minister.
    Abhishek Menon, Dubai

    It was a pleasant surprise to see Zinedine Zidane on the Outlook cover instead of a politician or riots photograph.
    Arvind Parkhi, Nagpur

    How could Outlook stoop so low as to attract readers with a World Cup cover and have only one article inside. I feel cheated.
    Joseph Mathew, Kochi

    On your curtain-raiser to the fifa World Cup, it has been mentioned that David Beckham was red-carded against France in the 1998 edition whereas he was sent out against Argentina.
    T.N. Raghu, Chennai

  • Cruel Caprice
    Jun 03, 2002

    Looks like responsible journalism is going to the dogs. In his Delhi Diary (May 20), Vinod Mehta writes only 8-10 per cent of India supports what happened in Gujarat. Pray how does he arrive at this conclusion? An org-marg survey or an nhrc one? The fact is the common Indian outside Gujarat is far too preoccupied with his own problems—Andhra is distraught with the Naxalites, Tamil Nadu is more concerned about its water supply, Kerala is grappling with labour—to spare more than a passing thought to what’s happening in that state.
    Preran Kumar, on e-mail

    To the large number of ‘mild, moderate and sensible Hindus who are perturbed and incensed after the Gujarat carnage at the non-stop Hindu-bashing by the media", I’d like to say that just like you, there are a large number of mild and moderate Muslims who too get incensed when Islam and the entire Muslim community is blamed for every little act of violence or mischief done by a person or group whose name sounds Muslim. I hope that from this Hindu-bashing experience, people should at least learn what it feels like when an entire population is held responsible and traumatised for an act perpetrated by only 8 per cent of them. Isn’t today the most appropriate time for all of us to shed our inborn prejudices about the ‘other’ community?
    Sadia Wahidi, New Delhi

    First they butchered hundreds of innocent children, women and men in the name of my religion, then they drag us into sharing the blame. But crimes are committed by criminals and not by religions. Hindus or Hinduism had nothing to do with the aftermath just as Islam and Muslims had nothing to do with Godhra. And I won’t let any ideologue fool me into believing otherwise.
    Murali Gopal, on e-mail

    I must assure Vinod Mehta and all others that Indian Muslims, including a majority of the Gujarat victims, do not hold Hindus or Hinduism responsible for the Gujarat carnage. It was the handiwork of a few danavs of destruction, a few brahmins of bigotry. These pseudo-Sanatan satans are no more true Hindus than the Osamas are true Muslims.
    S.A. Abbasi, on e-mail

  • Jun 03, 2002

    Apropos A Bitter Concoction (May 20), while the Doha declaration was hailed as a great victory for the poor nations by the likes of Murasoli Maran, the passing of the Patents Bill shows that nothing comes in the way of India pampering the mncs at the cost of the poor. While rich nations are circumventing all rules and international treaties to help their people, India has graciously passed a bill which will take even basic medicine out of the poors’ reach. The product patents regime allows certain provisions to be relaxed only in the case of a national emergency. Can a nation like India which has more than 400 TB cases per lakh population claim to be out of an emergency? While in many developed countries, most of the financing in the health sector is by the government (about 90 per cent in Sweden, 85 per cent in the UK, 75 per cent in Canada and so on), in India it is a mere 22 per cent. In such a scenario, if the government cannot help the poor, let it not harm them further by passing such atrocious legislation.
    Naveen I. Thomas, Bangalore

  • What’s in a Term?
    Jun 03, 2002

    It was tragic on the part of the PM himself and the spokeswoman of the mea to haughtily dismiss the EU ambassador’s report on Gujarat as interference in our internal matters (Catch a Rising Storm, May 6). Non-political persons and organisations, after on-the-spot assessments of the Gujarat events, have described it as a genocide, aided and abetted by the state government. The UN General Assembly has officially defined genocide as the denial of the right of existence of human groups. Following on this, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was set up, which India also officially ratified. Genocide can thus never be an internal matter.
    D.T. Gandhy, on e-mail

  • Wicket Hour
    Jun 03, 2002

    Ashish Shukla has blundered in stating that "India has won matches in the past but very few by wickets" (Stumped for Choice, May 20). Since Saurav Ganguly took over as captain, India’s won Tests in Bangladesh (9 wickets), Bulawayo (8 wickets) and Kandy (7 wickets). Besides, we have also won Tests at home against Australia (at Chennai last year by 3 wickets) and against Zimbabwe (at New Delhi this year by 4 wickets).
    Pravin Pandey, Mumbai

  • Something to Live For
    Jun 03, 2002

    The suicides by south Indian actresses seems to have a common pattern (Death and the Maidens, May 13). They have been committed mostly by second-rung actresses. It’s a pity that since they can’t become top heroines they choose the easy and emotional way out of their personal and professional problems. It’s all quite unnecessary because if they are unhappy, they should leave Kollywood and opt for some other profession like fashion designing, modelling, cosmetology, etc, which are satisfying and more lucrative.
    K.M.G. Vivekanandam, on e-mail

  • Question of Settlement
    Jun 03, 2002

    Apropos Talaq to Unreason (May 20), in a secular democracy which India claims to be there should not be separate laws for certain sections of the population. The law should apply equally to all, irrespective of gender. Muslim women too must have the right to initiate divorce and be granted proper and equitable settlement.
    Mary Mulvaney, Australia

    I’m very glad that a step has been taken to ensure that divorced women are not left helpless by their erstwhile husbands. Of course, there will be a lot of opposition from non-liberal Muslims, but I am sure there will be many women, who dare not speak up and voice their opinion in front of their menfolk, rejoicing at this, even if in their hearts.
    Maria Skakuj Puri, New Delhi

  • Why Slam Salaam
    Jun 03, 2002

    Lal Salaam might be a bad film, but your review beats the bad quality a review can have (Glitterati, May 20). It read like a personal grudge.
    Hasmi Yadav, on e-mail

    Manu Joseph has torn Lal Salaam to shreds, but for what reason? Why does a critic write a review? For molestation, which passes off as constructive criticism?
    Lalit Chatterjee, Mumbai

  • No Applause for Murder
    Jun 03, 2002

    I am proud of our English media. The Gujarat tragedy was a most difficult challenge for them. The country’s political establishment, boisterously supported by the extra-constitutional centres of power, trampled on our Constitution, severely wounded our democracy, made a mockery of law and order, carried out a systematic pogrom, bent backward and forward to shamelessly cover up mind-boggling crimes, spoke like a thousand-tongued cobra to fool and confuse the nation, crushed all the values handed down to us by our great culture and threatened, bamboozled, blackmailed and rubbished all those who opposed their perverse ideology and criminal actions.

    The challenge was mighty, but the English media’s response was magnificent. This was its finest hour in the last 55 years. In contrast, the role of the Gujarati press was most despicable. They injected sheer venom into their readers’ veins. The Editors’ Guild should have examined the role of the Mumbai Gujarati dailies too. Three of them—including a Gujarati daily which belonged to the group to which one of the three authors of the Guild Report is attached—have shamelessly propagated hatred and applauded the mass murderers. Laws have been flouted and crimes have been committed which I hope would be punished some day. Or so I hope and pray.
    H. Navroji, Mumbai

  • Pay Channel
    Jun 03, 2002

    Saw your new ads on television. They were very classy but I bet they are coming from the five bucks that we are paying extra.
    Prakash Jaisingh, on e-mail

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