• Opinion and Fact, Poles Apart
    Jan 13, 2003

    My heartfelt condolences. You tried every trick to defeat the BJP in the Gujarat elections (Modi’s Gujarat, December 23). You even conducted a fake opinion poll to show that the BJP was losing ground. But fortunately, despite your Goebbelsian propaganda, Modi won. You underestimated the wisdom and conviction of the Gujaratis. Your pseudo-secularism lost and the real secularism won. I pity you.
    Nirav Joshi, Ahmedabad

    You must, by now, be drowning in a deluge of hate-mail. But stand straight, stand tall. Let the hyenas howl themselves hoarse, particularly that hate-filled videshi breed. This is truly the dark night, and now is the time for us to reiterate our faith in liberty and humanity. Now is the time to tell each other that the blood of innocents was not shed in vain. You and your very large readership hold dear certain values, of tolerance, compassion, decency in public and private life, and believe patriotism is not incompatible with these values. Let us be courageous in defeat and let us try, each of us, to fight the forces of venom, ignorance and brutality. First up, let’s talk to friends who believe different from us. We too can reconvert!
    Nirmala Aravind, Kochi

    There, Mr Mehta, all your so-called opinion polls and field reports have been proved wrong by the thumping victory of Narendra Modi and his BJP colleagues in Gujarat. Your cock-and-bull stories against Modi and the Sangh parivar could not hoodwink the people of Gujarat, instead they indirectly contributed to the saffronisation of Gujarat.
    S.S. Vinekar, Mumbai

    Finally, Hindutva put the BJP’s ship to safe coast. It seems the BJP will leverage this advantage for every election in this country and win comprehensively.
    Amol S. Bandrakar, Amravati

    Women dance in topless bars for money but I’ve never seen an educated (and presumably well-off too, with Congress funding) intelligentsia bare themselves in public, like you have in Gujarat. I always thought the media’s role was to be unbiased, objective and report news as they saw it, but I’d love to know the new rules you operate by. My question to you Mr Mehta is, what’s your poison? You bend over backwards when Musharraf comes to India, you carry out a sustained campaign against the BJP for the last 10 months. You may have decided to do the Full Monty this time, Mr Mehta, but it’s not a pretty sight.
    Kaushik Barua, Guwahati

    So, Mr and Mrs Patel rejected Editor-in-chief Vinod Mehta’s appeal. Whether the Gujarat voters have committed harakiri or sent a signal to Mr Mehta and sections of the media to do some serious introspection on where they went astray is a point to consider. If Modi was a danger to Gujarat, then the people seemed unaware of it. What they are aware of is the danger jehadi terrorism poses to the country. You, on the other hand, soft-pedal the terrorist attacks occurring almost daily and ignore the protection Dawood and Anees Ibrahim are getting from other countries. And rather than take the issue of terrorism head-on, you’re busy analysing its causes or human rights. The Gujarat results must be taken as a warning by the media and the government to take up the terrorism threat seriously.
    R.V. Chandramouli, Chennai

    "No psephologist in the world has predicted results accurately all the time. " That’s exactly the point. Why do opinion polls when electoral outcomes are seldom even remotely related to opinion polls? I still remember your Closer Than You Think poll from 1999 and several others where you’ve been way off the mark. Even in the 2001 elections, you got only Tamil Nadu right. It’s obvious your methodology is flawed. So either you correct it or stop publishing these half-baked polls. It’s your own credibility at stake.
    Vinoo Ramakrishnan, New Jersey, US

    Prem Shankar Jha is absolutely right (The Perils of Polarity, December 23). Had the train mishap never happened, Modi would have been nowhere in the legislature, forget being the CM again. The Modi card will lose its colour very soon but it’s also time for Indian Muslims to understand and live like civilised neighbours in a multi-ethnic society.
    Maqsood Choudary, Michigan, US

    This is a vote of no-confidence in your competence. And you are so unabashed and blithe in defeat that you are defending yourself instead of licking your wounds. Tell me one good reason why I should not switch to your competitor; they were balanced and came up with the right predictions. You have been insulting your readers all along. Now I know why your magazine leans to the Left and is sceptical of fdi in print media. Else, market forces would just sweep you away.
    Binu Bal, Houston, US

    Now that he has pulled it off, what are your future plans vis-a-vis Modi, Mr Mehta? I suppose you intend to discharge your journalistic dharma by spewing venom on him for at least five more years.
    R.K. Sudan, Jammu

    Before his ideas become as extinct as the dodo, Prem Shankar Jha should realise that being "politically correct" has taken on a completely new meaning, post 9/11 (The Folly of Dreaming). Sympathise with the jehadis and you’re an instant outcaste.
    Atul Biswas, Detroit

    Eagerly awaiting the next issue of the pseudo-secular Outlook, bloody nose, black eye and all.
    Dr P.V. Narasimha Rao, on e-mail

  • His Excellency’s an Idiot
    Jan 13, 2003

    So Tufail K. Haider, Bangladesh high commissioner, in Delhi, would like to beat the editorial writer of The Statesman with his shoes! ("Advani’s retraction is still untenable", December 23). Plainly, His Excellency is an idiot. What’s he doing in diplomacy, which demands nothing if not restraint and suaveness? The man seems to be in the wrong profession, wasting his obviously prodigious talent as a ruffian. Declare him a persona non grata and throw him out of the country, pronto.
    V.B. Lal, on e-mail

    Haider should be grateful that India, unlike the US, still has some moral fibre in its foreign policy. Agreed that the very act of liberating Bangladesh was not too moral since we had no business meddling in Pakistan’s internal affairs. But then we were hoping that the death of East Pakistan would leave us with troublesome Pakistanis only on the west. However, three decades later, as we find Bangladesh becoming a haven for anti-India activities, it’s time to act in our interest again and take the country head-on, even if it means military action.
    Shivam Vij, Lucknow

  • Sceptics of Peace
    Jan 13, 2003

    I could not help but notice the one-sidedness with which you address the issue of whether Sri Lanka would Return to Serendip (December 23). Although a few questions have been raised in Tamil quarters over whether or not federalism is worth the tens of thousands of lives that have been sacrificed by the ltte, there’s been much more opposition to the very idea of power-sharing from Sinhala right-wingers. We Tamils see these parties and Chandrika Kumaratunga’s PA as the real hurdles to peace and simply cannot understand why on earth it bothers peoples hundreds of miles away if Tamils are setting their own educational curriculum, internal economic policies and the like. They’ve sacrificed even more of their youth than the ltte, yet they are not willing to compromise to achieve peace.
    Ashwin Balamohan, Toronto

  • Carrying Tales
    Jan 13, 2003

    Anita Pratap (Weapons in the Fridge, December 23) seems to think that the US is a school-teacher and India can self-righteously snitch about its delinquent classmate. Why does she bring up the case of Pakistan? Because it’s in India’s interest to have a weakened Pakistan. Why can’t she show the same level of interest in freeing Tibet or Aung San Suu Kyi? Likewise, it’s in US interests to mollycoddle its favourite dictator; India can’t go around crying foul.
    Kaizer, Austin, Texas

    Yes, Pakistan is a bad egg. But there are many other countries besides the US which have reasonably good relations with that country, including some European countries and China. I wish India would fight its own battles and stop its constant whining to the US.
    Lalit Bagai, Denmark

  • Emirs of Hindoostan
    Jan 13, 2003

    We dream of becoming a permanent member of the Security Council when we can’t even punish a small state like the UAE for its intransigence in releasing Anees Ibrahim (The Brother Hood, December 23). To add salt to our wounds, the uae tried to use this as a bait to get concessions (Emirates getting more places to fly out). The BJP claims to be our only saviour from terrorism but I haven’t heard any minister speak on this issue.
    Jishnu Kinwar, Beaumont, Texas

  • Sureshot Shourie
    Jan 13, 2003

    Check-Out Chequers (December 23) was a good and perceptive article. But must we suspect hanky-panky even when we don’t have valid reason? The cash flows that measure a property’s inherent value transcend its balance sheet. A well-run hotel by a private entrepreneur eventually benefits the seller—the government—by becoming profitable and contributing to greater taxes. The loss-making public sector generally bleeds the budget without contributing anything. It was with this in mind that (the then) West German government sold the enterprises it inherited from East Germany at a token price of Mark 1 each. Why should you demoralise Arun Shourie so, the only minister our benighted country can claim to be without personal stake?
    Piyush Desai, Washington, D.C.

  • Writing Square One
    Jan 13, 2003

    One whole page to review Ismail Merchant’s My Passage From India (December 16) only to conclude that John Kenneth Galbraith and Anita Desai have written glowing blurbs for their friend and that they should be ashamed of themselves—that too when all along the critic is self-admittedly amazed by the absolute energy of this man!
    D.J. Bhaskar, Guntur

  • Watch India, Unplugged
    Jan 13, 2003

    It was great to know that there are others like me who’re Against Idiotisation or have homes without television (December 16). The famous mathematician Paul Erdos once said, "Russians invented television to destroy American education". In actual fact, TV is destroying much more than education. The soaps dished out as popular and touch-your-emotions stuff reinvent the cliche in ever-so-many variations. Children who watch TV without parental guidance easily mistake the celluloid world to be the real world. Most serials glorify jealousy, shrewdness and show extra-marital affairs to be the norm rather than the exception. Women are portrayed as glamour dolls, mere commodities expected to look beautiful, look sexy and dress skimpy. All this breeds false aspirations in our youngsters and is leading to an increase in crime. Above all, TV reduces your imagination to ashes. Parents should not try and compensate their lack of time and concern for children by making them sit in front of the television. Instead, they should spend quality time with them, reading books or maybe just taking a walk in the park.
    Vaibhav Sharma, New Delhi

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