• It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane... It’s Super Prez!
    Jul 07, 2003

    After a very well-written account of the dreams of the president and the way he is tirelessly working towards them (After His Own Fashion, June 23), I hated to see the article end with the words "impossible dream", because I’ve started believing in his dream myself, having gone through his speeches and his two books.
    M.K. Mani, Palo Alto, US

    Kalam restores faith in disillusioned cynics like me who had long ago given up on Indian politicians making a difference and doing justice to their electorate and office. He is on the right track targeting the youth of today to realise his Vision 2020. More power to him...
    Naghma Ahmed, London, UK

    At last we have a president who is not only unconventional in his looks but also refreshingly different in his outlook. Here’s a president whom any common person from any part of the country can identify with. He has dared to outgrow the rules and precedents set by his predecessors and has successfully carved out a niche for himself in the hearts of the people within a year in office. His mixing with people at every opportunity is a touching gesture that will go a long way in making people feel a part and parcel of our democracy. Our lawmakers and politicians should take lessons from him on how to be people-oriented. India needs a man like him at the helm of affairs to give the country a new hope and vision.
    Diptiman Biswas, Cachar, Assam

    You say our president was a political ingenue, but "ingenue" means a young, naive woman.
    Ghulam Faruki, New York, US

    On October 2 last year, Kalam surprised many by taking the rashtrapita to the Rashtrapati Bhawan. That was his first
    Gandhi Jayanti in office. He had invited a prayer group after the sarva dharma prarthana at the Rajghat samadhi and held an inter-religious prayer meeting at his residence. The poem he had composed for the occasion was rendered both in Hindi and Tamil. An artist made a pictorial representation of the sentiments expressed in that poem and the painting too was exhibited there. After all that I was aghast to see the same president unveiling a portrait of Savarkar in the Central Hall of our Parliament.
    Anto Poruthur, on e-mail

    It’s good to hear that there are still people in this country who live by their principles.
    Priyanka Sarmah, on e-mail

    With accidents, riots, murders, dowry deaths and gossip occupying so much newsprint, it was refreshing to read about Kalam. It is heartening to know that the president has till now met 1.5 lakh schoolchildren. He should also invite politicians and give them lectures on honesty, sincerity and simplicity.
    S. Shanthi, New Delhi

    To fight the scourge of corruption, crime, hunger and poverty, we need many more Kalams of all hues and colours. The scientist-president’s brass tack of reaching out to young children also gives us hope in the otherwise decadent rulers and policy-makers of present-day India.
    Tarun Bhattacharya, New York, US

    Your cover story served as an excellent biography of our president and made for both interesting as well as emotional reading. Shameless politicians who, for their personal pleasure, lobby intensely at various quarters to fix up official trips or even fall sick to travel abroad should take a lesson from our president who wants to visit all the states and union territories before travelling abroad. I wish we could get the president’s e-mail address so that ordinary people like me can share some of our feelings with this great man from time to time.
    S. Balakrishnan, Jamshedpur

    Indeed, President Kalam has shown us what it is to be a true Indian—rising above the barriers of caste and religion. Simplicity is what makes him a great man. I do not, however, like your calling his dreams "impossible".
    Prashanth Pereira, Houston, US

    Kalam succeeds because of his disarming simplicity and the attitude to work against all odds. In a country like India, infested with crooks masquerading as politicians, he is a whiff of fresh air.
    B.P. Mohanty, Balasore, Orissa

    Kalam has come to epitomise an innate decency and nobility of spirit, our very own modern-day knight in shining armour, following in the illustrious footsteps of giants like Dr Radhakrishnan, Israel’s Dr Chaim Weizmann and Poland’s Ignace Jan Paderewski.
    Ranjith Thomas, Bangalore

    I eagerly purchased your June issue when I saw the cover story was on Dr Kalam. The story read very fine, until the last line. Why did you have to call his dreams "impossible"? Mind you, it’s this very sense of inferiority that the president is trying to remove.
    Bharath Seshadri, on e-mail

    I could not control my tears while reading this article. Kalam’s message is the sort
    that should reach every nook and corner of India.
    T. Dhinakaran, Sharjah, UAE

    The only person in power in India for whom I have the greatest respect is our president. What a shining example of greatness! I hope with his convictions, simplicity and honesty, he will be able to bring about a change in India.
    K. Alhad, New Jersey, US

    For once I wished the cover story on Dr Kalam was the size of the Booker winner’s articles carried in Outlook.
    M.C. Joshi, Lucknow

    A.P.J. Abdul Kalam is constantly impressing students like me with his vision, conviction and modest way of living.
    Shrey Khanna, on e-mail

    Kalam’s life reminds me of a saying by Vivekananda: "Though not a candle, let me be a mirror that reflects great spirit."
    L. Rammohan, Phoenix, US

  • Red Hot Crab Curry
    Jul 07, 2003

    Mihir Bose makes sweeping generalisations in his self-gratifying column The New Indian Caste Taboo (June 23). He picks on isolated incidents and perceived slights to reinforce conventional western stereotypes about Indians. Having lived in England for 30-odd years, he seems to have contracted the English ailment of hypocrisy, alongside his ingrained Indian jealousy. Bose is well within his rights to take offence at Suresh Menon’s alleged literary kala pani, but his accusation that this was to prop up Ramachandra Guha is unfair. Bose’s ranting seems to stem from his inability to digest Guha’s pre-eminence among cricket historians, and his own relative obscurity in India. However, his argument in the latter half of the piece regarding India’s lack of a tradition of recording history is relevant. Perhaps he ought to have focused more on this aspect instead of tilting at windmills.
    Anthony Francis, on e-mail

    Good work, Bose. I’m glad we finally have someone talking sensibly in Outlook. I personally don’t have a very high opinion of the print media in India, it’s an industry of mutual back-scratchers. Our leftist historians should take a cue from Bose and start writing some real history for a change.
    Vishwanath Rao, Bangalore

    Bose sounds like any other crab in the box. Why should what Menon writes perturb him so much? I feel it has more to do with a pot full of royalty pounds lost than any occupational angst.
    Madhu Ranganathan, Cuddalore

  • Soldiering for a Price
    Jul 07, 2003

    Deputy PM L.K. Advani seems to have all but committed the lives of Indian soldiers to death in Iraq (The Iron Hand Shake, June 23). He dismisses all criticism as "uninformed". The truth is India is trying to bag lucrative contracts for reconstruction. All the big talk about Pakistan being the epicentre of terrorism and the US seeing India’s point is just that. The US knows what’s what and won’t change the status quo on Pakistan. What will be the compensation for the lives of officers and soldiers dying in Iraq? Will these firms take responsibility? Let our soldiers not die in vain. Certainly not for someone else’s profits. And should that inevitably come to pass, certainly not for free.
    Anand M. Rajadhyaksha, Mumbai

    Though America’s motives in asking India to commit its troops to Iraq are suspect, one must realise that we have a fair share of experience in all three vital categories of international security operations, namely peacekeeping, peace enforcement and stabilisation. India’s help is being sought to stabilise the situation in a war-crippled country.
    G.S. Rao, Bangalore

  • Think Sri Lanka
    Jul 07, 2003

    For once, Prem Shankar Jha makes sense (India Should Say ‘No’, June 23). Remember the ipkf in Sri Lanka? That old fox J. Jayawardene conned Rajiv Gandhi into sending troops for peacekeeping and stabilisation and they were ambushed by Prabhakaran’s goons, ironically shored up by the Sinhalese who wanted the whole thing derailed in the first place! Nearly a thousand jawans gave their lives for this stupidity. This mistake must not be repeated whatever the political compulsions.
    S. Murthy, on e-mail

  • Wile Things
    Jul 07, 2003

    I think Maj Gen Afsir Karim’s point-by-point demolition of the US Pacific Command report (Just a Clueless Uncle, June 23) was excellent. As a common man I really wonder on what basis we can trust the Americans. When we did allow an American ship to drop anchor in Chennai, how did they reciprocate our friendly gesture? By flying a reconnaissance helicopter over the restricted airspace of the Kalpakkam Atomic Centre. If we are going to befriend America despite all that, I can only say, ‘God save India!’
    Nisha N., on e-mail

  • It Works!
    Jul 07, 2003

    Just when we thought all was lost, Rajinder Puri decides to give it a rest. The verse, I mean. And all it ostensibly took was one brave or really fed up letter writer. The nation breathes easier. There’s a dent in my staunch cynicism. If such providence were to sustain, either by celestial design or a very timely public outcry against godawful writing, perhaps we may even be blessed by Madhu Jain never writing again. Ever. And if that day comes, you know what, I shall bake a cake. And help old Mrs Noronha cross the street next time around.
    Gautam Rao, on E-Mail

    Rajinder, oh Rajinder,
    What have you done?
    Minus those four lines
    Bull’s Eye is so dumb.

    M.P. Yashwanth Kumar, Bangalore

  • Hope Lives
    Jul 07, 2003

    Passage to India (June 23) was a good story. A nation is healthy and has hope when people from other countries want to come and live there. I would like to see India’s immigration laws revised to encourage creative, energetic and entrepreneurial people with new ideas move there and become a model for those who question tradition and status quo.
    B. Sharma, San Diego, US

  • Jul 07, 2003

    Though the claims of thousands of its workers will be settled, it’s disheartening that the old structures of Mumbai’s mills will be replaced by high-rise apartments (meant only for the rich) as pointed out in the article Landslide Logistics (June 23). This will only add to the concrete jungle that’s Mumbai. The least the government can do is to revert to the earlier mill land rules to ensure that some open spaces are spared. It would even be good if the government could somehow restart these mills.
    Madhu Madi, Mumbai

  • Casual Misread
    Jul 07, 2003

    Dilip Simeon’s review of Fareed Zakaria’s book is totally negative (Fareedian Slips, June 23). He seems to have been offended by Zakaria’s pro-liberty viewpoint. But Zakaria isn’t claiming his book to be an "encyclopaedia" on world history, he just wants to say that capitalism and a liberal society are a must for any democracy to succeed. Our universities and government offices as well as the entire electoral process is infected with the plague of socialism and populism. If India has to become a ‘superpower’ by 2020, then we have to realise that the freedom of an individual is paramount and can never be subordinated to the tyranny of "majoritarianism" and the "collective good".
    Abraheem Saied, Melbourne, Australia

  • Something Freudian
    Jul 07, 2003

    Tch! Tch! I am sure the deputy PM would not like his being reduced to the "Deputy MP L.K. Advani" as Outlook has done in Glitterati (June 23), and especially not now, if you know what I mean.
    Manisha Verma, on e-mail

  • Tongue Twist
    Jul 07, 2003

    Apropos your comment on Jim Corbett in Bibliophile (June 23) that "he spoke Kumaoni like a native", I don’t get it. Corbett was born in and spent almost his entire life in Kumaon. Does that not make him a "native" as well? Or do you subscribe to the racist usage of the word where it only refers to non-white inhabitants of a country?
    Tariq Rasheed Chaudhari, Aligarh

  • Weak Math
    Jul 07, 2003

    Your review of The Matrix Reloaded (June 23) was one of the most biased and unreasoned distortions of judgement I’ve ever read. Comparing the stunts and thrills in the film to a visit to the video games parlour was entirely uncalled for. Why should your critic’s subjective view affect tens of thousands of readers?
    Mahesh Mamadapur, Mumbai



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