Letters | Feb 09, 2004
  • Time for New Glasses
    Feb 09, 2004

    It never ceases to amaze me how blinkered Outlook is when it comes to protecting the Congress (The Leeward Side, Jan 26). Have you forgotten paying 97 per cent income tax, waiting years for a phone connection that never worked, being perennially short of forex, suffering 20 per cent borrowing interest rates and 15 per cent inflation, waiting 10 years to buy a museum relic called Premier Padmini, having nothing to watch on TV except DD.... Have you really forgotten what life was like under 45 years of Congress rule in this country? Whether the present feelgood is being felt by 20 per cent or 80 per cent, fact is, if the Congress returns to power, rather than pull up the 80 per cent to the level of the 20 per cent, it will pull down the 20 per cent.
    Robin Sathaye, Mumbai

    The Gini index measures income inequality based on the distribution of the gnp per 20 per cent increments of the population—the Lorenz curve. Unfortunately, the last Gini Index for India on the web is for 1997 (cia factbook). It is 37.8 and is middle of the road (India’s rank is 50 out of 100). If someone has more recent value of the Gini Index, that can point to whether the income distribution is getting worse (>38) or better (<38). The current distribution shows a low (good) value of 27 for Italy, and a high (bad) value for Nicaragua.
    Siddharth Dasgupta, Pasadena, US

  • On The Fat Track
    Feb 09, 2004

    Obesity in childhood and adolescence is increasing rapidly worldwide (Fad’s in the Fire, Jan 26). A wide range of behavioural, social and environmental factors have been cited as potential drivers of this epidemic. These include, but are not limited to, changes in the consumption of fast foods and foods prepared away from home, increase in sedentary pursuits such as TV viewing, use of computers and other forms of electronic entertainment, reduction in walking and cycling as means of transport, reduction in physical education in schools and occupation-related physical activity and changes in demands on parents’ time and family life.
    J.S. Acharya, Hyderabad

  • All That Glitters, Uh?
    Feb 09, 2004

    Outlook and Congress, you don’t have a hope in hell (Fable of the Rooster, Jan 26). The near-revolt conditions within the Congress in Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra, UP and Kerala will divert the votes in favour of the BJP and its allies—Shiv Sena, Akali Dal et al. In Andhra, the ‘understanding’ between the TDP and the BJP would bring them the votes. In UP, which accounts for 80 seats, votes would be divided to the Congress’ disadvantage whether it joins hands with the BSP or the SP. If it tries to have an alliance with Paswan in Bihar, it cannot extend that to UP as that would eat into the BSP’s traditional Dalit votebank, the party’s sheet-anchor in India. The Congress would be allotted hardly 30 seats in UP whether it has a pre-poll alliance with the SP or the BSP. Both these parties as well as Kalyan Singh’s Rashtriya Kranti Dal know that the Congress is a sinking ship. So feel bad about the feelgood Vajpayee & Co is generating, Outlook, but be sure that they are here to stay.
    Arjun Sonkar, Chennai

    The BJP is going for early elections to reinforce its wins in the recent assembly elections and its ‘assumed success’ in Islamabad. A.B. Vajpayee is being a good opportunist. Had he been a statesman, he’d have given his rival Sonia Gandhi a fair chance and held elections when due.
    Madhu Singh, Ambala Cantt

    The NDA’s "feelgood factor" is just a mirage. The much-hyped improvement in Indo-Pak ties is nothing yet but a restoration of status quo ante at the instance of the US. The economy has still to grapple with a considerable fiscal deficit. The meddling in well-run iits and iims and revision of history books is the sum total of the NDA’s contribution to education reform. Population control doesn’t figure in its vocab and healthcare is confined to poll-eve laying of foundation stones of aiims branches. Yes, the BJP itself can surely feel good about keeping its flock of two-dozen-odd partners in order and keeping the opposition in disarray. There’s little for the common man to feel good about; neither the non-performing government nor the ineffective opposition.
    J.M. Manchanda, on e-mail

    Its India Shining and feelgood campaigns camouflage the fact that the nda government is the greatest patron of corruption. In its dispensation, the corrupt feel good while those who expose them get destroyed. Tehelka had to shut shop, woe visited the team which recorded the Judeo bribery episode and Satyendra Dubey had to forfeit his life for his honesty.
    S.N. Mathur, on e-mail

    Outlook’s making the same mistake it’s been making since 2002. The BJP will rise to power again. The TDP will increase its tally in Andhra, R.K. Hegde’s demise and Deve Gowda’s somnolence will get them Karnataka, and with Haryana in Chautala’s hands, that’s the BJP’s too, as also Delhi. It will also win some seats in Uttaranchal while Mamata will shore up prospects in Bengal. Count another five seats from the Northeast. The situation looks bright in Jammu while Srinagar and Baramullah are already the PDP’s. Add Goa’s seats in the west along with Maharashtra, and there’s no doubt of a BJP sweep.
    Krishna Prasad, Bangalore

    Seeing the bonhomie between the Congress and the DMK, Sitaram Kesri must be turning in his grave. Dancing to Sonia’s tune, he had pulled down I.K. Gujral’s government in 1997 demanding the dismissal of the DMK ministers for their alleged involvement in the Rajiv Gandhi killing. It was Sonia’s famous arithmetical error again that brought down the Vajpayee government in 1999. This is precisely the lady’s problem: she can’t be without power nor can she share it with others.
    D.V. Madhava Rao, Chennai

    It seems the Congress has kickstarted its campaign in ‘Outlook’. It could get its manifesto published next.
    Subramanian K., Mumbai

  • Wrong Turn In The Laine
    Feb 09, 2004

    Laine’s book, his left-handed apology and anti-India comments on the web are sheer irresponsible scholarship (Corpse, Robbers, Jan 26). As a friend of mine put it, it was visionaries like Shivaji who welded together diverse cultural groups and taught them to think the unthinkable. Those barking at Hinduism for its caste divisions have themselves co-opted Brahmins into their ‘civilisational’ cronyship to cast aspersions on the behaviour of those left out of this ‘holy nexus’ of neo-Aryans. We, however, are out of the colonial pit and will no more indulge in self-flagellation for the sake of the White Master.
    Srilata Patniki, on e-mail

  • World Social Farce
    Feb 09, 2004

    In your article on the wsf (Flying Trapeze, Jan 26), you included Jean Dreze among the "foreign guests". Having lived and worked in India for several years, he has recently become an Indian citizen. Much of the wsf was a farce. How was it that no one asked why there was no participation from China, its people or its parties, or Vietnam? They’ve made the best use of globalisation without crying themselves hoarse.
    Shiva Pennathur, Cleveland, US

  • Towards Hey Day
    Feb 09, 2004

    It’s heartening to know that capitalism has regained a foothold in the first, last and most formidable of Marxist bastions in India (Cal, Katalysed, Jan 26). Always a cultural, artistic and intellectual oasis, it was only after Curzon divided Bengal in 1905 and the capital of British India subsequently shifted to New Delhi that the city started declining. The Red Brigade’s takeover sounded the death-knell. But now that Marxism is no longer a popular ideology, the metropolis could swing back to glory days. If this ‘Renaissance’ does continue, Calcutta could soon be back to its old ways and easily rival Mumbai, Delhi or Bangalore.
    Rajat Ghai, Vadodara

    Has the West Bengal government run out of its ad budgets that it should have Outlook publish stories on ‘Kolkata happening’ gushing about flyovers, malls and sex shops coming up in the city? Why blame the Centre for its India Shining credo?
    Shobhit, on e-mail

  • The Filmighty
    Feb 09, 2004

    I haven’t come across a more one-sided review as the one S. Anand has done for Kamalahaasan’s Virumaandi (Glitterati, Jan 26). The film does have its violent moments but nowhere does it ‘romanticise’ violence. It just suggests that even a person who wishes to eschew violence can be forced into violent ways.
    Sriraman Melatheru, on e-mail

    The most pathetic review I have ever read. Does this guy know anything about movies? You only have to look at how other critics have raved about this movie.
    Babu Krishnan, on e-mail

    The way Outlook reviews regional movies, it was no surprise that it gave Virumaandi the ‘avoidable’ tag. In the last two years, India’s most exciting newsweekly magazine has reviewed just four regional movies (Baba, Nizhalkuthu, Anbe Sivam and Virumaandi), of which only Nizhalkuthu got a positive review. A review can only be respected if it assesses a movie with honesty and intelligence, both of which were missing in your review.
    Siva L., Tiruchirapalli

    Outlook’s always had a biased attitude towards regional cinema. But it went overboard with its criticism of Kamalahaasan’s Virumaandi. Kamal is one of the most creative filmmakers of our times and to dismiss his efforts thus is a travesty. Outlook should stick to reviewing Hollywood films. It’s not eligible to write about Indian cinema.
    Ram, Chennai

  • Just Dog Sense
    Feb 09, 2004

    Vinod Mehta (Ed Knows Best, Delhi Diary, Jan 26) seems determined to teach his puppy to treat The Times of India with the respect Delhi’s No. 1 daily deserves. Here in Mumbai, yours truly is pleased to acknowledge Outlook as India’s No. 1. How else would a 20-page ad spread of Maruti Suzuki find its way in the pages of your magazine, beating all your competitors hollow?
    S.P. Singh, on e-mail

    I laughed when I read Vinod Mehta’s account of his dog and his attempts to teach him to respect the Times of India. My Labrador is just the same. He literally ‘murders’ the Times of India if the paper is on top of the Hindustan Times. And he gets curiouser if it’s HT on the top. He ‘fetches’ it and deposits it at my feet. Now what does it tell us about the spat between two ‘national’ newspapers.
    Achal Madhavan, on e-mail

  • Et tu?
    Feb 09, 2004

    In his Delhi Diary (Jan 26) Vinod Mehta takes a dig at the toi’s (over)publicised No. 1 status, yet in the same issue he has a full-page colour ad "issued in the public interest", no less, about India Today’s dwindling readership.
    Bharatram Gaba, Mumbai

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