• Unequal Brotherhood
    Feb 16, 2004

    It is unfortunate that Sikhs in France will have to shed turbans or stay out of public schools (French Inquisition, Feb 2). First it was the ban on Muslim girls wearing scarves to public schools which brought the anti-veil law into force for the sake of a forced ‘uniformity’. Strange that a people who gave the world the slogan ‘Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite’ should now act so narrow-minded. France should be proud of its ethnic diversity, not ban symbols of religious choice.
    D.B.N. Murthy, Bangalore

  • The Heirloom Rust
    Feb 16, 2004

    Rahul and Priyanka have every right to stand for elections as Congress candidates (Sibling Revelry, Feb 2). What we could do without is the manner of their entry. The daily strident calls from the coterie, pccs across the land vying to offer them safe seats or Mama Gandhi chipping in with an "ask them". Haven’t we seen all this before with Indira and Sanjay? The Congress seems to be caught in a time warp. Is this the same party whose visionary leadership ushered in economic reform and set the country on the road to prosperity? Sonia’s Congress is still not clear what it stands for. Sad, because even the CPI(M) stands for something.
    Sundari Murugan, Mumbai

    Why does the media have to go gaga over the Gandhi children? They have just hijacked the Mahatma’s surname, they do not deserve it. It won’t be too long before we have a Colombian national as our prime ministerial candidate.
    Sunil N. Rangaiah, Nanjangud

    Earlier, the Congress never wanted to share power with any other party. It would support a third front government, then topple it midway. Unfortunately, the BJP’s five years in office robbed them of the one plank they peddled for long—‘stability’.
    Fahad Tanweer, New Delhi

    The Alternative (Feb 2) makes a persuasive case that the Congress would put up Manmohan Singh as the opposition candidate for prime ministership. Many of us would vote for a front led by him, no doubt. But we won’t be fooled. I can bet that if the Congress wins 50 seats, the coterie will demand that Sonia be made PM. Not for anything have they methodically ensured the exit of every single leader of some standing—from Pawar to Sangma—from the party. They do not have a base, the capability to win an election or the ability to run a government, yet they’re desperate for power. Manmohan is just a stopgap alternative.
    Chandrettan Valsan, on e-mail

    I agree that Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh set the course Vajpayee is now following. In fact, it was Rajiv Gandhi who started liberalising some of his mother’s rigid economic policies. Though reluctantly, even we BJPwallas give credit where it’s due.
    Girishankar Reddy, Marlton, US

  • Book Of Job, Revised Edition
    Feb 16, 2004

    Darwin’s Survival of the Fittest theory holds good in the job sector too (The Job Circus, Feb 2). Here fitness would amount to educational, emotional and adaptability skills, along with a tough mental orientation. People who are truly fit create employment opportunities not just for themselves but for others as well while people who are unfit just love to piggyback on them. As the saying goes, "Every job is a self-portrait of the person who does it." So the focus, I reckon, should be on making people fit for jobs, not on making jobs to fit people.
    Suresh Behera, Ranchi

    Your article You Don’t Call, We’ll Call harks back to an old mindset, that jobs should be created in the public sector and in government, and that there should be job security. By arguing the paucity of jobs thus, we’re actually looking back at the same dark alley that got us nowhere. Job security makes people complacent, makes them take their work for granted (public sector and government jobs being a case in point) and prevents them from training/retraining themselves. It kills people’s ability to take risks, their entrepreneurial spirit, leading to lesser jobs and that vicious spiral again. Instead every individual should engage himself in meaningful and profitable ventures and look to the government for help, not for getting them a job.
    Hitansh Singala, on e-mail

    As election time draws near, Vinod Mehta expectedly begins canvassing against the BJP, by blemishing its India Shining campaign. Can he please do a comparative study of the job scene during the 45 years of Congress rule against the bjp’s five and then comment?
    Deepak Raina, Boston, US

    India is going through a transition phase from being a developing country to a developed one. And upheaval is but a part of the process. We have to be patient till things fall into place. Temporarily, some sectors will create employment while others will not, but eventually everyone will find a job to suit his skills. Meanwhile, we have to focus on the positives without losing sight of the negatives and move on. The media particularly should resist the tendency to unleash a bleak streak. India will truly achieve independence the day we kick secular and socialist idiots out of the media.
    Venkat M., New York, US

    The data you have mustered seems to be authentic. But isn’t it in line with the kind of efforts that we as a nation have been putting in transforming ourselves from a purely agrarian society to a knowledge-based one? And by no means does our retail organised sector or the bpos employ what you call the "creamy layer", but just middle-class educated youngsters coming out of colleges and universities. That too should be cause for good cheer, not boos.
    Saurabh Srivastava, Bangalore

    India needs to promote competition rather than protection, be it in jobs, the economy, industry or whatever.
    Krishna Prasad, Bangalore

    In India Shining, forget jobs, 226 million do not have access even to safe drinking water.
    Prajjwal Narayan Biswas, on e-mail

  • Opinion Pole
    Feb 16, 2004

    Your story Second Uprising (Feb 2) on the Telangana Rashtriya Samiti was interesting but you could have tapped the general public on its views regarding a separate state.
    D.S. Kishan Kumar, Madanapalle, Andhra Pradesh

  • After a Hard Scrub
    Feb 16, 2004

    All Indians, qualified/unqualified, young/old, male/female, have good jobs—salaries without tax, job satisfaction, no troubles with the boss. Groceries and other essential commodities are freely available and at low prices. White goods come with so many freebies that one needs to buy just one thing, the others all come free. Children study in the best schools, cost of education is nil. The whole world’s buying from us but we’re self-sufficient in everything, even oil. India has a position of strength in the world, so much so that other countries look up to us for advice. Troubles with Pakistan are history. India is leading medal winner in Olympics, Asian, Commonwealth and Afro-Asian games. We’ve won the cricket world cup three times running. And Sonia is PM when all this is happening. Wake up, Mr Jha (Not So Shining Really, Feb 2), you are only dreaming.
    Sanjeev Swaroop, Bangalore

  • The Dark Knights
    Feb 16, 2004

    Your article Setting Sail on the High C (Feb 2) struck a chord. I’ve been in the army for over 28 years. It basically functions without a head or heart. Our courts are crude and arbitrary. As for the annual confidential reports, they are a tool in the hands of vindictive officers. In my own case, my acr 2000 was initiated by an officer under whom I hadn’t even served. It’s not the Army Acts that are to blame, it’s the officer mindset. They think they are sahibs and all bors (below officer rank) are ‘natives’.
    Cheramana B. Thelapanda, Bangalore

  • The Night Brigade
    Feb 16, 2004

    Several of the Sambhaji Brigade soldiers who ransacked Pune’s Bhandarkar Institute (Corpse, Robbers, Jan 26) have been arrested. That is certainly a good thing. None of them is likely to have even seen James W. Laine’s book which was the cause of their ire, let alone having read it. They were no more than weapons used for two excellent reasons: one, to show their power to the world and two, to keep them occupied. Their generals, who too probably have never seen the book, however, lurk safely above the law.
    Mukul Dube, New Delhi

  • Fear Is Forbidden
    Feb 16, 2004

    More than a revolutionary, Ram Gopal Varma is an institution in himself (Eerie Does It..., Feb 2). He’s a man bubbling with ideas and wants to implement them before they disappear. Agreed, his recent attempts have not been so successful, but then who can predict the behaviour of the box-office? Not even they who take 2-3 years to make a movie but still bite the dust. At least he broke the myth that Bollywood’s reserved for a chosen few and brought new talent to the fore. He has imparted a new direction to Indian cinema, so much so that even Karan Johar has said that he won’t make films of the kkhh and k3g type.
    Sanjay Kumar, Mysore

  • The Son That Never Set
    Feb 16, 2004

    Just a thought on the Mahatma’s death anniversary. In spite of his tremendous contribution to the modern Indian nation, it’s not proper to call Gandhi the ‘Father of the Nation’. I mean no disrespect to him or what he did for the country, but the fact remains that the nation was there before him. He was perhaps the greatest son of the nation.
    K.G. Acharya, on e-mail

  • The Well-Versed Clique
    Feb 16, 2004

    This refers to Dom Moraes’ Appraisal of Nissim Ezekiel (A Word for the Wind, Jan 26). Moraes writes that Ezekiel advised him early in his career to stop writing poetry and that later Ezekiel told him he never did that. I can corroborate Moraes’ statement because when I called on Illustrated Weekly editor Shaun Mandy sometime in 1956, he himself told me that Ezekiel had tried to dissuade the young Moraes from writing poetry! In fact, I usually cite this example when young aspirants come to me for advice and tell them that they should heed their elders’ advice with respect but decide on their own. My only encounter with Ezekiel was in the late ’60s. A friend of mine who was his colleague introduced me to him since I had some small reputation then as a poet in English, having published in The Illustrated Weekly. Ezekiel was cold since I was supposed to belong to the rival camp run by P. Lal in Calcutta. He merely grunted "Ah" and I grunted back an "Ahaha" after which we went our separate ways. My feeling is that he was uneasy and insecure in the Hindu ethos and he had to wrest his poetry heroically from an unsettling cultural isolation.
    K. Raghavendra Rao, Dharwad, Karnataka

  • Post-Colonial Angst
    Feb 16, 2004

    Why, Outlook, why? Why the insistence on calling Kolkata Calcutta (This is Cal, Katalysed, Jan 26)?
    Vishwakarma, Detroit, US



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