• Mar 08, 2004

    The story on Nehru and his divine distraction, Shraddha Mata, was amazing (If I weren’t a Sanyasin...Feb 23). But the story had a few holes— like what about the May 30, 1949, Bangalore hospital records, which must have had both parents’ names. PS: I wonder what would have happened if the child wasn’t stillborn.
    Ramani, Framingham, US

    I don’t know why we are still obsessed with Chachaji’s love-life even after 50 years. The charge is probably baseless or Nehru was one of the many affairs the lady had. And even if the child belonged to Nehru, we still must appreciate him, because, unlike modern-day politicos, he at least didn’t get her bumped off. That alone proves his greatness. My opinion about this gentle philanderer remains unchanged.
    Murali Krishna, on e-mail

  • Let The Boys Go
    Mar 08, 2004

    Of late, Prem Shankar Jha, a la the Congress, has taken to criticising the nda government on whatever it does (Stop the Cricket Tour, Feb 23). If they had decided not to send the team to Pakistan, he’d have suggested everything’s peaceful on the western front and cricket will help mend fences. Please stop publishing habitual moaners who are always propounding these opposing theories. I don’t know why they keep at it, probably because it keeps them in vogue on the cocktail circuit!
    Rajeev Sinha, Gurgaon

    If Vajpayee could have a safe trip to Pakistan for the saarc summit, so can our boys in blue. In fact, a cricket tour against all odds will be the mother of all cbms. And don’t forget, the establishment there has even more at stake—any harm to our team would surely be seen as Pakistan hitting rock bottom in the international scenario. It will also nullify any gains reached in the peace process. We can play safe but great changes are not possible without some risk.
    Ramanujam Chary, Brighton, UK

    There were three days when the Indo-Pak series hung in the balance. It was an opportunity for the Congress to go on the offensive and wrest the credit for forcing the government to reverse its stand. But, as usual, it missed its chance and started the mindless blame game after the event was over. Visionless opposition, without offering any solutions, is fine for a permanent opposition party like the cpi(m). But how can a party staking claim to form the next government at the Centre take this approach?
    Eliza Srikrishnan, Kochi

    The Congress has been assailing the nda’s flip-flop policy on Pakistan for some time now. Even a child knows Pakistan is in the eye of an international N-proliferation storm. In the event, it’s also true that Vajpayee, like a true statesman, has seen and grabbed the opportunity. It seems a basic training programme on foreign policy is needed for the head of the secular forces, if they are not to land the country in a soup.
    Smitha Manian Kapoor, Bangalore

  • The Veering Graph
    Mar 08, 2004

    Your report on the nda’s economic performance (The Shiningest One, Feb 23) only confirms how data expressed in percentages can be misleading. If the story had published actual/absolute data for the last 10 years on a graph along with a graph of the average gdp figures for this period running through, the real picture could have been discerned and appreciated by readers.
    Sunil Gupta, Mumbai

  • Mar 08, 2004

    It is beyond one’s comprehension why reduced fees at iims should be cause for any row (No one’s too poor...Feb 23). The people making an issue of it seem blissfully unaware that a tag of Rs 3 lakh is beyond the means of most Indian parents. The ranting that it will have an adverse effect on the autonomy of such institutions is plain poppycock.
    Lt Col Sushil Chilimbi (retd), Mumbai

    hrd minister M.M. Joshi’s proposal is difficult to justify. As rightly pointed out, the increased subsidy will be better spent on improving primary education, which has received only lip service. Ironically, the subsidy to iims is now tantamount to subsidising students coming from affluent families. I hope the SC sees through the game—that this is the thin end of the wedge for government interference. Apparently, politicians now feel iims are another power centre. A pity that.
    H.R. Bapu Satyanarayana, Mysore

  • Love Ka Superhit Formula
    Mar 08, 2004

    After globalisation and liberalisation, it’s natural that we embraced the love business too (The Love Bazaar, Feb 23). Like beauty, now commodified with fashion shows (Miss This and Miss That), love too has been commodified by Valentine’s Day. But is this emotion of the heart losing out to the head? Is love weighed by how much you spend now? Well, the marketing chaps are at it and if we don’t put a stop to it, we’re going to be crushed by the wave. Love must not be commodified, it’s a divine gift of god.
    Ambika Sankar Mishra, Bhubaneswar

    Well, they say love makes the world go round. So what harm is there if Valentine’s Day spreads cheer along with some business. In every society, festivals are celebrated and on such occasions a bit of freedom and some free ‘expression’ are the norm. The cost of love can’t be measured, it is given freely. So, if you spend something to express it, what is wrong? V-Day is now a global festival and if it unites the world, even for a day, why knock it?
    A. Jacob Sahayam, Thiruvananthapuram

    There is a saying that goes ‘Love is like a butterfly, hold it too tight, it’ll crush, hold it too loose, it’ll fly.’ It’s time youngsters understood that true love needs emotional motivation and not material expression. It’s more a matter of heart than head. So let’s get rid of the glut of unwanted commercialism and let love be just love.
    Suresh Behera, Ranchi

    Valentine’s Day is nothing but a malaise. It’s just an excuse for so-called lovers to openly flout cultural sanctity and go beyond the boundaries of decency. To remedy the situation, the offenders should be severely penalised. ngos and other social service agencies should also look into the data of cases of teenage sexual abuse.
    S.P. Singh, Patna

    Apropos your cover story, it reminds me of an anecdote on an Indian tourist coming across only songs about rain in drought-hit Africa. He asked the tribesmen why they kept singing about rain when there was no sign of it. The tribal leader replied that in India everyone seemed to be talking about ‘love’ and ‘peace’, the films were all luvvy-duvvy and there was a love song on everybody’s lips. But did we have true love in the country? Well, true or not, in Shining India, we at least know what love is worth: Rs 2,500 crore.
    Bidyut K. Chatterjee, Faridabad

    Valentine’s Day has ‘proliferated’ only because of media support. Take Outlook, which did a cover story! I know several boys at university who borrowed money to get gifts for their ‘significant others’. Needless to say, they now find it difficult to repay the loans. I agree with the Shiv Sainiks and vhp that V-Day must be banned. Their way of protesting, though, is a bit wrong.
    Manish Thakur, B.H.U, Varanasi

    Indians have taken to western concepts like Father’s day, Mother’s Day and V-Day. But why isn’t the West celebrating any of our festivals, like Raksha Bandhan or Holi? The Sainiks, vhp and Bajrangis should mount an international campaign to popularise a Holi Day in the West.
    Abhilash Thadani, on E-mail

    The photo in Cupidus Interruptus was interesting. But the man with the lathi and the great responsibility of protecting India’s cultural heritage would have been more convincing had he been in dhoti-kurta instead of the videshi high-neck and trousers, complete with leather belt (is it cow skin?).
    Bhaskar Dihingia, Sibsagar, Assam

    Most people don’t know the meaning of V-Day. It’s either showing off or exploiting gullible young girls now. The frustrated ones meanwhile engage in rowdyism. Another thought: most youth don’t want to join the army today. They want money and cushy jobs. So where is the love for the motherland? If they can’t face hardships for their country, what sacrifice will they make for
    their girlfriends?
    Col R.D. Singh, Ambala Cantt

    A Shiv Sainik is basically someone who doesn’t have a girlfriend to take out on V-Day.
    Shachindra Sharma, Lucknow

    Filmi loves, fat wallet and a let’s-get-physical
    attitude—the Great Indian Youth Formula for today.
    Nitin G. Panchal, Mumbai

  • And The results show...
    Mar 08, 2004

    The world-famous Outlook opinion polls are here again (The Outlook-mdra Opinion Poll, Feb 16, on the Gandhi heirs joining politics). Kaangress Party Zindabad!
    Satish Tiwary, Bangalore

  • Some Nice Men
    Mar 08, 2004

    Apropos A Nice Old Boy (Delhi Diary, Feb 16). It was a fine, balanced piece by the editor. His disdain for the bjp and its policies have never been secret but at the same time he’s also been showing a soft corner for Vajpayee of late. It’s true that the PM’s eloquence, ability to twist facts around and double-talk on sensitive issues have bailed him out of many sticky situations. To the disappointment of bjp-bashers and pseudo-secularists, it looks like the Nice Old Man may become PM for a record fourth time. It’s nice to know that Vinod Mehta may not be too unhappy at the prospect.
    Dr Vijay Upadhyaya, Nagpur

  • Mar 08, 2004

    The article on Nehru/Shraddha Mata and the bastard child (If I were Single..., Feb 23) was in extremely poor taste. And anyway, it’s a rehash of what’s already been written by the likes of Khushwant Singh. If this article was published with the elections in view, it will be the first time sex is being used in Indian politics. What makes it sickening is the fact that Panditji and Shraddha Mata are both dead, and unable to defend themselves. Circumstantial evidence with no proof or corroborative support is not enough. And even if the accusation was correct, both were free individuals, one long a widower and the other a single woman. Both were adults and consenting sex between two adults was never a crime. PS: Till reading this article, I always thought of Shyama Prasad Mookerjee as an upright Bengali Brahmin bhadralok. Your facts paint him as some sort of sleazy broker!
    Kaly Bose, Gurgaon

  • Virtual Mochi
    Mar 08, 2004

    Anita Pratap’s piece (One Mochi in Kochi, Feb 23) was beautifully done. I have a few doubts though on whether Devaraj really exists. I’m sure she is quite capable of creating virtual people for her pieces.
    Rajiv,Douai, France

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