• 54 Clicks
    May 03, 2004

    The BJP’s achievements speak for themselves, never mind Jha’s Cynical Deception (Apr 12). No manifesto is required when people are more prosperous and living happier lives than they were 10 years ago. We also don’t have to live in fear of N-annihilation now, thanks to the BJP. I don’t mind seeing 54 photos of the person who made this possible. Actions speak louder than words printed in any manifesto.
    Vivek Thuppil, Philadelphia, US

  • May 03, 2004

    The April 19 cover story, Now NDA Shining, revealed just one thing—in an election season random surveys and random conclusions are the order of the day. Today’s pollsters are like the Met’s weather vanes, getting it right now and not thereafter. As an apolitical reader and seasoned voter, I don’t think the latter community divulges its mind till polls are over. Even you’ll agree that the mind of the voter changes umpteen times in the run-up to poll day. A survey conducted with just 6,000 random samples in a few constituencies suggests a narrow outlook at best. Guess for the real picture of the next people’s representative government—at the Centre and the states—one will have to wait till May 13. As always.
    George Olivera, Bangalore

    I’m not interested in picking holes in your How the Deccan will Rotate...assembly poll surveys, but tell me why do results differ from magazine to magazine and channel to channel? If the reams of space given to explaining the methodology is any indication, the sampling methods of these ‘credible’ agencies are above board. Why the disparities then? Also, there’s something fishy about an ‘nda Shining’ theme song just before the three states went to the hustings. Are you trying to influence results?
    Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee, Faridabad

    Chandrababu Naidu is truly The CEO in Crosshairs (Apr 26). Two terms on the trot, his development ‘agenda’ faces its stiffest test yet. His fate now lies somewhere between the devil and the deep blue sea—if the Naxals don’t ied his campaign, then it’ll be the Telangana tidal that shatters his dreams. And don’t forget that by association it will tilt Ataji’s shining windmill too.
    D.B.N. Murthy,

    All is not well in the world when Outlook too comes out with a cover-poll giving nda the green light. Heaven help us if the Congress loses the South too to the bjp. If your poll reads true, then the siege has already worn down the Kannadigas. Man the towers, sandbag the gates.
    A. Jacob Sahayam,

    Vinod Mehta’s disillusionment with the Congress is his personal problem. It need not and should not affect a balanced national journal like Outlook. Your political philosophy is a much endangered one in this age of pvt limited platforms and fascist communes. Please do not waver.
    Nisha N. Panchal, Mumbai

    An Enemy at the Gate (Apr 19), the Congress has no one to blame. Even Krishna can’t hold back the hordes.
    Velu Murugan, Mettupalayam

  • It Ain’t Me, Babe
    May 03, 2004

    The article Mama mea (Mar 1, ’04) casts an unwarranted aspersion of "male chauvinism" on me. While the right of representation and appeal can be exercised when promotions due are denied, no officer can question, as does Ms Muthamma, the administrative discretion in a particular posting. This happened in 1978, when Eric Gonsalves who had served in Tokyo was made secretary dealing with Asia and Romesh Bhandari of the same seniority with relevant expertise was recalled to take charge of economic relations. Muthamma could still have become foreign secretary. Maharaj Kumar Rasgotra was two places junior and there were three of the previous batch when he was recalled and appointed in 1982. Surely, no one would accuse Mrs Gandhi of male chauvinism! Anyway I had retired in ’80 and was not privy to the decision. Missions in Africa and in our neighbourhood, in my view, require more energetic diplomacy. At least in my time (and subsequently), the mea had a record of sympathy and accommodation for lady officers and foreign service couples. In fact, the only member of the foreign service compulsorily made to resign was my wife Rama in ’51.
    Jagat S. Mehta, Ex-Foreign Secretary

  • Birth Of Tragedy
    May 03, 2004

    The BJP over the years has been accusing the Congress of appeasement, but then what was BJP satrap Lalji Tandon’s birthday celebration if not a classic example of this? If it was not appeasement of the womenfolk, why were only saris and not kurtas and dhotis distributed? Is India really shining when a mere Rs 40 sari makes people fall all over each other, lose their lives in the process? What a great example of feelgood when a person’s day of birth turns out to be a day of death for a score? Maybe next year we can observe Tandon’s birthday as a ‘Shaheed Lachar Aurat Diwas’.
    Abdul Monim, on e-mail

  • Seventh Sister
    May 03, 2004

    Thank you for giving a page to Irom Sharmila who is well-known in the Northeast but virtually invisible outside it (Breath of Dissent, Apr 19). One wishes you had less constraints of space and talked about the various offers made to Sharmila to cajole and coerce her to give up her fast, despite which she has remained steadfast. Whatever one’s personal view of the rightness of her cause, it’s difficult to deny she is one of India’s true heroines.
    Biswapriya Purkayastha, Shillong

  • Historic Neurosis
    May 03, 2004

    Contrary to what Indrani Chatterjee says in her letter to Balbir Punj’s review (Apr 19), you don’t have to be a trained historian to comment about the past. You need information and common sense. You don’t need a PhD beside your name to know about the horrific damage caused by Islamic/ Turkic invasions. Is Chatterjee promoting some kind of snobbery where only a select few have the right to say anything? History is not neurosurgery. Messrs Tarun Vijay and Punj have made some valid points and Eaton, Chatterjee and Mukhia have not refuted them, only resorted to conceptual generalisations.
    Varun Shekhar, Toronto, Canada

  • Red Letter Day
    May 03, 2004

    The wine trail (Next Change: India Wining, Apr 19) did make for intoxicating reading. For the wine enthusiast, the vineyards are paradise. It was R.L. Stevenson who rightly said, "Wine is bottled poetry." However, one needn’t be a genius to understand why our per capita wine consumption is a mere 0.007 litres per year. With a per capita income of less than a thousand rupees, people can’t be expected to drink wine in gallons. To appreciate articles like India Wining, I guess one has to believe in India Shining first.
    Suresh Behera, Ranchi

  • A Better Slum
    May 03, 2004

    Playwright Imran Aslam’s comments in Frieha Altaf’s column (When Host is Guest, Apr 19) that Indians are "black, smelly, wear chappals, scratch between their toes and have talc in their cleavage" is pretty ridiculous. I guess the only people he met in India are the illegal immigrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh, who feel even the Mumbai slums are better than Karachi!
    A.M. Saied, Melbourne, Australia

  • With Peace & Love
    May 03, 2004

    George Orwell in an essay, The Sporting Spirit, had commented that all international-level sport mimics warfare. The most significant thing being not player performance but spectator behaviour mirroring nationalist zeal. To that extent, the conduct of the recent Indo-Pak series was quite praiseworthy. May this spirit continue and metamorphose into a perennial, sublime LoC (Line of Camaraderie).
    Amrita Banerjee,on e-mail

  • Making Up
    May 03, 2004

    I would like to thank the person who wrote in (Kalyug Synthesis, Apr 19) for reminding me that sometimes you need to raise your voice to be heard. The Making a Difference section in Outlook is remarkable for it shows humanity isn’t as worthless as portrayed on ‘reality’ TV. If you do bring out a compilation, I for one would pay good money to buy it.
    Amrita Rajan, New York, US

  • Familiar Concerns
    May 03, 2004

    When will the Indian electorate display some maturity and reject these Gandhis (Swinging Blue Genes, Apr 19)? In the US, despite Ted Kennedy’s charisma, he didn’t get the Democrat nomination to run for president in 1980. He never tried again. If charisma be the only qualification, then why not a Miss World or Miss Universe to lead us? PS: After jfk’s death, the US Congress passed a law banning a serving president’s relative joining his cabinet (brother Robert was attorney-general). A lesson for our family-oriented democracy.
    Suren Sukhtankar, Michigan, US

  • Business Issues
    May 03, 2004

    I am probably what you would call a ‘rabid’ Sangh supporter. Still, I strongly feel interference in the iims (Knife under the Cloak, Apr 19) is a surefire method to bring down quality. For, to have a great faculty and facilities on par with the world’s best business schools, one must pay one’s due.
    Bharath Manu, Colchester, UK

  • May 03, 2004

    Try as I might, I can’t see the need for Can you see the Real Me? (Apr 19). When did the political mag morph into a fashion one? Or is it that with no handle on the storm on the political front, you preferred providing one in a bra cup?
    M. Kumar, Delhi

  • May 03, 2004

    Mark Tully’s review of Pawan Verma’s book is one of the best book reviews I have gone through in recent times (Books, Apr 19). It is ironical that a person coming from a different faith and culture has such a rare insight and understanding of Indian culture and civilisation that it even enables him to tell one of our intellectuals convincingly—Sir! You are miserably wrong! Being Indian does not mean "throwing out much of what, to me, is Indian".

    For the entire lot of our Marxist bug-bitten intellectuals, discarding, devaluing, damning and shedding Indian cultural and civilisational heritage is the easiest way to flaunt their progressive credentials. I doff my hat to the one who the bbc once described as the Voice of India, the Padma Shri Mark Tully, an Indian at heart and soul amongst Indians who are so only by birth.
    M.C. Joshi, Lucknow

  • Shrill Thrill
    May 03, 2004

    Vinod Mehta has hit the nail on the head (Delhi Diary, Apr 19). These cartwheel netas have been insulting our intelligence on news TV for too long. A few days ago, I borrowed a Bruel & Kjaer noise meter, put it 10 ft from my TV screen at mid volume, and lo, it read 120 decibels—the noise level of a jet taking off!
    Raj Bharadwaj, Mumbai

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