Letters | Aug 30, 2004
  • Asphyxiating AFSPA
    Aug 30, 2004

    Being born and brought up in the Northeast, let me tell you that the Armed Forces Special Powers Act has definitely got to be repealed in toto to bring peace back to the state (Reap the Whirlwind, Aug 16). The act has been misused by all and sundry in uniform for the past 24 years. As it is, our people feel alienated because we are denied our due share of development and progress in infrastructure from the Union government. How can you expect people to be at peace when their basic needs for existence have been unmet by successive governments since Independence? Even so, it’s not just a question of the Union government pumping in money into the region. It also has to monitor its proper distribution by the state governments and ensure the aid reaches those it is meant for.
    Loshua Judith Sapriina, Bangalore

  • That Rare Yellow Metal
    Aug 30, 2004

    Indeed, it’s all Greek to us and has been so for more than a century (It’s all Greek to Us, Aug 16). Unfortunately, going by the speed of ontogenesis in the sporting arena, it’s going to remain Greek to us for a long time to come. Sounds awfully pessimistic but then there is no point trying to camouflage the inherent weaknesses in the build-up to producing international class athletes. The sportspersons need world-class equipment, training, exposure, hassle-free focus, and most of all, politics-free governing bodies. The odd Rathores may slip in a medal or two, but expecting India to do well in these Olympics is like aiming to land on the moon in a jumbo jet. Impossible.
    Suresh Behera, Ranchi

    It’s difficult to say why but it is surprising that India has won any medal at Athens. Leave aside that old resort to "a superb match but we lost the game", the fact is world-class Indian athletes have to contend not just with politics in the selection process but politics in general. In 1984, the Indira Gandhi government brought in a ban on importing guns into India and though concessions were made available to target shooters, shooting is a sport where technology changes rapidly. Jaspal Rana once lost a gold in the Olympics just because he didn’t have a new enough rimfire pistol. Ditto for Anjali Bhagwat.
    Mehul Kamdar, Wisconsin, US

    Doesn’t look like it yet, but maybe there’s a surprise gold waiting for us somewhere. Our athletes and players seem to have finally realised that it is sheer killer instinct that matters. You can neither succeed by singing paeans to our glorious distant past nor by ruing the dismal recent past. There is only one time in a competition, and that is ‘now’. The earlier a competitor realises this, the better the result would be.
    R.K. Sudan, on e-mail

    What was the point of the article Why Bulgaria is Best? Was it a space-filler to get the magazine published in time? Any person with basic intelligence could figure out the conclusions reached in the article.
    Gaurav Garg, San Francisco, US

    Why are we in the state we are in at the Olympics? Possibly because parents these days dream of lucrative jobs for their children and do not want to ‘risk’ losing them to sports, unless it is cricket. And unless one starts early in sports, there is little chance to make it to the top later in life. For our sportspersons to develop early, attitudes at home have to change. Later, the government has to provide all infrastructural support and training facilities if at all India wants to make a mark in sporting events other than cricket.
    R.D. Singh, Ambala

    The only way real sports are going to develop in India is if the corrupt pseudo-sport of cricket is actively discouraged. Public attention will then focus on the shenanigans going on in the various sports federations. Along with the inevitable increase in participation that will come with the demise of cricket, it would also give us some Olympic medal winners some years down the line. Meanwhile, cricket must be taxed heavily to pay for the development of other sports.
    Bishwapriya Purkayastha, Shillong

    The reason why our sportspersons do so badly is because while they have the talent, they lack a killer instinct which is an absolute must for winning a medal. Dreams come true only if you work towards them.
    Siddhartha Raj Guha, Jabalpur

    Whether it is war heroes or Olympic athletes, we ungrateful 1 billion feel pride only for our cricketers.
    Nitin G. Panchal, Mumbai

  • Adios Gentlemen
    Aug 30, 2004

    It was nauseating to know that Vajpayee still nurses hopes of having another go at power (Saffron’s Cidade de Goa, Aug 16). God forbid, but if it does happen, India will make a mockery of itself. Here is a person who cannot walk properly, who cannot go to the pmo regularly and has to operate from his residence and he is still thinking of another term even after the Indian voter has given his government a thumbs down! I can’t remember where it’s from, but there is this gem which says, "Old men are dangerous, they don’t care what will happen to the world tomorrow." Vajpayee seems to belong to that tribe. I thought Narasimha Rao was the most power-hungry. Vajpayee beats him to it hands down.
    Anoop Wakade, Margao

    Amazing, the party still has not learned that India is a secular country and too much Hindutva and harping on the Ram temple or saffronising of education doesn’t get you the votes. The bjp’s leaders are so old, yet instead of walking away from the limelight, they want to stay on forever. They should realise their days are past, and let some young blood take over. Before the train of the 21st century leaves our shores forever, get aboard.
    Shadi Katiyal, California, US

  • Aug 30, 2004

    Khushwant Singh’s review of J.R.D. Tata’s Letters (Books, Aug 9) is factually erroneous in quite a few places. To list a few:
    • It is not true that till recent years the Tata board of management comprised of Parsis. Even before Independence, the Tata board had men like Ghulam Mohammed, the first finance minister of Pakistan, and John Matthai, the Indian finance minister. Stalwarts like Sumant Moolgaokar of Telco, Darbari Seth of Tomco and F.C. Kohli of tcs were intrinsic to the group’s growth.

    • JRD’s success story did not begin with the setting up of ‘a company to mine coal and iron ore in Bihar’. His first foray was in trading and then cotton mills.

    • JRD’s speeches, contained in a separate book, Keynote, were not compiled by Arvind Mambro. These have been edited by S.A. Sabavala and R.M. Lala.

    • JRD never communicated with any industrialist called Mrs Rockefeller but with John and David Rockfeller.

    • It was in a letter written to F.H. Nallaseth, GM of the Ashoka Hotel in Delhi, that jrd noted that two single beds should be placed slightly apart so that elderly couples do not disturb each other’s sleep and not one large double bed at the Taj Mahal Hotel as mentioned.

    • Finally, as a Parsi, I take exception to the statement that many Parsis grudgingly admit to be Indian. Contemporary history is witness to the Parsi contribution to India this century for this statement to be true.

    Maneck Davar, Executive Publisher, Jetwings

  • A Lot Of Bull
    Aug 30, 2004

    Rajinder Puri seems to be a confused man. In his Bull’s Eye (Aug 16), he talks about people in politics being equivocal, but he is second to none in exhibiting that dubious virtue. I’m no supporter of Shibu Soren or for that matter any political party, but I do know that it is very easy for anyone with the right connections to get his nemesis charged and arrested without turning many wheels of the judiciary.
    Vikrant Tandon, Providence, US

  • Time For Revision
    Aug 30, 2004

    How come Rahul Singh did not remember the Quit India of 1942 when he wrote Remember 1945 in his Delhi Diary (August 9)? The Congress, under the leadership of the Mahatma, had refused to cooperate with Britain unless it agreed beforehand to total independence to India after the war. So, the Indian soldiers who fought bravely and won 4,000 gallantry awards and 31 Victoria Crosses had been there not because of the Congress but in spite of it! In fact, Gandhi had suggested peaceful non-cooperation as the weapon to Britain to defeat the Japanese and the Germans! How then did Singh expect the current Congress government to remember ’45? Surely, they did not want to remind the nation that it was this Indian army which enabled India to defend Kashmir against Pakistani invaders!
    A.S. Ghate, on e-mail

  • Unslammed Islam
    Aug 30, 2004

    Thank you for such an excellent article (Amend! Amend! Amend!, July 19). Very rarely do you get such a correct and balanced viewpoint on an Islamic issue.
    Mohammed Javed, Delhi

  • Beat That!
    Aug 30, 2004

    I refer to Greg Chappell’s column in the Aug 16 issue. I think it was in the first World Cup that one Sunil Gavaskar had the dubious honour of scoring a princely 36 not out in 60 overs. Apart from this mishap, Gavaskar has played a lot of sterling innings and holds quite a few world records. Most of his records are or will be broken. But the slowest crawl record will be exclusively his in the history books. However, the way Tendulkar batted in the Asia Cup I can’t be too sure.
    Prasad Dole, Cape Town

  • A Few Good Questions
    Aug 30, 2004

    The Manipur imbroglio has raked up a much larger issue: can the state guarantee the human rights of ordinary citizens in a conflict zone (Reap the Whirlwind, Aug 16)? An interesting parallel to Manipur is the Punjab of the ’80s. There, K.P.S. Gill and his team, like the army in Manipur, were armed with sweeping powers under Operation Healing Touch (where they enjoyed afspa-like immunity) and killed and cremated 2,000 men. Ultimately, militancy in Punjab was decimated though the legitimacy of Gill’s tactics remains in question till today. In Manipur, however, the afspa has been in force for 24 years, yet insurgency continues. Obviously new solutions have to be evolved which would guarantee rights alongside countering insurgency. Ultimately, the question arises, do such draconian laws really "counter" militancy or do they end up alienating the very public they are supposed to protect?
    Rajat Ghai, Vadodara

  • Sour Grape Juice
    Aug 30, 2004

    It’s easy to complain as Carmin bin Laden does in her book The Veiled Kingdom (Aug 16) after things have gone sour. Many such women enjoy the glamour while it lasts, the money while it is flowing—things that might not be available to the individual in her own culture. The trauma then is also part of the bargain she went for.
    Rajiv Malhotra, Princeton, US

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