• Sibling Soap Ain’t Opera Anymore
    Feb 07, 2005

    Yet another nail in the coffin of India’s pretensions to business sophistication (Anatomy of a Split, Jan 24). This entire sorry charade would be funny, were it not for the very serious economic ramifications of anything Reliance-related. If one looks at the various family-run business empires in India, it’s only the Tatas who retain a semblance of dignity despite any ongoing internecine struggles. The Ambanis, for all their vast wealth, are living proof that money can’t buy class or sophistication.
    Rustam Roy, London

    It’s a pity to see Dhirubhai’s entire legacy being thrown to the winds with such callous disregard to the painstaking effort with which the man had built his empire. Such is power’s corrupting potential. And when you have egos to match, things can look really ugly. What I can’t understand till date is why a man with such great vision did not deem to leave a will behind.
    Arif Jameel, Dubai, UAE

    The problem of the Ambanis can be solved if only they were to apply the age-old formula that if one brother could propose the division, on the principle of fairness and equity, and the other could have the first pick.
    Amrit Lal, Delhi

    It is indeed disappointing that India’s number one business house has fallen to the greed and deceit not expected of the prodigies of one of the most respected industrialists of this country. One still hopes the dispute between the two brothers can come to an amicable end in the interest of the shareholders.
    Siddhartha Raj Guha, Jabalpur

    What’s in a name? Well, there’s a lot of ‘cash’ in Mukesh, and an unfortunate ‘nil’ in Anil.
    Rajan N. Panchal, e-mail

  • Sound Eco Logic
    Feb 07, 2005

    As the director of the Centre for Tropical Marine Ecology in Bremen, Germany, an institution involved with research, education as well as capacity and awareness building in the field of aquatic tropical coastal ecosystems, especially mangroves, coral reefs, rivers and estuaries, I agree entirely with Maneka Gandhi (The Roots of Refuge, Jan 24). Especially because the measures currently being suggested by governments around the world—both industrialised and developing—as a protection from such natural hazards as the tsunami are far from satisfactory. Deployment of new and available technologies in the Indian Ocean area, as they are now being used for tsunami prediction in the Pacific, are of course important. But this is just one step. The mere establishment of such systems will not solve the problems at hand. Those of us working with coastal aquatic ecosystems have come to appreciate their role: their regulatory functions (sediments, pollutants and nutrients) or their socioeconomic functions (as nurseries of fish) or their aesthetic functions (as reflected in coastal tourism). Maneka Gandhi is right in prioritising the importance of protecting or rebuilding these ecosystems both as a natural protection against the sea and as a provider of products and services for coastal communities.
    Dr V. Ittekot, Bremen, Germany

    As a member of the scientific team of four sponsored by Hindustan Lever in 1985, we had visited all the southern Andaman and Nicobar islands. We had at the time made an exhaustive study of the soil, vegetation as well as the existing environmental and ecological situation. Many of them had natural mangrove forests and continue to have them, because of good ecological preservation. These reports are available with hll. Perhaps they can be of help in any study of mangrove cover mitigating the effect of a tsunami.
    R.S. Aiyer, North Carolina, US

    Maneka Gandhi’s views may appear rhetorical but they are not invalid. The absence of any independent body to monitor environmental issues in India leaves us less than nominal information to base our understanding or even presumptions on. I am sceptical about accepting all of Ms Gandhi’s arguments, but I am even more distraught at the prospect of never having a fact-based debate at the national level about coastal environmental issues. If successive governments have failed to provide reasonable balance in these sensitive matters, perhaps it will be prudent of industry participants to be responsible for their ‘neighbourhood’. With intense pressure from international lobby groups, the government would do well to listen to some arguments, which will be better than nothing at all.
    Prabhat Mishra, Lucknow

  • Tread Carefully
    Feb 07, 2005

    Please don’t use the word ‘sodomy’ for what is clearly rape (The Saints of Dark Sins, Jan 24). Sodomy can be consensual and between adults. Using it interchangeably with male rape is being insensitive to the sexual minorities.
    Deepika, Calcutta

  • A Relief to Know
    Feb 07, 2005

    Thank you for the excellent story One Day at a Time (Jan 24) on the relief camps in Port Blair. We really need to know how relief work is progressing and whether the money collected is being used and how. Unless it is proven that we can rehabilitate our own, there is no pride in refusing aid.
    A.R. Srivastava, Washington, DC

    One of the most heartening stories one heard during the tsunami tragedy was of a Muslim dargah land being allowed for use to bury even the Hindus. Sad that it has to be a tragedy for people to sink their communal differences. Such stories should put religious fanatics to shame.
    S.R. Devaprakash, Tumkur, Karnataka

    Was the tsunami God’s thunderbolt for quelling our population? Unless we follow the one child per couple norm, we may spill over into the void from Planet Earth.
    Mohinder Kumar Jain, New Delhi

  • Sindh Of Omission
    Feb 07, 2005

    There should be no objection to deleting the word Sindh from the national anthem (twtwtw, Jan 17) provided it is made truly ‘national’ thereafter. This would mean inclusion of all states that do not find a mention presently, not to forget the union territories. Just Ganga-Jamuna wouldn’t suffice, all major rivers in India, and perhaps mountain ranges and deserts too, should figure. Major religions have a mention already, but can we afford to omit other castes and communities, especially sc/sts and obcs? Aspirations of various regions seeking statehood too should be kept in view. Languages recognised in the Schedule of Languages (especially Sindhi) should be incorporated. Perhaps the army and paramilitary forces too. To compile such a truly ‘national’ anthem, a parliamentary committee should be constituted. It should then be submitted for a referendum for formal approval. Till then I suggest we do not tamper with the national anthem, which has been our pride and symbol of unity for over 50 years now.
    Deepak Ajwani, Pune

  • Make Big Beautiful
    Feb 07, 2005

    The Index of Economic Freedom 2005 given by the Wall Street Journal shows that small enclaves like Hong Kong or Singapore are at the top because they had no option but to go for an open economy. India on the other hand has huge resources but it needs to utilise them in an optimum way to increase its global trade to the maximum extent. And the government needs to take concrete steps to make India a global trade hub.
    Pankaj Singh, On e-mail

  • Mogambo Shortchanged
    Feb 07, 2005

    The least Outlook could have done was to carry a window photograph on its cover but your tribute to the most respected villain of our time was restricted to a mere 200 words (Newsbag, Jan 24) whereas ril hogged all the limelight. Why on earth should Outlook feed us the crisis of a family feud when its sister publication Outlook Money is doing the same job? Being the best in all respects, Amrish Puri was also considered the most punctual on the sets where his co-actors paled before him. You could also have included Ram Lakhan, Karan Arjun, Taal, Ghayal and, of course, the classic Damini where he portrayed the wicked lawyer Chadha, who flicked his head and hair to impress his point.
    Rajpal Bharadwaj, Mumbai

  • Ham Show
    Feb 07, 2005

    It’s pretty shameful how Subhash Ghai is promoting his film Kisna on the shoulders of Vivek Oberoi’s tsunami ‘effort’. Doesn’t he believe in the film, himself, Vivek, the music of A.R. Rahman and Ismail Durbar to cash in on the tsunami to promote his hero and therefore his film? As for Oberoi himself, I was taken in initially by his ‘philanthropy’. Now I know better—it’s all part of an act.
    Pankaj Kumar, Chennai

  • And Then There Were None?
    Feb 07, 2005

    I was shocked at the headline of the piece by Kai Friese (Ten Little Niggers, Jan 24). How on earth can a publication purporting itself to be India’s premier national newsmagazine use the word ‘nigger’ in a headline, that too sans quote marks? I appreciate the piece lashes out at the anthropological narrative that has emerged in mainstream Indian media’s description of tribals in the Andaman and Nicobar. However, by using the word ‘nigger’ so blatantly and unproblematically in the headline, Outlook joins hands with the very racist/colonial narrative Friese has critiqued right through. It is one thing to be sensationalist, but surely such a gimmick would not be inviting to the reader. If it is, then I’d think Outlook’s target audience—as well as the people who produce the magazine—has the same mindset that the column is critiquing. Surely, as middle-class urban Indians, people in your office need to follow political correctness as practised in the West, as they would follow other Western mores in music, clothes, sport, cinema or food.
    Anna G., on e-mail

    Kai Friese’s headline very well brought out the racism that is practised in India. Indians are generally very racist, and don’t know about it. The column is shocking but sadly true.
    Abhishek, Ahmedabad

  • Game For The Slam
    Feb 07, 2005

    Sania Mirza has done us proud with her feat at the Australian Open (Glitterati, Jan 31). Cricket too is seeing the rise of talented youth. It’s time we and our government started showing faith in the capability of our youth and entrusted them with the responsibility of making a mark for India internationally.
    Kunal Sharma, New Delhi



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