Letters | Apr 04, 2005
  • ’Tis the Cherry O Season For Indo-Pak Amity
    Apr 04, 2005

    Going by the accounts of the visiting Pakistanis of all hues (When Veer Met Zaara, Mar 21), it is amply clear that the redemption of the folly that was Partition lies squarely in exorcising the ghosts of the past. As the world works towards uniting into a global village, does it make sense to stay apart? To do so is to the advantage of Western nations, and we like nincompoops keep playing our hand with the marked cards dealt to us by them throughout history. Having already been instrumental in the breaking up of the erstwhile ussr, and meddling in the internal affairs of many a nation, they now yearn to further consolidate their supremacy as masters of the whole world. What other place ideally fits this ignominious design to act as a pivotal point in extending control over the Asian region than Kashmir? In bickering over it, let’s not hand it to them.
    Vivek Khanna, Panchkula

    It is nice to see Indians and Pakistanis hugging and welcoming each other. But the Indian government should also be wary of those Pakistanis entering Indian and then reported ‘missing’. God knows how many Pakistanis with anti-India intentions have come riding on the cricket bonhomie.
    Christy James, Kottayam, Kerala

    In the unlikely but not improbable event of peace ‘breaking out’ between India and (at least West) Pakistan, the possibility exists of all trains in India and Pakistan not being enough to carry the rush of cross-border passenger traffic—if the Macmahon Line survives. Hopefully, railway minister Laloo Prasad Yadav has contingency plans. Chaos could ensue if trains for Patna and Borivili get diverted to Peshawar and Baluchistan. Meanwhile, as the two Punjabs get their ‘sanjha chulhas’ going, Kathmandu and Kashmir may be left to simmer sullenly on the backburners.
    Lt Col Premendra Singh, New Delhi

    You journalists tend to go crazy when writing a story. I doubt if the living standards in India are a great deal better than Pakistan. The UN data on living standards gives both countries the same standing on per capita income. Indian society may be a bit more free but that has nothing to do with the country, but it differs from place to place and time to time. Chandigarh is the same place where Sikh extremists had issued a diktat banning jeans and other western wear and vowed to throw acid on college girls violating the ban just a few years back. Indians and Pakistanis are basically the same people culturally, they are divided by the boundary of politics.
    Maj Gen A.B. Upadhyay, Bath, UK

    The melodrama about common history, roots and stuff centralised around Indo-Pak cricket looks downright mawkish. Frankly there are better things to do in life than growing inordinately fond of an insignificant nation and its people.
    Sumant Bhattacharya, Ghaziabad

    I run short of words when I hear about the hospitality of Punjabis to Punjabis. This is what keeps us Punjabis together. To my fellow Indian friends I have never been able to explain the joy I feel when I meet a Punjabi from across the border. I relived the joys when I read your story.
    H.S. Goga, on e-mail

    The Indo-Pak friendship reflects the fact that it does not need politicians to mend relations when people are involved. The ongoing bonhomie is the biggest confidence-building measure the two countries ever had.
    Siddhartha Raj Guha, Jabalpur

    Reminds me of the ‘What if’ issue Outlook had done. Mindless nostalgia, nothing else.
    Sriram, Chennai

    For God’s sake, as if it’s not enough to have idiots writing for you, you want these idiots to be patronising too (This Lovable Marquee). Mike Marqusee has the gall to say, "With due respect for Harsha Bhogle, I worry about a society in which so many skilled individuals seem to think being a cricket commentator is the acme of personal glory"!
    Radhanath Varadan, Hanoi, Vietnam

    Marqusee’s column was quite interesting. Indo-Pak relations are definitely brimming with hope and the one great factor that can unite these two countries is no doubt cricket and watching it in India or Pakistan with the stadium packed is a heady feeling, anywhere on the subcontinent.
    Razia Madriz, Bangalore

    This cricketisation of Outlook cannot be good for its long innings. Please desist.
    G.M. Kamei, Shillong

  • 10, Janpath Jitters
    Apr 04, 2005

    The Jharkhand and Goa conundrum has ended the honeymoon period for the Congress and has cast serious aspersions on its image of being a political party driven by social convictions which reverberated all through their slogan for the general elections (Whodunit?, Mar 21). However, the only good thing that has come out of all this mess is that for once the ordinary man is talking about Sonia’s political shrewdness—or should we say harakiri—and not about her tutored English which was for long the target of ribald jokes.
    Robin Rajan, Mumbai

    When the Congress can form a government after the Lok Sabha polls, it’s due to Sonia’s leadership. If it wins in Maharashtra, it’s Sonia’s tactical acumen. But if things go wrong in Goa and Jharkhand, it’s because she has been misled! It’s always heads she wins, tails you lose with Sonia.
    Ganesan, New Jersey, US

    What a PR exercise for Sonia (Educating Sonia). Why does the Congress chief not sack her notorious band of advisors and appoint Outlook to do the spin-doctoring for her?
    Amitabh Sinha, New Delhi

    I don’t know much about the other voices educating Sonia but being from Karnataka I know about U.R. Ananthamurthy and Girish Karnad. U.R., in the last election, was snubbed by all state parties when he begged them for their support in contesting the Bangalore South constituency for the Lok Sabha polls. It’s not that he is anti-bjp. If they come to power and offer him something, he’d sing their praises too. As for Karnad, the less said the better. A man who with much fanfare sets out on a padayatra against the bjp and Sangh parivar ends up sipping tea in a five-star hotel!
    Sanjeev, Bangalore

  • The K Crux Clan
    Apr 04, 2005

    Neither Sonia Gandhi nor Kerala CM Oommen Chandy seem to have the guts to take on the bigger culprit of the long-running dissidence—K. Karunakaran (White Elephant, Mar 21). The Congress high command’s decision to suspend the ex-Kerala pcc chief K. Muraleedharan is nothing but a case of willing to wound but afraid to strike. Karunakaran, on his part, should make it clear what exactly he is driving at. Holding massive shows of strength won’t get him anywhere. Once the high command offered his son a cabinet post, he kept his plan on hold, cementing the impression that family aggrandisement was his sole guiding principle.
    J.S. Acharya, Hyderabad

    It is sad and unfortunate that K. Karunakaran is never happy with any Kerala CM; he must know that he is expected to play a constructive role in strengthening the Congress in the state. After all, he has derived maximum mileage out of the party for himself, his son and his daughter.
    S. Lakshmi, on e-mail

  • Let’s Take Kathmandu
    Apr 04, 2005

    Isn’t Kanak Dixit (Get Back on the Freeway, Mar 21) the editor of that famous/infamous (depends on what side of the divide you are on) leftist rag, the Himal mag? I think this whole Nepal deal should be resolved by sending Indian troops to smash the Maoists and then installing a puppet government that favours India. If the Maoists ever get to power, it won’t ring in good news for those Indian states fighting their own insurgencies. Worse, just imagine the kind of backdoor entry China gets into India. Democracy be damned. A country’s security is paramount, everything else is secondary. Nepal can’t have democracy as long as it’s being used to bleed India.
    S. Chakravarty, Tennessee, US

    Democracy, however flawed, is the only viable choice of any modern polity. While it is welcome to discuss and debate the failures of the practice of it in some time and place, nobody can claim to serve the cause of the nation by running it down. That King Gyanendra is power-hungry was evident in the assassination of the family of his elder brother. Now he has gone and undermined democracy. Privileged people who have migrated and will not have to suffer the direct and long-term consequences may fantasise about the king being committed to his people, but that is not a fact.
    Subir Nag, Mumbai

  • What’s With The Briski Pace?
    Apr 04, 2005

    A white lady coming down to the Third World and doing some charitable work always looks attractive. More so for the western media. Presenting the darker side of the Third World is a politically correct statement which can fetch a Nobel or an Oscar. Zana Briski (Zana’s Shutters, Mar 14) getting an Oscar for her documentary Born Into Brothels has not taken anybody by surprise in India. In fact, it should come as an eye-opener for us. Why did Briski come all the way from US to India to shoot her documentary? Isn’t there any prostitution or pornography in America? Has she ever tried to find out what prompts a famous hotel heiress and a Hollywood heroine to film their honeymoon and sell it? Why couldn’t Briski have exposed the rot in the western world? At least, in India there is a cause for the existence of the world’s oldest profession. But what about these ‘wealthy’ white women who indulge in pornography? It’s certainly not poverty that drives them to such acts.
    Pankaj K. Choudhury, New Delhi

  • Been There Before
    Apr 04, 2005

    Apropos Zana’s Shutters (Mar 14), one can’t understand what the parents of these children expect from the media publicity and awards that have come the way of Zana Briski’s Born Into Brothels. Isn’t it laudable that these children are being given the benefit of a good education and the choice of an alternative means of livelihood in life? However, all that has been written so far presupposes this film to be the first such effort to help these unfortunate children. To set the record straight, there has already been a similar effort by the Durbar Mahila Samanvay Samiti and the unicef in the past, using the expertise of two well-known photographers, Kushal Roy and Suvendu Chatterjee in 2000-01. The work of the children thus trained in handling cameras was exhibited both in India and Bangladesh in 2002.
    Rina Mukherji, on e-mail

  • Apr 04, 2005

    Be Your Own Woman, Vinod Mehta advises Sonia Gandhi in his Delhi Diary (Mar 21). Yet he discriminates against women readers. I recently renewed my subscription of Outlook with which you get a free gift of a men’s watch. When I requested a ladies model, I was told Outlook stocks only men’s watches. We do subscribe to the magazine and not the free watch but do offer your readers a choice. Even women subscribe to newsmags and keep track of time. They too deserve occasional gifts, especially when they are paying for them.
    Meera Dewan, New Delhi

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