• If You Can’t Trust The Ground...
    Nov 07, 2005

    While it was shocking to see the pictures and read about the devastation wrought by the quake (Atlas Shrugged, October 24), it was somewhat comforting to note that the traditional animosity between India and Pakistan has taken a backseat. At least for now, the two nations are battling a common enemy for humanity’s sake. Hope the tragedy would prompt the leaderships to set aside "territorial issues" and jointly fight against problems like poverty and hunger.
    S. Balakrishnan, on e-mail

    Prem Shankar Jha has gone off track (No Thanks, But Thanks). Our opportunity lies not in crossing over the LoC with help. It is good if it happens, but it’s not of utmost priority. The focus should be on doing everything on this side of the LoC to restore total normalcy at the earliest so that the people of Kashmir break out from the shadows of the divisive forces. Only that would make the other side realise about the darkness they are in.
    K.J. John, Vadodara

    The message emanating from the killer quake is, ironically, universal love. It urges us to bid adieu to violence and religious fundamentalism.
    K.R.Venkata Narasimhan, Bangalore

    Apropos Shaking in the Knees, Bangalore is likely to face an earthquake of a different kind. Based on a pil, the Karnataka High Court has asked Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (bmp) to survey all buildings in Koramangala—the heart of the Silicon City—for violating building bylaws and proceed with action as per rules. Remote and mosquito-ridden when its layout was formed 40 years ago, Koramangala has expanded only over the past decade thanks to the influx of IT and biotech professionals. Now the bmp proposes to punish the 6,000-odd violators of building bylaws in the area with around 6,500 properties. If the rule is applied across Bangalore, 80 per cent of its buildings will have to be razed! Isn’t this sort of a tremor that is fated to come?
    Ramakanth Sharma, on e-mail

    Your coverage of the South Asian earthquake was quite comprehensive but I do have one question. The article mentions a certain Husain Haqqani as a "former minister". On googling his name, I found he is also a professor at the Boston University and a visiting fellow at Carnegie Endowment. He was in the Pakistan government for just about a year or two. I wonder why you didn’t think it pertinent to mention these other things as well. Was it because you did not bother to find out or do South Asians believe that the only jobs worth having or talking about are those which show one’s political power/relations and not any academic prowess?
    Aparna Pande, Boston, US

    I urge the Indian government to do everything possible to save as many innocent lives as possible. My heartfelt sympathies to all—both Indian and Pakistani Muslim Kashmiris who lost their beloved ones in this tragedy.
    Karthik Sitaram, Oxnard, US

    Let’s hope this ultimate shock would bring the bewildered brains on both sides of the mental derailment back on track.
    Rajneesh Batra, Delhi

    I hope the Pakistani military bosses don’t just use the quake as an occasion to grab some more foreign funds.
    Kiran, Hyderabad

  • But Mister Minister...
    Nov 07, 2005

    ‘Your house, your problem,’ says the honourable minister of science and technology Kapil Sibal in his interview to Outlook (Oct 24). He just exposes the callous and casual attitude of his own as well as the previous government in dealing with building bylaws, town planning and urban infrastructure. If the government can’t stop singing so much praise about private-public partnership and the community approach, why doesn’t it dismantle all municipal and urban civic bodies? This will save taxpayers the dual burden of paying their salaries and then bearing the brunt of their corruption. Incidentally, the malaise doesn’t seem to be confined to this country alone. As your story on the earthquake in Pakistan shows, corruption is endemic there as well. The Margala Towers in Islamabad, you tell us, apparently did not have a completion certificate. The common man fares the same, whichever side of the LoC he may be on.
    Ranjan Ghosh, Bangalore

    That was some very clever shrugging off of responsibility by Sibal. What Outlook has asked him is really what everybody wants to ask. Will the government adopt a proactive policy of identifying vulnerable structures on behalf of citizens and help them with guidelines/financial assistance in retrofitting their buildings or simply leave them to their fate? Left to Sibal, it would seem to be the latter.
    Bhujana Dev Tumuluri, New Delhi

  • Nice Try
    Nov 07, 2005

    As the van returned to the hotel, says V. Sudarshan in his Islamabad Diary (Oct 24), they beheld the glorious sight of 18 motorcycles following the van through the wide roads of Islamabad. Pure poppycock, I say.
    Joseph Pereira, Karachi, Pakistan

    What V. Sudarshan says of taxi drivers in Pakistan is something I find here in Malaysia too. They don’t take money from you if they find out you are Indian.
    Riaz Mefauzi, Kuala Lumpur

  • Nov 07, 2005

    It was heartening to discover that there still are great teachers who pursue causes others don’t even think about (Making a Difference, Oct 24). All our young athletes have to be fired by the thought that they have to aim not only for national honours but beyond that. K.P. Thomas is certainly doing his bit. If only state sports authorities could take on from where he leaves.
    Francis Nitya Prakash Minz, Rourkela, Orissa

  • No Choice But Islam
    Nov 07, 2005

    Apropos your story on Yousuf Youhana’s conversion to Islam (Carols for Allah, Oct 3), one must understand the fact that Yousuf was deprived of the captaincy purely because he was a non-Muslim, a clear case of state-backed religious bias. Regarding his statement that Islam is the best religion, every new convert thinks he is now in the best pool. The fact remains that even if you shift out from one dugout to another, you are still in muddy waters.
    Alwin Fernandes, Indore

  • Nov 07, 2005

    What is Sheela Reddy trying by putting words in Vikram Seth’s mouth (‘You can talk good ideas out of existence’, Oct 24), asking him to compare the treatment of Indian Muslims to the Jews in Germany?
    R.P. Shivkumar, on e-mail

  • Now, Where Did You Hear That?
    Nov 07, 2005

    I saw the informative article Amar, Sigh... (Oct 24) by Smita Gupta on my dwindling power base in the Samajwadi Party. It seems that the myth of my being powerful and then my not being powerful is the product of an active and fertile imagination of the media, as I’ve never claimed that I am powerful. Whatever power I have, actual or imaginary, I derive from Mulayam Singh Yadav, my leader and chief minister. This is amply proved by his statement about me, which incidentally makes the story totally irrelevant. However, it is coincidental that Tarun Tejpal’s Tehelka and Vinod Mehta’s Outlook should carry the same story. Both publications are presumed to be close to a certain family of India. I’d like to thank you and your esteemed magazine for bringing Mulayam Singhji and myself more closer.
    Amar Singh, Samajwadi Party, New Delhi

  • A Case For Dada
    Nov 07, 2005

    Apropos your article Then There Were Eleven (Oct 31), it seems favouritism has eaten into cricket as well. Ganguly has to be in Chappell’s XI given his past record in both Test matches and one-dayers. And it’s his aggressiveness that’s got him here. He has been behind his players when they’ve faced bad patches. As captain too, he enjoyed the confidence of most players. Keeping him out is seriously unjust.
    Manu Nair, Bangalore

  • Doggone Truth
    Nov 07, 2005

    I thought Ed was a dog but he looks more sensible.
    Anurag N. Paranjape, Bangalore

  • To The Power Of Ten
    Nov 07, 2005

    Thank you for making the Outlook 10th anniversary issue an eminently readable one, especially the various articles on media and journalism where leading journalists shared their views on the subject with the lesser tribe called readers. Vinod Mehta indeed has survived 10 years with a single magazine. That, I think, also has to do with a proprietor who (contrary to what people thought at the time of the launch of the magazine) kept a distance from editorial policy. This allowed Outlook to take the shape it has. You are fortunate: editorial columns have been pushed below the fold, metaphorically speaking, on nondescript pages of national dailies. Rajan Raheja is a role model for other business houses aspiring to enter the media. And you, please earn your fortune.
    Sudipto Roy, on e-mail

    Your 10th anniversary special was indeed as delectable as the succulent fish tikkas served up by your friendly neighbourhood Rajinder da dhaba! However, the reality check offered by P. Sainath (Lost the Compass?) left me with a dyspeptic feeling of guilt.
    Lt Col Tathagata Bose, Golconda

    I have very recently shifted my loyalties from your rival publication to you. And I must say you rock, especially your 10th anniversary number. All my college mates in Hindu simply lapped it up. But I was struck by the virulent criticism against you for being anti-bjp and a Congress stooge. Unfair, as I think you judge both harshly. A request: easy on the ads.
    Ajay Prakash, Delhi

    A 10th anniversary special packaged in red. Couldn’t have got a better Dussehra gift.
    Harminder Singh Gumbhir, Lucknow

    A limerick for Outlook:
    Tales abound for one to cook
    About a politician, actor or a crook
    Articles biased, unbiased or for titillation
    Sex surveys, whores and gigolos will ensure circulation

    M.A. Raipet, Secunderabad

    When I looked at Outlook’s 10th anniversary issue, I wondered where Vinod Mehta got the money for the 330 pages. One glance at the ads and I knew.
    Vishnu Menon, on e-mail



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