Letters | Apr 09, 2007
  • B-Grade Effort
    Apr 09, 2007

    Amitabh Bachchan is a shining example of true friendship (A Pinch of Salt ’n Pepper, Mar 19). He is willing to do anything for his friends because they saw him through some of his worst times. Of course, we all know that he is being used as a mouthpiece of the Samajwadi Party, which is making the most of his ability to connect with the masses. What I can’t understand is how the home ministry reached the conclusion that crime in UP and Bihar is way below that of states like Andhra Pradesh. AP is one of our most progressive states (I’m not from there) where all crime—from domestic incidents to major breaches—is reported and dealt with. On the other hand, in UP and Bihar, where cops themselves are criminals, and politicians even bigger ones, people consider it pointless to even pass by a police station, let alone report anything.
    Rajesh, Woodbury, US

    Bachchan lost his superstar status a long time ago. The abcl fiasco left him bankrupt financially. Which is why he has to take up cheap TV ads to make ends meet. Whatever credibility he had he has now lost by associating with thugs like Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amar Singh. What a sad fate for a once-superhero.
    G. Natrajan, Hyderabad

    Who’s Amitabh Bachchan trying to fool? His refrain that ‘UP mein dum hai, kyonki yahan jurm kam hai’ makes a mockery of the victims of the Nithari killings. He is merely returning the favours done to him and his family by the Mulayam-Amar Singh duo, but in the process he has lost his own credibility. And if he really wishes to be born on the Ganga ghat again in his next incarnation, why does it never occur to him to spend even a couple of months in a year in that crime-free state? Or, take care of his ancestral house in Allahabad to start with?
    Satish C. Aikant, Mussoorie

    Mr Bachchan, whom we take for something much more than just an actor, owed it to himself to get the Mulayam-Amar Singh circus to be more sensible than the way they went about, say, things like building an airport to take a B-737 to the CM’s village!
    K.S.C. Nair, Fremont

    Bachchan’s love for his state (being born there) is justified, but claiming that it is a campaign for the state and not the party is complete hogwash; every such ad has the party’s cycle symbol tucked in somewhere. Does he really think the aam janata is so gullible? He may be a great artist and icon of our times and people of this country respect and blindly trust him. It is sad that he should abuse that trust to promote a patently misgoverned state’s government. This country has ample good causes to promote. The Big B could put his star image to better uses.
    Yogesh Kumar, on e-mail

  • Apr 09, 2007

    Your article How Much to Roll a Thousand Beedis (Mar 26) raised a pertinent question. Indeed, the real issue is not the level of minimum wage but of compliance. In our rural areas, landlords routinely refuse to pay the minimum wage to labourers. The situation is worse in the case of bonded labour. It is this very non-compliance and non-enforcement of law that is encouraging Naxalism.
    Rajesh Chandra, Phoenix, US

  • Changing Colour
    Apr 09, 2007

    The police firing in Nandigram resulting in 14 dead (Dripping Red, Mar 26) is indicative of the confusion and lack of direction the cpi(m) is facing in the era of globalisation. I don’t know if setting up an sez in Nandigram is an about-turn in the professed policy and ideals of the cpi(m). But it is a clear case of a reversal of the policy of land reform and socialism, held so dear by the diehard Marxists of this country.
    S. Lakshmi, on e-mail

    Why does the media, especially electronic, treat the Communists as the last word on morality? This when the cpi(m) in Kerala has assets worth Rs 5,000 crore, its general secretary is embroiled in a corruption scandal involving a Canadian power company and was once arrested at Chennai airport with six rounds of ammo. They brutally murder a teacher in front of his Class 4 wards and ensure political opponents are driven out of villages. They tie up with ndf (who even the Muslim League calls communal) and have graffiti in Arabic to woo the Muslim voters. And still the media regards them as keepers of our conscience.
    Murali Nair, Mumbai

  • Silenced Tongue
    Apr 09, 2007

    I’m shocked by the exclusion of Kashmiri from the linguistic atlas of India that accompanied the article An Epic Narrative (Mar 19). The northernmost state in the map is shown as Himachal Pradesh. Even the tiny state of Goa and its language (Konkani) make an appearance. Why blame Newsweek for showing most of j&k as being ‘occupied’, when our own homegrown magazine has made the entire state disappear from a map of India? All our languages need to be revived and nourished, and especially those that have not been able to prosper due to the scourge of militancy in the last few decades.
    Nirupama Kotru, on e-mail

  • Apr 09, 2007

    Laila Tyabji’s piece Errors of Commission (Mar 26) sounds less like a voice against the commission raj and more like a personal expression of angst at having been left out in the cold, as she says yet again, by the government! The point that she misses to raise is: are these commissions really necessary? And do they fulfil their aim in the first place?
    Ameet Bhuvan, Bhubaneswar

  • No Sindhistan Please
    Apr 09, 2007

    Apropos your article Sindbad, the Spy (Mar 26), Pakistan would be foolish to think that after all these years of Partition, the Sindhis would now want to fight for getting a separate motherland and bigger fools if they think we’ll support a lost cause. As long as one can get real estate for free or claim for zero value land in some country (adopted at a Sindhi convention in Mumbai), why fight for a motherland?
    Ghanshyam Sondur, Pune

  • Indian Cricket: In Memoriam
    Apr 09, 2007

    Many many years ago Sporting Times published a mock obituary on English cricket. Why don’t we do the same after the Indian team’s abject surrender to Sri Lanka and the shameful loss before that to Bangladesh: "In affectionate remembrance of Indian Cricket which suffered a stroke in Port-of-Spain and passed away after the loss to Sri Lanka on March 23, 2007, and deeply lamented by a large circle of sorrowing friends and acquaintances.—RIP. NB The body will be taken to Bangalore, home of the Indian captain."
    C.K. Subramaniam, on e-mail

    I stand up and salute Team India for saving this country from collective madness. It is hard to imagine what would have happened had we won the World Cup!
    N. Paul Jeyatilak, Chennai

  • Cricket or Colosseum?
    Apr 09, 2007

    It is scary to see how sporting events have assumed war-like proportions these days. The unnecessary hype generated around performances has thrown the Indian team into a cauldron of psychological pressures from which few emerge unscathed. As if playing a rival team is not enough, players have the additional burden of fulfilling the aspirations of a blue billion. This dual exercise take its toll and exposes the fact that players too are mere mortals, who cannot perform miracles, game after game. The World Cup is a competitive event, and may the best team win.
    Pachu Menon, Margao, Goa

    Perhaps now cricket will become less of a religion in India.
    K.T. Joseph, on e-mail

  • And We Don A Mask
    Apr 09, 2007

    My happiness knew no bounds when I read your cover bashing politicians (Devil Wears Khadi, Mar 26). After all, one mainstream newsmagazine has dared to write extensively on a subject I and my friends keep discussing for hours. Our politicians have no sympathy for humanity, all that drives them is hunger for power, money and other material pleasures. In Parliament, they either doze off or wake up to fight with rival party members—least bothered that they are attending procedures at the altar of Indian democracy. It’s high time we got a fresh stock of politicians with a refined mindset. I tell you, we deserve it.
    Shailesh Kumar, Bangalore

    Come on, don’t portray politicians in a way that makes it look as if the rest of the society is all pure. Let the people who participated in your survey first vouch for their own integrity. If they really are good people, there’s no excuse for their electing bad candidates. Politicians, like any other section of society, comprise the virtuous and the villainous.
    Mayur Shekhar N.D., on e-mail

    I detest politicians, but I hate sycophant journalists more. Agreed, our netas are incompetent, but aren’t they nurtured largely by the media? Did Outlook once glorify Sonia Gandhi as a saint or not? Surely, honest journalism can help weed out corrupt politicians.
    S.S. Nagaraj, Bangalore

    Whatever you might say of our netas, you have to grant them this: they are cunning enough not just to live a charmed, corrupt life but also to charm the people every five years. Else, how can many of them get re-elected every five years? And they work their voodoo not just on the rural masses. Narendra Modi managed to convince even the intelligentsia in Gujarat that he was right in carrying out the 2002 pogrom.
    Ishtyaque Ansari, Bharuch

    A few years ago, the India International Centre hosted a discussion titled ‘Should We Amend Our Constitution?’. The speakers included former president R. Venkataraman, ex-cji M.N. Venkatachelliah and jurist L.N. Singhvi, MP. Sure enough, opinions were divided. All the same, there was consensus on one thing: election laws should be changed so as to keep undesirable elements out of decision-making bodies. Clearly, there has been no sufficient follow-up. Result: our political fabric still suffers from its age-old maladies.
    B.K. Rai, Bangalore

    Forget the corrupt politician for a second. Look who is incapacitating the very aim of the Right to Information Act. The bureaucracy. Evidently, the babus are a bigger malaise than the netas. The way investigating agencies like the cbi function too points to the fact that our bureaucrats are obliged to their political bosses and not the rule of the law.
    B.N. Acharya, Cuttack

    It’s not just the babus who are out to please the politicians. Every political party reeks of blatant sycophancy, with second-rung leaders vying among themselves to humour the top boss and earn favours in return. And the best example of this is the Congress. Nothing can be more shameless than the way its netas try to outdo the rest in their bid to catch the attention of Madam Sonia and her son.
    A. Srikantaiah, Bangalore

    Is the Indian politician all black and ugly? Can’t a few among them—however minuscule they be—credited with some good work? It will be hypocritical to call all politicians bribe-takers when we ourself are the givers.
    Dr O.K. Murali Krishnan, Kozhikode

    Blast the politicians if you must, but don’t spare the police either. More often than not, they are partners in crime.
    D.K. Vasudevan, on e-mail

    There is hardly any difference watching a boxing round or a Parliament session. Only that the former is meant to be entertaining, while the latter is mostly an affront to the senses.
    Vineet Bhalla, Bhilai

    One thing is clear: the much-hailed Indian democracy is far worse than the right-despised Communism. For, China has gotten far ahead of India economically and educationally, though both countries have hugely corrupt leaders.
    Parthasarathy, Chennai

    We Indians have a unique concept of truth. For us there’s no absolute truth, it’s a highly flexible notion largely dependent on the kind of situation one is in. For example, we have the obcs criticising the SCs and STs on the issue of reservation. Meanwhile, educational institutions carry out admissions based on ‘capitation fee’, a lame euphemism for bribe.
    Dr Matthew Joseph, Pattathanam, Kerala

    You needn’t carry out a survey to sense how the masses view politicians. Indian cinema depicts them most appropriately. As a child, I grew up watching villains like K.N. Singh, Pran and Ajit on the big screen. Today, most of the time, the villain is a minister, preferably holding the home portfolio.
    Dr Mrinal Suman, on e-mail

    Surely, a literate voter who is better aware of the goings-on around would make for a better democracy. This can be ensured if it becomes mandatory for one to pass a test to proves one’s eligibility to vote. If there is a test for students and job-seekers, why is the voter immune to such a procedure?
    A Concerned Indian, on e-mail

    Indians have always been selfish—at the expense of the nation. It isn’t a new phenomenon. Robert Clive had proved it long ago with his East India Company. So, why blame the desi netas now?
    B. Ramdeo, Springfield, US

    The piece, The Ayes Have It, The Ayes Have It, seeks to prove that police officers and other professionals are as corrupt as the politicians. When was the last time a politician quit his job because a dsp or a doctor forced him to act dishonestly? It’s absurd to maintain that politicians are the only forces of change. What about the Narayana Murthys and Azim Premjis? You can’t, in your eagerness to speak for the political class, slight the contribution of others.
    Sundar, Madurai

    You say Jaswant Singh is a fair politician! What about a phoney mole he mentions in his book released last year?
    Ghulam Y. Faruki, New York

  • And We Don A Mask
    Apr 09, 2007

    Your survey (79% Hate Politicians) shows a rural-urban divide when it comes to attitudes towards politicians. The villagers have an opinion of their own, unlike the city-dwellers who are largely influenced by the media. Something that I learnt as a journalist in India 20 years ago.
    Jaipat S. Jain, New York

    I am not surprised to find that nearly 80 per cent of Indians dislike our politicians. I served in a state government undertaking for over 35 years and retired from a very senior post. During this period, I interacted with a number of politicians, from both the main national parties, a few ministers and a couple of chief ministers. I could develop a respect for only two politicians. That was in 1974 and both are no more.
    K.N. Shrivastav, Nagpur

    An ‘honest politician’ is a perfect example of an oxymoron!
    Pankaj Vohra, on e-mail

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