Letters | Apr 16, 2007
  • See You On The Other Side Of The Heartbreak
    Apr 16, 2007

    Why worry about Indian cricket alone (Down the WC, Apr 2)? Where do we stand vis-a-vis other sports? Do we have a world-class team in any other field? All our sporting disciplines are afflicted with politics, regionalism and half-hearted players who lack the rigour or the commitment to compete at international levels. We enter any competition with a fatalistic attitude, resigned to defeat rather than motivated to win.
    S.A. Murthi, Portland, US

    The owner of a relatively new Rolls Royce found one day that his car refused to start. He called the company’s representative, who peered under the bonnet and reported that the car had no engine! Amazed, the owner asked how the car had been running so far. "On reputation," came the reply. So also many of our players, namely Sachin and Sehwag, keep finding a berth on their past achievements. It’s time they were awarded a place in history. In a competitive sport, you are only as good as your last game.
    Sunita Dube, Mumbai

    If fans are stupid enough to be taken in by the crass promotion of the boring pseudo-sport that is cricket, they deserve the disappointment they get. Why can’t we focus on some real sports like football or hockey? We might have been somewhere in the world had we paid them some attention.
    Biswapriya Purkayastha, Shillong

    While the pathetic show put up by our team in the Caribbean is unfortunate, I’m glad it will mean seeing less of cricketers selling or endorsing products on television.
    Vishwanath Rao, Bangalore

    Cricket has single-handedly destroyed all sport in India. Perhaps its demise now will revive the others.
    Arun Kirushna, Chennai

    The cricket fan has a short memory. One visit by some C grade team from abroad, a thrashing from our dashing dharti ke puttars on our dharti, and they will once more be anointed kings. The media too, I am sure, will reboard the bandwagon and put the ‘heroes’ back on the pedestal.
    U.S. Aroon, Mumbai

    Is it fair to blame Greg Chappell for our failure in the Caribbean? He wasn’t a magician and wasn’t given a free hand to do things his way. He couldn’t even have the team he wanted. The one he took to the World Cup was selected by others where form and ability took a backseat, bias and sentiment played their part.
    Angarag Bhuyan, Morigaon

    The BCCI should change its name to bsci—Board of Sports Control of India. With all the public money that it has, it should promote all other sports and cricket once in a while!
    Ramesh Chari, Bangalore

    Our cricketers went with a bang to the Caribbean, got banged and have returned with a whimper. Can someone play the blues for our men in blue ?
    H. Parasuram, Mumbai

    Why get so sentimental? A slightly detached view of India’s performance can help us enjoy the beauty of the "glorious uncertainties of the game". Maybe, Dravid’s was by far the best Indian team at the World Cup. But that doesn’t necessarily guarantee miracles.
    V. Pandy, Tuticorin

    We don’t need Debasish Datta to evaluate Rahul Dravid’s performance in the post-Cup scenario (Kaptan Goes Kaput). It has been evident for some time that Dravid lacks leadership skills, and has refused to learn from past mistakes in his more-than-a-year-old stint. As captain, he has not been aggressive; as a player, he often slows down the run rate if India happen to lose some quick wickets. He can’t think quick or sharp—either on the field or off it. Yet, blaming Dravid alone is not fair. It is the bcci which should bear the entire responsibility, for inaccurately judging players’ capability and failing to identify a capable helmsman. Dropping Ganguly was the original sin, whom Dravid is curiously never seen consulting.
    Shamsur R. Khan, New Delhi

    Sport demands shrewdness, overt or otherwise. Dravid’s decency and grit make him good manager material, but his lack of aggression and tact detract from his captaincy quotient. Let’s keep Dravid the batsman; for captain, let’s clone Lara or Smith or Ponting.
    V. Chaudhury, Bangalore

    Many thanks to the agile and upcoming Bangladeshi team for saving India from more ignominy and insult that was inevitable had India reached the Super 8. The Kangaroos, the Proteas, the Kiwis and even the Lankan Lions would have made mincemeat of the fattened, lethargic Indian team! Meanwhile, India and Pakistan seem to have found solace in the fact that both performed so dismally in the World Cup.
    Chidanand Kumar, Bangalore

    It is time Indian cricket underwent a sweeping revamp (Pitch and Sonofapitch). First off, we have to professionalise our cricket board. This means ensuring that only national/international players, not politicians and non-players, hold posts. We should also stop hiring million-dollar white elephants to coach our team. Instead, we should hire specialists to conduct training camps for upcoming players. We should also start scouting for young talent from the district level onwards and training them.
    J.N. Mahanty, Puri

    Wah! The omnipresent cameramen of the electronic media captured some ill-advised ‘cricket fans’ performing pooja for India’s success. What happened then? Either gods are overhyped beings, or the people who performed the pooja were not pious enough or the gods of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka were more powerful!
    V.S. Vaidyanathan, Chennai

    The World Cup has proved at least one thing. That no amount of havans, duas, aartis or wishful thinking can help a team win a match.
    P.N. Gour, on e-mail

    We should fix a retirement age for our cricketers. Otherwise the likes of Sachin and Sourav will never see the writing on the wall and quit gracefully. Sachin is usually out for a duck, yet it is considered sacrilege to point this out. As for Sourav, any move to drop him will cause riots in Calcutta; the cpi(m) may even withdraw support to the government.
    Anand Sriram, Mumbai

  • See You On The Other Side Of The Heartbreak
    Apr 16, 2007

    "We have just lost a game. We are not finished as a nation," says Vinod Mehta in his editorial Fatal Attraction. Yes, Mr Mehta, while we are far from ‘finished’, the danger arising out of the excessive hype we build around ourselves is equally true of us as a nation. If we do not curb our euphoria and wake up to face some hard truths, the same fate may befall the country as well.
    G.S. Arora, Budapest

    I say amen to Vinod Mehta’s comments. If we didn’t have cricket, our gdp would surely have been higher by at least 2 per cent a year.
    Gopi Maliwal, Hong Kong

    Two cover stories on cricket in three weeks, one cover even announcing, ‘India Wins the World Cup’, and Vinod Mehta laments: ‘Am I the only one turned off by Indian cricket?’"
    Chanakya, Dubai

    Dear Mr Mehta, you are not the only one who chooses old Hindi movies over watching India play "cricket". I can’t thank my cablewallah enough for showing old Amitabh classics on a regular basis since the World Cup started.
    Shrey Khanna, New Delhi

    Your own magazine, Mr Mehta, is one of the worst examples of media-fuelled sensationalism that has plagued Indian cricket in recent times. Be it the pompous, patronising tone of your self-styled cricket pundits who think readers are fools and have to be told how to respond to their team’s fortunes, or the sensationalism surrounding your cricket stories—I still remember the execrable "11 reasons why India will win the 1999 World Cup". In this pall of Team India’s untimely yet by no means undeserved exit from the World Cup, one can only hope Outlook will spare us—the serious Indian cricket fan—its self-righteous and sermonising stories.
    Shubhang, New Delhi

    Now is the time for the Indian cricket team to make expiation for their World Cup no-show. The least they can do is to donate the entire money due to them, for the cause of budding young talent who could bring back our lost glory.
    Col (Retd) Ashok Kumar Pal

    The only nations excelling in sports are either the rich ones, or Communist countries like China now and the ussr and East Germany earlier. Poor countries have had only some sparks of excellence (Kenya in long distance running for example). India is a poverty-stricken hell hole and has failed miserably in a sport called cricket. What is so surprising about it? Or does Mr Mehta too think that cricket is not a sport but a well-marketed event and if it has failed it is because the suave media professionals could not do their job well?
    Arun Prakash, Doha

    Like every parent who thinks their ward is extremely bright but fails his exams because he does not study enough, Indian fans too feel that our team is great but it does not perform. Even in my childhood, when our team was replete with Parthasarathi Sharmas and Ashok Mankads, fans reacted the same way when we lost to teams containing Lloyds, Kallicharans, Tony Greigs et al. "Let’s start playing gulli-danda" would be the refrain.
    Nitin Thatte, Mumbai

    This should be a lesson for sponsors. Like one leading nationalised bank which withdrew its sponsorship to India’s top chess player Koneru Humpy and opted for Rahul Dravid.
    M.P. Vijayakumar, on e-mail

    I’m grateful that Vinod Mehta acknowledges the media’s role in overhyping cricket. If only the sponsors and the bcci too came to their senses.
    M.C. Joshi, Lucknow

    I really do not know which is the more pathetic lot—our men in blue, or our crazy fans. The writing on the wall has been clear for quite some time now. Our cricketers are a non-performing bunch, and yet a billion Indians seem to cling on to the fond hope that somehow, at crunch time, our pampered boys will pull the chestnuts out of the fire, and bring home the bacon.
    Sivaram Srikandath, Kochi

  • The Shy, Studious Boy
    Apr 16, 2007

    If Rahul Gandhi is so passionate about being a Hindustani above all (and so blind to caste/religion), why is he mum over the reservation issue (Rahul Goes To School, Apr 2)? As for his statement on the Babri demolition, why didn’t Rahul—then far away from India in the air-conditioned classrooms of the West—ask his mother to be in Ayodhya and avert the "disaster"!
    Krishna Prasad, Bangalore

    Ironic that you stoop to glorify a Nehru-Gandhi family scion a week after carrying a cover on ‘ugly politicians’. You almost call him a PM-in-waiting. Now, that’s subservience at its best.
    Srinivas, Lucknow

  • Salute Your Foe
    Apr 16, 2007

    In any case, Marxists, post Nandigram, have lost their reputation as champions of the downtrodden (Buddha Meets His Kalki, Apr 2). Why don’t they learn a lesson or two from their bete noire, Gujarat CM Narendra Modi, on how to handle the issue of sezs without any controversy?
    K.R. Narasimhan, Chennai

    I am confused over whether Buddhadeb Bhattacharya is the same man who likes literature and even translated Chilean author Miguel Littin’s works into Bengali. Is he the bhadralok-type aesthete who is the spirit behind the Calcutta film festival? If yes, our man best exemplifies the Jekyll-and-Hyde personality.
    B.P. Chatterji, Mumbai

    Clearly, Gopalkrishna Gandhi was fair in publicly flaying the firing (No Experiments With Truth). For, no political party, even the ones ruling that state, dared to come out against the governor’s comments.
    B. Kousalya, Chennai

    The Nandigram firing was state-planned (Hooghly Meets Volga). But then, all Bengalis aren’t Communists, all Communists aren’t Bengalis.
    Vinay, Bangalore

  • The Protest Insignia
    Apr 16, 2007

    Fistful of Dissent (Apr 2) was a bold piece exposing the tactics of the dictator Pervez Musharraf. Pakistanis, all the same, tend to initially accept military rulers without much protest—so they just can’t blame destiny for the kind of regimes they get. Hope they have learnt a lesson this time.
    M. Ratan, New Delhi

    I won’t read much into the upsurge. I don’t bet a JP to come up in Pakistan.
    Anurag Banerjee, Newcastle, UK

    It seems the Chief Justice in Pakistan is like the appendix in the human body—useless so long as it is inactive, prone to removal if it flares up.
    K.J.S. Ahluwalia, Amritsar

  • How To Clean Your Tent, Army Style
    Apr 16, 2007

    Such a sad commentary on the conduct of our bureaucrats abroad (Penthouse In Ruins, India Pays Rs 72 lakh, Mar 19). Probably the remedy to such ills lies in emulating the way the Indian defence services handle the postings and transfers of their officers. There, it is mandatory that an officer on a new post personally takes the allotted flat/bungalow from a representative of the mes (Military Engineering Service). A record is promptly made of all the fixtures, furniture etc. And, on transfer, the officer would hand over the keys back to the mes—but only after billing damages, if any, and getting a certificate that states zero dues. Sadly, Indian bureaucrats have a different set of rules which pins them with no responsibilities.
    Subbha A. Rao, Pune

  • See Through The Veil
    Apr 16, 2007

    I admire Taslima Nasreen for praising women like Ayaan Hirsi Ali who revolt against certain practices among Muslims (A Long Journey To Be Herself, Apr 2). But such inhuman customs aren’t the ones the Prophet taught us—they are tweaked versions from the Saudi fanatics. Even a lot of us Indians consider these alien.
    Azeem Taqi, Nashville, US

    There is a tragedy lurking in the way Taslima or Ayaan seek to portray themselves: their trying to make an identity out of the victimisation. It would only undermine the possibility of their providing succour to similar victims.
    Khaled Said, Colchester, UK

  • Ashen Skies
    Apr 16, 2007

    Isn’t it mysterious that India would like to remain a captive market for defence items despite several exciting offers, world-wide (Jet Lag, Apr 2)? One can always justify importing weapon systems. Thankfully, the usually handy excuse of being let down by the drdo is not professed this time.
    Air Cmde Raghubir Singh (Retd), Pune

  • The Secular Bill
    Apr 16, 2007

    Reference Clinton’s Indian Friend in your Glitterati column (Apr 2), I’m proud of what the ex-US president said of India: "...a great country with a Muslim president, Sikh PM and a Catholic as the head of a ruling party". Prouder that I never noticed it so far.
    Anand Kannan, Chennai

  • Clarification
    Apr 16, 2007

    In our Apr 2 issue, there was an item in Polscape—our truth-but-not-the-whole-truth gossip page—on our Singapore-based diplomat K. Jaishankar. We wish to point out that Mr Jaishankar, a PhD in nuclear policy, was included in the "1-2-3" negotiations with the US because of his vast expertise and because he is the only serving officer in the government who was involved in the negotiations with the US on Tarapore in 1983. We regret if any other impression was conveyed.

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