Letters | Apr 23, 2007
  • Mindless Mahout
    Apr 23, 2007

    Thanks for giving us a well-earned break from write-ups on the corrupt politician, an overrated cricket team or the gaudy world called Bollywood (Elephant Must Remember, Apr 9). Your special issue on the state of the nation carried a set of worthy articles—deep and incisive, yet very readable. It got the perspective right by focusing on the chinks in the delivery system and the need to eradicate unemployment, illiteracy and hunger. Sadly, the government is still barking up the wrong tree. Now wonder, the peasantry and the poor are out of the sight and mind of our rulers.
    Nithin Shenoy, Bangalore

    A cricketing metaphor won’t, still, be out of context. It’s said smart singles, straight bowling and simple catches win matches. For the economy too, prompt execution of routine tasks—not grand strategies necessarily—can work wonders.
    R.V.S. Mani, New Delhi

    Every time I feel Outlook has lost it, you come out with an issue which reassures me that I am not reading the wrong magazine. Hope you treat us with more such stories.
    Rohit C.J., Kochi

    I refuse to feel guilty on account of the cover photograph of that sweating, bony boy. The core question on the other India is why—and not how—the poor in India lead a wretched life. That could have brought in brighter ideas.
    Dinesh Kumar, Chandigarh

    An excellent sequel, virtually, to a recent cover you did on ugly politicians. It was a thorough-going, and necessary, reminder of the flip side of Shining India. You helped us scratch that thin veil of greasepaint, and let us see the real face of the nation.
    Shailesh Kumar, Bangalore

    Question is, how to convince our policymakers that we can’t ignore the other India. More and more sezs make sense only if the displaced farmer too gets access to a decent life. An 8 or 9 per cent growth affords us only cheap thrills if the common man feels beyond the pale. The government needs to assuage his problems first.
    Col R.D. Singh, Jammu

    It’s evident that political interests decide economic policies (Memories of a Welfare State). The alliance partners at the Centre keep pulling the main Congress in diverse directions, much to the bemusement of the common man. The way the ncp—one of the upa allies from my own state—behaves epitomises the state of affairs.
    Pradeep Sharma, Mumbai

    The rural employment guarantee scheme alone stands testimony to the fact that good intentions alone aren’t enough to fetch good results (A Ten Foot Trench, Rs 14.50). Corruption and absence of monitoring has made this project largely ineffective. This, when every other seminar in India stresses on the vitality of the primary sector.
    Narasimha Raju, Vijayawada

    You could not have chosen a more appropriate place to sample the extremity of misery (Voices From India’s Poorest District: Bolangir). However, as someone who has spent some time in that "perpetually cursed" district of Orissa, I feel your close-ended questionnaire blocked any popping up of revelatory information. Also, this survey has no built-in correctives in the context of the proverbial habit of the Indian poor to anticipate queries and give expected responses. Or the margin of possible brainwash of the villagers by government officials prior to your survey. As for the socio-economic indices of India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, shown in Damned Statistics, they throw up some intriguing stuff. The three countries come under a narrow band in matters like share of income—both the poorest and the richest 20% and their respective ratios. All the same, other indices in the table show wide divergence.
    S. Soundararajan, Portsmouth, UK

    If education, healthcare and infrastructure continue to remain India’s biggest areas of concern, the blame largely goes to the Congress which ruled the country for a bulk of the years since Independence. (The Three Curses?). The party kept pontificating on Nehruvian socialist ideas so much globally that it didn’t find time to execute them within the country.
    Raj Shah, New Jersey

    India is still a poor country because the privileged class with vested interests is keen to quell any bottom-up movement in the economy (Deliverance From Deprivation). It is as simple as that. For example, take the case of reservation. Some netas crave for it while others oppose it. They may seem to carry diverse views but the fact is that both are guided by votebank-based interests. It’s high time our rulers just ruled and let the business class do their business.
    B. Ramdeo, Springfield, US

    The government should strive to facilitate diffusion of individual wealth to the less privileged so as to boost development (Let The Cream Percolate). One of the ways, I suggest, is by providing systemic incentives to youth spending more on personal or domestic helps, cooks or drivers. Give people below 35 years of age, placed in plush private-sector jobs, tax benefits on the basis of verified documents proving donations to welfare activities, infrastructure-building or even to aged parents!
    V. Seshadri, Chennai

    I don’t mean to discount the better earnings increased mechanisation has brought to our economy. But I still believe labour-intensive industries have a role—in ensuring relatively equitable income levels.
    Ganpat Ram, Haridwar

    By stating that we should become more democratic, Rafiq Dossani makes it subtly clear that India should not try to wholly emulate China in its pursuit of economic growth (Paralysis by Analysis). Let us all not forget that a democracy like India can’t quite afford what a Communist nation like China does: clinically experiment with the economy.
    Amitabh Thakur, Lucknow

    I have asked several parents far and near my residence on why they don’t encourage their children to engage themselves in non-scholastic activities. The answer, invariably, is that they must score top marks and pursue a "bright career". I wish at least some of them read Azim Premji’s column, The Weight of Wings. And realised how counterproductive it is to tether kids entirely to the realm of bookish knowledge.
    G.P.R., on e-mail

    Here’s my bottomline for your set of essays: growth without equity is rootless, and equity without growth is fruitless.
    Anand Gopal, Pune

  • Endorse The Agony
    Apr 23, 2007

    The Indian media too should take some of the blame for our loss at the cricket World Cup (A 22-yard Gash, Apr 9). TV channels and journals—Outlook included—built up such hype around the team that we all presumed India would win the cup. This game is not about individual greatness but synergy of a good mix of players.
    Abhishek Kulkarni, on e-mail

    It doesn’t need much thought to explain Team India’s rout. Bloated pride is sure to be followed by a pathetic fall.
    Capt E.J. Samuel, Dharwad

    The acrimonious way the coach, bcci, selectors and senior players put the blame on each other makes one thing clear: cricket is no more a gentleman’s game.
    C.K. Subramaniam Sanpada,
    on e-mail

    Now that India has exited, let us enjoy the rest of the Cup.
    S. Chattopadhyay, Mumbai

    Cheer up boys, I still use the car and cream you endorsed.
    G. Shankar, Chennai

    Why is there no hue and cry of this magnitude when India loses early in World Cup hockey? Or our footballers get routed in Olympic qualifiers?
    Pachu Menon, Margao

    I was shocked to find that Ajit Wadekar isn’t keen on Dilip Vengsarkar quitting as the chief selector ("On Moral Grounds, Sharad Pawar Should Resign"). As it’s the wrong team with ageing and out-of-form players, it’s Vengsarkar who should resign. Pawar is only responsible for the board’s administration.
    Sanjay Ranade, on e-mail

    Wadekar’s was one sane voice amid a riot of pass-the-buck comments. It needs guts to openly say professionals should run sports bodies.
    Amit Dutt, Calcutta

    Sadly, Wadekar’s quote is wasted. For, the concept ‘moral grounds’ has no meaning for any politician in India.
    U.S. Aroon, Mumbai

  • Stamp Of Personality
    Apr 23, 2007

    I knew Jhumpa Lahiri as a talented writer, but your interview ("It’s Mira’s stamp on my story", Apr 2) made it clear that she is an equally level-headed and large-hearted person. While most writers live with a sense of superiority regarding their craftsmanship vis-a-vis other art forms, notably cinema (mostly they are critical of films based on their works), Jhumpa has no such qualms. Her praise for Mira adds to her personality.
    Nutan Thakur, Lucknow

  • Woof...Rename It
    Apr 23, 2007

    It’s some time since one saw Vinod Mehta’s diary. And given his incorrigible love for canines, I am sure his column next time too would carry a mention on his pet dog, ‘Editor’. Mr Mehta, why not rechristen the page as "Editor’s Diary"?
    Jyotiranjan Biswal, Durgapur, Orissa

  • Feline Trace
    Apr 23, 2007

    The piece, Cats Are The New Dogs (Apr 9), fails to mention one issue—the allergy that cat’s saliva causes in humans. The saliva of cats, which lick themselves habitually, gets deposited on their hair. Even though it dries up, it leaves a behind a residue—something that affects 15 to 20 per cent of the people who touch it.
    G. Natrajan, Hyderabad

    Cats at home is hardly a new phenomenon. Neither does it make a difference to anybody’s life. Such stories don’t befit the stature of a newsmagazine like Outlook.
    Aluf Saxena, Mumbai

  • Clarifications
    Apr 23, 2007

    • Apropos Rajinder Puri’s column on President Kalam (Apr 9), when the President returned the Office of Profit Bill, we wish to point out that it was the first time ever a President was invoking his right under Article 111 of the Constitution. The President has a right to return a Bill for reconsideration by Parliament. But once the Bill is reconsidered and resubmitted to him, he is constitutionally responsible and bound to give assent to it. Likewise, when a Bill is returned, Parliament is constitutionally bound and responsible to reconsider it, but Parliament has the right to return the Bill to the President after reconsideration, with or without any amendment.

    • In the story, Whispers of the West Wind (Apr 16), Suneet Varma’s Fall-Winter 2007 collection was mistakenly described as "entirely Western". It is, in fact, "entirely Indian". Varma is one of the few designers who took up with fdci the matter of Indian designers creating collections more suited for western buyers and ignoring the Indian market.

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