Letters | Jul 23, 2007
  • Jul 23, 2007

    Granted. It has all the potential of a miracle cure. But stem cell therapy, as of now, appears to be something affordable only for the minuscule rich in a country like ours. That way, you cover story, Stem Cell: The Body As Clinic (Jul 9), tacitly points to what ails healthcare research in India: skewed priorities. Why doesn’t the government first think of eradicating common epidemics? After all, stem cell therapy or sct is evidently expensive. The media can’t turn a blind eye to this aspect—it’s vital. No story would appear balanced if its relevance for the society at large is ignored.
    Akhil Rahul, Chicago

    Any radical departure from accepted norms always invites opposition—so criticism over the ethics involved in some of the practical aspects of sct doesn’t come as a surprise. What ultimately decides the merit of a case is the capacity to do good to the larger society—outweighing the risk of possible misuse whatsoever.
    H.R. Bapu Satyanarayana, Mysore

    The huge expenses involved in sct are typical of any branch of science that is in its nascent state. After all, sct assures permanent cure to diseases.
    Chidanand Kumar, Bangalore

    No, sct isn’t just another one of those miracle therapies you read the West has developed. What’s striking about its advance in India is that it’s happening not because of the system but in spite of it.
    Arkesh Ajay, on e-mail

    Let’s not ignore the potential of sct to solve many of the maladies that have plagued humans for long. Isn’t it a visible ray of hope for those suffering from Alzheimer’s, diabetes mellitus, degenerative myopia or damage of brain or spinal cord? Stem cells could one day be designed to grow into body organs, thus making the horizons bright for patients with heart or kidney failure. Hair follicles could be cloned—they can one day emerge as a cure for alopecia. Yes, immense are the possibilities. As long as we focus our energies on the ones that can be helpful.
    Muntajib Khan, Aurangabad

    With private finance and governmental support in research, this is the right time for India to tap the booming global market for stem cell treatment.
    S. Kanungo, Calcutta

  • Dark, Deep Da Woods
    Jul 23, 2007

    Because he is Dawood’s brother, Outlook chose to highlight the failure to secure a conviction in Iqbal Kaskar’s case (Free Birds of the Don, Jul 9). The truth is: the conviction rate in all criminal cases is dismally low. Blame the two old comrades-in-arms: faulty police investigation resulting in improper or insufficient collection of evidence; and incompetent public prosecution. The victim is grossly discriminated against, by being statutorily lumbered with the public prosecutor whereas the accused, under Section 303 of the CrPC, can get the best defence lawyer that his blood money can buy. This is a blatant travesty of Article 14 of the Constitution: equality before law. And assuming the case is chargesheeted despite a less-than-brilliant investigation, proving that the accused is indeed guilty beyond reasonable doubt remains a major hurdle. The public prosecutor is mostly incompetent, indifferent, corrupted by the accused, or all of the above. In economic offences, they lack knowledge of relevant statutes such as the Companies Act. This makes it only easier for the hot-shot lawyer the defence has hired to run rings around the inept prosecution. The fact that the state itself hires spps for select high-profile proceedings confirms its lack of faith in the abilities of the ordinary PP. Given this situation, it is urgent that the CrPC is amended to permit the victim the same rights to prosecution as the accused has to defence. Until then, acquittals like Kaskar’s will continue to make a mockery of our justice system.
    N.H. Sarma, Mumbai

    Indians should be grateful to Dawood for opting to flee out of the country instead of staying behind and joining Agmark-pure secular parties like the Congress or SP.
    R.J. Srinivasan, Zurich

  • Hyphenated Bloc
    Jul 23, 2007

    What exactly does the Indian community in the US want from that country’s presidential candidates (Brown Stroke on Vibgyor, Jul 9)? Looking at the list of attendees to the Hillary fundraiser, personal business favours, I presume. The Chhatwals, Goyals and Hindujas have all been in the news for brushes with the law. And wait, what are non-US citizens doing in a fundraising anyway? I think the fundraising type Indian-American community is too egotistic and full of itself. It is all about the hubris of those who made money in the US to be ‘recognised’. There has been no mention of a single issue. Why are they becoming vote blocs (isn’t that what educated Indians dislike about Indian politics?), holding their loyalty hostage to a single not-mentioned issue of US policy towards India? It is time they voted on individual conscience, based on many local issues that do not require voters to band together along national origin/ethnic lines. In many ways, Obama was right in his campaign memo but he obviously fell for the same trap by encouraging South Asians for Obama! As an American who who simply wants to be a non-hyphenated one, I find all this vote bloc politics self-degrading.
    Sanjay Dani, San Francisco

  • Pay To Be Secure
    Jul 23, 2007

    The threat perception to a vip is more a measure of status (Stick ’Em Up, Jul 9). If the vip or his/her party were forced to foot the bills for the protection either wholly or at least in significant part, much of the threat perception may fade.
    Radesh Rangarajan, Chennai

    I remember the political critic Cho Ramaswamy declining security cover against the ltte. His logic being that if someone had to get him, they would, whatever the security. Then why endanger the lives of two innocent securitymen?
    R. Narasimhan, Chennai

  • No A-Is To That
    Jul 23, 2007

    As someone who has seen Air India since it was Tata Line as well as its dual offshoots from 1951 till now, I am unable to share the optimism of your article Who is the Real Maharajah? (Jul 9) as regards the greater Air India emerging a world-beater. The profile of a service organisation is based on its employees, and this is A-I’s weakest link. We have seen successive generations of ground staff and cabin crew make inefficiency and bad consumer relations a standard feature, despite occasional half-hearted attempts by the management. Minus government patronage, Air India is nothing. Just a giant machine to shred public money.
    K.S.C. Nair, Indianapolis, US

    The government’s aviation policy is really hurting our airline companies. It is ridiculous that private Indian airlines are not allowed to fly abroad till they complete five years of existence, particularly when foreign-based start-ups have no bar. Equally unfair is to prevent companies like Jet Airways from flying the lucrative Gulf routes just to discourage them from competing with psus like Air India, when Gulf-based airlines like Emirates, Etihad, Gulf Air and Qatar Airways are already competing very successfully with A-I and IA on these routes. The Indian aviation policy still has the trappings of the licence-permit raj and needs an overhaul.
    G. Natrajan, Hyderabad

  • Smear And Scuffle
    Jul 23, 2007

    Even a casual observer of the political spin game can make out how Outlook is trying to malign Shekhawat, though unsuccessfully (Monsoon Mudsling, Jul 9). Where did you get all this information from? From Vinod Mehta’s blog? Or did Priyaranjan Das Munshi call you? I can smell an Indian Fox News here.
    Ankan Kumar, Columbus, US

    He is 84 and she is 72. Why don’t they just retire and tell stories to their grandkids? Presidents of India should be in their 50s and 60s, in keeping with the population’s younger average age.
    C. Likchitalavanya, Chennai

    Who cares about the president? How many empty stomachs are these to be fed? How many unemployed will have to be provided jobs? What difference does a president make? We do not need ceremonial presidents, we need an executive and federal head like that in the US.
    Anindya Chatterjee, Dubai

    Earlier, I thought of Outlook as a magazine with only subtle political leanings towards the Congress. Of late, though, the magazine is bringing its partiality for the Congress to its pages too often. Your Pratibha Patil story was particularly distasteful, with evident efforts to somehow spin it in her favour. You’re alienating a thinking section of your readers by openly espousing Congress agendas.
    S.S. Brar, on e-mail

  • Just Curious
    Jul 23, 2007

    With so much being talked and written about in favour of using biodegradable materials, should Outlook magazine still be sent to its readers in polythene bags?
    S. Ramakrishnan, New Delhi

  • Do Jehad On Thyself
    Jul 23, 2007

    Highly educated Muslims becoming bombers is a most troubling development. These bright Muslims deeply resent the Western treatment of Muslims in the last hundred years. Iraq and Palestine ignite blind fury, which is directed more towards Western client states, such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia. This anger is similar to what our own revolutionaries like Bhagat Singh felt vis-a-vis the British Raj. We were saved from a violent aftermath by the coming of Gandhi, who wisely infused the freedom struggle with our ancient traditions of ahimsa and sadbhavna, and diverted much of the frustration of youth towards socio-economic uplift. The Quran condemns terrorism in very strong terms in the Ayats (2,32), (6,152) and (25.68). It is tragic that these young minds, speaking in the name of Islam, are so oblivious to these injunctions. The West has treated Muslims so badly because they are weak, divided, illiterate and unorganised; yet some own a most valuable asset: crude oil. Mindless terrorism only worsens the plight of Muslims. This anger must be directed at changing our society from within, through quality education, business and ensuring women’s rights. That alone will ensure that no Western leader even dreams of another Iraq.
    J.S. Bandukwala, Baroda

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