Letters | Nov 12, 2007
  • While It Is Warm
    Nov 12, 2007

    The IPCC got the Nobel, not Pachauri (Warming Up To It, Oct 29). So why all this hype? The IPCC is a collection of 2,500 consultants or experts spread the world over. They write reports that no one reads. It’s much like the case of IAEA—an organ of Western governments—that won the title last year. Global warming is chiefly caused by pollution due to the galloping increase of private transport or private cars. No government, not even the IPCC, says only extensive public transport can reduce it.
    Dipak B., on e-mail

    The Nobel prize can’t anymore bestow credibility on anyone because the committee itself has lost credibility—mired as it is in partisan politics. It is now no better than an Oscar.
    N. Maganti, Hyderabad

    What has climate change got to do with world peace?
    R. Rajeev, Delhi

  • Degree By Degree
    Nov 12, 2007

    It would be appropriate if the government could divert 20 per cent of the annual income tax paid by any university-educated person to his/her alma mater (By Varying Degrees, Oct 29). For, alumni of most good varsities must be well-off. The institutions will get a good deal of funds for operation as well as expansion. Wealthy NRI alumni can also fund their alma mater’s projects, and set up scholarships for poor students.
    Shesha, on e-mail

    Students could be asked to submit the IT return forms of their parents to ensure that rich kids pay higher fees. The current fee structure is ludicrous. These students spend more in an hour than what they pay as fees in a year.
    Sanjay Misra, Tumkur

  • Bitter Harvest
    Nov 12, 2007

    Clearly, democracy, justice and the rule of law have failed the landless masses (Harvest of Dissent, Oct 29). The apex court judgement on the Narmada Dam issue ended all hope, and legitimised institutional land-grab from the poor—predominantly sc/sts. It’s in the interest of the prospering middle classes to pay attention to the downtrodden. The alternative seems to be ominous.
    R.J.C, on e-mail

  • Vanity Fair
    Nov 12, 2007

    Like his inimitable writing style, imbued with gentle humour and unpretentious prose, R.K. Narayan’s life is itself a constant revelation of hitherto hidden facets of his personality (Vanity As Necessity, Oct 29). Who would’ve thought that such a romantic being would also be a successful businessman!
    Hari Chathrattil, Syracuse, US

  • Stuck In Rewind
    Nov 12, 2007

    The blast in a Ludhiana cinema hall has provided an opportunity for Punjab media observers to rake up their stereotyped anti-Sikh propaganda. We expected Outlook to be different in your reporting, but you too have slipped and joined the bandwagon (Sudden Flashback, Oct 29). As the spokesperson of Dal Khalsa, I had condemned the blast but this viewpoint remains hidden.
    Kanwarpal Singh, Amritsar

  • Wrong Resume
    Nov 12, 2007

    He is Srinivasa (not Srinivas) Ramanujan, and this mathematician was born in Erode (his mother’s place), not Kumbakonam—as mentioned in your Books column (Oct 29).
    R. Narasimhan, Chennai

  • Short-Sighted, Who?
    Nov 12, 2007

    Vinod Mehta has hit the bull’s eye (Delhi Diary, Oct 29) again. And revealed how no Indian politician is able to look beyond one’s immediate future.
    Arun Mehra, Mumbai

    I saw Pranab Mukherjee, on a TV interview here, explaining—in very simple language—how the deal will lift up the lives of the poor in India. Apparently, the common man has ended up the loser.
    Venkatesh Kadambha, Sunnyvale, US

    VM says if would be "supreme sacrifice" if the government quit rather than renege over the deal. One could understand such words coming from a ruling politician, but not from a seasoned journalist. If this government goes on its own, it would only amount to loss of face and inability to ink a crucial "dream" deal.
    S.C. Juneja, on e-mail

    The Left leaders are stupid but at least they speak out. Look at ex-PM A.B. Vajpayee of the BJP. The people of India have almost forgotten him.
    Kel Shorey, Glasgow

    You don’t even need to scratch the surface to notice VM’s pro-Congress love and anti-Hindu venom. He simply ignores that PM Manmohan Singh is paying back his debt to the US as an ex-World Bank employee.
    Arun Vembhu, New Delhi

    It is Pt Nehru’s pseudo-love for Joseph Stalin and the consequent marriage of our state with socialism that has created an Indian political hybrid—it’s neither fish nor fowl.
    Vedanta Rao, Hyderabad

    VM says he distrusts all ideologies because they have "totalitarianism built into it". Wow, let’s call this Mehtaism.
    V.R.G., on e-mail

  • The New Simla Pact—Sly & Illegal
    Nov 12, 2007

    Apparently you derive sadistic pleasure out of drumming up your Amitabh Bachchan phobia frequently by updating us with his ‘fraud’ land deal in Uttar Pradesh (Twisted Plot, Oct 29). Let me invite your attention to a parallel act—up in the hills. It’s on how Priyanka Gandhi acquired a plot in Shimla. The Congress government in Himachal Pradesh—typically spineless—relaxed the rules to enable the daughter of party boss Sonia Gandhi to buy land in the cool climes of the state capital. It’s not just that the property was illegally allotted to a non-agriculturist, it is in the vicinity of summer resorts of vvips like the President and the governor—thus flouting security norms as well. Even in UP, if undeclared/benami assets are your chief concern, CM Mayawati—an alleged kleptocrat—must have been your prime target.
    M.A. Raipet, Secunderabad

  • He Can Duck His Head Too
    Nov 12, 2007

    Political arm-twisting can’t be passed off as democracy.
    Niraj M.M., Dubai

    So long as there’s no provision for a referendum in the Constitution, India isn’t a democracy. If the PM can ride over his cabinet, take a decision without consulting Parliament and the people, it’s elected dictatorship. In any case, our PM was not elected—but selected.
    Dipak Bose, Calcutta

    Just wondering what VM’s tone would have been if it was the NDA government that was faced with a similar situation!
    Abhijit Kane, Mumbai

    On the one hand VM whines about the super-fatted middle class, on the other he conspires to deprive the poor of basic necessities. Isn’t all this to ensure the return to power of his favourite political party?
    R. Varma, Grand Rapids, US

    What VM is trying to promote is tyranny of the minority.
    A. Dutta, Los Angeles

    I am just waiting for the day when the traffic policeman on the way to Parliament shall stop saluting the Karats, Yechurys and the Rajas. And even paid crowds back in their constituencies will stop listening to their sermons.
    Sidhartha Srivastava, Thane

    The deal broke down not because it was bad for the nation, but because our politicians found it inconvenient.
    Debashish Ghoshal, Mumbai

    "The end result is a vindication of our democratic polity." What a big joke, Mr Mehta!
    Ashok Karuna Ghai, Mumbai

    My bottomline for your package of articles: VM should have recommended an amendment to the Constitution, making it mandatory that Parliament ratifies every bilateral treaty.
    Vishwanath Rao, Bangalore

    Your piece, Survival Instincts, was rabidly anti-India. It’s awful to see Outlook becoming a pawn in the US media blitz. Incidentally, let’s not forget how the Indian media has been supporting an Italian family in particular and an anti-India party in general.
    Veerar, on e-mail

    Given the seriousness of the deal, the upa government should not only table its contents but also publish them in dailies.
    Nandlal K. Pancholi, Gotan, Rajasthan

    If the US and the nris there are upset with the pause in the deal, so be it. And long live Indian democracy.
    Arif Jameel, Dubai

    In the heat of such arguments for and against the deal, let’s not forget one thing: India can’t survive for long with energy from natural resources alone.
    Amal Kumar, on e-mail

    I totally agree with Prem Shankar Jha (The Gains of Sacrifice) that Manmohan must see the deal through—at any cost. That will be the crowning glory of his government that has set a record growth rate.
    Mohinder Singh, Delhi

    By resigning, the PM would be killing many birds in one shot.
    Abhik Ray Chaudhury, Columbus, US

    Manmohan, the most-liked PM since Nehru? Panditji fought against imperialist forces even after Independence, while Manmohan bows to imperialist forces like IMF and World Bank.
    K.S., on e-mail

    Jha’s opinion shows that he is neither proud about India’s sovereignty, nor is he worried about the possibility of the country losing it.
    Nasar, Raleigh, US

    If our PM really cares about India or loves his job, he should stop doing two things: starting the day with "maafi maangta hoon" to the Left and ending it with "Thank you, ma’am" to Sonia Gandhi.
    J. Dutta, on e-mail

    It’s sad we still respect some people for their white skin—be it Americans or Sonia Gandhi.
    B.V. Shenoy, Bangalore

    Mr Jha, don’t forget the US hasn’t built a nuclear reactor in 30 years. It still relies on coal for 60 per cent of its energy.
    Salim Raza, New York

    It was shocking and frustrating to learn the extent of bankruptcy afflicting the person holding the highest office of the country (Even Lame Ducks Swim, Oct 29). Manmohan Singh’s recent utterances on the nuclear deal indicate a highly confused, unstable mind. Even his sympathisers will agree: such flip-flop can only ruin the credibility of the nation. Dr Singh was always recognised as a weak, remote-controlled PM, but he was reputed to know his own mind. Now, I’m afraid, he stands to lose that image too.
    Dr Himal Chand, Chandigarh

    Yesterday, the PM was embarrassed. Today, he is depressed (by his own admission). What’s for tomorrow?
    V.R. Ganesan, New Jersey

    Any deal that doesn’t have the backing of Parliament only shows the lack of people’s will (Democracy, Stupid!).
    Biswapriya Purkayastha, Shillong

    President George Bush is hated in his own country for his duplicity (The Dance Is Over). So why should we trust him?
    K.V. Sadasivan, Bharuch

    It’s hard to believe Manmohan Singh—of all people—did it: backpedal on the nuclear deal (Even Lame Ducks Swim). Forced by circumstances or by his own volition, the PM has put political interests ahead of the nation. It’s not as if he does not know what he’s being forced to do or isn’t aware of the consequences. He just bowed to pressure from allies—and his own party boss Sonia Gandhi. Her prominence will be lost once the Congress is out of power. As for the Left, they are single-track ponies, totally subservient to China.
    S. Kamath, Sydney

    The Congress must jettison Left support, and face elections. This will spring two advantages. One, the Congress can make an honest bid for electoral stakes in three states: it would look logical that the two parties are rivals. Two, the next government—most possibly of the UPA—can seal the deal before the end of the present US regime, and ensure sufficient energy for the people of India.
    V. Seshadri, Chennai

    So, it has taken Manmohan three-and-a-half years to realise that he is heading a coalition government. Good start!
    Aruna Choudhary, Jaipur

    One important lesson that the PM must learn from the whole episode is that he needs to connect directly with the people. His once-in-a-year press conference is of no help. More so when negativity is writ large on his face; his ever-sullen face betraying his low self-esteem.
    Rajiv K.C., Goa

    Indian politics is a graveyard for good men—that is why Manmohan cuts a sorry figure amid a legion of ruthless netas. Clearly, things wouldn’t have come to such a pass had the PM, who did have a few clever cards with him to play, got a strong hand too. But all hope isn’t lost for Manmohan. The PM can still try to reason with the BJP. Agreed, it’s hard to imagine, but it may still work, given that the saffron party isn’t itself in a shape to face a snap poll at this juncture. After all, pulling down the UPA government would mean that the BJP staged one of most absurd episod es in Indian politics: teaming up with its rival Left to pave the way for early polls in which the two would, after all, be fighting each other.
    Vijay Agarwal, Northampton, UK

    In the event of a snap poll, the biggest gainer would be the BSP.
    Rajesh Chandra, Phoenix

    It is ludicrous that the Left, with less than five per cent of the country’s voteshare, dictates India’s policies. Its armchair leaders seem to have forgotten that even China—from whom it apparently takes orders—doesn’t mind forging ties with western powers when it is required. We want the deal to happen and we want to see Manmohan as PM till ’09.
    S. Ramanujam, on e-mail

    I think Vinod Mehta has missed the wood for the trees (Democracy, Stupid!). What’s on display on the nuclear deal is not democracy but hunger to latch on to power at the cost of the nation’s long-term interests. Parliament denote the will of the people, but it’s for the elected representatives to decide how to bring it to better use. Clearly, the deal would do some good for us. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have had such a long, animated discussion on it.
    Hitansh, Bangalore

    I am curious to know why the US is so eager to make this deal.
    Ramesh Raghuvanshi, Pune

    The tenor of VM’s edit is similar to that of the ‘India Shining’ brigade of 2004 summer. The result of the elections then showed how far removed the BJP and its allies were from reality, sitting as they were in the the comforts of elitist cubicles.
    Kasim Sait, Chennai

    Known for his high regards for democracy, VM should have been critical of China and the Beijing-aided Burmese junta. He must also be expressing sympathy for the Taiwanese and Tibetans who yearn for freedom from Chinese Communists. But we don’t see him say so. Clearly, he favours Communists but won’t reveal it.
    Hari G. Iyer, Yucaipa, US

    If VM were born in England, he would have been knighted. So loyal is he to the ‘Queen’.
    Anil Shukla, on e-mail

    Democracy doesn’t mean you go to the people for every issue. Vexed matters like the nuclear deal must be decided by experts, not the common man.
    Kiran Bagchi, Mumbai

    By talking about the will of (75 per cent of) the people, VM has included voters from backward states like UP, Bihar, Jharkhand and Rajasthan who, in his scheme of arguments, now become experts on the deal.
    Lakhu Khushalani, Mumbai

    "...75 per cent of Parliament is opposed," says VM. True, but misleading. For, 45 per cent or so is the opposition that’s not in the business of supporting government initiatives that in any case have the ruling coalition at each other’s throat—thus, everything is opposed by close to 50 per cent. Twenty per cent opposed polls, not the deal. The real opposition is from around 10 per cent—the Left.
    Bhuwan Satri, Gurgaon

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