• Democracy? Surely, You Were Joking
    Nov 19, 2007

    The Emergency has completely changed things in Pakistan one week on—even so it was no surprise that a majority of the respondents in your poll opposed Benazir Bhutto’s truck with Pervez Musharraf (And Thereby Hangs An Election, Nov 5). A sophisticated Benazir may have succeeded in convincing her American handlers of her lofty democratic ideals, but evidently people back home did not believe the ppp leader’s story. Benazir would like to project herself as the spokesperson for democracy in her country, despite having simply brokered a sweet, incestuous deal which ensured that both she and the general came out winners. Or so she thought. For anyone with a sense of history of Pakistan politics, such hollow justifications would betray a certain pathetic effort at self-preservation. But, shrewd as she is, she may have taken comfort in Harry Truman’s dictum: if you cannot convince them, at least confuse them!
    Sivaram Srikandath, Kochi


    It is quite possible that the US establishment might have advised President Musharraf to seek rapprochement with a discredited Benazir. Let us not forget that she and Nawaz Sharif looted the country and amassed huge wealth. And Musharraf, instead of punishing them for corruption, allowed them to go on exile. As for Benazir, she came on record before her return to Pakistan, stating she had struck a deal with the dictator on the condition that all her bank accounts in Britain and Switzerland, among others, be defrozen. While all right-thinking people should condemn the blasts in Karachi during Benazir’s ‘triumphant’ return to Pakistan, there is a lurking suspicion that they could have been engineered to create sympathy for her.
    K.S. Sundaram, Bangalore

    Whatever be her flaws, the attempt at Benazir’s life was dastardly. More so, when she has proved herself brave enough to come home despite adverse circumstances, and participate in the feeble democracy that could have been.
    R.R. Sami, Tiruvannamalai

    India now has to keep as far away as from Pakistan affairs as possible. As it is, the US is already meddling in developments in Islamabad. Unsolicited interventions from us would be the last thing they want at this critical juncture.
    Raghu Nath Singh, Jaipur

    If your cover suggested it’s tough to bring democracy back in Pakistan, Musharraf’s current actions have shown that it is well nigh impossible.
    Shailesh Kumar, Bangalore

    Benazir might have thought that she could once again rule Pakistan but she may now have learnt it’s not easy to tango with Musharraf. From her own experience and the track record of her nation, she should have known this better. The way Musharraf came to power, forced two former premiers to leave the country, hung on to the army chief’s post, and now imposed the Emergency, only some calamity—natural or unnatural—would seal his fate. Democracy in Pakistan! Surely you’re joking!
    Vidya Sagar, Delhi

  • Their Coffer, My Coffin
    Nov 19, 2007

    Irrigation, resource planning and agricultural reforms have been largely unaddressed issues for the last 50 years, yet the amount of money wasted is shocking (Life Drains Out, Nov 5). Agreed, some agricultural reforms have taken shape, but the politics of this country has undone most of the good, and pulled it in different directions until there is nothing left but chaos.
    Pradeep Sharma, Mumbai

    You are mistaken. The Rs 99,610 crore spent on irrigation has gone not down the drain but into the private coffers of politicians, bureaucrats, engineers and contractors. The nation be damned, the poor farmer will die of starvation or commit suicide.
    M.A. Raipet, Secunderabad

  • Shades Of A Man
    Nov 19, 2007

    Bobby Jindal has been elected governor of a heavily Republican, conservative US state and his words and deeds will reflect that (What Happened to Piyush?, Nov 5). It is impractical to expect him to fulfil the aspirations of the American-Indian community. That is not his job. And, he seems to typify what is known as an ‘Orio cookie’. Dark outside and white inside. His is a white soul trapped in a dark body that he could not help but have.
    B.V. Raghavan, Gurgaon

    Jindal is an American first and American last. His victory has nothing to do with him being an Indian. Instead, it is all about his political linkages in the US. Those who support him because of his roots and want to hail his victory as the Indian community’s victory live in a fools’ paradise. To expect him to keep India’s interests over that of the US is idiotic, and wishful, at best.
    Sohan Aggarwal, Rockville

    Let me talk about Piyush the boy first. His mother Raj, a nuclear physicist, hails from my city of Amritsar, while his father, a civil engineer, is from Malerkotla, also in Punjab. The parents migrated to Baton Rouge of Louisiana, where Piyush was born. He grew up in a Hindu household, but that southern US town had only churches—this wooed him to Christianity. Bobby has had a remarkably blazing career since his early school days. The task ahead isn’t easy as Louisiana is in a state of chaos—most unhealthy, uneducated and ridden with corruption and crime. But I am sure now things will begin to change.
    Dr S.K. Aggarwal, Amritsar

    No doubt an Indian-American has made history, but I strongly feel celebrations are out of place in India for a man who never visited his roots, changed his name, converted to another religion and never acknowledged the sentiments of the people in his native village. Bobby has made news but not for good reasons.
    Dr Vitull K. Gupta, Bhatinda

    I too don’t agree with Jindal’s born-again Christian world view. However, as a marker of the political influence of the Indian-American community, I have to say that I support his political rise. It’s good to see that an Indian-American has achieved such high office in a conservative state.
    A. Dutta, Los Angeles

    Jindal is doing the right thing. He is smart and wise enough to know that too much of Indianness would go against his getting elected to higher positions. I don’t agree with his blind support of Christianity and the prayer thing, but I think he can be a presidential candidate for the future if he can revive the state.
    Raj, Chicago

  • Who’s The Hot Head?
    Nov 19, 2007

    Your story, Hanging Modi Fire (Nov 5), forgets a key fact: election results are unpredictable. Too much of malice and rancour towards this bjp leader spoiled your sense of proportion, and blocked you from taking a balanced view of the forthcoming Gujarat election. The media—both print and electronic—may try its best to taint his image, but the electorate will not lose its head when the voting day comes.
    J. Khandwalla, Surat

  • A ‘Shadow’ PM
    Nov 19, 2007

    Manmohan Singh may have been isolated by his partymen, but a majority in this country—especially those who know the merits of the N-deal—are with him (The Knightrider, Nov 5). He shouldn’t hesitate to take a bold stand in its favour.
    Abhik R.C., on e-mail

    One week you call him a lame-duck PM, the very next you turn him into a knightrider. Come on, it’s an open secret that the government is ghost-run by Sonia Gandhi. So, when her upa regime goes through ups and downs, she should take the credit and blame in equal measure. Why make our PM the scapegoat?
    Ameet Bhuvan, Bhubaneswar

  • Hackers, Helpers Too
    Nov 19, 2007

    Prem Shankar Jha isn’t being wholly insightful in claiming that hacks inside the Congress are outsmarting the PM (The Unseen Cabal , Nov 5). After all, Manmohan Singh himself had to take help from these ‘hackers’ to become an MP as no one could vouchsafe any Lok Sabha seat for him in the entire country.
    Ashwani Sharma, Delhi

    Jha can speak high of Manmohan but hang on a second. Why is he scared of debating the nuke deal in Parliament?
    R. Rajeev, Delhi

    While talking of Manmohan’s frustration to push through his pet project, Jha forgets the basic premise of a parliamentary system of governance. Unlike US President Bush, who is directly elected on the basis of popular vote, the Indian PM also has to mind sentiments within his party too. There is nothing wrong with it, it’s the basic requirement of our parliamentary system.
    S.K. Bhanjachaudhuri, Calcutta

  • Stupid, Who?
    Nov 19, 2007

    Even after three weeks of reading Vinod Mehta’s edit (Democracy, Stupid!, Oct 29), the fallacy in his argument—justifying blackmailing—lingers in my mind.
    Maj Gen S.C.N. Jatar, Pune

  • Get Your Math Right
    Nov 19, 2007

    Vinod Mehta in his Delhi Diary (Oct 29) has missed a broader point when he wonders how 59 comrades could block India’s tryst with destiny. Plain math, sir. You forgot the 1 billion and over Chinese. And history too... The Reds serve their masters well. Always.
    Pheroze Jamsedji, Mumbai

  • Poor Rahul
    Nov 19, 2007

    I too was wowed by the amazing fertility of your imagination—that of an India where Priyanka Gandhi is the PM and Hindustan Times’ Shobhana Bhartia is the FM (Glitterati, Oct 29). So, what post will be left for Rahul then? Come on... give us a break, Mr Mehta. There is world outside the Nehru-Gandhi family. This nation has paid a much higher price to this family than what it has received from them.
    Parag Sanghvi, Bhopal

  • Lessons For Rivals
    Nov 19, 2007

    Lack of diplomacy and vision lost the Congress in Karnataka the chance to share power (Flip A Coin, Nov 12). The central leadership too couldn’t give the party the correct lead. It’s now for the bjp to set an example in good politics. And that can be done only by setting aside the advice of the party’s high command.
    A.H. Maqdoomi, Gulbarga

  • AB Vs Baba
    Nov 19, 2007

    When you don’t feel anything wrong with the sympathy Sanjay Dutt gets on being jailed, why are you hounding Amitabh Bachchan over a plot of land (Twisted Plot, Oct 29)? In any case, both are victims of "archaic" laws.
    P.S., on e-mail

  • ‘Brownie’ Point
    Nov 19, 2007

    Indians are as racist as any other nation in the world (Simian Menace, Nov 5). We have to be hypocrites to call the Aussies racist when we ourselves follow the worst forms of racism in our day-to-day lives. Take marriage for example. Why does everyone bend over backwards to exhibit their scores on the fairness scale?
    Vijay Shankar, Bangalore

    The treatment meted out to cricketer Andrew Symonds is a direct consequence of his cocky behaviour. It has nothing to do with colour—as is being made out by the Australian press and the icc. After all, the West Indies and South Africans too have toured India. And, in any case, we Indians aren’t fair-skinned people to be hating, if at all, Blacks.
    Jasbir Tiwana, on e-mail

  • Papa’s Kid, Always
    Nov 19, 2007

    Indian parents will have to change their attitude towards their children (Let’s Play Runaway, Nov 5). They always consider them their property, won’t even consult them on important decisions in lives. This attitude is all too evident in Indian offices as well—with bosses treating subordinates as mere subjects.
    Kunal Mangal, Denver

  • Keep Chasing Them
    Nov 19, 2007

    It is heartening to see the Mumbai Police bringing down the accident rate sharply by taking drastic action against rash and drunken driving (The Good Genie, Nov 5). Though it’s well known that the 3 Es—engineering, education and enforcement—can cut down on road accidents, enforcement remains the weakest link. Hence the 4th E is taking over: the end of life. How one wishes that at other places too, the police exercise the same initiative and give the public relief!
    B.G. Baliga, Thrissur

  • Nov 19, 2007

    I found the photograph you showed of Shahrukh Khan in the story, Ab-solutely Shahrukh (Oct 22), nauseating. It was disgusting to see the torso of a cine actor look more like that of a rickshaw-wallah—one that’s moulded more by starvation that by sessions at the gym. It’s nothing except luck that is making srk big. We have had such stars in the past as well—Rajendra Kumar, Jeetendra and Asha Parekh to mention a few. Today they are all forgotten. Like them, some ten years from now, srk too will be consigned to the dustbin of Bollywood history.
    Adi Katrak, Mumbai

  • Debonair Days
    Nov 19, 2007

    Khushwant Singh is silly to call Debonair a silly magazine (My Kinda Outlook, Oct 15). A case of sour grapes? For me, it was one of the finest magazines—the design and layout were top class. I still remember those black bordered photography specials and Imtiaz’s poetry page. As for content, it had some of the best columnists—Abu Abraham, George Menezes, Anil Dharker. How I wish someone in India would start a similar magazine. Dare I say, Vinod, why not give it another try.
    Bhaskar P., on e-mail

  • Illi Baaro
    Nov 19, 2007

    I strongly object to Narendra Apte’s views in Letters (Oct 29) where he says that Marathi, Telugu and Tamil speakers are minorities in Bangalore and are being discriminated against in several walks of life. Has Apte ever lived in Bangalore? If not, I invite him to the City of Gardens. He’ll then realise how wrong he was in making his comments on "misplaced Kannada pride". Being a cosmopolitan city, Bangalore, in fact has Kannadigas in a minority—struggling for existence!
    Jyothi Umesh, Bangalore

  • Sifting Stories
    Nov 19, 2007

    I am contemplating stopping subscription. I am so tired of carefully peeling off flyers and pullouts so as to not tear pages, and I’m sure many readers share my view. Do find other avenues to increase ad revenue. Frankly, I love Outlook, and I pay thrice the price here in Oman.
    Shilpa Lefeer, Oman

  • Trauma On Fridays
    Nov 19, 2007

    Just because I subscribed to Outlook, more for its offer of a Swiss knife, do I have to suffer its film reviews—week after week after week?
    Balvinder Singh, Chandigarh

  • Gush Of Ideas
    Nov 19, 2007

    Excellent 10 Q with author Thant Myint-U (Nov 5). He speaks well, and intelligently.
    K.V. Sadasivan, Bharuch

  • Time Mittal Opened His Gates
    Nov 19, 2007

    Your comprehensive write-up on Laxmi Mittal (Man of Steel, Oct 29) was excellent. This man—a native of a small, waterless, powerless Rajasthani village—has risen to become a role model for today’s youngsters across the country. His steps to success (becoming the fifth richest man on earth) prove that riches will kiss the feet of a person who has that spark in his soul, a dream, a never-say-die attitude and an honest aim.
    Charu Shah, Surendranagar

    How many millions did Outlook get to devote five full pages to Mittal’s enormous wealth and lavish lifestyle? Once the media asked why he, unlike Bill Gates, hasn’t started doing charity in a big way. Mittal’s answer then was that he had enough time to do that later. Now, when would that day be?
    Kurien Thomas, on e-mail



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