Letters | Jan 28, 2008
  • A Trip Down India’s Past......Up Its Future Too
    Jan 28, 2008

    An eclectic collection of lingering images of India—that sums up your new year double issue (Jan 14). The My India Story series was uplifting: a cornucopia of bittersweet experiences with an occasional dash of nostalgia. And the spirit was not just pan-Indian, some of the writers even brought in transborder views. Overall, a vivid reiteration of Hindustan’s varied features—old and new.
    Eric Eldho Paul, Thiruvananthapuram

    As much as the beauty of the stories, what impressed me was the sheer range of facets that makes India unique. The whole package had a kaleidoscopic quality to it—the reader could look at his country any way he wanted to.
    Deepak Kumar, Sabdalpur, Bihar

    I enjoyed the way the present was often viewed from a historical perspective. And with all seriousness.
    Shailesh Kumar, Bangalore

    Not just the write-ups, even the ads were exceptionally sober. I can safely keep this issue in our school library.
    Br. James Kimpton, Kallupatti, Tamil Nadu

    Reading I Hereby Attest Thee... Man and Wife, I felt Patrick French can write a book or make a movie about his marriage. It would be a hit like Monsoon Wedding. More please.
    Raj, Chicago

    Hilarious and nice piece.
    R. Srivatsan, Newport News, US

    Taslima Nasreen’s was a poignant account (I am but a disembodied voice...). She should have known better than to pin all her hopes on India. We, as Indians, are proud that everything is relative in our country. In short, India stands for (or by) nothing—and nobody.
    Sharadchandra Panse, Pune

    Pity that a few fanatics can have their way in a secular India. By the way, what’s Modi doing now after initially offering a haven to Taslima?
    Dr A.R. Mookhi, Mumbai

    Muslims are treated as sons-in-law in India, more so in West Bengal. If Taslima does not know this, she has only herself to blame.
    S. Mukherji, Newark, US

    Our organisation has always supported Taslima by holding protests ever since her Lajja was banned. We did it even last month in association with Maitree, a women’s network. Obviously, she isn’t friendless.
    Maitreyi Chatterjee, Nari Nirjatan Pratirodh Morcha, Calcutta

    Hindus are ashamed of their religion. They use secularism as a device to counter the onslaught of fundamentalism by proselytising religions.
    C.V. Prasad, on e-mail

    That Panchatantra in the life of Jan Morris was very telling (A Panchatantra of My Very Own). Mera Bharat Mahan!
    George Olivera, Mysore

    Mukul Kesavan has vividly described how communal hatred can antagonise friends in no time (And the Alarm Would Go...). Be it religion or ideology that ignites passions, all major political parties have been exposed by now: the Congress (’84, Delhi), bjp (’02, Godhra) and the Left (’07, Nandigram).
    Anand K., Santa Clara

    The caption to the first photo speaks of an "angry mob"—it’s a comforting cliche that excuses mass murder. Though, in reality, as Kesavan has noted, the mob at a pogrom is almost never angry. It goes on about its business with pleasure, confident in the knowledge that the power structure will protect it.
    Satadru Sen, St Louis, US

    Laila Tyabji unveiled such a true picture of Mithila (Jungle, Bihar, Night, Apparition.. .). In fact, it holds true for the whole country 90 per cent of the time. Sadly, it’s the remaining 10 per cent that the press plays out.
    Chandan Singh, Patna

    Edward Luce’s article is so English in its restrained passion for his wife (Anyday the Better Half of the World). But I most enjoyed the imagery of having lined up a dozen witnesses to plead his case—wherein he’s a victim to his wife’s head-wagging lead. Had she not disabused him of his relativism, Luce would have been an insufferable bore to read.
    Augustus A., Pune

    Most nris, I’m sure, would agree with Ramesh Ramachandran ("Nope, I Just Quit..."). Life abroad is driven by a strange craze to make oneself rich, richer and still richer.
    Sasi K. Chandru, Reston, US

    India needs more people like Ramesh. I wish him all success.
    V.K.T., Bangalore

    It’s vested interests who spread such ideas to make us feel elated and privileged to have been born an Indian, while leading a largely tough life. They only take the nation back, make its people smug and complacent.
    Dr Nutan Thakur, Lucknow

    I liked the way Ramesh’s piece came just after Mark Tully’s (Ah, It All Comes Out Right in the End). Together, they afforded an overview of the variety of mindsets among our people.
    S. Krishnan, on e-mail

    Vinod Mehta sometimes misses the woods for the trees. Case in point: his words on Narendra Modi’s re-election in his column Comme Ci, Comme Ca. To say the Gujarat CM has craftily structured his persona is a back-handed slap. Worse, to say this image needs to be demolished is misplaced righteousness.
    S.S. Vasudevan, Bangalore

    Thanks for the Modi analysis. Only that it’s peppered with the typical Outlook masala.
    N. Maganti, Hyderabad

    And VM is hoping for a Modi-free 2008. Keep dreaming, sir! Dil behlane ko Ghalib, khayal achha hai.
    J.F., Bangalore

    As for me, I hope for a Sonia-Rahul-free 2008 from Outlook.
    S.S. Nagaraj, San Jose

    Looking forward to a Vinod Mehta-free 2008.
    Pawan Yadav, Mountain View, US

    Mr Mehta and his minority appeasement. Sir, please quit Outlook and go to Pakistan.
    Srikanth, Chennai

    A terrific New Year gift!
    Chidanand Kumar, Bangalore

  • Student Gunners
    Jan 28, 2008

    It’s high time we saved the young generation from the perils of violence, and inculcated in them a zest for living (Bullies, Bullets, Dec 31). Society should persevere to cultivate strong moral preferences, a sense of justice and social responsibility. Many adults are themselves confused about what values to convey to their children. One shouldn’t forget that a thoughtful, cheerful family is the starting point to help children develop the right sensibility.
    Ridhima Gupta, Jalandhar

    After Gurgaon, school shootings have now terrorised Chorbari in MP. This is all part of North India’s gun culture, nurtured by politicians in rural areas and their private armies. Moral education in schools is the only way out.
    K.M. Ramalingam, Madurai

    Stop blaming the school authorities, blame ourselves for the pro-violence culture we breed in our children.
    Sunita Heerekar, Hyderabad

  • Shop In A Corner
    Jan 28, 2008

    Yours was a valid piece on the takeover of retail by big corporate houses and their probable impact on small retailers (Not Quite Cornered Shops, Dec 31). But the development is not new nor unique to India. It has happened in the past, though less radically. Then, readymade garments had flooded the market, thus laying low the neighbourhood tailor. Likewise with readymade shoes, which wiped out made-to-order ones. Did tailors or cobblers lose their livelihoods, or were they coopted somewhere else? One must examine such aspects to arrive at a fair judgement.
    N.B. Panda, Ahmedabad

    The entry of big retail has occasioned a definite change in the Indian retail sector. However, the small retailer should not feel threatened by this, since India has a huge consumer base. He has been around for aeons and has a loyal clientele. In short, there’s space for both the small and the big retailer.
    P. Prasand Thampy, Thiruvalla, Kerala

  • Democracy’s Devil?
    Jan 28, 2008

    William Dalrymple’s column, Mohtarma: A Critique (Dec 31), mentions certain details about Benazir Bhutto that no Indian newspaper carried. That she destroyed Afghanistan by creating the Taliban; that she forcefully stoked the fires of dissension in Kashmir; that she supported the sending of mujahideen to Yugoslavia to fight Serbian Christians. Benazir was a pet of Clinton’s, hence the Western press’s eulogies. Indian journos are only copying them.
    Dipak Bose, Calcutta

    I retrieved from the attic the November 5 Outlook issue with the cover story, Benazir At Home: Who Wants Her Dead? In the backdrop of her assassination, I couldn’t but appreciate your premonition.
    T.N. Mahadevan, Mumbai

    If the ability to speak fluent English is the only criterion for being liberal, secular and democratic, Benazir did have those qualities. But if her track record as politician is gauged, she’d score a perfect zero.
    Sushil Prasad, on e-mail

    Benazir’s assassination has revealed a facet of Pakistani politics generally unknown to people: the extent to which politicians there act as agents of the West. Tens of thousands of Muslims are killed in political violence each year, most of which is sponsored by the West, but few are mourned as deeply as Benazir. Why? The answer is obvious: for those in the corridors of power in the West, she is "one of us".
    Safiya Sameena, Vijayawada

  • No Fundamentalist He
    Jan 28, 2008

    In his Aurangabad Diary (Dec 31), Saeed Naqvi just cannot accept the widely circulated view that Aurangzeb was an idol-breaker. Even a pucca historian like Romila Thapar has, in her Past and Prejudice, described this Mughal king as tolerant of his subjects’ religion. He also used to donate to Hindu mathas in his empire: a facet of his seldom publicised.
    R.K. Biswas, on e-mail

  • Bias Dais
    Jan 28, 2008

    Sadanand Menon’s dismissal of the music season (Chennai Diary, Dec 24) is as burdened by adjectives as by his prejudices. Kacheri-nibbling may be an unwelcome trend but far better than the author’s snipes, propped up by such assumptions as "empty halls at most venues". Perhaps he was nibbling away at the Music Academy’s canteen. An elitist jamboree? Come on, many do sabha-hopping in buses.
    Vijay Sarma, Chennai

    G. Rajaraman, who wrote our cricket cover story last week, is sports editor, Samay.

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