• Jul 14, 2008

    With the focus on a matter as serious as career choice, your June 30 special on India’s top professional colleges was a refreshing departure from most of your previous issues in the recent past. It isn’t that you don’t carry matters of youth interest, but this time the topic isn’t frivolous. It must have been a Herculean task to scoop the cream out of a cauldron of colleges and varsities in the country. For a youngster like me, in pursuit of some specialisation in a field, your set of stories were right on target. It eases my task of sifting the grain from the chaff. Do keep supplying us "educatable" youth with more such information.
    Sue, Delhi

    Your opening essay, The Rank, the File and a Whole New Chapter, was an insightful survey of our professional colleges. For me, it had analytical value beyond the purely functional. One thing that struck me is that iits continue to top the pack of best government engineering colleges. It shows the efficacy of well-directed subsidies in education. It also goes on to stress the need for students from such institutions to ‘give back’ to the nation—that is, refrain from heading overseas.
    Milind Kher, on e-mail

    Former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s column, A Little Flare to Scientific Temper, was supremely fascinating. There is, indeed, an urgent need to synergise the effort of our scientists engaged in R&D projects on sundry fronts. As it is, our country still has millions of people living below the poverty line and over half its youth are deemed ‘almost unemployable’. With time, these figures can only swell if there’s no intelligent intervention. It’s time our policymakers heeded the sagacious advise of a wise old man like Dr Kalam.
    Govind Singh Khimta, Shimla

    It would have been better if you had mentioned a minimum of 20 top colleges in any of your lists. It would help us know where some of the top 10 institutes mentioned in the previous year’s rankings now find a place after having slid down the ladder.
    Brenton Cordeiro, on e-mail

    I was surprised to see MIT-Pune excluded from your list of top 35 private engineering colleges. From Pune, it’s the Vishwakarma Institute of Technology, not MIT that figures in your list this time. Your 2007 ranking showed MIT was much ahead of VIT—that seemed true also.
    Akash, Mumbai

    I strongly protest the inclusion of M.S. Ramaiah Medical College, Bangalore, as India’s 12th best in the category. Its library stock lacks the latest books, its patient flow is just about okay. It doesn’t have a decent PG hostel or mess. It can at best figure only among Karnataka’s top medical colleges.
    Peter John, on e-mail

    Clarification
    Our research agency Synovate informs us that it has wrongly classified and ranked some colleges in Outlook’s listing of top professional colleges. IIIT Hyderabad is a private engineering college (revised rank: 2), Sir M. Visveswaraya Institute of Technology, Bangalore, is a private engineering college (revised rank: 13) and BIT, Sindri, is a government engineering college (revised rank: 28).

  • Miserly Lords
    Jul 14, 2008

    Okay, the BCCI couldn’t reward Kapil’s Devils when they won the 1983 World Cup because it didn’t have money (what an excuse!). Now, 25 years later, it pays them Rs 25 lakh each when its profit this year is Rs 220 crore (When We Were Kings, Jun 30). Even a framed and signed picture of the team would raise far more money.
    Sanjay Ranade, by e-mail

    The BCCI has been so cheesed off with the ICL and its chairman Kapil Dev that it would have even skipped celebrating the 25th anniversary of the World Cup win but for the media attention. I wonder why MCC is quiet over the BCCI bid to get English counties to ban those who played in the ICL. Is the cradle of cricket scared of the BCCI’s clout? Why is the ICC silent too?
    S. Suriyanarayana, Surat

  • One’s Own Vows
    Jul 14, 2008

    It’s sad the women’s commission in Kerala is trying to make an issue out of ‘underage’ nuns (Forced Habit, Jun 30). The Church is against trying to enlist girls for convents. Stray incidents can’t be taken as the norm and used to distort the concept of divine calling.
    Fr Vinoo Fabian, Bangalore

  • Restraint Cures
    Jul 14, 2008

    Most of the problems mentioned in the column Don’t Imprison Voltaire (Jun 30) could’ve found solutions had we Indians learnt to protest in a civilised way. Why, many issues wouldn’t have cropped up at all but for the emergence of some radical political parties.
    M. Vijayakumar, Bangalore

    Nayantara Sahgal scoffs at the "guardians of Hindu culture", but let me ask her one question: Who first opposed the Shah Bano verdict?
    R. Rajeev, Delhi

  • Jul 14, 2008

    Ashis Nandy is wrong in concluding that the Hindu middle class destroyed Gujarat’s communal harmony (‘Democracy is now psephocracy’, Jun 30). As a Punjabi living in Gujarat, I would hold non-Gujarati Muslims responsible for the breakdown of peace in the state. Rapid industrialisation and the subsequent influx of Muslims and Hindus from other states (like UP, Bihar) brought in non-liberal ideas, prejudices and hatred. The closure of cloth mills in the ’80s and the breakdown of other traditional industries rendered many jobless—they fell prey to mafia and anti-national groups. Politicians exploited their misery. Strangely, Nandy gives those real culprits a clean chit.
    A.K. Ghai, by e-mail

    Nandy waxes eloquent on freedom of speech, but where was he when Taslima Nasreen was hounded out of India by fanatical Muslims and a communal Congress? He is just a Christian missionary stooge.
    Arun Vembhu, Delhi

    If First World Gujaratis are "ready to fight for the glory of India outside India," and not just for their state, what is communal about it?
    C.V. Venugopalan, on e-mail

  • Irksome Crutches
    Jul 14, 2008

    One wonders why the upa had to bear with this burden called the Left, which offered everything but support to the government (What will History Say? Jun 30). Politics has uses for the art of appeasement, but not at the cost of becoming meek.
    Shanmugam Mudaliar, Pune

    The Left is bang on. This government must go. As for its ‘dream team’, the triumvirate has nothing to worry about vocations. Chidambaram was till the other day a lawyer for Enron, Ahluwalia can easily get a plush job in imf or World Bank. As for Manmohan Singh, he has already had the bonus of being the unelected PM of the world’s largest democracy.
    Dr V.S. Patkar, Mumbai

  • Fence-Sitter Indians
    Jul 14, 2008

    Congrats for bringing out the pocket-size book form, Nano. Its contents—in both issues—are brilliant, breezy. Also, the read-while-you-travel stuff.
    Ashish Bose, New Delhi

    Ramachandra Guha states (in Will India Become a Superpower?) that the idea of Pakistan was based on (apart from religion) the privilege of a single language: Urdu. Since when did the people of Sindh, Balochistan, nwfp and Punjab province start speaking Urdu?
    Enakshi Chatterjee, Gurgaon

    Guha is right: illiberal forces have become the predominant voices in almost all religions in India. Moderation has taken a backseat.
    Anwar Patel, Dallas

    Guha’s fence-sitting perspective on India’s problems and his opinions on its aspirations to become a superpower reflect the average Indian’s attitude towards his nation and life.
    K. Sethumadhavan, Gurgaon

    His work seeks to vilify, demonise and denigrate anyone and anything that strives to protect and preserve Hindu culture. Guha is the quintessential Indian secularist.
    B. Ramdeo, Springfield, US

    Markets have, in the long run, the power to make technology affordable for the poor—as with mobile telephony. But, politically, will the Left allow policies that eventually reduce intolerable inequalities. I doubt it. For, if absolute poverty is eradicated, and productive employment increases, where will it get its cadre from?
    Jojo M. George, Hyderabad

  • Stem The Rumour
    Jul 14, 2008

    On a Delhi clinic’s claims of effective stem cell treatment (Life is a Laboratory, Jun 23), there’s no conclusive evidence that the therapy per se is capable of regeneration of brain or spinal cord cells. Also, no therapy is acceptable to the medical world until it’s replicated with similar results.
    Dr (Lt Col) S.P. Jyoti, Pune

    Dr Geeta Shroff treats her patients exactly like foreign medical practitioners do rats and mice in their labs. It’s surprising her professional licence hasn’t been revoked.
    D.G. Bharathi, Chennai

  • Liberation? Or Lost Cause?
    Jul 14, 2008

    Given the crucial role Sam Maneckshaw played in the birth of Bangladesh, I feel Dhaka ought to have paid a more heart-felt homage to the late field marshal. It was only his military triumph that led to the country’s formation. One wonders now if Indira Gandhi was right in going to war in 1971. Political divisions between east and west Pakistan were so aggravated by ’70 that they would have anyway split soon, India’s intervention was not needed. By supporting the Mukti Bahini, we ended up worsening the refugee crisis. Sadly, we even failed to gain the loyalty of the Bangladeshi people. The cost of the war itself was a principal reason behind the turmoil in India during 1973-75, finally leading to the disastrous Emergency. And the war generated deep hatred towards India, made normalisation of relations almost impossible. To exact revenge, every Pakistani leader has supported the low-intensity war in Kashmir—another costly affair for us. It’s a bitter truth that after 1971, no country in South Asia, including Nepal, really trusts India. Indira Gandhi’s heavy-handed approach backfired badly.
    J.S. Bandukwala, Vadodara

  • Shadow Editor
    Jul 14, 2008

    Agreed, the attack on Kumar Kelkar’s residence in Thane is a despicable act (Mob on the Job, Jun 23). But I wonder if the Loksatta editor would have been so stinging in his criticism for a Rs 200-crore Shivaji memorial had the idea been mooted by a political party or leader of his liking.
    Suresh Tinaikar, Mumbai



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