Letters | Aug 25, 1997
  • Grande Dame of Cars
    Aug 25, 1997

    I found Murad Ali Baig’s references to the Ambassador in his column Fat Cats and Hungry Tigers (August 6) typically patronising and condescending. The Ambassador is still seen on Indian roads because it is one of the few cars tailor-made for Indian conditions. It is ergonomically designed. It can be serviced (if needed at all) on any kilometre of India’s vast road network. Hindustan Motors pioneered the manufacture of the Ambassador at a time when imports were restricted. Keeping with the spirit of liberalisation, they introduced luxury cars like the Contessa, the Opel Astra and will soon produce the Mitsubishi Lancer. But that doesn’t detract from the importance of the Ambassador.

    Amrit Kumar Singh, New Delhi

  • Preach No Change
    Aug 25, 1997

    Apropos An Ocean of Orthodoxy (July 30), Hindu religion has two underpinnings—philosophical and ceremonial. Ceremonies take precedence over philosophy in Indian temples. If a temple in Kerala has centuries-old tradition, one should respect it. If a Namboodiri goes against that tradition, he has to undergo penance or quit.

    G. Shanmugam, Chennai

  • A French Twist
    Aug 25, 1997

    I couldn’t believe I was seeing a magazine published in India, for the discerning reader, when I read Outlook’s cover story Two Men From Gujarat (August 6). How could you so thoughtlessly reproduce extracts glorifying a man who single-handedly wrecked Indian unity? If you were so fascinated by the ‘riveting’ book, you could have reviewed it. You couldn’t even make an editorial comment stating you did not share the views of the author.

    R.R. Motihar, New Delhi

    Most biographers project the ‘saintly’ side of Gandhi. French has gone a step ahead and given us a clear-cut insight into Gandhi’s life.

    Vikienyu Zutso, Coimbatore

    Liberty or Death is a far-fetched reassessment of Gandhi. It was Gandhi’s moral authority, not a dictatorial one, that converted the freedom struggle into a huge mass movement. The author’s sources—Indian Political Intelligence and Transfer of Power documents—inherently contain a colonial bias and can’t be relied upon entirely.

    Abhishek R. Singh, New Delhi

    Liberty or Death should be included in the category of yellow journalism and be banned in India.

    Krishan Kalra, New Delhi

    Your cover story is symptomatic of the times—cheap publicity without morality. Gandhi was more than willing to meet Jinnah half-way on the issue of Pakistan. But Jinnah’s adamant attitude led to the failure of all talks.

    V. Vijayalakshmi, New Delhi

    Couldn’t you get a cover photo with Gandhi in a more prominent posture? Jinnah’s image clouded even the Outlook logo.

    Enveepee, Chennai

    our cover story did well to reveal certain facts about Gandhi. But there are other issues that need to examined. For instance, why did Gandhi choose Nehru as his successor? Why did he agree to India’s partition despite having declared Pakistan would be created over his dead body? Why did he go on a fast in January ’48 to force the Indian government to pay Rs 55 crore to Pakistan and prevent the migration of Muslims? As for Jinnah, French is no different from others trying to portray Jinnah as a secularist who was forced to demand Pakistan. A true secularist, despite the provocation, wouldn’t have done so.

    V.S. Garg, Moradabad

  • A Bunch of Jokers?
    Aug 25, 1997

    Captain’s Knockout (July 23) rightly questions the credibility of the five wise men who pose as national selectors. Mohinder Amarnath was right when he once called the selectors a bunch of jokers. The present committee has one member from each zone. Out of five members, three haven’t even played Test cricket. Yet, they could drop Kambli and Mongia and select two players from the East Zone, to the utter chagrin of chairman Ramakant Desai.

    Suresh Basrurkar, Pune

    I don’t agree with Sachin when he says he’s been handed a B-grade team. Azhar’s return to the team should be appreciated because the team needs an experienced batsman, especially since Sachin’s own batting seems to have suffered after he was chosen captain. If Sachin now feels the Indian skipper is powerless, he should resign from the captaincy at once and let the selectors choose someone who they think is best. Sachin should be left to concentrate solely on his batting.

    Keshav Cool, Hazaribagh

  • Fallen Messiah
    Aug 25, 1997

    V.P. Singh’s deliberate silence over the need—and demand—for the resignation of Laloo Prasad Yadav as Bihar chief minister and your comment—"it seems that the former prime minister is (now) more pro-social justice than anti-corruption" (Bedside Realpolitik, July 23)—reveals the hypocrisy of a man who rose to political glory on account of his ‘courageous’ fight against corruption, then manifest in the Bofors deal, and is now indirectly promoting corruption. Anybody supporting Laloo today or keeping quiet over his activities, as VP is doing, becomes party to what Laloo stands for in all his acts of omission and commission. VP’s change of stand and principles is a great disappointment to those who admired his moral courage and crusade against corruption.

    A.C. Vasishth, Shimla

  • Protect the Wilds
    Aug 25, 1997

    There can’t be two opinions that a luxury hotel in the heart of a sanctuary is detrimental to the preservation of wildlife (Trouble in God’s Country, July 23). We’ve done enough damage to our sanctuaries, let’s not now play into the hands of politically influential corporate bigwigs in the name of earning foreign exchange. The various protective acts in force have not prevented the indiscriminate poaching taking place in these sanctuaries and Periyar is one of the worst affected. Our wildlife is our priceless heritage. It can never be regained, once lost. Given that, there is no reason for the government of Kerala to be in two minds over the issue.

    M. Santhanam, Chennai

  • The Gods Must Be Confused
    Aug 25, 1997

    I have been an ardent admirer of your magazine, which is by far the best published in this country, and this is evidenced by my three-year subscription for the same. Your devastating, yet humorous cover story We the Wretched (August 13), echoed our innermost frustrations and despair regarding the actual situation that prevails in India.

    However, I am extremely pessimistic and wonder whether such exposures would have any effect on the mindset of our officials and politicians in this country, who have now become more or less immune to press reports and criticisms. Forgive me for feeling that unless there is a violent uprising and revolution, things cannot change in this country. The time is not far off when we will have the privilege of heading the list of the most corrupt nations and appearing at the bottom of the list of developed nations. Frankly speaking, one doubts whether even the Gods can save this nation.

    T.R. Srinivasan, New Delhi

  • The Indian Soap Trick
    Aug 25, 1997

    Most MNCs unquestioningly accepted the inflated estimate of a 250-million strong middle class (The Discovery of India, July 23). With the figure pared down to 100 million, these MNCs should now find out whether the purchasing power of India’s middle class is at par with its US or European counterparts? There’s another quirk of the Indian consumer that an MNC must consider while pricing products. His love for things phoren means he will willingly pay premium on a brand when he buys it abroad. But once the company sets up shop in India and its product no longer remains exclusive, the buyer will assess it on a different set of criteria.

    Sanjay K. Singh, New Delhi

    the early ’80s, the Indian consumer had neither the choice nor the purchasing power to buy quality products, and settled for whatever was on offer. Given this, MNCs were only too willing to enter the Indian market, and believed the consumer would grab their brand, irrespective of price or quality. But the Indian consumer proved wiser than that. And hence the MNC refocus on marketing and pricing.

    Kanak R. Nambiar, Shimla

    We omitted to give credits to the following: Archana Jahagirdar for Fashion Folio in the August 18 special issue and the Citibank credit cards division for providing us names of those born on August 15, 1947 (Born Free, August 13).

  • The Sun Won’t Set
    Aug 25, 1997

    In response to the correspondent’s query, "Wasn’t colonising a crime?" (Queen May Apologise, August 13), I would ungrudgingly reply that it was British colonialism which united India and left behind a rich legacy of democracy, judiciary, etc. One needs to have lived and worked during the Raj to realise its plus points.

    John Joseph, Kochi

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