We Told You So
Its a crying shame that even after more than five
decades of freedom, were slaves to the vagaries of nature and bonded to penury
(Mirage 2000, May 8). India gets more rain than most countries, yet the government
penalises private initiatives to harvest rainwater simply because it owns everything, even
our streams and lakes.
Hemrajani K. Jethanand,
One can ignore the pathetic attempt at humour attempted in
the box Is it a Dam Good Way where your correspondent says, "I stood on the dry,
parched land and laughed", an obvious reference to a more well known (and much better
written) piece. Whats impossible to ignore is the inaccurate representation of
facts. For her there are "only about 100 people left to rehabilitate". The
reality is that even from the 41,000 recognised Project-Affected Families, only about
10,000 are "resettled" even as per government claims. The "downstream
project" (Sardar Sarovar), which she says wouldve "given 16 MAF of water a
year", will divert a total of only 9.5 MAF, even if the project functions fully as
the authorities claim.
S. Dharmadhikary, NBA Delhi
We should have seen it coming, yet another piece of fiction
from your resident expert on everything, Arundhati Roy ("A venal, dangerous
lie"). I hold Medha Patkar, Ms Roy, the NBA eco-terrorists and their fashionable
groupies, along with Outlook, squarely guilty of lending Roy a platform, partially
responsible for the water shortage in Gujarat. Had the Sardar Sarovar project been allowed
to finish on time, the states problems would have been solved a long time back.
The drought-affected states of Rajasthan and Gujarat
urgently require the likes of Sri Satya Sai Baba of Puttaparthy to quench the thirst of
humans, flora and fauna. He has already performed such a miracle in the
Anantpur district of Andhra Pradesh! And would definitely do a better job than the Laloo
Yadavs, Karunanidhis and Jyoti Basus of this country.
This drought is just the price we are paying for
modernisation. People have abandoned traditional irrigation methods, cut down forests
indiscriminately either for mining or urbanisation and not harvested rain water properly.
The rivers too have been invaded by the sand mafia.
Where are the netas who organised morchas and bandhs
against cow slaughter? Let them now organise fodder and water for the cows dying by the
hundreds in Gujarat and Rajasthan. Or is any constructive work beyond their ken?
How strange and pathetic it is to hear about India making
impressive advancements in fields such as infotechnology and crying for drinking water on
the other hand. Water and water-related issues have never been seriously talked about by
our politicians before Deepa Mehtas venture.
In the article Fire in the Soil (May 1), you say the great
famine and drought occurred in 1856 instead of 1900. The year 1900, according to the Hindu
calendar, is read as samvat 1956. Hence its called the "chappaniyo dukal".
Davendra Singh Rathore,
Its not surprising that Gujarat is affected by a
drought since the state has been spending over 85 per cent of its water resource budget on
just one project, Sardar Sarovar. It has 537 large dams as per Central Water Commission
figures, but has failed to maintain the created infrastructure; hence all the dams are
silted up. The state has also systematically destroyed through neglect all mechanisms
leading to recharge of groundwater, be it forests, the local tanks and ponds, or even
Polygamy is Above the Law
Public flaunting of ones irregular (read
contrary to law) status seems to have become a fashion these days. This years Padma
Shri and Padam Vibhushan were awarded to Hema Malini and Raja Reddy, for distinguished
service in their fields. While I have no quarrel whatsoever with their capabilities, I
feel the award seems to give official sanction to the other aspects of their life. Both
Hemas marriage and Rajas second wife syndrome seem
questionable in the eyes of law. And while Hema doesnt bandy about her married
status much, Raja seems to take great pleasure in being feted with two wives in tow
(Downtown, April 24). Granted, it is their personal life, but they are public
figures. The other day I heard that well-known lawyer Abhishek Singhvi married a girl at
the age of 16. This in a lawyers family. Whose law is it anyway?
Indrani Roy Misra,
Naipauls views on Islam made me feel prouder still of
my Islamic identity ("Hindu revivalists are mimicking Islamic fundamentalists",
May 8). What he calls "colonisation" is probably Islams biggest strength.
Once you convert to it, you put off the baggage of your murky past and start afresh
without feelings of guilt and shame. Naipauls statement that Islams holy
places are situated in other countries may be true but that only gives it a truly global
It was an interesting idea to have two doyens of English
literature talk on wide-ranging subjects. Naipaul has a deep understanding of human
psychology. I appreciate his insights into the Hindu as well as Islamic religions. He has
very rightly described the difference between Arab Muslims and non-Arab ones. He has found
a new admirer in me.
Dr Sangeeta Rajiv,
That there is little love lost between Hindus and Muslims
is well-known. But the present awakening of the Hindus is a direct consequence of Sikh
fundamentalism that raged in the 1970s and 1980s. Sikh fundamentalism arose to serve the
parochial interests of its nurturers. What a pity that a force created to protect the
Hindus from invaders was used by myopic leaders to strike at the very roots of those they
were supposed to protect! Thankfully, this new phenomenon has proved to be a blessing in
disguise for the hard core of the Hindu faith.
Many have misunderstood the inherent strength and truth of
Islam, and Naipaul seems to be among them. Islam is a religion based on the state of being
informed, not ill-informed. There is only one identity in Islam-that is how close,
obedient and equal you are before Allah.
Dr Sami A. Khan,
Muslim scholars tell us Islam is a religion of peace and
tolerance. But the Islamic culture is a most intolerant one. Hinduism, on the other hand,
is influenced by more rational religions like Jainism and Buddhism. Thus in Hinduism, an
individual is granted complete freedom of thought but his conduct is circumscribed by
rules and conventions.
Parjan Kumar Jain,
In the Elian saga (A Six-Year-Young War, May
8), whats been missed is that Elians been staying half the time with his
father ever since his parents were divorced and is very close to him; that the relatives
in the US claiming custody of the child are related to Elians father, not his
mother; that Elians grandmothers-paternal as well as maternal-want the six-year-old
to come back to Cuba; and that given the growing incidence of violence in US schools Elian
will be better off in Cuba. Let the child live with his father. Blood is thicker than
P.R. Ramesh Kumar,
What was your correspondent trying to say in A Touch of
Cant (May 8)? Was she tracing the etymology of untouchable or underlining the
righteousness of Outlook? Affaire Le Figaro shows the hollowness of our national pride and
the colonial hangup of our intelligentsia. Or is it that journalists want to keep open
their options for scholarships, cultural exchange programmes or free champagne at
Corrigendum: In the May 1 Delhi Diary, Udai Singh was
inadvertently referred to as Maharana Prataps son instead of his father. Error
Driving Me Crazy
Lea Terhunes Delhi Diary (May 8) would give the
impression that all the ills of Delhi roads can be traced to the MCD knocking off the
driveway of her landlord in Nizamuddin. I think it may be a good idea for folks to stay
within the limits of their plots and not extend into the roads, calling them driveways!
Keep up the good work, MCD.
All the Juice That Fits
Showing celebs like Karan Thapar and Jaya Jaitly eating
dal-roti at home would perhaps have been more newsy than showing them at Karims
eating kababs (Downtown, May 8). Normal is not news, abnormal is.
The King Gatecrashed
The restoration of old buildings is based on scientific
principles (Landmark Blunders, May 1). Already grievous harm was done to ancient monuments
towards the end of the 19th century as the work of conservation was then in the hands of
the CPWD. The Gateway of India commemorates the visit of King George V and his consort. It
was built after they left the Indian shore, they didnt pass through it. To welcome
the royals a makeshift gateway was built which was later dismantled. The present gateway
looks nothing like it.
Talk or Be Damned
M.R. Sivaramans interview ("I passed on all the
information to Madhavrao Scindia", May 1) is a masterpiece. Scindia should now come
out in the open and let people know why he failed to take action in spite of the tapes
being handed to him, otherwise it will be assumed that he shared the booty from the
players and the bookies.
For every cricket lover in this country, the fact that this
game is nothing but the private playground of cricketers and the board has come as a blow.
And to think I used to bunk classes with friends just to watch these orchestrated matches.
Tushar R. Kurhe,
Many decades ago, George Bernard Shaw described cricket as
a game played by 22 fools and watched by 22,000. In the age of live telecasts on
television, modern cricket can be described as a game played by 22 scoundrels and watched
by 220 million fools.