Jogging a Memory
Your cover story, Remains of a War (May 15), was a timely
reminder to this nation. How can we forget and neglect our heroes? Is it too much to
expect our prime minister or defence minister to take upon themselves the responsibility
of ensuring that relief and rehabilitation reach all dependents of the 518 martyrs? No
delegation, no passing the buck. Come on sirs, you owe this to the martyrs.
Your cover picture of the war-torn soldiers, obviously full
of cheer despite the mutilations, is heartwarming. But surely these are heroes who saved
the country and not convicts. Then why make the proud men, immaculate in their
professional lives, wear drab uniforms that are crumpled and ill-fitting? The grateful
nation can certainly afford to spend a wee bit more to add a little more colour to their
When I read of our brave soldiers/airmen dying in J&K,
I was deeply distressed at the futile loss of precious lives! Why should one throw away
ones life defending territory where one cant buy a piece of land to call
ones own? Continuing special provision (Art 370) for J&K is an ipso facto
admission that its not an integral part of Hindustan! Either our government give up
J&K, or raise a special J&K force motivated by the prospect of posthumous awards,
rather than use unsuspecting south Indian troops as cannon fodder for a totally
indefensible and wrong cause!
Wg Cdr H.P. Hande,
Your cover story brought back painful and proud memories of
last years Kargil war. I live in the US and want to know if theres any way,
apart from donating to the Army Relief Fund, that I can contribute my services to any
organisation which directly works to help these families.
I felt nauseated when I read "One way to remember
war-and its actors-is to commit memory to stone" on your cover. One has to have a
heart of stone to call the heroes who risked their lives, shed blood and sweat, lost limbs
and suffered psychological scars and left families behind as mere "actors" on a
At least one of Indias major magazines decided to
focus on the problems faced by the affected families of the Kargil martyrs, instead of
letting memories of injured soldiers fade from public memory.
Sharmishtha R.C. Green,
A year after the Kargil conflict, we realise that the
martyrs have received nothing by way of compensation except empty platitudes and one more
commission to probe the lapses in Kargil. Is that all our government is capable pf doing?
Erect smokescreens like the Subrahmanyam committee to hide its shortcomings?
Cover-up for Some
Outlook, its apparent, is blatantly anti-Azhar. In
the article Digging for Some Wicket Ways (May 15), you only mention in passing former BCCI
president I.S. Bindras going public with what Manoj Prabhakar told him. But, you
couldnt stop accusing the pride and joy of Hyderabad of being involved in
match-fixing. Had it been Azhars name instead of Kapils which was used,
Outlook, Im sure wouldve run a cover on it.
Your report quotes a lawyer as saying that he overheard a
bookie and a cop talking of Kapils involvement in matchfixing. The bookie is
"unnamed" but you do not hesitate to name Kapil Dev. Is the bookies
reputation more valuable than of Kapils?
Signalling a Change
Apropos The Roads of Wrath (May 15), I think we need to ask
why normally aggressive and rude drivers from Delhi become docile and rule-abiding when
they drive a car abroad. The answer lies in their unambiguous traffic rules or the design
of infrastructure such as traffic signals, road markings, pedestrian pathways, etc, and
effective traffic enforcement which act as deterrents. What prevents us from replicating
Big is Still Beautiful
The Bhakra Nangal and the Hirakud are examples of projects
that served their purpose (Damned Temples, May 15). The first casualty of politics was the
Damodar Valley Project. The power play began with where to locate the project
offices-Calcutta, Patna or Delhi. Sardar Sarovar was lost because projects before it had
failed to adequately take care of dislocated people. In addition, MP was not keen on the
project since it was more to the benefit of Gujarat.
Dr G. Venkataraman,
Seeing a small temple in the middle of a river in an Andhra
village, I asked a local about it. I was told the temple belonged to the river goddess
whod protect their village from flooding. But belief has belied reality and the
village does get flooded often. If only such villagers could invest their energy in
building a dam rather than a temple in the middle of the river, many a flood can be
averted. The same should be true for the nation as a whole.
History Read Wrong
Its worth noting that the Dravidian parties Prem
Shankar Jha dubs separatist in his column, Peril from Sri Lanka (May 15), have tasted
power won through the ballot in India. I doubt theyd want to go the LTTE way at this
stage of their political history. Theyve not spoken of a separate Tamil nation in a
long time and have matured enough to understand their status in the Indian Union. Next,
Jha might be tempted to include parts of Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa and Fiji
because of the Tamil diaspora there but even his spectre of the Greater Tamil Nation is
economically unviable. While Eelams inevitable, itll be within Sri Lanka. I
doubt the LTTE will be able to enjoy the fish and loaves of elected office.
Revolutionaries make poor administrators.
Just for arguments sake, what is wrong with Tamil
Eelam uniting Tamil Nadu with the Tamil-speaking eastern and northern Sri Lanka? Its
more viable than having Tamil-speaking Tamil Nadu welded to culturally and linguistically
different states like Kashmir, HP, Haryana, Punjab, UP, Bihar, WB, the northeastern
states, Orissa, Gujarat...
However, we in Tamil Nadu know where our support to our
ethnic kinsmen in Sri Lanka ends and where our own social, political and economic
differences begin! And nothing Jha can say can make a difference!
Jha suffers from a Johnny-gone-crazy syndrome. Its
madness even to think of any military aid to a country which allowed the ignominy of a
common soldier manhandling an Indian PM. Leave them alone to rot in their sins of a
millennium of hatred, repression and racism prevailed on a minority people. As for
Jhas claim that an LTTE win will cause Tamil Nadu to break away from India,
its his hallucination. Tamil chauvinism is a game practised by a decadent tribe of
Dravidian politicos. The youth in Tamil Nadu dont share such sentiments.
Prem Shankar Jhas views are simply shocking.
Vajpayees government wishes to extend humanitarian support and Jha wants this in the
form of a genocide of Tamils! With staunch Indians like him, we dont need Pakistan
to try and dismember the Indian state.
Rebuttal to the article The War That Should Never Have Been
(Sep 6, 99). The article has a large number of factual inaccuracies and is
Letters HQ 121 Inf BDE letter No. Brief/COAS/124/gsd/vif/DG
dated Aug 25, 98 allegedly communicated to COAS, Letter No. 106/GS
(Op)/Brief/COAS/12/ gsd/vif dated Sep 1, 98 addressed to HQ 3 Inf Div, Letter No.
DO/rog/ COAS dated Nov 12, 98 addressed to the COAS and Letter No. 186/ GS/Ops dated
Dec 17, 98 addressed to HQ 3 Inf Div, allegedly and purportedly authored by Brig
Surinder Singh were not received in the COAS Sectt, directly or indirectly. However, a
letter bearing No. 124/gsd/vis/DG dated Aug 25, 98 was addressed by HQ 121(I) Inf
BDE to HQ 3 Inf Div, its immediate superior formation and this letter is one of the
annexures to an application dated Jun 28, 99 submitted to the COAS by the brigadier
for his reinstatement after he was removed from the command of 121(I) Inf BDE during the
Kargil battle. However, the letter dated Aug 25, 98 received by the COAS on Jun 28,
99, does not mention about the threat perception as published and depicted by
Outlook. Further, letters dated Sep 1, 98, Nov 12, 98 and Dec 17, 98 are
not even annexed to the application dated Jun 28, 99 of the brigadier to the COAS.
The four letters were not initiated by HQ 121(I) Inf BDE, where the brigadier was serving
at the relevant time. These letters are fictitious and false.
As per Outlook, the COAS visited Kargil on Aug 25,
98. This is factually incorrect. The COAS visited Kargil on Aug 29, 98. Many
other officers senior to Brig Singh had also visited HQ 121(I) Inf BDE from Sep 1,
98 till the beginning of hostilities in May 99. Had Brig Singh briefed all
these officers on threat perceptions, as mentioned in this article, it doesnt appeal
to reason that all these officers would have brushed aside such issues.
The contentions mentioned in the box Intelligence Dumped
under article IBID, are grossly misrepresentative of true facts. There was no intelligence
input regarding threat to the Kargil ammunition point. The ammunition point is not
observed by the Pakistani troops deployed across the LoC, hence observed artillery fire
cannot be brought down on to it. The vulnerability of the said ammunition point was
perceived after escalation of trans-LC firing in the region. Instructions were accordingly
issued to 121(I) Inf BDE to decongest the logistics echelons, especially the ammunition
point from Kargil to rear areas. A plan to totally decongest the area was made by a Board
of Officers of 121 Inf BDE prior to Brig Singh taking over the command of the brigade.
Initially the brigade headquarters had forwarded a
five-year plan, which wasnt the correct approach to the problem. However, while the
study by the Board of Officers was being evaluated, concurrently, the brigade was allotted
additional transport to shift the ammunition to an alternate location, out of enemy
artillery range. Due to persistent efforts of the divisional headquarters, some 8,000
rounds of Bofors ammunition were shifted to rear areas.
Replenishment of ammunition was carried out at the Kargil
ammunition point, even though 121(I) Inf BDE projected no deficiency/demand, since a
minimum stock level of ammunition is to be maintained in a brigade sector. Representation
to the contrary in your article is incorrect.
Col Shruti Kant,
Army PRO, New Delhi
Outlook replies: We stand by our story and
reject all denials made by the army pro.
A Victim of Office
In the article A Touch of Cant (May 8), you say the
President just "laughed it (being called an untouchable) off", but he roundly
blamed the Indian press for constantly referring to him as a Dalit. This is
hypocrisy on Narayanans part, having used the term to reach Indias highest
office. After all, he was just an ifs officer-turned-worshipper of the dynasty
a la Natwar Singh and Mani Shankar Iyer.
Right Said Maneka
I agree with Maneka Gandhi about the present form of the
Womens Reservation bill (Letters, May 8). We do not want our Parliament full of
Rabris who are just puppets in the hands of their husbands, fathers or father-in-law.
Plug the Doubts
Rather than consider the strategic import (Borderline
Warmth, May 8) India and China should try to explore how the border can become a line of
cooperation and friendship. When countries in Europe could transcend borders for a
European Union, why cant we?
Droughts upon the land and everyones adding
their bit on whom to blame, what went wrong and listing "heres what we have to
do" (Mirage 2000, May 8). What about planting trees? Its the one course of
action thatll save this dying nation. This simple formula can solve the problems of
flooding, climate change, groundwater recharging, etc.
Why does the media have to wait for calamities to strike
before writing on what should or should not have been done? Cant it be proactive and
point out shortcomings early enough, so that steps can be taken to overcome them?
Get Real, Roy
Arundhati Roys remarks in A venal, dangerous
lie (May 8) may be politically correct, but are divorced from realities. Her
preoccupation with Sardar Sarovar is fine but has she cared to visit the drought-affected
areas? Here women walk 10 to 12 miles in the blistering sun to fetch water. Is their
plight of no consequence?
Courtesy people like Arundhati Roy, we will remain a
backward nation. And magazines like Outlook help their cause by giving them undue
What all the propaganda of the Hindutva brigade
couldnt do, Anita Prataps done with her column (The Past and its Relics, May
8). She rightly points out that many of the magnificent churches in Spain are built over
masjids built by Muslim conquerors as are the many churches in France over old pagan
temples. If they could demolish their "Babri masjids", why should we agonise
over this one?
A Cause Undermined
Naipauls pronouncements in Hindu
revivalists... (May 8) do not help the cause of the tolerant and wise
image of Hinduism. If he can justify Babri as an act of balancing, will he
also approve if Indias backward classes subjugate the likes of Naipaul to
balance thousands of years of atrocities committed on them by upper caste
Naipaul says the Portuguese brought Christianity to India.
But Christianity came to India in AD 52-long before Rome heard about Christianity or the
Portuguese invaded India.
Rajeev Mathew A.
Liaison That Wasnt
I was embarrassed to find the details of a holiday
supposedly taken by me in the company of a young politician (Polscape, May 1). The source
wasnt revealed. The reporters prurient interest in other peoples private
lives got him carried away. The only person whos taken me for holidays is my second
son Chinnen Das. I have no connection with the gentleman you mention. My lord (and lover)
in this world is all-pervasive, like ether.
Kamala Soraiya nee Das,
Balls to That
At one time I thought cricket was about balls. Now Im
convinced its all balls.
Phiroze B. Javeri,
Match-fixing: An Epic Tale
Match-fixing is not entirely a new thing to us Indians. In
ancient times also, there used to be match-fixing in India when a better player
manipulated the game in such a manner as to have the weak player declared the winner! But
this was done without any financial consideration for the benefit of others. When Bharat
came to Ayodhya after Lord Rama was exiled, the former decided to meet Rama at Chitrakoot
and to persuade him to return to Ayodhya and become emperor. At Chitrakoot, when all the
dignitaries of Ayodhya met in a session to discuss the matter, Bharat publicly disclosed
that Rama was so kind towards him that even when he was about to be defeated in a game
played with Rama, the elder brother manipulated things in such a way that he (Bharat)
would win the match.
The Beauties of an Open Market
Theres something curious about the way Indian girls
are getting one beauty crown after the other-the latest being Miss Universe for Lara
Dutta. Call me a cynic but I feel we need to pause and think why we did not get so many
titles before we liberalised our economy. Who is actually paying for these awards? I
wouldnt be surprised if its cosmetics giants. It has to do with the enormous
market India offers for their products. Keeping the hopes of millions of Indian girls
alive by giving them a role model every now and then does wonders to their sales graph.
Other products benefit too. After all, isnt almost every school, college and club
holding its own beauty contest across the country? Giving the award to a small country
with the market size of a few thousand or even a few lakh would be such a waste.