Politics of the Dammed, Part II
Looking at the your November 27 cover (Power
Politics), my first thought was: Oh no! Reading her piece, I realise why
Arundhati is special-what a mind and what an engaging piece! Only the title on
the cover Big Bully Uncle Sam was misleading as the Germans and the Dutch are a
part of it too. The article motivates even lazy bums like me to do something for
Arundhati's problem is her megalomania, her
arrogant belief that she has all the answers to India's multiple problems while
the others-the elected representatives of the people-are all either slaves of
the US or multinationals.
Arundhati's essay reminded me of the wise words
of Anton Chekov that "the majority feeds, clothes and defends the minority
while remaining hungry, inadequately clad and defenceless". How long will
this charade go on?
Dr Mohamed Ebrahim,
Arundhati laments the absence of official
figures. But where does she get her figures from? Are they a result of her
'research' or have they been culled from 'published' sources'?
Just because a lady writes a sweet novel about
the travails of zygotic twins in Kerala, wins the Booker, and earns a million
pounds sterling, does it mean we have to put up with her views on every subject
under the sun? Unless she owns Outlook, or part thereof. In which case, I
Every educated Indian knows that the country is
ruined by bureaucracy, votebank politics, casteism, all compounded by the
culture of corruption. Why does Arundhati have to get emotional about it?
Has Arundhati no sense of humour? The bit about
Indians putting on Yank accents and names while dealing with American customers
had me in splits.
The species of know-all writers and
environmentalists never ceases to amaze me. In a few clever strokes of the pen,
Arundhati runs down Americans, the power sector, call centres, hydel plants, the
Indian government and Indians themselves. Given the Pankaj Mishras and Arundhati
Roys, this country, I think, has more than its fair share of self-deprecating
Writers like Ms Roy and Pankaj Mishra are
radically redefining the 'Indian' intellectual. I began to pay attention to
Outlook because it carried The Greater Common Good (June 1999). And about its
editor Vinod Mehta, for publishing Power Politics, I could do no better than
quote the inimitable Ms Roy herself: "It's reassuring to know that big men
still take big risks." There aren't many like you around.
Arundhati seems more peeved at the dam being a
private project than anything else. Does she really know what it's like to walk
miles for water, she who survives on mineral water?
Arundhati need not have inflicted Rumpelstiltskin
on readers like me! She had nearly put me off with her introductory verbiage:
'accretion, cabal, assemblage, multi-gnome', till I was compelled to skip to the
third paragraph, again bypassing 'the most exalted plenipotentiary of
Rumpeldom', to find myself on home turf, from where onwards Roy was at her
Sant Prakash Gupta,
I've often wondered why our intelligentsia fails
to show its dissent with the way India is steered along the path of disaster. We
embrace subjugation of all kinds whole-heartedly and boast about 'development'.
Arundhati writes beautiful prose and should stick
to it instead of meddling in economics. It is because of armchair theoreticians
like her that India, in spite of her size, natural resources and the inherent
intelligence of its people, continues to remain a poor and under-developed
If Arundhati thinks working at call centres is
tantamount to giving into foreign hands, then what about writing in English?
The Nab of the Matter
The article Murky Truths (December 4) reveals the
extent to which democratically elected governments can allow themselves to be
manipulated and even become tools in the hands of avowed Tamil separatist
organisations. There's definitely more to the Rajkumar kidnap drama than meets
the eye... And we trust both the central and Karnataka governments to leave no
stone unturned in unravelling the 'mysteries' of this episode.
Instead of bashing Veerappan and his associates,
the government of India and the Karnataka government should thank him for his
effort to maintain the Karnataka forest sans some sandalwood trees. He should
probably be made forests and environment minister rather than have the stf sent
Veerappan is not a bandit, he's the man who can
lead our nation. Look at his strengths: he can hold two state governments,
escape cops and go scot-free and take a ransom too. I truly wish he was the
prime minister of India and bring the the imf, the World Bank and the US to
It's become a fashion with self-appointed
secularists in general and Leftists in particular to dub any change in India's
education policy as saffronisation (Joshi's Class of 2000, November 27).
Educational thought in India will continue to be misdirected and educational
effort frittered away unless changes take place in fundamentals.
Why is any attempt to promote Vedic tradition and
culture treated as a gameplan of the bjp? When so much research is going on the
Vedas the world over and when so many foreign universities have the Vedas and
the Upanishads on their curriculum, why should they not be included in India,
where they originated?
Profit in Halves
From his pleadings in favour of the Hurriyat
(Another Go at Peace, December 4), Prem Shankar Jha would seem to belong to the
"total autonomy within India" brigade. This will cost us Rs 8,000
crore per year. So I say get rid of J&K and prosper. Didn't the separation
of Bangladesh raise Pakistan's per capita income by Rs 1,000?
Girish V. Wagh,
For god's sake, please stop the column heaped
upon us by "the author who stood for Parliament elections from
Barmer". It's sheer waste of space. Besides, its selfish political agenda
has no takers among your readers.
The Permanent Stain
It's shameful that some readers have demanded
that Outlook issue an apology to Kapil Dev now that he has been cleared of all
charges by the cbi. Kapil has been let off not because he is innocent but
because there is no evidence against him. Just because people refuse to come to
terms with the fact that Kapil is a match-fixer does not prove him innocent.
Azhar's bad days started not because of vaastu or
Sangeeta Bijlani but because he was overcome by greed (Fixing the Fixers,
November 13). His present predicament is of his own making, superstition has
nothing to do with it. Nemesis has just caught up with this once-famous
According to one of your Muslim readers,
Azharuddin is being blamed more than he should be because of his faith. But
Jadeja, Prabhakar, Mongia and Ajay Sharma are being blamed equally. And
wrongdoers have to be punished, regardless of their faith. Every Indian had the
greatest regard for Azza's cricketing abilities. Which is why the shock is
deeper that he did not think twice before selling his soul for a few millions.
A Case for Bias?
To all readers who unabashedly criticised Outlook
for publishing Dawood on its cover: where were your letters when Outlook
published photographs of cricketers accused in the match-fixing scandal? Are
they any different from Dawood?
Not Quite Palatable
As a result of discretionary income and time,
working wives and smaller families, more than half of all Indians eat more than
half of their meals away from home (A Mouthful of World, December 4). The main
beneficiary of this new pattern of Indian eating are the fast food chains, where
edibles roll out like car parts on an assembly line. Many of these foods have
been attacked by nutritionists because they're high in fat or sugar and are
overladen with calories. So should you want a better and healthy tomorrow, the
fast food intakes is what will have to be skipped.
Your cover story might be food for thought to
many but does precious little to whet the appetites of others who prefer
slightly more serious reading. The great Indian middle class definitely has
moved on from its salad days but it is surely not an issue that would inspire a