Issue Dated: December 18, 2000

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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 Narmada.

Ashish Khokhar,

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.

M. Ratan,
New Delhi

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'?

H.C. Shah,

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 apologise profusely.

Aminuddin Khan,
on e-mail

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?

Satish Nangia,
New Delhi

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.

Vijaya Saran,
on e-mail

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.

R. Shrivastav,
on e-mail

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.

H.P. Somayaji,
Madikeri, Karnataka

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?

Parul Mehta,
New Delhi

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 persuasive best.

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'.

Jose Varghese,
Kottarakkara, Kerala

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 country.

P.V. Jayashankar,

If Arundhati thinks working at call centres is tantamount to giving into foreign hands, then what about writing in English?

Biswajit Sahu,
Durg, MP

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.

L.Y. Rao,

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 after him.

Binu Alex,

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 their knees.

Sophia Ajaz,

Fundamental Truth

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.

L.C. Kaul,
New Delhi

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?

Jitendra Nair,

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,

Misplaced Constituency

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.

A. Mehta,

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.

Vikramaditya Kunte,
on e-mail

Superstition Aside

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 cricketer.

on e-mail

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?

Kavitha Hariharan,
on e-mail

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.

G. Thrivikram,

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 cover.

Anabel Mohan
on e-mail

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