28 February, 2021
Letters | Mar 18, 2002

Midnight's Orphans

The Slip Shows

Mar 18, 2002

Apropos Midnight’s Orphans (February 25), if I know right, the word vernacular used for Indian languages derives from the Latin root ‘verna’ which refers to slaves. Pity you haven’t escaped your slavish mentality even after all these years of Independence.
Parjan Kumar Jain, Delhi

Franz Kafka was born a Czech and wrote in German. But his work translated by Edwin and Will Muir in English is as good as in original German. No one asked Arthur Koestler to write his major works in Hungarian or German and not in English. Sometimes the stepmother tongue sounds lovelier than the natural mother tongue.
Charu C. Joshi, Delhi

St Antony's Cross

UP, and the Bihar of the South

Mar 18, 2002

The verdict thrown up by the UP assembly election results have been expectedly fractured (Ups and Downs, March 4). Amid the routine and the predictable, the bsp’s mind-boggling performance, however, is a heartening development. It indicates a new beginning for Hindi heartland politics. One hopes that the bsp’s ascendancy in the state will continue against all odds and will set a new agenda for the state’s moribund polity.
Siddhartha Valmiki, Kunda Pratapgarh)

We appreciate it, but perhaps you needn’t have rushed to give us the results, given the paralysis that came in its wake!
T.P. Shetty, Mumbai

Kerala has almost become another Bihar (St Antony’s Cross). It is well on its way to doom, courtesy rigid Marxism. India’s most literate state is paying a heavy price for sacrificing industrialisation at the altar of militant unionism. It’s time for Keralites to bid eternal adieu to Marxists and their outmoded class war theories. They’ve only landed God’s Own Country into the devil’s lap.
T.S. Pattabhi Raman, Coimbatore

It’s amazing how you refused to go beyond the obvious. For the first time ever in its history, all employees’ organisations, from the far left to the right, are on strike. There are people’s committees in every nook and corner supporting the strike. Antony has few takers even in his party. Who then are the citizens you speak of? A handful of bureaucrats, Abdul Nasser Madani’s pdp with its single-point agenda of getting their leader released, and a section of Infam with dubious intentions and communal overtones?
Sajith Sukumaran, Thiruvananthapuram

An elder like K. Karunakaran should sink differences and, along with son and kpcc president Muralidharan, help in strengthening Antony’s hand.
G.S. Rao, Bangalore

It’s unfortunate that Antony is doing precious little to bring striking employees to their senses, despite public support and the special powers he has under esma. People expect more stringent measures to end the ongoing strike.
K.V. Raghuram, Wayanad

The entire striking lot should be fired and unemployed youth hired in their place. This will change the mindset of both the bureaucracy and the trade unions in one stroke. Remember Ronald Reagan and the Air Controllers’ strike?
Sunil Ithikatt, on e-mail

The present financial crisis can be overcome only with extreme steps. And everyone has to sacrifice one way or another.
Manoj R., Palakkad

The stir by Kerala employees was forced upon them by the state government. Who can accept their employer’s decision not to pay them salary at the end of the month? Antony should’ve restricted the number of ministers to 14 as the earlier Left government had done, if he was genuinely concerned about the exchequer. The government has several options if the issue is employee corruption/inefficiency. The CM is talking tough, contrary to his nature. It only goes to show that he has given in to his wily colleagues.
Vijay George, on e-mail

Kerala is a dying state, the ‘Bihar of the south’. There’s widespread decay and bankruptcy—of funds in the state exchequer, of leadership, ideology and political will. The government servants have no business going on strike. And to think the nincompoops that landed Kerala in the mess it is in are now trying to side with the strikers and gain mileage out of it. Add to this, we have a guy like KK who is the Judas in Antony’s camp.
Wg Cdr D.R. Lawrence, Thiruvananthapuram

The employees have no business striking work—a good majority hardly works. Coming in by 11 am, they hurry to the nearest coffee chat shop. Soon it’s lunch time and even sooner it’s tea time before it’s finally time to go home. With the Kerala Model money order economy, we have to appreciate whatever the CM’s doing to save us from this morass.
Cherian, on e-mail

You’ve made a mockery of us Keralites by publishing a picture of the procession organised by pdp hooligans. The pdp is a communal outfit instrumental in inciting trouble across Kerala. They started the riot in Pathanamthitta by stoning Sabarimala pilgrims. Their leader Madani is in Coimbatore jail on charges of plotting to kill Advani. His so-called party has little base in Kerala. But our "reformist" chief minister couldn’t oppose them as the party was in his alliance in the last assembly elections.
Ashraf, on e-mail

Antony’s desperate attempts lack sincerity. The first thing he should do is to downsize the government, starting from his bloated ministry. Then he would be on a moral high ground to take further steps.
Suresh, on e-mail

A roguish 5 per cent is holding 95 per cent of Kerala’s population to ransom. Government is at a standstill, students are suffering, the poor are being pushed to the edge. When 44 lakh youth are unemployed, the striking employees are hardly justified in their cause. As noted Gandhian K.E. Mamman said, the secretariat is not a battleground.
Manoj Sadasivan, Dubai

Our previous CMs were the cheapest opportunists. They spouted Communist jargon, but took sufficient care of their family and cadres.
Karun, on e-mail

Stars And Stripes

Prize Foolery

Mar 18, 2002

I read Saryu Ahuja’s Star and Stripes (February 18) with total disbelief. Having lived in south India for over 30 years, I failed to recognise the unlikely and artificial dialogue, peppered though it was with Aiyoo, amma-di and the like. Incredulity gave way to outrage at the total insensitivity of the reference to a dying woman’s "one-anna back" laid on expensive American sheets. Blue stars on a red T-shirt; ash stripes on nri foreheads—and all the time they remain America-returned Confused Tamilian Desis. Just like Amma at home, who imagines that 50 Tata shares are a BIG DEAL. I am sorry that the panel, which includes writers themselves capable of great sensitivity, should have felt that this was prize-winning material.
Rachel Reuben, Mumbai

Thousand Babris Now

Mar 18, 2002

I’m a French national residing in Muhammadpur, a small (predominantly Hindu) village in south Delhi. A number of Islamic monuments from the pre-Mughal era, mostly tombs, stand in and around here. Some days ago, a disused mosque, dating back to the Lodi dynasty, was pulled down here, probably for construction use. As I write this letter, the rubble is being carried away. Soon all traces of that historical building will have been obliterated forever. How surprising is it that a minister should indulge in rewriting history and deleting passages from textbooks when some people in this country are desecrating, defacing, damaging and even destroying parts of their national heritage.
Francois Xavier Durandy, New Delhi

Stuck in the Past?

Mar 18, 2002

If neighbouring Bangladesh can discard the colonial appellation of its capital and call it Dhaka; if international cities like Peking and Rangoon can be renamed Beijing and Yangon respectively, why does Outlook obdurately persist with the colonial nomenclatures for Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai?
Anil Kumar, Chennai

Liberating History

His Human Errors

Mar 18, 2002

Arshad Mahmud’s political leanings obscured his article Liberating History (March 4). The perception of Mujib in the outside world has been fuzzy by the lack of knowledge about his actual role during the war of liberation. He was undoubtedly a key figure in Bangladesh’s history but he was a human being, a politician lacking foresight, not an idol as his party and his daughter have tried to portray. It’s a pity the country remains divided in its attitude to Mujib. The pros prefer to wear blinkers while the antis go to the other extreme. Bangladesh has been independent for 30 years. It’s high time its people faced the truth, however unpleasant it may be.
W. Gregory, on e-mail

Gujarat: The Naked Face

Mar 18, 2002

Two wrongs don’t make a right. What happened in Godhra, a highly despicable act of burning innocent rail passengers, cannot justify the carnage in Gujarat where one community was targeted. Sanity had deserted those goons who marched boldly torching and killing hapless citizens while the police were turning a Nelson’s eye to the riotous acts. While Gujarat burned, Modi and Advani issued platitudes from the safety of their airconditioned offices for restraint. One wonders what the much touted rapid action force was doing. It was only when the army swung into action that a semblance of control was reached but not enough to protect citizens being killed or burnt with looters having their field day. This is the sort of situation which has given President Musharraf a tool to castigate us before the international community regarding our doublespeak on secularism. It is not too late for the Gujarat government to take positive steps to assure one and all that such a situation will not be allowed to repeat. Meanwhile, those affected by the riots should get immediate relief in cash and kind so that they can resume their normal life again.
D.B.N. Murthy, Bangalore

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