Laxmi Mittal’s obscene display of wealth during the wedding of his daughter (Papa, Buy me the Eiffel, June 28) cannot impress anyone who is sane. Doting on your children is quite all right, but using this as an excuse to squander wealth is inexcusable. Had the steel magnate spent at least 50 per cent of the amount on the welfare of some deprived children in India by way of healthcare, food and education, he would have earned much more respect and admiration. Why can’t big millionaires think in those terms instead of amassing wealth just so that they can fritter it away so callously?
Shankara Swamy, on e-mail
Your cover story Gastro Inditis (June 28) must have stimulated to salivation the lucky few with fat purses in Shining India. Could you do another cover to balance this picture of the good life—with visuals of the many who live in the gloom of want and hunger, subsisting on the leavings of the better-off? Their numbers are greater, so do give them space too.
Diana Saldanha, Bangalore
Thank you for drawing us this map of the best of wining and dining in 10 Indian cities, that too at an incredible Rs 15.
Sekhar Basu Mallik, Calcutta
I know it’s not the easiest thing to compile a list of the best of anything. So I can understand how a top Thai restaurant like Benjarong was left out. But I can’t understand how New Yorker, which despite its Mumbai pedigree has yet to make its mark in Chennai, could find place above a long-established popular favourite like Eden?
P. Yesuthasen, Chennai
I guess you have been busy eating your words ever since your predictions of Elections 2004 came unstuck. Seems like you just can’t get your mind off food and hence the Gastro Inditis (June 28). Here’s wishing you Bon Appetit.
Diana Pinto, Salcete, Goa
Your inside cover shows the photograph of a girl dressed most indecently. I too am a modern youth of this generation but still think the photograph is truly repulsive.
Sabina Khanna, Gurgaon
I live in Chittaranjan Park in New Delhi. I am very curious to know where the restaurant Bernando mentioned in your cover story is. Could you also recommend a good place selling steaks in this city?
Dr Rajib Mukherjee, New Delhi
What’s happening to Outlook? It seems to be losing its sense of responsibility and journalistic integrity. Of late, you have been doing rather puerile and insensitive cover stories when there are so many serious stories to be reported. You have created your own space in journalism. Please don’t fritter it away.
Shine Varkala, Thiruvananthapuram
Gastro Inditis sounded like a free promotional offer to anyone who didn’t need to advertise otherwise. Going by the media, if you are not seen in these places, it’s akin to committing suicide. But you’re mistaken, there’s more to life than stuffing yourselves silly.
Abhishek Puri, on e-mail
Sometimes I wonder if I need to subscribe to a lifestyle magazine at all. My worry now is to look for a newsmagazine.
Anaz Bari, Thiruvananthapuram
Of late Outlook has been turning dull and lacklustre. It seems to be running out of ideas and catering to just about two per cent of the Indian population. Why not write about something which is more relevant and useful to the common man instead of a handful of spoilt and sickeningly rich urban elite?
K.V. Raghuram, Wayanad, Kerala
Oh, I am moved to tears. Such an inspiring and insightful cover story! Burp on a Rs 3,000 meal and pontificate about starvation in Kalahandi.
P. Chandra, Portland, US
Alas, the stomach is only six inches long but it can expand to accommodate all the junk food available.
A.S. Raj, on e-mail
Your article Death at Sandheads (June 21) runs completely against the grain of ethical journalism. As an individual who has spent over 40 years in the shipping industry, I do know something about the subject. It is not my case that all is milk and honey in the industry, but it really is preposterous to ask as you do, "Why are ships queuing up to die in the Bay of Bengal?". In this modern day and age when maritime safety standards for ships and personnel are much more stringently enforced, it is virtually impossible for merchant ships to be directed to particular maritime areas or ports with the intention of sinking them for "easy money"! I don’t know of any issuer or underwriter who gives away claimed money so easily. Your correspondent relies on, and quotes, a Royal Navy sailor. When did this august gentleman last sail, in what capacity and in what navy? As to the other expert opinion from the fsui office-bearer, any comment would be a waste of time and effort. Outlook would do well to do a properly researched article on the present reality of Calcutta port and its moribundity.
Capt Madan Sethi, New Delhi
It was heartening to read a few words of praise for Vajpayee (courtesy Prem Shankar Jha in A Tribute to Vajpayee, June 28). Outlook’s constant bjp-bashing and overt sycophancy of the Congress had almost shattered my faith in the credibility of the Fourth Estate.
Prateek Badwelkar, Bhopal
It’s quite insidious the way Outlook keeps referring to UP as Awadh, the latest being the article Battle of Awadh (June 28). I’ve never heard you refer to Bihar as Magadh or Delhi as Indraprastha. Is it because of an itch to go back to the pre-Raj era? Or are you trying to hold up Wajid Ali Shah’s rule as an example to our leaders?
Vikas Chowdhary, Madison, US
Perhaps it would be better if instead of irrelevant cover stories on expensive eating joints in a handful of cities, we had more columns on the lines of Maneka Gandhi’s Clay-Pot Dictator (June 28). Having been led to believe that the introduction of kulhars was the soundest step taken since the founding of Indian Railways itself, it was an eye-opener. My only grouse is that she does not offer alternative solutions.
Vikram Singh Chauhan, Jabalpur
Whatever she might say, kulhars are more environmentally friendly than the plastic cups the railways have used all these years. Why can’t Maneka protest against the chemical plants in India that produce and provide hazardous chemicals to the West (where their production is banned for environmental reasons)? If the choice is between the environment and jobs to a few hundred thousand starving people, then they should come first.
Smriti Mishra, Mumbai
How the Almighty Maneka knows the plight of the poor. Those making kulhars will at least get enough to feed themselves. As for her environmental concerns, why doesn’t she start with cutting down her use of ozone-depleting air-conditioners this summer?
R. Parthasarathy, Piscataway, US
By Maneka’s account, clay is at least as non-biodegradable as plastic. So, is plastic better? Come to think of it, should we have the railways at all? All those many lines of trackwork can’t be doing good to the environment. And surely Ms Gandhi’s house is not devoid of bricks? Or the ubiquitous fridge with environmentally unfriendly coolants. I am no fan of Laloo Yadav but I don’t think Maneka’s potshots are any answer either.
Anuradha Moulee, Sydney, Australia
Populism and hackneyed politics seem to have become a hallmark of successive governments both at the Centre and in the states. Myopic policies implemented with a marked votebankist attitude do good to none. Reservations in the private sector (Skill on Skid Row, June 21) would not only rob the competitive edge that industry functions on but will also tarnish the image of the so-called underprivileged. In a free democratic nation like India, doesn’t something like a backdoor entry on the fangs of reservation smack of discrimination? What’s wrong with basing selection on merit and not on the candidate’s last name and caste? In the name of emancipation, are we not fragmenting society and unleashing divisive ideology? These are issues that will come to haunt us in the long run.
Mayank Kedia, Mumbai
I thought Dev was an extremely thought-provoking movie (A Touch of Raw Flesh, June 28). Not everyone could have liked it because it touches grounds that are too close home and addresses issues people reared on big-budget Bollywood escapism would rather forget. In that sense it’s ahead of its time, so real that you can feel it.
Kalsang Doma, Toronto, Canada
Dev could have been much better had the character of Tej (Om Puri) been shown reformed at the end rather than remaining fixed in his belief.
Navin Batta, Noida, UP
It’s so convenient, so secular and oh so compassionate to make a movie on the suffering of minorities. Something on the curse of terrorism in our country? No way, it’s so politically incorrect.
Ashok Gupta, on e-mail
Farhan Akhtar’s claims (Lakshya, By Chance, June 21) to be a directorial voice representing the new generation of Indians are not just weak but even offensive to young people whose thoughts on life go beyond cute hairdos and fancy T-shirts. A young man finding himself, and his patriotism, after being beaten down by the army boot-camp is hardly new, neither are the battle scenes and cheering from the audience that we witnessed at a recent screening in Udaipur anything original. Lakshya had nothing exciting except for some amazing music.
Kiran Purohit, Udaipur
Edward Luce (Books, June 28) is right when he says that a stereotypical representation of the Raj is unfair. India will always owe a bit of her culture and institutional base to Britain, and that will earn Britons grudging but genuine respect.
Pritam Banerjee, Delhi
Academic punch-ups are boring and unenlightening for those who watch from the ringside. Why don’t Ashis Nandy (A Billion Gandhis, June 14) and Sanjay Subrahmanyam (Our Only Colonial Thinker, June 21) unite their formidable intellectual resources to discern what they both agree on—the traditions and political concepts that have long existed in India for notions of tolerance? They would then enlighten us on how to end the present shouting match between secularism, as understood in India, and Hindutva.
Mark Tully, New Delhi