Team India surely has got a lot to prove, especially when we’re at the threshold of the World Cup in the West Indies (Can’t Flex This, Oct 9). This Chappellgiri—frequent trials and last-minute changes in batting orders—does not appear to be a good idea. It has only added to the uncertainty in results. Of course, it is for the coach and the captain to decide together, the captain must have the final say when it comes to choosing the playing eleven.
Dr Jinu Mathew, on e-mail
Dravid’s boys can have a serious swing at the icc trophy only if players like Mahendra Singh Dhoni stop basking in their past glory and start delivering. India have a lot of tightening up to do—too many teams are inching closer to the Aussie level of professionalism. Let’s hope the boys in blue won’t let their fans down.
V.K. Tangri, Dehradun
Chamcha Rahul’s main aim is to keep Sourav Ganguly out of the team. Instead of getting obsessed with ways to keep the Prince of Calcutta out, it would be good if Dravid sought ways to improve his captaincy. And mind you, even Chappell will be garlanded with chappals if our World Cup team returns empty-handed next year.
T. Narendra, Greenville, US
Your headline on the cover was in bad taste. Let’s not forget that Team India’s performance doesn’t hinge solely on the delivering capacity of the coach. More so when our multi-millionaire stars have seldom shown character and won/ saved matches for the country. Most of them can’t be relied on in crunch situations, their calibre is evident from the saying that the class of a batsman is known by the way he gets out, not the way he plays. As for bowlers, their quality is exposed on tours abroad. So why blame poor Chappell alone?
K. Sivaraman, on e-mail
Chappell has failed—worse, destroyed the team’s confidence. The bcci, which gives him an astronomical pay packet, should stop the coach from further experimenting. A winning impetus should be the sole thing it should demand from him. If that doesn’t happen at the icc Cup, let us replace Chappell with an Indian coach in the next six months.
S.S. Ranade, on e-mail
Hey, what’s wrong with a few losses (Dharma and Greg)? I did not hear Javagal Srinath complaining when India were doing well. Is the next World Cup the end of the road? Agreed, Srinath was one bowler who always gave his best, but then cricket has changed much after he hung up his spikes. Today, one needs a more flexible and varied role for cricketers. No point sticking to the old and stale methods.
So, around 81 per cent of those polled in the max-Outlook Passion of India Poll believed that their favourite team would claim the title and reverse the indifferent performance of the last two odi series (Love of the Game)? Tell many what percentage of them were drunk?
B.G. Prakash, Sydney
A cricket special after an issue on B-schools. Why don’t you delve into common man’s problems? Like the inhuman conditions of the commuters on Mumbai’s suburban trains?
Sales Joseph, Mumbai
Musharraf’s candid admissions in his memoir In the Line of Fire hardly come as a surprise since the man cares a whit for political courtesies (The General Gets Specific, Oct 9). For the rest, he paints himself as a Kemal Ataturk, saviour of Pakistan. But after reading what he has to say on Kargil, I for one am not buying his book and doing him a favour.
Prakash, San Francisco, US
Musharraf, through his book, has proved that Pakistan can’t be trusted. India should realise it’s played the game of patience far too long. Pity Prime Minister Singh is too mild to take on the wily Musharraf. With the military and fundamentalists running amok in Pakistan, Raja Harishchandras won’t do. We need an Indira or a similarly Chankyan presence in New Delhi to tackle him.
Kamal Sangra, Jammu
Musharraf’s book has all the ingredients of a Bollywood potboiler: pyaar-vyaar (‘I fell in love with a Bengali girl), war and betrayal (as in Kargil) and of course, plenty of jhooth.
There is a wonderful lesson to be learnt from Mush’s memoir. On Page 27 of his book, the Pak prez talks of a local bully who’d corner all the kites. Till one day the young Musharraf’s brother caught some kite string and the bully, accompanied by two other boys demanded he hand it over. Holding his brother’s hand, not only did Musharraf refuse but also apparently punched the bully in the nose. "The lesson I learned was that if you call a bully’s bluff, he crumbles." India too should give this bully a punch and call his bluff. He’ll crumble.
P. Ramachandran, Mumbai
Musharraf’s book will do well in India. Hasn’t congenital liar Munnabhai wormed his way into our hearts? Now for ‘Lage Raho Musharraf bhai’.
Rajeev Sinha, Gurgaon
It sure pays to be Pak prez. A whole Bibliophile (Oct 9) is devoted to a Rs 950 book, full of self-aggrandisement, half-truths and polemic.
V.K. Reddy, Warangal, AP
Apropos Kisan Jam (Oct 9). Prime Minister Singh needn’t worry. The Communists won’t bring his government down. After all, they have to keep the ‘communal forces’ at bay.
B. Arun, Trichy
Sandeep Pandey’s review of our book Postmodern Gandhi and Other Essays: Gandhi in the World and at Home (Oct 9) goes astray in a number of ways. Most egregious is his observation that "they dwell at length on the comparison between Gandhi and Christ.... It is hard for Christians to digest the fact that the one man in history who resembled Christ in thought, words and deed was not a Christian." John Haynes Holmes introduced Gandhi to Americans in a much-publicised sermon in April 1921 on ‘Who is the Greatest Man in the World’. He told his Community Church congregation in New York that "‘when I think of Lenin, I think of Napoleon. But when I think of Gandhi, I think of Jesus Christ". Holmes, a Christian minister, was making Gandhi intelligible and thus credible to his American audience. Pandey says "the book ...gives the western world credit for most of Gandhi’s progressive ideas ....This makes the book’s basic premise...flawed." We follow the young Gandhi’s own estimate in the preface to Hind Swaraj (1909) where he tell us, "Whilst the views expressed in Hind Swaraj are held by me, I have endeavoured humbly to follow Tolstoy, Ruskin, Thoreau, Emerson and other writers besides the masters of Indian philosophy." The young Gandhi learned from "the other west"—the West of Tolstoy and Ruskin that rejected empire, violence and desire—and integrated their ideas with a revitalised version of his Indian heritage. A generation later, the mature Gandhi’s ideas and actions challenged western modernity’s hegemony in the world as well as at home. We are disturbed by the tendency of the recent rediscovery of Gandhi to sentimentalise and commodify him. We fear Sandeep Pandey’s review contributes to this tendency by reducing Gandhi’s meaning to maxims for living.
Lloyd I. Rudolph, Susanne Hoeber Rudolph, on e-mail
Mahatma Gandhi, when asked for an autograph, "played with a straight bat", quite forgetting he was engaged in a mighty and bloodless revolution with the British, and became a member of an official England team (Gandhi, A Second Coming, Sep 11). Few perhaps know this side of the man: he was not only a cricket enthusiast but also wielded the willow. But among the treasured possessions of the Marylebone Cricket Club at Lord’s is an autograph book, wherein Gandhi put his signature as the 17th player of the mcc team led by Douglas Jardine in 1933-34. How he was chosen, perhaps even the mcc selectors can’t have explained. But Gandhi ended up playing for a team of British origin against a team of Indian origin at London, scored 21 runs with 3 boundaries. He took a wicket too. R.G. Mehta, a boyhood friend and schoolmate, wrote, "It is not commonly known that Gandhiji was a dashing cricketer and evinced keen interest in the game. Once we were watching a match together. In those days there were ding-dong battles between Rajkot city vs Rajkot Sardar (camp area). At a crucial moment, as if by intuition, Gandhiji said a particular player would be out and hey presto the batsman was really out."
C.K. Subramaniam, on e-mail
Suhel Seth’s column Judge Dread (Oct 9) only reveals his ignorance of basic constitutional law principles and how the system is "supposed to work". The judiciary is appointed by the executive and then keeps other arms of government in check. The judiciary itself has an inbuilt set of checks. However, at the end of the day, it’s the people who elect the legislature, therefore the executive and thus the judiciary.
Gaurav Talwar, Hanover, US
Well said, Mr Seth, but is anyone listening? How many of us are willing to start with our own selves and not exploit loopholes in the law? Then again, what’s one to do if you find there are two sets of laws: one for ordinary men, another for the powerful? The law can torment traders for opening shops in residences but who accounts for the government’s failure to provide affordable commercial spaces?
Vasu Pahwa,on e-mail
Seth’s column reflects my own worries about our judiciary. Judicial activism is all very well, but not when it’s self-defeating, as it’s becoming in the case of sealing commercial properties in residential areas. I’d prefer a self-contained residential area, with daily necessities of life within easy reach. Give me a small grocer or chemist at the street corner any day rather than having to run to a supermart every time I need a tube of paste.
K.P. Luke Vydhian, Bangalore