I am glad it's none other than B.G.Verghese who has written an (official?) rejoinder in Outlook (A Poetic Licence, July 5) to my essay The Greater Common Good. Glad, only because I trust that he is an honourable man defending long-held beliefs and not a venal one seeking to line his wallet. So at least we have the semblance of a debate on our hands. What more can one ask for?
Almost everyone who wants to rubbish my argument begins by paying me extravagant, back-handed compliments about my 'poetic writing'. Almost as though poetry by definition is imprecise, unsubstantiated mush. Not something that Real Men who build Big Dams dabble in.
"The poetry was charming. The facts wrong," Mr Verghese says. The poetry may have been charming (though it's not an adjective that I would choose), but the facts are right.
I won't restate my case, let me simply say that I...