Healthy PM, healthy nation
Vir Sanghvi, in The Man in the Middle (Counterpoint, January 25), presents a factual analysis of the working relationship between the Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi. Manmohan Singh was invited to be Prime Minister because of his integrity, neutrality, calibre and simple living. He has always been an honest man and because of these qualities he has been able to survive as PM. The only drawback in his administration has been that he has supported politicians with criminal backgrounds as chief ministers and Cabinet ministers. Despite this, he has proved himself a worthy Prime Minister. I wish him sound health.
AL Agarwal, Delhi
Vir Sanghvi has been presumptuous in co-opting his readers in wishing the Prime Minister a speedy recovery. One wishes that for getting every little piece of work done at a government office, one did not need to grovel and demean oneself in front of petty bureaucrats. One wishes that at least a small part of the taxes that one pays, comes back as better infrastructure and that our money is not embezzled by officials and politicians for conspicuous consumption. One also wishes that the fruits of development percolate down to the lowest strata of society. These are among the many things that the Prime Minister could have taken more of an interest in.
Arun Bhagoliwal, Lucknow
True American pie
Karan Thapar in An idea called Obama (Sunday Sentiments, January 25), rightfully praises US President Barack Obama. There was a bit of Gandhian magic in Obama’s expressions and humility before his election as the Democratic candidate. The world, particularly the developing world, sees in him its own image and the ideals it values in the same spirit, as a century before, people saw in Gandhi. Thapar rightly points out in the end as to what the future has in store for Obama who is the new name of ‘change’ today. It is clear that his election to the US presidency is the beginning of that change.
Vinod Tyagi, Delhi
Karan Thapar’s analysis affirms that America is the sole reference group for the rest of the world. Barack Obama’s election that goes against the stereotype of the US as an ethnocentric nation has a clear message to it. America continues to command global attention as an embodiment for a multicultural civilisation. But such a conclusion rests on a false belief that in Obama’s victory, America is seeking redemption for its hegemonic attitude. Obama is very much an American who espoused the change that America sought.
Ashwani Sharma, via email
Still way too soft for soft powers
Indrajit Hazra’s column, Information underload (Red Herring, January 25), touches on a subject that is part of my dissertation. Long after dominance in the physical realm through brute force alone has ended, hegemony today occurs in the symbolic, cultural and psychic realms. This is not to paint a depressing picture of our world but to state bluntly that there is an imbalance in the global flow of mediated images and symbols.
Kumar Sangeet, via email
Indrajit Hazra’s article was a welcome relief. But in his tirade against Americanism, I think Hazra underestimated the Indian media. I don’t think we have anything to worry about. Our media — especially the television media — are prepared to contest in the global information overload through its prowess in hype. It is just that India’s time as a global soft power has not come yet. As Hazra mentions, the United States has had 44 presidents, while we have had just 17 prime ministers.
Manav, via email
Bringing us the real Tibet
Vijay Jung Thapa’s The Other Lhasa (Grey Matter, January 25) was objective and the writer succeeded in identifying some real issues concerning the ongoing economic development of Tibet. In a number of cases in the past, Indian journalists taken to Tibet by the Chinese embassy in New Delhi treated their visit as a routine junket. I’ve been to Tibet twice on my own on photo-expeditions. Thapa’s encounter with the Vice-Chairman of the People’s Congress in Tibet, Nima Ciren, was particularly interesting. Thapa deserves my respect for making special independent efforts to ascertain the real feelings of individual Tibetans.
Vijay Kranti, via email
Paramita Ghosh’s write-up, ‘Duck’s progress’ (Grey Matter, January 25) was an insightful piece. After reading her article, I’ve started thinking of settihg up a farm for rearing Peking ducks.