The better bargain
With reference to the editorial Twist in the dragon tale (Our Take, February 5), the Chinese Communist Party seems like an imperialist ruling over its own country. We should be thankful that we have freedom of speech and a 7 per cent growth rate, rather than a dictatorship. History bears witness to the fact that dictatorships fare better economically than democracies. But then at least the democratic option offers citizens a political voice.
Madhav A Tandon, Delhi
We’re missing the message here
Barkha Dutt in Why isn’t India saying ‘Jai ho’? (Third eye, January 31), has rightly brought to light the futility of the debate on the depiction of Indian poverty in the movie Slumdog Millionaire. If we as Indians are so embarrassed of our predicament, then why don’t we take some serious measures to eradicate the cause? Instead, we sit in our well-furnished homes and harangue Danny Boyle for making a mockery of India overseas. It’s time to keep our hypocrisy aside and take some action so that all Indians can proudly say ‘Jai ho’.
Rudrakshi Razdan, via email
Of late, it has become fashionable to criticise the Oscar-nominated film Slumdog Millionaire for showing the poverty of Mumbai’s slums, even though the film has only showcased reality. Had the film been directed by an Indian, the critics would not have even batted an eye, and it is only the pessimistic side of the story they are now highlighting. They fail to observe the other optimistic half of the movie: the fact that those struggling in the slums can make it to the very top.
K Venkataraman, Delhi
I agree with Barkha Dutt that the film Slumdog does not only portray the poverty or the pathetic lives of slum-dwellers. It only portrays the energy and will-power of those less fortunate, trying to make a living against all odds. Instead of feeling slighted by the depiction of Mumbai’s underbelly, let us do something concrete to alleviate poverty and help provide basic amenities which slums so badly need. Over 4 million poor live in Mumbai’s slums alone. Are we going to do something about it or just continue to criticise Danny Boyle for making a movie that is nothing if not a paean to hope?
Surendra Kumar, Delhi
Though Amitabh Bachchan is being criticised for his critique on Slumdog Millionaire, it is a fact that the film is only now being appreciated by the media, film critics and the audience that it has won international awards. Had there been no awards, nominations or international recognition, it would not have been as feted. No doubt, it must be a good film, but why are we so dependent on signs from the West, even in our appreciation of Indian films and other offerings?
Mahesh Kumar, Delhi
Tigers on the run
The LTTE appears to be on the run with no logistical support and a void where its apex leadership was. It’s track record proves that it believes only in speaking the language of violence, while thumbing its nose at international opinion to pursue the mirage of an independent Elam within the tiny island nation. The Sri Lankan government must use its good offices to get the down-but-not-out LTTE to the negotiation table for a final settlement. This will be in the interest of all peace-loving people of South Asia.
Bichu Muttathara, via email
In the name of creativity
With reference to Vir Sanghvi’s article Warts, we worry? (February 5), the debate on the propriety of showcasing Indian poverty in cinema or art is nothing new. In creative work, the truth needs to be given its proper place. But selling poverty in the name of creativity, where the project in its entirety sets a distasteful trend in the field of creativity and also exposes the hollowness of its content. All the brouhaha about Slumdog Millionaire shows how excessive propaganda can make a mountain out of a molehill.
Bhaskar Sen, via email
Time to weed out corruption
The report RAW man arrested for taking bribe (February 4), only proves that bribery is rampant in the top echelons of the official hierarchy, including our top investigating agencies. Corruption is a menace much like terrorism, and has spread its tentacles to all sections of the society. Strict laws and awareness among people are the only way out.
Ganesh V. Hegde, Dharwad