| PICTURE SPEAK|
"How to Become a Celebrity", December 11
"Be it the gruelling interviews on MTV Roadies or the challenges of Indian Idol, today one has to prove one's mettle onscreen to gain celebrity status."
Jayendra Katti, Mumbai
Nothing to Celebrate
The number of celebrities cropping up every day is proof of the public's bad taste and the media's silly machinations ("How to Become A Celebrity", December 11). One must remember, however, that public memory is very short and these celebrities have a steep fall ahead.
K. Chidanand Kumar, Bangalore
There is nothing to celebrate about today's celebrities. Most of them fall in the category of either the 'celebrity' who wrote to a newspaper, saying, "I don't care what you write about me as long as you spell my name right", or the Hollywood starlet who said, "I am the girl who lost her reputation and never missed it".
Darsha Kikani, Ahmedabad
Your magazine is thriving on naked models-read celebrities-to sell more and more copies. One does not expect such irresponsible behaviour from India's leading magazine.
Vaskar Dutta, on e-mail
The pictures, rather than your article, say a lot about how people, especially women, can become celebrities. They merely have to shed their clothes and cultivate the right 'connections'. Shouldn't you advise youngsters to emulate people like Abdul Kalam, Medha Patkar and Narayana Murthy instead?
S. Balakrishnan, Jamshedpur
A few success stories have been highlighted, but what about the thousands of people with high-flying ambitions who have to go home empty-handed?
A. Jacob Sahayam, Thiruvananthapuram
The successful test of the indigenous interceptor missile by DRDO is a great achievement for India ("The New Guardian", December 11). With hostile nuclear-powered neighbours, one can never be too ready.
K.V. Raghuram, Wayanad
Tax collection now exceeds budget estimates in spite of the fact that dividend income has been made tax -free ("Raining Revenue", December 11). The lowering of excise duty has also yielded higher collection. The rate of service tax should now be brought down to a reasonable four-five per cent. Services are recurring needs and should be taxed responsibly.
Premdayal Gupta, Indore
The ever-expanding rates of taxes like the fringe benefit tax and the service tax, and continuation of the education cess, accompanied by withdrawal of tax exemptions led to the substantial rise in tax collection. Now the finance minister is talking of moderation of tax rates, but will it ever be done?
S.K. Gupta, Delhi
| ACTS OF DISCORD |
Your article on new marriage laws is an unwelcome intrusion into the marital bedroom (December 4).
Hetal M. Doshi, Gandhinagar
The laws should have been brought in long back, but better late than never. Congratulations on your cover story.
Sandeep Narayan, on e-mail
The laws of marriage are eroding the sanctity of wedlock.
Fayaq Ashfaq, on e-mail
Every woman should read your article on marriage laws. Wife-beating and mental torture cannot be tolerated.
Khadija F. Motorwala, Mumbai
Rajnath Singh has a clean image but has no mass base except in Uttar Pradesh ("Rajnath's Raj", December 11). He is seen as a leader from the Hindi belt lacking a pan-Indian image. But with age on his side, he can rejuvenate the BJP and prepare it for the hard battle ahead in Uttar Pradesh, where the party has not been doing well.
D.B.N. Murthy, Bangalore
The BJP stands a good chance of winning the Uttar Pradesh polls under the able leadership of Rajnath Singh. He has what it takes to lead the party through difficulties-charisma, the support of the people and the blessings of party leaders.
B. Arun, Trichy
Dutt's Not All Right
The judgement on Sanjay Dutt proves nobody is above the law ("Cold Comfort", December 11). AK-47 rifles are allowed only in defence services and select police teams in the country. When sellers of weapons are convicted under the TADA Act, why should buyers go scot-free? Dutt should be convicted under the TADA Act too.
B. Rajasekaran, Bangalore
The scaled-down verdict in the case of Sanjay Dutt confirms that there are two sets of laws-one for those who have the right political connections and another for ordinary citizens.
A.K. Sharma, Chandigarh
It would have been ironic if the actor, who has come to be associated in the popular mind with Gandhigiri, was convicted of terrorism. It comes as a relief that Sanjay Dutt has been acquitted of the serious charge of conspiracy in the Mumbai blasts.
A. Megha, Hyderabad
It is a shame that an evil man, who should have been hauled over the coal for the kidnap and murder of his private secretary, was presiding over the coal ministry ("Down and Out", December 11). Shibu Soren should now rename JMM "Jail Mein Maroonga".
K.P. Rajan, Mumbai
The conviction of a Cabinet minister for a life term in a criminal case signifies a singular triumph of democracy in the face of unbridled corruption and criminalisation of power centres. It holds new hope for citizens and for sustainable progress and peace.
Jyoti Vinay, Delhi
Blame It On Bounce
It's all very well to comment on the state of the Indian cricket team, but you have not suggested any steps to revitalise it ("The Cup Runs Empty", December 11). The team is going through a very jinxed phase, further aggravated by the bouncy tracks in South Africa, which have for long been a scourge of Indian players. Maybe an article on the technicalities of a bouncy track, along with suitable examples, would be more interesting.
Colonel E.J. Sanchis, Pune
It's great to see a flashback of the good old years of INDIA TODAY every week. The extracts from the writings of veteran journalists like Sunil Sethi and Vir Sanghvi are a trip down memory lane and evoke a sense of nostalgia. I still miss your photo feature, though. Raghu Rai and Pramod Pushkarna were prolific behind the camera.
J.P. Soni, Chennai
30 YEARS AGO IN INDIA TODAY
A Taxing Time for Art
Two years ago, a new law was passed in the country that brought a new status to works of art. Heretofore, it was declared, works of art were to be evaluated in terms of financial assets and declared for tax purposes. It was thought that this policy would not only help the exchequer, but also control black money. Ironically, it served to bring about a complete slump in the art market, as people could not afford to buy anything when its value increased by 40 per cent of tax. Reviewing the situation, we are left with two alternatives. The attitudes and policies have to change towards a more positive support of the artist. If individuals are not to be patrons of art, it has to be the government and institutional bodies. The other alternative is the patronage of art on a much less lavish scale.
-By Geeti Sen