ENCOURAGING VIOLENCE AGAINST MEN?

A letter by a reader named Julia (“What about the women in the story?” India Currents, July 2007) dismayed me. She wrote, in response to the editorial, “A House Divided” (India Currents, June 2007), that the “chauvinist” man should be “slapped in public.” The man was not chauvinist for cheating on his wife indiscreetly; he was simply a philandering husband. This is a very hypocritical response. She is complaining about male chauvinism and debauchery, yet she is advocating the same acts against men by basically encouraging an act of violence!

If the story had been about a woman indiscreetly cheating on her husband with two men, and a man had written a letter asking if there were men around to slap her in public for sleeping around as a wife, then there would be massive outrage. India Currents would be inundated with women complaining about the implication of violence against women if such a letter were even considered for publication. Yet a woman asks for the same thing, for him to be “tarred and feathered,” and no man except me complains.

Cheating in a marriage is definitely wrong, but it does not justify violence, male or female. This is the same as the whole one-sided “violence against women” movement, which implies that only violence against women is wrong. Violence against anyone, male or female, by anyone of any gender for any reason is wrong. The woman who starts beating up her husband after she finds him with another woman is just as bad as the husband who beats his wife for sleeping with another man. If the man were being a chauvinist, simply walking away would have been a much more mature and appropriate response. I am disappointed that India Currents let through this one-sided response and does not see gender equality as a two-way street.

Naveen Swami, via email

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TRAVEL LIKE A PRO

I strongly disagree with Sarita Sarvate’s article, “Waiting for an Epiphany” (India Currents, July 2007). I was offended by her use of the phrase “or even worse” with respect to Rick Steves. On my hectic four-day trip to Paris, the book Rick Steves’ Best of Europe was my guide. I was able to wonder at the art of the Louvre, catch the suburban train and arrive early (no later than 9 a.m.) at Versailles to tour the palace’s interior, and capture the Champs-Elysées, Napoleon’s Tomb, and Sacré-Cœur basilica with my camera in such a short period of time. I would rather travel like a pro than just land at a place and be out for some surprises. Especially so if you are traveling with your family, as in my case, when you need proper preplanned accommodation.

In her article, Sarvate has portrayed media and all the travel information sources as a hindrance to one’s imagination. Knowledge and information are power. Anyone out there would travel with everything planned and prepared rather than set out for an adventure aimlessly.

If one wants to “stop being a tourist and just follow the locals around,” it is a personal choice, but one needs a lot of free time at hand for that. When traveling on a fixed budget with limited vacations, like everyone does, one needs information which comes in handy from Rick Steve’s “Europe through the back door” information bank, as well as DVDs, maps, book, etc. No one wants to spend all that money and come back from Paris having “followed the locals around” but missed out on seeing the Eiffel Tower.

Meenu Gupta, via email

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WRITING CONVEYS BHATIA’S VISION

Kalpana Mohan’s “Hot on a Quest for Utopia” (India Currents, July 2007) is about an astounding man. In felicitous and yet precise words, Mohan has captured the vision of Sabeer Bhatia, and the reader feels that if anyone can bring these ideas to fruition, he can. It is heartening to note that Bhatia is conscious of the need to design a city with attention to commuter needs, passive ecological designs, global warming, the needs of workers as well as those of businesses. Of course, it remains to be seen if even Sabeer Bhatia will be able to keep thieving and corrupt politicians off his back.

Mohan conveys Bhatia’s energy and determination, and after one gets over the shock of the sheer magnitude of his vision, the wealth of detail helps in making this mega project sound quite feasible after all. At the same time, the essence of the man is not drowned in the minutiae.

Murari, via the internet

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BYE ASHOK, WELCOME RAGINI

As a regular reader of India Currents, I hate to see Ashok go but love the parting gift he has given us in the form of Ragini’s editorship.

I request that Ashok continues to write at least a guest column, say on alternative medicine, and Ragini treats us to her creative output above and beyond the editorial page.

Sekari Vaidyanathan, Sunnyvale, Calif.

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