Fighting retail giants

Published : Aug 10, 2007 00:00 IST

I live in a little town called New Paltz in New York. After about half a century of invasion by big retail giants like Wal-Mart and Kmart, people are fighting back. We have successfully organised people to prevent big department stores form setting up shop in our town because the damage they have done to communities now is beyond doubt – low wages and standards of living for the workers and increased traffic, pollution, environmental waste and commercialism. I hope people in India will wake up to the disastrous consequences of huge corporate stores before it is too late.

Gowri ParameswaranNew Paltz, New York


THE Cover Story ( "Future Tibet", July 27) unravels the truth of the tremendous strides made in Tibet. The in-depth analysis by N. Ram throws light on the progressive transformation of the region from the abyss of a primitive theocracy to modernity, enhancing in the process the living standards of the people and removing the veil of illiteracy and ignorance.

Our BIMARU States (Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh) can learn from this experience to take their people into the realm of modernity and free them from the hold of superstitious ignorance.

S. Kasim SaitChennai

THE time is ripe to find an amicable permanent settlement to the Tibet issue as the Dalai Lama has scaled down his political demands. Tibet has a lesson for India too in that it can take up development work in backward regions and make extremists irrelevant.

A. Jacob SahayamThiruvananthapuram

THE achievements of the Chinese government within a short span of time in this most inaccessible and utterly backward region deserve praise.

Here is a lesson for India: use development as a lever to win the confidence of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and the northeastern States and curb the influence of separatist forces.

Y. N. MurthyMumbai

THE rapid strides made by Tibet under the guidance of the Chinese government is an eye-opener for the developing world.

India too has drawn up a development plan called Vision 2020, but politics comes in the way of realising this goal. It will not be a surprise if the Tibet Autonomous Region overtakes India in terms of development indicators by 2020.

Ramaswamy SrinivasanHyderabad

THE informative Cover Story makes one thing clear in a coherent manner: Tibet is an inseparable part of China and its future lies with the latter. India has accepted the "One China policy" and it should build a strong relationship with Tibet on the basis of their old cultural ties.

China must recognise the distinct culture and civilisation of Tibet even as it works for the overall development of the autonomous region.

Akhil KumarNew Delhi

HOW could a dictatorship be the solution for a people even if they are not "modernised"?

You have said that Tibet would have stayed under a "theocratic" authority had the Chinese Army not intervened. However, the Dalai Lama has said that he wanted Tibet to become a democracy and that he would modernise his country.

Do you think Tibetans would not have modernised on their own?

Kevin BertrandFrance

IT is true that China is in total control of Tibet, but only militarily.

Tibet will never be China. It will remain a land of "snow lions".

The Soviets too transferred Russians to Central Asia and built the trans-Siberian railway. Did that stop Central Asia from achieving freedom?

Rohit SinghMumbai

YOU have made sweeping predictions on the basis of a week's travel in Tibet and reproduced Chinese statistics to present a rosy analysis of the situation there. It is unfortunate that you have deprived your readers of a balanced perspective on the question of Tibet.

Tenzing SonamNew Delhi

THE Cover Story presents just one side of the developments in this Buddhist nation.

There is enough textual evidence to prove that a systematic effort to settle Hans in Tibet was carried out post-1959 in order to change the face of Tibet, culturally as well as demographically.

The building of a railway line is nothing but another attempt to wipe out Tibet's tradition and culture. The Dalai Lama never supported the 17-point agreement. His representatives were in fact forced to sign the plan in a locked hotel room.

If the future of Tibet is bleak today, the entire international community has to be blamed for silently watching the serious developments over the past 56 years.

Ashirbad S. RahaDelhi


A CAR bomb in the heart of London, a car bomb in Glasgow - surely this is turning out to be a nightmare ("Vehicles of terror", July 27). Two of the suspects taken into custody are Indians, one of them raised in Bangalore. While the vast majority of Indian Muslims - like Muslims anywhere - are far removed from Osama bin Laden's worldview, the creeping growth of an exclusivist and extremist mindset in Muslim communities cannot be wished away. This is not somebody else's war; it cannot be.

A. MeghanaHyderabad

THE article "Map of hate" (July 27) failed to highlight the aetiology of terrorism in Islam. Terrorism all over the world is a reaction to oppression and inequality, real or imaginary.

The serial blasts in Mumbai, 9/11 and the acts of terror by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam have happened only after a community has lost its faith in the government of the day. Islam says that injustice must not be accepted and if you do accept it you are not a Muslim.

Abdaal AkhtarSecunderabad


Is asking young boys and girls to take the law into their own hands the best way to teach them Islam ("Battle of nerves", July 27)? Should the Pakistan government have waited for six long months to act decisively against the fundamentalists in the Lal Masjid? Were not the militants encouraged in their criminality by the government's kowtowing to the religious right?

The government must let the people know why the law enforcement agencies failed to prevent the smuggling of arms and stocks of fuel into the mosque? Did it not occur to the leaders of the Lal Masjid rebellion that no government, Islamic or otherwise, democratic or dictatorial, civilian or military, would tolerate the defiance of its writ for long?

K.S. JayatheerthaBangalore


INDIA'S firm commitment to the policy of non-alignment had restrained it from serving the interests of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan even as Pakistan acted as a stooge of the United States on the same issue. Now the U.S., obsessed with its imperialist ambition, wants countries like India to move away from the policy of non-alignment as indicated by the statements of its Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice ("NAM and Nimitz", July 27).

Syed Sultan MohiddinKadapa, A.P.

Honour killing

This refers to the article ("All for honour", July 27). The silence of political parties on the gotra politics in Haryana, which led to the brutal killing of Manoj and Babli is incomprehensible. How many more Manojs and Bablis will have to sacrifice their lives to break that silence?

My heart goes out to every family that has lost its son or daughter to such meaningless social customs.

Ankur PaliwalAligarh, U.P.

Salman Rushdie

LIKE the Danish cartoons, Rushdie's knighthood will widen the chasm between the West and the Muslim world ("Knight in need of armour", July 13).

It is astonishing that nearly two decades after the publication of The Satanic Verses, the British government should have chosen to rekindle a forgotten controversy by knighting its author.

The book prompted the Islamic fraternity across the globe to label him as an apostate, with the strongest condemnation coming from the late Iranian spiritual leader Ayatollah Khomeini, who issued a fatwa against him.

The British should have weighed the pros and cons before taking such a decision.

J.S. AcharyaHyderabad

Retail invasion

THE entry of big players in retail is welcome ("Retail invasion", July 13). There are many problems that consumers face with small shopkeepers. The latter often use incorrect weights and scales and try to sell products whose shelf lives have expired.

The quality of packaging in small shops is often not up to the mark. Small shopkeepers often do not pay reasonable wages to their shophands, let alone employee benefits such as pensions or health care. There are also too many players in this kind of supply chain, which pushes prices up. The entry of the bigger players in retail will certainly affect small vendors, but that is no reason to prevent the entry of the former. Change is inevitable even if it is painful.

Parthiban KrishnaswamyMinneapolis, U.S.

BY and large, consumers find it tough to deal with small vendors and hawkers, who are often rude and cheat on weights and quality. The "retail invasion" is most welcome, and the consumer will no longer have to deal with small vendors.

Joseph D'silvaBangalore1857

Sri Lanka

The mindless eviction of Sri Lankan Tamils from lodges in Colombo is nothing short of ethnic cleansing whether or not the Sri Lankan government admits it ("Purge in Colombo", June 29). For several years, Sri Lankan Tamils have been caught between the devil and the deep sea. Tens of thousands Tamils have been displaced from their own homes and reduced to the status of refugees in their own country.

India has always been friendly to the tiny island nation. But the Sri Lankan leadership mistook the leniency of India to be a sign of weakness. National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan has given a polite but curt warning to Colombo not to amass offensive weapons from Pakistan and China.

Bichu MuttatharaPune


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