The Mahatma is not a commodity

The Mahatma is not a commodity
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First Published: Sun, Feb 15 2009. 10 38 PM IST
Updated: Sun, Feb 15 2009. 10 38 PM IST
In his piece “Another look at Gandhi”, Mint, 4 February, Saionton Basu gives the impression of being the self-appointed auctioneer of all things Indian, charged with declaring who or what is to be classified as a commodity. He wishes for everything to be measured in terms of cost and benefit. Hence, he calls the Father of the Nation a commodity. He uses strange logic to make Gandhiji a commodity: As I see it, human beings can’t be commodities, simply because they are each unique, not fungible products that can be replaced; their price also isn’t subject to demand and supply. Gandhiji championed the cause of non-violence and truth throughout his life. His contribution to the nation and our debt to him are too enormous to be quantified or commoditized.
—Dilip Aloni
Regarding your Quick Edit “Not Valentine’s Day candy” (Mint, 12 February), I must say that just because some right-wing organization vandalized a pub in some corner of India, does the media gain permission to pander to the lifestyle of the other extreme on this spectrum: outlandish pub-going persons?
Mrinal Pande, in her column, was falling over herself to prove that the scriptures prescribed taking liquor (“Even the sutras allowed some alcohol on happy occasions”, Mint, 10 February). If the press does not like a particular event, then should it propagate the victimized lifestyle? Leave the Sri Ram Sene aside. Will those who are creating a media circus out of the Mangalore incident allow their children—especially daughters—to go to pubs in such dresses to consume liquor? In the name of reporting, the press is preaching anarchy, which will result in giving greater credence to such assaults.
The English-speaking urban class does not represent the broad spectrum of public opinion. The silent majority of India’s public has neither spoken nor reacted to the incident. The unnecessary media attention, the undeserving publicity, the ridiculous panel discussions and the meaningless editorials are all just an over-reaction to an incident which could have been avoided altogether if pubs were properly regulated and guarded.
S. Kappagantu
Regarding your editorial “Corporations and cartels” (Mint, 12 February), laws and regulations alone cannot ensure that corporations will stop acting like cartels. Companies must have a moral responsibility for their services. Every firm is involved in profiteering. There is not a single service-providing organization where customers are satisfied. It is high time that we inculcated moral values in all walks of life, particularly in children, since they are the future of the country.
S. Kiran
Your coverage of recent airline fare increases was too mild (“Airfares raised in tandem 12 times in 2 yrs”, Mint, 13 February). Other than price fixing, airlines are also indulging in a practice called “price gouging”. When the demand is high, they raise their prices beyond all reason, and then drop prices immediately.
A look at a travel website around the time the Aero India show in Bangalore ended (high demand) indicated that fares on a lot of Mumbai-Bangalore flights had been raised in an identical fashion. Jet, for instance, has very high prices on routes where they have a monopoly (Mumbai-Pune). On routes where it runs a “cartel” with Kingfisher (Mumbai-Bhuj), Jet offers the same high prices.
I think this is akin to highway robbery. The government must create a regulator to decide the maximum price for sectors and treat gouging as an offence. There must be compensation for passengers whose flights are cancelled. All attempts at, or seen as, cartelization must be brought to book.
Raj Khalid
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First Published: Sun, Feb 15 2009. 10 38 PM IST