As expected, a column on Sachin Tendulkar led to a flood of responses. Gratifyingly, many supported my stand even while they declared themselves 'die-hard' fans of the Master Blaster. But many were angry and abusive.
We present the letters with the angry ones marked in bold. They are almost entirely unedited to retain the original flavour.
Message: hi I think this is absolutely right...and I don’t understand why people are so crazy about a person....of course i adore Sachin and his CRICKET...but rest of the things i am sorry... Mr. Pramod Mahajan you better change your thought...and Sachin please start doing something for the country because of which you are what you are today!
Message: what i feel is that Mr. GREAT should return the gift back to Schumacher.I guess he is the real driver to buy the car if Tendulkar cannot!!! moreover the gift is useless to Tendulkar!! coz he cannot drive it to most parts in the city!! paying the huge sum for show off means nonsense to him too i guess!!! if he's the one who asked for the waiver then its a shame!! anyways there is no shame and sorry for Tendulkar as u say!!! let him do his job!! and his money is of his own achievements which i guess is well deserved!! politicians in India have been mere yokels having no self respect!!! there job is merely for endorsing votes and fooling around with government policies and people's demands for improval!! if Tendulkar has asked for the waver then it’s a shame!! or its just another way of saying yes we are Indians!!! Everything is possible here!!
Message: The real issue is whether the car is going to help Sachin improve his game. I can live with a Narain Kartiketyan asking for a duty waiver and the FM obliging in the interest of the betterment of his sport. After all, it is a "tool of his trade". In this case, and I really doubt it was a gift but a clever disguise for buying the car without raising any eyebrows, it is more of a matter of his hobby. It is public knowledge that Sachin has a fascination for cars.
I am a software professional, and I remember the time (less that 4 months ago) when the
Customs officials put me through a harrowing time to extract duty from me for a laptop that would have helped me in my business. I have a fair grouse when I say that the Customs officer made me pay INR30,000/-, all in the name of the country. Is Mr. Mahajan going to help me recover the money from the Customs dept, since the duty definitely put the laptop way beyond the budget I had in mind. In fact, it was a tool of my trade. Is Mr. Mahajan listening? PS: Just like a horde of Indians, I too was a great fan of Tendulkar till I read this. This is absolutely shameful.
Message: I agree with the views expressed in the article. I would, however, like to add a small point. Let Sachin's diehard fans collect the duty amount when they will; why not some of the fans of Captain B K Subbarao start raising money for a PIL case straightaway?
Message: I completely agree with your views and few 100's more. We have given Sachin a God's stature and that must stop. He is just another cricketer happened to be playing during these times when western advertising, promotional gimmicks, and endorsements are part of life. He has been treated like nothing short of a superhuman for a sport we do not even have a remote chance of winning 60% of the our yearly scheduled games. In India, we are still emotional buffoons, ready to break the norms for people we adore especially in cricket. There is no law, no regulations, no consistency for ST. I know that both Sunil G and Kapil D are cursing themselves for not being born during this era for the money part.
This should stop, we as a community must ask Govt. to stop these favours. Law is same for everyone, be it ST, me or you. In cases of less significant people, it is well defined line, in cases of celebrities it is a faded fine line. We love you Sachin, but you of all must set the precedence and help the country's millions poor to have faith and belief in the law. Please restore it. YOu can afford this much money. As far as Mr. Pramod Mahajan's 5K monthly salary, he is drolling with money guys. Every jerk in the Indian government is playing harmony with money. We have to bring these morons down and cast them out. That is why still after 55 yrs of Independence, our growth is in nascent stages. Jai hind..
Message:W ell said. As another data point ... on duty exemptions ... I run an STP Company (100% software eou). Occasionally clients in the USA send us prototype devices for embedded software development. In spite of our 100% eou status (excise & duty exemption), the only option for us is to pay a 57% duty or hire the services of a clearing agent (u guess the reasons). And off course we need to factor a 3-4 day delay as the price for honesty. (yes one does not have to bribe the custom if one follows
the rules and accepts the resulting delays!) And here some asinine mandarin decides to gift an individual 2.5 crores! It sure makes me glad to be doing business in India.
Message: Where in India does Sachin plan on driving this gift of his? Driving conditions in India are ideally suited for Fiat Padminis & not Fiat Ferraris! As for this whole customs issue - well I am sure plenty of "favours" are granted to others vis-a-vis import duties. Sachin just happens to be in the limelight because he is Sachin. Years ago a Customs Officer in Bombay took 70-odd dollars from in for "duty" on a camera. I was told that a receipt would make the "transaction" more expensive. I doubt if my 70 dollars went towards the Govt.'s revenue.
Message:It is a superb article. No body is above nation and we often forget that. Out blind adulation leads such kind of misbehaving which eventually do cost heavily on our social and economical functionalities. It is sad our politicians will never learn a from a mistake and try to get maximum political mileage by doing this kind of conducts. It is not fault of Sachin, it is fault of our social and moral structure and mapping individuals above the cause of the nation.
Message:Your view's are absolutely correct. Supposing a Government servent had erred in some of his decision and caused such huge loss to the ex-chequer. he has to suffer and een loose his PF & Gratuity. Why our Politiians will not be made to make good such loss to state from own source. We are very critical about Gen. Musharraf in bending rules to suit his rule, but we quitely forget that we have 545 Gen Musharrafs in our country who have been misusing power to suit their convenience. The general public have been rendered poor subject by this 545 special citizen of the country.
Message: Just another media hype. Have you ever tried to expedite the scams by the politicians or have any politicians paid the customs duties for whatever they bring from their often times unnecessary visits to the other nations. They too are Indians, they too need to pay the custom's duties. Forget about these..........what about the other scams they commit when they are in power............U media guys just need a damn news which, at times, makes no sense.
Message:Come on Sachin.... I was wondering why not all the famous people of India protested against BJP for the assault they took on Gujarati Muslims... now I know why.. Why would you? Other wise who will pay for such a poor guy as you are. I am proud of you as a cricketer.. but sorry I can't say about you the same as a human being. Why the hell do you need money yaar..!! your sports fan Amandeep
Message:Sir, A lot of heat has been generated by one small gesture by the Govt to a Gem of the country. To have him in its midst any race would have been proud. We Indians have such a mean mentality that we introduce politics everywhere. People forget that during Indira Gandhi's days the customs people seized the gold disk which was presented to Lataji at the Royal Albert Hall in London by HMV. On hearing that Indiraji was so annoyed that she ordered its restoration to the melody queen with sincere apologies. Even Vijay Amritraj(VOLVO) and Ravi Sastri(AUDI 100) were allowed to bring their hard won beauties to India. I think it is time the people speak out against the likes of Sucheta Dalal and a host of others who are out to belittle the Master blaster for cheap publicity.Sachinis truly great and he deserves far more than a waiver of a mere 1.5 crore a drop in the ocean of central Govt's revenue.All these people must hang their head in shame for a silly controversy started by political opponents of Pramod Mahajan. Well done Pramod. Three cheers to you.
Message: Column was great! Mahajan is a moron for sure! Sachin shame on you!Billion+ population and we don't even get a gold medal in the Olympics! Oh What a Shame! Sachin this is for you... Instead of opening a restaurant...open a olympic training center!
Message:This country has many problems as it is. There are all sorts of corrupt people doing all kinds of rotten things. In such a scenario we should not waste time baying for Sachin's blood who on many occasions has served the country selflessly and brought a smile on the face of Indians. If you need a scapegoat, there are many other deserving
Message:This is perfectly right. If one want to drive a Ferrari who can really afford to pay the duties , He should pay the duty as a good citizen of the country. I appreciate Mr.Rao . He has done a great job and I support his best efforts.
Message:This issues is blown out of proportions. As far as I am concerned, Sachin, requested permission to bring in a gift. You either say Yes or No. Minister considering Sachincontribution to the country, track record in paying taxes, duly acceded. Where does the question of image/charisma come into picture. Have you ever read articles on how much actors/actress/sports persons owe the Income Tax department? I remember an instance where the head of IT dept, lauded Sachinfor his track record in paying the taxes. Also, if you go abroad and buy say an dvd player do you honestly declare it to the custom official or try to sneak through the green channel. Just leave this matter! Let Sachin do what he wants with OFFICIAL approval!!!
Message: I fully agree with your view people are paid in lakhs for every match they play and dont hesitate to not to play for the nation as it is affecting their contracts, should never be considered for waiver. By refusing to play as it violates their contract, these people have their delfish interest than the pride for reperesnting their country. he should not be allowed the waiver and he should be allowed to play like any other person.
Message: Dear Ms Dalal, Take up the cause for the Kolkata orphanage and highlight it. I know going after Sachin will be more sensational for you in journalistic terms and have more readers attention. Captain B K Subbarao should question why Honda and Toyota are selling the same carsat twice the price the same models are sold in US instead of going after Sachin. CJS is meant for making a better society not waging a war to tarnish the image of India's best role model.
Message:I cannot digest how Sachin so-called legend(is he a legend in class of sunny,kapil, i have my own doubts) can be awarded duty exemption for his car. Who is Mr.Mahajan to exempt public money? I think Mr.Mahajan doesn't know that Sachin is the richest sportsperson in India. If Mr.Mahajan wants to show his gesture to Sachin, better he pay the duty as many had suggested. Watch your words Sir, for its public moneywhich you have granted and not yours.