Letter: Making money out of India's misery

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your diary item (9 December) on the special rates being offered by the Taj Hotel to journalists visiting India is a classic case of 'making hay while the sun shines', irrespective of adverse and trying circumstances. The offer, made so promptly and magnanimously by the sales manager, betrays not just an unintelligent mind but an insensitive heart.

It was painful enough for us Indians here to watch the country virtually going to pieces as the mindless communal orgies continued unabated for several days on end. What was even sadder was to read about people such as Ritu Marwah, whose only concern in this dark hour was to see how she could exploit the situation to promote the sales of the Taj Hotel and, probably, get a promotion for herself in the process.

The offer had little to do 'with putting a brave face on the crisis in India', as your paper very kindly put it, and was nothing but shoddy and crass salesmanship, which would have been laughable if the situation here were not as grim as it is these days.

Indians have resigned themselves to the marketing of the country as a land of 'snake charmers, elephants and maharajahs'. Will the site of the now-demolished mosque be peddled and hawked as the next tourist attraction? On 'special rates', of course.

Thanking you,


New Delhi


15 December