Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor


Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor


Article excerpt

In India, running loses its stigma of eccentricity

I was amused by the March 17 article "Forget spandex, it's saris for Bangalore joggers." Both the athletic outfits and the group orientation of jogging in India seem strange to Westerners, but not to Indians. The concept of running as a form of outdoor exercise is alien.

Take my experience in Jaipur about 25 years ago. Jogging very early in the morning, I realized that the awakened sidewalk sleepers were staring, but not at me - they were staring behind me. Through sleepy eyes, they were trying to make out the mad dog or perhaps man with a knife, or whatever it was that I was running away from.

In the India of a half-century ago, where a square meal was (and still is) a status symbol, simply running was, at best, highly eccentric. You preserved energy, you didn't spend it carelessly,

Last year, I jogged in Jaipur again. There were no stares this time. Instead, in the crisp, early morning light of winter, I had to fight my way through a throng of sari-clad girls and blanket-draped men. There was one whole family jogging in unison. One of them had a container from which he passed out breakfast tidbits; the rest munched while jogging. Everyone was having a good time.

Isn't that what jogging is supposed to be all about?Mohammed Fazel Tucson, Ariz.

Don't fall for tobacco smoke and mirrors

As the Monitor observes, Philip Morris's offer to take over one of the largest Indonesian tobacco corporations exemplifies a trend by Big Tobacco, which has "sought to penetrate world tobacco markets since the 1980s" ("Tobacco's Growing Global Road," March 17 editorial). This trend is a deliberate, irresponsible, and dangerous growth strategy.

As people in many wealthy countries have increasingly rejected Philip Morris/Altria's aggressive promotion of its deadly products with images like the Marlborough Man, the tobacco giant has turned to developing countries to addict new customers.

Philip Morris/Altria does not simply aim to control the Indonesian tobacco market, but rather to expand it. …

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