Editorial 1/ Unrelieved
Editorial 2/ Wedded state
Good vibes not enough
Fifth Column/ Secular is as secular does
Last days of the white sporting world
Letters to the editor

There is a mesmeric monotony in the ugliness which surrounds relief distribution after a natural disaster. The clarity of the pattern varies from state to state, with an occasional exception like Andhra Pradesh, but the pattern itself is roughly the same. West Bengal is an excellent example of the inefficiency and politicization that accompany relief and rescue operations. With mutual accusations flying thick and fast among various administrative bodies and between opposing political parties, the last stage in the pattern has been reached. West Bengal has asked the Centre for aid to help it tackle the damage wrought by the floods. The bargaining for the amount and the bickering over naming the disaster according to scale will guarantee the appearance onstage of the last villain, the Centre. It is difficult to keep in mind the people’s misery in all this excitement. In this context, the suggestion of Mr Ramakrishna Hegde, member of the Rajya Sabha, appears worth consideration. He has thought of a special common relief fund by all the states for the purpose of dealing with the effects of natural calamities. It seems such a fund might help cut out the red tape associated with asking the Centre for aid. Yet, if worked out, the scheme would put in place another set of bureaucrats, parameters and tensions, and that apart from the real problems of finance.

The weakness of the mechanics here springs from a weakness in the principle. For, Mr Hegde’s suggestion is federalist only in appearance. It is not a question of sticking a state label onto a relief fund in order to create an alternative structure to those already existing, like the prime minister’s relief fund. There is no reason why aid for relief should be centralized at all. In a truly federal structure, the Centre would limit its attention to certain specific areas, defence and foreign relations, for example. The change in Centre-state relations can only begin with a completely different kind of division of revenue between them, more responsibility for the states would mean a greater share of the revenues they generate. Each state could then decide the amounts it wants to put by for education, health, disaster relief and so on. The better housekeepers would automatically do better in every sphere, irrespective of natural calamities. And enhanced responsibility would give the administration fewer horses to flog. Maybe that would not entirely stop leaders from playing politics with people’s misery, but it would noticeably reduce the size of the field. It might even be hoped that the state governments would feel more accountable, once landed with both the money and the responsibility. More relief funds will not help. A change in the basic concept could.    

Marriages are not made in heaven but by two individuals. Ideally the coming together of two individuals should be voluntary, but this is often not the reality in a country like India. There existed so many Hindu social and cultural practices around the institution of marriage that in 1955, the Indian state intervened to streamline these practices to bring them within the ambit of the Hindu Marriage Act. By this Act, inter alia, polygamy and child marriage became illegal and divorce legal. Then, the prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, argued that it was not opportune to introduce similar reforms in the marriage practices of Muslims. Subsequently, no political party has summoned up the political will to advocate state intervention in the social practices of minority communities. Secularization of social customs thus remains an incomplete, and perhaps, in the Indian context, an unattainable agenda. There also exists, for those not religiously inclined, a Special Marriage Act, which permits what in India is charmingly called a “registry marriage”.Anyone who wishes to have his marriage registered can do so under this act in the presence of an officer empowered to carry out such marriages. At various levels, therefore, the state, through laws, mediates the coming together of a man and a woman in matrimony.

This presence of the state has been necessitated because of the absence of education and enlightenment in Indian society. There are good grounds for not enhancing this presence. The Central government’s decision to reject the proposal that all Hindu marriages should compulsorily be registered is justified. The proposal emanating from the national human rights commission is another instance of the Indian propensity for legislation and dependency on the state. The Special Marriage Act already exists as an option. There is no need to coerce couples to take recourse to it. The NHRC’s recommendation holds that compulsory registration of Hindu marriages will bring down the incidence of child marriage. The optimism inherent in this reasoning is belied by facts. Child marriage has been illegal for some time, yet it is a common practice; similarly bigamy among Hindus is forbidden by law but nobody denies that it is still prevalent. Both child marriage and bigamy are practised by even by the educated classes. One more law is no guarantee that the practices will disappear. It will become another law which exists in the statute books, but is not implemented on the ground. There already exists in India too many divergences between the law and the reality. This divergence will only increase if the state brings more and more social aspects within the ambit of its authority and arbitration. To see marriage as an institution is to give a legal status to something which should be nothing more than the free coming together of two individuals. The state should endeavour to be as far away from this as possible.    

We may have been laggards in adding to the wealth of nations but have contributed more than our share to what a poet calls the noise of time. It is not unusual in busy thoroughfares for impatient men at the wheel to go on honking — not to make the queue of cars in front start moving but to register their sense of frustration at the traffic light which has stopped them in their tracks. And quite often three or four music systems in different vehicles go frenetic at the same moment producing a cacophony in which snatches of film songs jostle merrily against bits and pieces of rock. No one seems to mind.

The insensibility to noise pollution goes well with an equal insensitivity to the fouling of the physical and moral environment. The chaotic urban growth no longer allows millions to ever get out of their nostrils the stench arising from garbage dumps in their neighbourhood or rid their homes of the rats which come in hordes to scrounge for food in the leavings from a hundred kitchens. Even streets in many posh colonies are rarely free of litter. As for those who have some business with a government or municipal department, they can never miss the all-pervading stink of graft. The counsel of the Delhi Municipal Corporation has shamefacedly told the Delhi high court that all junior engineers take bribes but it can do nothing about it.

Pointing to this all too familiar ravaging of the physical and moral landscapes would be a waste of time if it did not reflect the spread of rot in public life and the way in which it has warped the outlook not only of the elite groups in politics, business and the professions, but also of the burgeoning middle classes. The question whether the percentage of those living below the poverty line has in the last few years gone up or down is at present in dispute between the new breed of liberal reformers and old fashioned radicals. There is no mistaking, however, the nature of the sea-change in the mentality of the expanding middle classes written into what Roland Barthes labelled an “empire of signs”.

The glut of luxury goods in the super-markets extending from designer foods to designer clothes and jewellery proclaims it all too loudly. So does the new cunning of the advertisements where the seductive image of the object of desire has very often little to do with the product whose sale it is supposed to promote. The brand name matters much more than the product. Following the same logic, the media allot increasing space to images of films and pop stars, beauty queens, fashion models and those who have become billionaires. There is apparently a touch of eroticism in flirting with the idea of big league money.

The secret of record audience ratings of the television feature anchored by Amitabh Bachchan, Kaun Banega Crorepati, shows how the festering slums, the vast areas of destitution and the spectre of unemployment which haunts millions of young persons, have only added to the lure of easy money. The new television hit has nothing to do with testing the participants, intelligence or even their general knowledge. The format of the programme is designed to sell the dream of getting rich quick by making it real for a few.

This is precisely why it has been a whopping success. That a section of the print media should have gone gaga over the anchorman,s savvy and panache shows the new mentality bred by the market philosophy in full bloom. Tens of millions make it a point not to miss the programme because they entertain the same dream. Even the semi-literate viewers identify themselves with those they see walking away with 20 or 30 lakhs of rupees and feel comforted by the thought that they could easily have been among the winners.

Why do so many dream of getting rich quick? Because there are so many things in the market they want to buy and cannot afford. A poet who went to a supermarket with a sad heart in the most affluent society in the world many years ago, wrote ruefully: “The act of buying something is at the root of our world, if anyone wishes to paint the genesis of things in our society, he will paint a picture of God holding out to Adam a cheque book or a credit card.”

Yet, it is unjust to damn the spread of consumerism as a new plague. The heirs to the Marxist legacy made a fetish of increasing productivity levels. Now that those in the vanguard of the new industrial revolution have achieved incredibly high levels of productivity, they have to strive equally hard to promote much higher standards of consumption. New sales strategies are but one side of the very coin of which the other hailed the new technologies of production as a blow for progress. The tragedy of a developing society like India is that new islands of high consumption are emerging even before there is enough production to satisfy the basic needs of over 300 million people.

The growing regional and personal income disparities, inevitable when high-tech and low-tech industries, as also highly skilled jobs and non-skilled work, have to coexist under duress, naturally increase social tensions and enhance the danger of things falling apart. Everything that in the past had little to do with the market, art, thought, education, science and politics among them, is being commodified at great speed. One dismal consequence is to let public relations increasingly shape the policymaking processes.

In the United States, they cynically talk of “selling the president”, not electing him, because it is the art of projecting the more appealing public image, not the designing of a more rational policy framework, which spells success. In a developing society, fighting for a place in the sun against terrible odds, a public relations approach to complex problems can only damage the policymaking apparatus beyond repair. It was because of the public relations dilemmas — how far should the prime minister,s ailment, his inability to stand or walk for long and the awkward pauses in his speeches could be played down when television news scripts let him down so often, and to what extent could the persisting differences on many substantial issues be slurred over and the all too conspicuous good vibes could be highlighted — that made the outcome of the visit appear somewhat hazy to so many.

In any case, it is premature to build too much hope on persuading the US administration to view India,s security needs through New Delhi,s eyes, particularly when presidential elections are only a few weeks away and no one can say with any degree of certainty what precise shape the US,s south Asia policy will take when a new government team takes over. A narrowing of differences on some vital issues between the two countries would be most welcome but it would be quixotic at this juncture to take anything for granted.

Apart from the concern over the prime minister,s health and the fact that his convalescence after the knee operation may take some weeks, recent developments at home are a stern reminder of how vulnerable the Central government is to unreasonable pressures, often resulting from a hysterical approach to the struggle for power at the state level. Also of how difficult it is to go in for hard options which get easily translated into a further shrinking of the support base of the main partner in the ruling coalition, already engaged in a bitter debate with some members of the sangh parivar who are not yet reconciled to the handicaps under which the ideologically divided family,s political wing has to operate.

Whatever gloss the National Democratic Alliance government puts on the concessions it has to make every now and then to mollify the more assertive of regional allies or to electoral contingencies, none of the opposition parties, either, is honest enough to admit that there is no alternative to hard options in the kind of contingency created by the dramatic rise in world oil prices if the management of national finances is not to go haywire. Each of them is more concerned about projecting its phoney pro-poor image than in facing up to the harsh realities of the situation on the ground.

Meanwhile, even from the public relations angle, the poor levels of political discourse and wobbly processes of decisionmaking have touched a new low. In gifting a laptop to every legislator in his half-destitute state, it did not occur to the Uttar Pra- desh chief minister to ask how they could communicate with their constitu- ents almost none of whom had a computer. And the Trinamool Congress leader, who claimed that Mamata Banerjee was a greater leader than Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, could not see the moral idiocy of his statement. Such exercises would get the employees concerned the sack from any decent public relations establishment. Perhaps the increasingly market-oriented media have to thank the politicians for an inexhaustible supply of inanities which are at times both infuriating and entertaining.    

The concept of secularism has been worrying both India’s politicians and its general populace. When a virtually closed, stagnating economy suddenly wakes up to the compulsions of a global economy, the problem of resolving the contradictions bound to bedevil such social systems is formidable indeed. Predictably, we are witness today to secular ideals being touted in shapes and forms that are as varied as they are weird. Yet even Western liberal democracies have not fully succeeded in providing a realistic framework to enable an individual to pursue a social ethic without the interference of formal religion.

In not a single one of the liberal democracies is an individual accorded the right to exercise his franchise and elect his political representatives before attaining the prescribed statutory age, which normally is 18 years. This logically implies that an individual is incapable of exercising his mature judgment till such time as he officially becomes an adult. Given this premise, an individual should equally be deemed without the maturity to decide which organized religion he should belong to, if any at all, before he turns 18. But this is seldom the case.

In order to pursue a religion other than the one a person is born into, conversion is mandatory. This is true even if a 17 year old born into a Hindu family decides, say, to be a follower of Islam on becoming an adult. But should one need to convert to another religion if one had not voluntarily accorded one’s mature consent to be a follower of the initial one in the first place?

Naturally religious

The rights guaranteed by the Constitution in a democracy enable one to change one’s religion; but on what basis does one become a follower of the religion he is allowed to change his allegiance from?

The manner in which even a secular state assumes the religious commitment of minors is akin to the question of citizenship. Thus a person born to parents of a certain nationality is automatically assumed to be a citizen of that particular country. Such citizens are called natural born citizens. Only natural born citizens, for example, are entitled to contest for the post of president in the United States. Recently, there was a move to incorporate some such provision in our Constitution for the post of prime minister to prevent Sonia Gandhi from taking that chair.

This is an integral part of the socio-legal system as it now prevails. The question being raised, however, is whether an alternative method of initiation into a religious order can effectively be evolved to give more meaning and scope to the concept and practice of secularism. In the absence of any such arrangement, not only is a person’s faith decided by birth, but his caste and sub-caste too.

Sense and sensibility

The practice of a person being born into an organized religion makes a mockery of the essential prerequisites of a secular social order at a very primordial level. This issue has probably not been considered in any debate on secularism since it entails a radical restructuring of the social system and a negation of the accepted moral standards sanctifying family relationships.

The anomaly is more manifest in countries like India which, while claiming to be secular, have marriage and family ties governed in terms of laws deriving their sanction from organized religions. It is bewildering that a secular state should have such acts as the Hindu Marriage Act, the Christian Marriage Act, the Parsi Marriage Act and the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act.

It is not comprehensible as to why the nature and scope of marital relations should be different for different people in a secular state depending on which religion they belong to. Why has the non-religious Special Marriage Act not been made applicable to all citizens irrespective of caste, creed and religion? Social institutions in a secular state are being governed by blatantly non-secular laws, some of which are out of tune with the dominant convention of the religion after which they are named.

Secular principles can never be nurtured by the state legalizing religious precepts — often anachronistic — and incorporating them into its laws. It can only be achieved by a system of jurisprudence divested of religious trappings and sensitive to the emerging needs of a transformational society.    

The starting line-up was impressive, as Maurice Greene and Jonathan Drummond of the United States, Ato Boldon of Trinidad, Obadele Thomson of Barbados, Dwain Chambers and Darren Campbell of Great Britain, Kim Collins of St Kitts and Aziz Zakari of Ghana took their positions at the starting block for the 100 metres sprint final at the Sydney Olympics. It was also a curiously monochromatic picture. But the colour scheme for the event had been decided in Seoul in 1988. After three Olympic games since then, it was hardly a surprise to find that eight out of the eight finalists in the 100 m sprint were black, and what’s more, of west African descent.

The surprise lay elsewhere: in the probability of this happening given that blacks with ancestral roots in west Africa constitute eight per cent of the world’s population. The probability has been calculated to be 0.00000000000000000000 00000000000001 per cent (Jon Entine, “The story behind the amazing success of black athletes”).

The dominance of Africans and those of African origin in long, middle and short distance running has outgrown its novelty by now. It has been sometime now that black athletes have laid their claim on all major running records. One of the longest standing records by a white is that of Italy’s Pietro Mennea, who, in 1979, created a world record in 200 metres, running the distance in 19.72 seconds. It was broken by Michael Johnson of the US in 1996, when he hugely improved Mennea’s record to clock 19.32 seconds.

The emergence of black power in world athletics has been attributed to the remarkable rise in equality of opportunity for the blacks — especially in countries where they are in a minority — over the last 30 years or so. Ironically, as Entine has pointed out, with increasing equality in most walks of life, equality of results in the playing field has actually declined.

That it has not been easy going for the black athlete brooks no repetition. Myths reinforcing the stereotype of the black man as somehow inferior to his white counterpart have circulated for a longer time than they deserved to.

In 1938, a syndicated newspaper columnist, Hugh S. Johnson, wrote: “The average of white intelligence is above the average of black intelligence, probably because the white race is several thousand years further away from jungle savagery. But, for the same reason, the average of white physical equipment is lower.”

Following from this line of argument, black sporting achievements have been undermined as feats of “natural” athleticism. This is exactly the term in which Jesse Owens’s myth-shattering performance in the 1936 Berlin Olympics was described. And this is also why Linford Christie, after winning the 100 metres dash at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, got more coverage in the tabloid press of his home country, Great Britain, for what he had inside his tight fitting lycra shorts than for his stunning performance.

The myths started to explode when Eddie Tolan and Ralph Metcalfe distinguished themselves in the 100 and 200 metre sprints in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics and since the days of Jesse Owens, there has been no looking back.

Recent advances in genetic research have tried to explain why athletes of east and west African origin are large, agile and fast in terms of particular genetic admixtures conducive to the development of particular parts of the anatomy.

There is reason to believe that the genetic makeup of athletes from the east African countries like Kenya and Ethiopia is favourable for long distance running, just as the genetic composition of people of west African origin conditions them for running shorter distances. This could well be one way of explaining the near monopoly of Kenyans, Moroccans and Ethiopians in long and middle distance events and the rule over the sprints of athletes of west African origin.

But it still does not explain away the racial discrimination and social conditioning that the African-American athlete has had to contend with.

Does this mean that the white athlete is a species on the verge of extinction? Facts available overwhelmingly point towards an answer in the affirmative. Blacks of exclusively west African origin constitute 13 per cent of North American and Carribean population, but 40 per cent of Major League baseball players, 70 per cent of the National Football League players and 85 per cent of professional basketball players.

In England, which has a black population of a mere two per cent, one out of five soccer players are black. At the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, black women, who account for six per cent of the United States’s population, won 75 per cent of all the track and field medals won by American women. And when white sprinters like Kevin Little tells people he makes his living by running, “They look at me like, But you are white.”

In countries where blacks have been discriminated against on account of the colour of their skin, the rise of black sporting excellence has been most remarkable. And the US, it is needless to say, illustrates the phenomenon better than any other country. Most sports played today in the US can be described as a few black men being watched by thousands of white men.

White Americans have embraced black sporting heroes in ways unimaginable even half a century ago (more white basketball players aspire to be a Michael Jordan rather than a Larry Bird) — for no other reason but the fact that there are no white sporting icons left to idolize.

A combination of genetics and social and cultural insight could help one understand this curious decline of white athletic prowess. If the white athlete lags behind his non-white counterpart in terms of, to quote Roger Bannister, “natural anatomical advantage”, then he is also the one who has greater access to advanced fitness and training equipments.

But studies conducted in the US have shown that the notion of white athletic inferiority, coupled with a comfortable suburban culture, has produced levels of commitment to and interest in sports that are drastically low. The white athlete cannot, in the same way that the black athlete can, use sports as a way to a better life.

Black athletes, thus, have been able to successfully subvert one of the most deep-rooted stereotypes on the playing field. They have converted popular perceptions — of blacks being physically weaker, less able to handle pressure, not smart enough to understand strategy — to their own advantage. So much so that in the world of individual and team sports, the same stereotypes are now being applied to the whites.

A new struggle has now begun, for the handful of white American athletes like Kevin Little. They now have to fight it out amidst high standards of black excellence, just like the black athlete had to contend against white superiority in the Twenties. The more perceptive and intelligent of the lot have worked the minority status to their favour. As Little admits, he uses black dominance as a weapon, for he knows no black wants to lose to him: “Then the edge goes to me. I can look into their eyes and their faces, and if they have a little fear of losing to a white sprinter, I’ve won right there.”

Coming across the likes of Kevin Little is becoming increasingly difficult as whites all over the US and also in England are shying away from black dominated sports rather than try to break into the black league.

At the Santa Monica track club, which has produced athletes like Carl Lewis and Leroy Burrell, whites have been in a miniscule minority for quite some time. Ice hockey, field hockey, tennis and American soccer are about all the sports now that can boast of a significant white participation, though they are still aeons behind the black dominated sports in attracting viewership from among the whites themselves.

Should we take these as signs of progress or the opposite? Perhaps neither, merely the signs of the politically correct times. But blacks have shown how centuries of oppression and dominance can be overcome. Can the kingdom fight back now?    


No changes please

Sir — When in Rome do as the Romans do. The Trinamool Congress is only trying to live up faithfully to this adage (“Trinamool iron curtain keeps CPM cadre away from MPs”, Sept 25). After indulging in heinous activities like cutting the hands off members of a captive vote bank or setting entire villages on fire for daring to vote for a rival party, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) should not be surprised that its trademarks are being replicated at a rapid speed by its challenger in the state. This is one indication that Mamata Banerjee’s fledgling party is coming of age. Which is what has set alarm bells ringing. CPI(M) legislators are “irked” not so much by the fact that villagers of Egaromile were kept from meeting them, but by the fact that the Trinamool cadres are fast learning the CPI(M)’s own tricks to beat it in its own game. Either way, it means there is little hope for the people of West Bengal. If violence replaces violence, why should the state’s electorate vote for a change?
Yours faithfully,
Manik Shome, Calcutta

New horizons

Sir — The contention that political parties should seek a fresh mandate for the legislative assembly of the newly formed state of Jharkhand is fully justified (“NDA reaches consensus on chief minister”, Sept 11). The new state was formed under Article 3(a) of the Constitution. Hence any provision pertaining to representation in the legislature which is not consistent with the Constitution should be considered invalid.

The 81 legislators who will form the assembly were elected as members of the legislature of Bihar and had taken oath twice in the forms set forth in the third schedule of the Constitution. First, as a candidate for election to the legislature of the state of Bihar, and then on being elected or nominated, as a member of the legislative assembly of the state. Constitutionally, one does not become an MLA so long as one does not take the second oath. Moreover, issues which were involved in the elections for the Bihar assembly are not identical with those which were germane to the formation of Jharkhand.

The question of possible incongruities with the provisions of Articles 170 and 172 should also be looked into. Otherwise, constitutional lacunae might debar Jharkhand from reaching the goal of tribal socio-political and cultural identity.

Yours faithfully,
Indrajit Banerjee, Calcutta

Sir — Recently the prime minister stated that the birth of the three new states of Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh involved no labour pain. But there are already demands for more separate states in West Bengal and the Northeast, together with the festering issue of Bodoland. The demands are likely to increase in the future.

Atal Behari Vajpayee should look for a a more systematic approach in dealing with such sensitive issues. Things are terribly inequitable in India. While there are 85 members of parliament in Madhya Pradesh, there are also states with one MP. The result is a wide gap in the devolution of Central aid and in development. To start with, there should be a minimum and maximum limit for MPs in any state. If specific rules are not made in carving out a new state, more demands may be raised, and this time, there is bound to be labour pain.

Yours faithfully,
Kelvin Meitei, via email

Sir — With the president’s nod Ranchi is all set to be the capital of the new state of Jharkhand. And the chief ministerial candidates, Shibu Soren, Babu Lal Marandi and Karia Munda, are promising to make a Japan out of Ranchi. However, the state of the electricity supply in Ranchi is quite shocking. If they have to make the best of the opportunity, the would-be ministers should have the sense to first think of improving the power situation and ensure an uninterrupted power supply. A capital cannot carry on its celebrations in torchlight. It would discourage future investors. This is the least the legislators can promise.

Many problems of Jharkhand remain unattended to for which Ranchi’s residents will have to come forward. Politicians should not be allowed to make a mess of a golden chance.

Yours faithfully,
Pradip Ashopa, Jamshedpur

Sir — The creation of new states will invariably open a Pandora’s box. In a country where divisive forces and separatist elements are active and assertive, no such step should have been taken. The sagacity with which India’s British rulers unified the country has been undermined by our power hungry leaders.

The plight of Bihar will be miserable. Jharkhand takes away all the minerals, forest products and industry. But Bihar’s division is a fait accompli. No further formation of new states should be allowed for the larger interest and integrity of the nation.

Yours faithfully,
R.P. Sharma, Katihar

Gates of fashion

Sir — Bill Gates and Jack Welch, two tycoons of corporate America, have visited India and have showered well merited praise on the intellectual capacity of Indians in general and our computer technologists in particular. Germany, Japan and now New Zealand have joined the United States in welcoming computer personnel of Indian origin to go and settle and prosper in their countries.

We should not forget that all this has been possible only because of the knowledge of the English language. Love for the vernaculars should not blind us to the fact that the English language has become the number one international language. If we want to take advantage of the opening up of world trade we cannot afford to ignore the importance of English. China is encouraging and facilitating the study of the English language among the Chinese.We had better follow suit, if we do not want to miss the opportunity of exploiting the job markets in the developed nations.

Yours faithfully,
C.V.K Moorthy, via email

Sir — The report, “CMs scramble to grab a piece of Gates action” (Sept 15) is rather flippant. I am sure there are better parameters by which to judge public figures than by what they are wearing. Ministers are not filmstars. Moreover, in a country like India, most politicians would rather be simply dressed as that way more Indians would identify with them. Simple dressing in fact is a fashion statement for India’s political leaders.

Thankfully, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi isn’t around. Had he been, Gandhi probably would have headed your list of ill-dressed leaders who called on Bill Gates. It pains me to see the singular obsession with fashion in The Telegraph’s colour magazine. Please don’t “graphiti-ize” The Telegraph’s news pages too.

Yours faithfully,
Hiren Sen, Calcutta

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