A funny sort of circle game
Professor from Bengal is now a Sir
Doctors signal self-correction
Calcutta Weather

Niigata (Japan), June 15: 
England have not had too much to crow about at World Cups. The history of the homeland of the modern game and its greatest international competition contains more pages of pain than glory.

True, there remains the untouchable brilliance of that long-ago World Cup victory. But few of the fans who follow England today were alive then. It might as well have been 1066 as 1966.

Indeed, by contrast with that achievement, almost everything which followed had to be anti-climax. The dramatic loss to West Germany (by 3-2 after being 2-0 up) in 1970, the shock failures to qualify in 1974, 1978 and 1994, the lacklustre second round flop in 1982 and bitter exits to Argentina in 1986 (Diego Maradona’s Hand of God) and 1998 (on penalties).

In the midst of all that, one beacon of pride: reaching the semi-finals in 1990 under Bobby Robson when England lost to ultimate Cup-winners West Germany on penalties.

Football is a funny sort of circle game. That is allusion not merely to the shape of the ball itself but the way in which events return on themselves.

So just as Robson learns he is to receive a knighthood for his services to the game, so England are putting together their most successful World Cup campaign since his own heyday.

They will now stay in Japan to play mighty Brazil or muddling, middling Belgium in the quarter-finals next Friday.

For England’s players and staff, it’s a great venture into the unknown. Also for coach Sven-Goran Eriksson. He may have built a significant reputation down the years with IFKGothenburg in his native Sweden, with Portugal’s Benfica and Italy’s Roma, Sampdoria, Fiorentina and Lazio but this is also his first World Cup. He clearly possesses that priceless talent which Napoleon demanded of his generals: luck.

England were not, basically, as bad as they looked in the last grim days under Kevin Keegan. Nor, to be fair, were they as wonderfully good as the 3-0 margin of victory over Denmark may make them appear. The Danes contributed mightily to their own downfall with some poor all-round defending and disastrous goalkeeping from Thomas Sorensen who earns his daily wage… in the English Premiership with Everton.

He will never, it is safe to say, hear the last of his fourth-minute own goal from his English team-mates at Everton or from fans at every away ground next season. England’s fans are already in fine voice, the travelling army of supporters taunting the Danes with first: “You’re going home with the Argies,” and following up with: “Are you Scotland in disguise?”

For English sport, in general, it has been a remarkable few weeks to enhance or even overwhelm the Queen’s Jubilee. England’s progress at the World Cup has been accompanied with Lennox Lewis’s conclusive demolition of that last demon of the boxing ring, Mike Tyson. The nation will now expect Tim Henman, early next month, to become the first Briton to win the Wimbledon men’s singles tennis crown since the late Fred Perry back in the 1930s.

In the meantime, who knows what may happen to the footballers? They may have been narrow favourites against Denmark but they will be outsiders if it’s Brazil they must face in the Ecopa stadium at Kakegawa, Shizuoka, in the shadow of Mount Fuji next Friday.

But that’s the best part of a week away – time for all manner of dreams, hype and reflections on the deeper significance of a handful of ‘mere’ football matches out on the Pacific Rim.

One of those, for instance, should spring from the fact that at one stage tonight, a majority (six) of England’s footballers out on the pitch were black. Twelve years ago, when England played West Germany in the semi-finals, their team contained just two.

That’s another facet which separates football from all other sports: through which we can view not only the narrow confines of sport, but even reflections of the times in which we live.


London, June 15: 
After the euphoria surrounding the Nobel Prize for Amartya Sen, another Bengali economist has now got the top honour in Britain. The Queen’s honours list this year carries the name of Cambridge-based Professor Partha Sarathi Dasgupta for knighthood for his services to economics.

On a list that includes rock star Mick Jagger, the Dhaka-born Bengali will soon be told by the Queen: “Arise, Sir Partha!”

Dasgupta, a reclusive academic and a friend of the other Cambridge luminary, Sen, told The Telegraph that the knighthood was “very pleasing, very nice…”.

The Frank Ramsay Professor of Economics at Cambridge University is famous for his work on environment and resource economics and for developing links between economics and biological sciences. The author of such highly acclaimed books as An Inquiry into Well-Being and Destitution (which made waves in academic circles) and Human Well-Being and the Natural Environment, Dasgupta is keen to focus on ecological economics and bring about a real interaction between ecologists, physicists and economists.

Dasgupta was born in Dhaka in 1942. His parents left the country in late 1946 and moved to Uttar Pradesh. Here, the family lived in Varanasi and tried to come to terms with Partition. Dasgupta briefly went to school in Lucknow (La Martinere), a school he hated — “I used to have nightmares till about five years back,” he laughs.

It was the modest Rajghat School in Varanasi that really shaped his sensibilities. “It was an extraordinary school, Hindi medium and quite modest, but intellectually stunning,” said the economist.

From Varanasi, Dasgupta went to Delhi where he studied physics in Hans Raj College and then moved on to Cambridge for a degree in mathematics. After his Ph.D. in economics at Cambridge, he went on to become a lecturer at the London School of Economics and after stints at Harvard, Stanford, and Princeton, joined Cambridge University in 1985 as the Frank Ramsay Professor of Economics, a post he still holds.

Though a Bengali, Dasgupta, who speaks fluent Bengali and Hindi, says he has very little connection with the state. Since the death of his parents, he has hardly any family there and trips to India are usually to visit his sister in Baroda. His sister, Alaknanda Patel, is married to the son of economist I.G. Patel, former governor of the Reserve Bank of India.

“My father never got over leaving Dhaka and it made him very restless,” said Dasgupta. “He kept changing jobs and moved around. Finally, he settled down in Santiniketan, thinking at the time it would be closest to his roots.” But unlike his Cambridge colleague and friend Sen, who regularly visits Santiniketan and still identifies with it, Dasgupta said he never liked Santiniketan.

“I found it very inward looking, and never enjoyed visiting it. My mother didn’t like it either,” he said. “So, unfortunately, apart from a cousin who I am very fond of, I really have no links there. I prefer to go to Delhi, where I spent a very happy four years in university and thought Hans Raj was a wonderful college.”

Asked about what he thought about the future of India and the way it was going economically, Dasgupta refused to comment, saying he had never really studied India and it was not his field.

Dasgupta has been known to say that the problem of world poverty is far worse than what the world imagines. He argues that while such measures of the quality of life as GNP per capita and the United Nations Human Development Index show steady improvement over the past 30 years in the developing world, they fail to take into account what really matters for human welfare: a country’s productive base. This, he says, has been shrinking in countries like India, China, Nepal and sub-Saharan Africa.

Over the past 12-15 years, Dasgupta has been trying to integrate mathematics, ecology and economics. His approach has been to take economics away from humanities and making it into a biological science. “I see economics as moving away from speculative matters to that of real interaction with ecologists, physicists. I am looking at bio-diversity laws and their future in the world…. I am probably the only economist who has published books with 15 other writers, because that is how I feel it should be.”


Calcutta, June 15: 
Buffeted by accusations of negligence and overtaken by a “terror psychosis” by the judgment in the Kunal Saha case, the Calcutta branch of the Indian Medical Association today adopted a resolution to identify negligent doctors and take appropriate measures to “correct the system”.

At a mass convention at the NRS Medical College and Hospital, IMA president Subir Ganguly said it was time to make doctors accountable and build up more interaction with patients. “For this, we shall meet patients, even in the districts, and find out their grievances,” said former IMA president Kajal Krishna Banik.

The IMA, however, did not specify the measures it was planning to adopt.

Dr Krishnendu Mukherjee admitted that there were “black sheep” among doctors, but said their number was small.

“We promise that our organisation will explore the possibility of identifying them and then correcting the system,” he said.

Doctors across the city agree on one thing: the need to create awareness for better understanding between doctors and patients. Paediatrician Dr Tridib Banerjee said: “A bond of faith should tie doctors and patients together. This must not be allowed to be destroyed.”

Some of the points put forward by the doctors towards this end are:

Errant doctors should be brought to book, but a proper procedure should be followed. Instead of referring cases of death during medical treatment to police, they should be referred to a duly constituted government or quasi-government body like the Indian Medical Council or a coroner before any action is initiated against the doctor concerned. “Reform the IMC if you wish. Besides doctors, get in people from other professions like the judiciary to judge the case, but don’t treat us like common criminals,” said gynaecologist Dr Subrata Chatterjee.

Discourage the craze of going to the “number one doctor”. The rush of patients unnecessarily puts pressure on the doctor concerned, which could lead to error of judgement. There are many other good doctors available who can give more care and attention.

Patients should discuss in detail all aspects of the case, doubts and confusion with doctors instead of relying on the friendly neighbourhood quack or the chemist to find out what is ailing them. Doctors should also educate the patients about what is wrong with them.

As doctors cannot attend to patients round the clock, they should work out a “second line of defence” along with the patients. A doctor can be on call at night. This would take care of a common complaint that a doctor is not available when he is needed.

Sensitise the media. Be critical of doctors but please make sure the doctor’s version is represented as well.

As in the West, patients should be encouraged to seek a second, or even a third opinion, if the doctor feels the need or the patient desires it.




Maximum: 34.4°C (0)
Minimum: 26.6°C (0)



Relative humidity

Maximum: 92%,
Minimum: 61%

Sunrise: 4.54 am

Sunset: 6.19 pm


Generally cloudy sky with possibility of one or two spells of showers or thundershowers

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