The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Letters to Editor

Of art and absurdity

Sir — The project conceived by Liam Yates, a British artist, where a naked couple live in a bed in an art gallery, makes one wonder about the line that separates art and absurdity (“Bed-time marathon for art’s and safety’s sake”, Aug 31). Strangely, Yates refers to the celebrated John Lennon-Yoko Ono “love-in” at Amsterdam and the HIV threat in the same breath. Is it not irresponsible to recall the era of transgressions, drugs and “free love” today, when unprotected sex with strangers may cost us our lives' Or is this cheap publicity, for nothing sells better than sex'

Yours faithfully,
Subal Basu, Patna

Region in mourning

Sir —- The nation just celebrated its 55th Independence Day. But what about the people of the Northeast' Why cannot the people here celebrate this day' On August 15, when the rest of the people of the country show the world that they are proud to be Indians, in Shillong “the Scotland of the East”, where insurgency is a booming industry, the people are fearful of coming out of their own houses. They need to hide themselves from the bullets of the militants.

Militancy has stalled the Northeast’s stride towards development. What will happen to the coming generations if this situation persists' Asked about Independence Day, a student of the region told me that for him it meant a 24 to 36 hour bandh, deserted roads, closed shops and markets, sounds of firing, tension and unhappiness. In a few years’ time, the coming generations will even forget the colours of the national flag.

Peace can only be brought to the region through mutual understanding among the people. Being responsible citizens of the country, we need to correct ourselves first, and then try reforming the people who have gone astray. If all sincere endeavours prove useless, the government can take over the matter to de-escalate the prevailing tension. But the people have to try first.

Yours faithfully,
R.L. Rai, Shillong

Sir — The government has shown a new interest in the development of Guwahati. But before it takes the plunge into development work, it needs to note a few things. First, there should be detailed planning for at least five to 10 years. Second, development bodies like the Guwahati municipal corporation or the Guwahati metropolitan development authority need to evolve a common development framework, instead of working in isolation. The plan should be developed after serious thought and deliberation by a competent team of experts. Development concerns should involve housing and infrastructure like electricity, telecommunications, water supply, transport, drainage and so on. Development without a masterplan being drawn up on the basis of defined objectives and strategies will be a meaningless exercise. Let us hope that Guwahati does not end up with another Ulubari flyover or similar other failed projects.

Yours faithfully,
Miftahul Hussain,


Caste out

Sir — The support pledged by the All India Confederation of SC/ST Organizations to foreign direct investment in the print media is perhaps a welcome move (“FDI support”, Aug 1). The organization apparently feels that FDI will promote healthy competition in the media. However, in all other spheres of public life, scheduled caste and scheduled tribe members urge reservation. In the name of social justice, for the last five decades, such organizations have encouraged mediocrity in social life. It is thus surprising that the All India Confederation of SC/ST Organizations should suddenly become such a staunch supporter of the market.

Yours faithfully,
Tapan Pal, Batanagar

Sir — The chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Mayavati, despite being a Dalit leader, is taking decisions which go contrary to the welfare of the lower castes. Her recent directive to stop the “misuse” of the Dalit Act to the Uttar Pradesh administration has been interpreted as a signal to kill the benevolent act. As expected, this has led to an increase in crime against Dalits.

Mayavati’s turnaround has been prompted by the pressure put on her by her saffron allies. Having come to power entirely because of their support, Mayavati cannot afford to displease them. Her case is another example of how caste politics is being used for selfish political interests.

Yours faithfully,
Tapan Das Gupta, Calcutta

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