Saying it with roses
Sir — The media got it all wrong when they went ga-ga over the royal marriage in Nepal (“A marriage godsend for Nepal”, Jan 23). The marriage did not give the people an “occasion” to forget the palace massacre. The horse-drawn carriages, flash of gold and red just blocked out from public view the bitter struggle being fought in the countryside against the monarchy and the corruption it has engendered. The resurgent royalty has already wiped out the nascent movement for democracy in Nepal. The portrayal of a royal marriage as a national event shows that monarchy is reimposing itself on the minds of the people.
T. Sarkar, Calcutta
Sir — Though The Telegraph published a picture of the funeral procession of Harivansh Rai Bachchan (Jan 20), I was surprised to find that no proper obituary had been published on the legendary poet. Today’s generation may identify Harivansh Bachchan more easily as the father of Amitabh Bachchan, but we, who studied his immortal Madhushala in high-school as well as in college, will always remember him as the pioneer of the romantic movement in Hindi poetry. Despite having a Ph.D degree in English from Cambridge University and having worked as a professor of English literature in the Allahabad University for many years, Harivansh Bachchan excelled in Hindi literature. His writings marked a new beginning in Hindi prose as his simplicity of language merged with his lyrical imagination to express the emotions closest to his heart.
Apart from the numerous poems which have made him famous, Harivansh Bachchan’s autobiography, Kya Bhoolun Kya Yaad Karoon, is considered to be a classic example of prose writing. Even in the world of cinema, Bachhan has left an everlasting impression with his composition, “Rang barse bheege chunarvaali rang barse”, a song for Holi, sung and acted to perfection by his eldest son, Amitabh, in the film Silsila. Atal Bihari Vajpayee has rightly described Harivansh Rai Bachhan as a poet of rare eminence who will always be remembered by all lovers of Hindi literature.
Srinivasan Balakrishnan, Jamshedpur
Sir — More than the departed poet, it was the galaxy of stars who came to attend the funeral of Harivansh Rai Bachchan who attracted the attention of the media. We saw Amitabh Bachchan and his son, Abhishek, leading the funeral procession on the front page, and then successively Tabu and other filmstars at the ceremonies that followed the death. The filmstars have supplementaries and pages devoted to them entirely. Why should we have them on the front pages as well'
N. Chatterjee, Calcutta
Sir — The report, “Vaccine on no-man land” (Jan 6), is disheartening. It is really sad to learn that children are the victim of cross-border politics. Pulse Polio drops which should be compulsorily administered to all children below 5 years of age do not reach the children staying in the Indian enclaves in Bangladesh. The health officials are unable to go into these areas for fear of reprisals. But where have all the non-governmental organizations gone, and also clubs like Rotary International which are supposedly committed to the success of the pulse polio immunization programme' I would like to appeal to all the Rotary clubs of Coochbehar and adjacent areas to rise to the occasion.
Srabani Bandyopadhyay, Cuttack
Sir — The proposal of the West Bengal government to distribute free insulin to diabetic children is a welcome idea (“Govt mulls free insulin for diabetic children”, Jan 22). But the government must also see that this insulin is free from infection and is given to the people who need it, and not to those who resell it. The free insulin should also not be misused by those who receive it. Which means closer supervision of the distribution process.