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How to be a sport

Sir — Many Andre Agassi haters will have a reason to pray for his victory at the Australian Open men’s singles final today. It will mean that Steffi Graf — who right now seems content playing wife and mother — will make a comeback to international tennis (“Agassi sets on-court Steffi date”, Jan 22). Graf fans like myself have always felt that she still has some tennis left in her. But the occasional mixed doubles will not do, Graf ought to come back to singles too. And she can’t do it without Agassi’s support. He is showing all the signs of being a supportive husband. We have pin our hopes on that.

Yours faithfully,
Rimi Mitra, Calcutta


Call of the wild

Sir — On January 12, the day of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)’s brigade rally, I was on my way to the Calcutta Medical Research Institute around 4.45 pm to attend to a serious patient. I managed to reach the hospital from Esplanade — a distance of less than four kilometres — at 6.45 pm. I was lucky to find the patient still surviving.

It does not matter which party gives the call for a bandh or a rally, because the inconvenience caused to the public is always the same. But the people’s woes are aggravated when the ruling party is the sponsor, since it also controls the administrative machinery. On the 12th, for instance, the police turned a blind eye to the traffic snarls caused by the people marching at snail’s pace taking up the breadth of a road. The smugness — born out of the knowledge that their excesses will always go unpunished — of the participants in the rally was on vulgar display.

It is stupid to justify organizing such rallies on Sundays. What about the fact that people might need to go to the hospital, or may even feel like visiting friends or going to a movie' Political parties do not win too many friends with this strategy.

Yours faithfully,
D. Ghosh, Calcutta


Sir — My humble request to the president and prime minister of the country is that they be kind enough to broadcast their speeches and statements from the capital, and not bother to visit Calcutta. The harassment of office-bound people on January 21 because of A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s itinerary in the city reinforces my belief that heads of state are best seen and heard on television. The nearer they try to come to the masses, the more unpopular they become.

Yours faithfully,
Sulagna Chatterjee, Calcutta


Sir — The president, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, visited Calcutta on January 21. The prime minister and other ministers also visit the city from time to time. These are hardly happy occasions for the lakhs of people, who have to languish in traffic jams and often end up getting dreadfully late for office. I got caught in a horrific jam on Jan 21 caused by Kalam’s visit to the city. It took me less than three hours to travel from Midnapore to Howrah, a distance of 130 kilometres, and three hours from Howrah to Park Street, a distance of only five kms. On top of this was the fuss about security. Can the authorities think of an alternative'

My suggestion is that the programmes be organized in a place in the outskirts of Calcutta where the dignitaries can travel there by a small helicopter.

Yours faithfully,
Sudarsan Nandi, Midnapore


Spy left out in the cold

Sir — The story of “India’s forgotten spy” (Dec 31), Ravindra Kaushik, who died an unceremonious death in a Pakistani jail, brought tears to my eyes. His family in Rajasthan is justified in demanding that the government honour Kaushik’s contributions. Given that espionage plays a vital role in safeguarding the country from the evil designs of its enemies, Kaushik, who was captured and mercilessly tortured in Pakistan, deserves the same honours as those given to brave soldiers. In fact, had it not been for him, many of the Vir Chakra awardees may not have got a chance to showcase their bravery.

We are familiar with the government’s ungrateful ways. But I can vouch for it that every Indian who has read or heard of Kaushik’s case will be proud of him.

Yours faithfully,
Anusuya Roysarkar, Calcutta


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