Sir — It is not without reason that the United States of America is still the capitalists’ paradise. Take the fine logic of the federal judge who dismissed a class action suit against McDonald’s for causing obesity among children (“McDonald’s wins obesity suit”, Jan 23). Yes, no one, least of all the judge, disputes the truth of the contention that eating McDonald’s hamburgers and French fries leads to obesity — but then you always knew that, didn’t you' So if you chose to gorge on them knowing about all their harmful effects, then you deserve to suffer, or at least not to get paid for such suffering. For there must be zillions of fools like you who eat and drink things they never should if they knew what was good for them, and surely they cannot all be compensated for being foolish. Fools like them abound in this world and, capital and the interests of capitals cannot be put in jeopardy for their sake, can it' Indeed, foolishness is a capital offence in the modern world.
R. Choudhury, Calcutta
Cup of woes
Sir — The cricket World Cup may be round the corner, but the dispute over contracts between the Board of Control for Cricket in India and the International Cricket Council has dulled much of the sense of anticipation in the country. Thankfully, a crisis seems to have been averted with the ICC accepting the conditional agreement signed by the players. This will allow India’s best team to go to South Africa. But the Indian players’ declaration that they will refrain in the future from entering into fresh contracts with the rivals of those companies sponsoring ICC events is a recognition that, in the long run, individual interests will have to give way to the more influential organized commercial interests. The contracts issue does not end with the Indian squad participating in the World Cup.
R. Sekar, Angul
Sir — The 2003 World Cup is breathing down our necks but the media has nothing on the team’s preparations. All the talk is centred around money and contracts. It is time we got our priorities right.
S. Banerjee, Calcutta
Sir — The order of the Delhi high court that no foreign exchange should leave the country if the Indian team were barred from the World Cup is the right step. India contributes the largest share to the ICC kitty. It has the largest number of cricket-viewers in the world and about 80 per cent of the World Cup’s advertising money comes from India. Hence, the BCCI must not be dictated by the international cricketing body. Earlier too, Indian players were victimized by some poor decisions of ICC umpires. It were the united efforts of all south Asian cricket-playing nations which had then forced the ICC to resolve the crisis. Cricket is no longer the white man’s monopoly. India must build on its superior bargaining power.
Subhash Chandra Agrawal, Delhi
Sir — Watching this edition of the cricket World Cup will be a pain for Indian television viewers, especially for those who love and understand cricket. Instead of the enjoyable and funny commentary of the likes of Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shashtri, we shall have to listen to so-called experts like K. Srikanth, who may have been a good player but seldom talks sense. They make futile efforts to sound funny like their abler peers. Worse, instead of the interesting pre- and post-match analyses there will be the farcical Ruby Bhatia and the boring Charu Sharma. Let us hope the Indian cricket team compensates by putting up a good show at the World Cup.
Adhiraj Maitra, Calcutta
Sir — The ICC contract dispute is really putting off many Indians against the sponsors of the World Cup. It seems only Hero Honda is the “desh ki dhadkan”, for LG it is money first and Pepsi’s dil mange more and more money.
Yours faithfully ,
Abhishake Kumar Saha, Ichapur
Sir — If the Indian cricketers’ poor show in New Zealand is any indication, there is little possibility of the Indian cricket team lifting the World Cup 2003. That the Indian team is much overrated was exposed during the Kiwi tour. Our much-vaunted batting line up does not know how to play on bouncy pitches and the Indian bowling attack must be one of the weakest in the world. The latter just does not have the ability to bowl out a side. How is such a team to compete with the likes of Australia, South Africa, Pakistan, even New Zealand'
The blame for inflating Indian cricketers’ egos lies with Indian commentators like Ravi Shastri, Sunil Gavaskar and that most irritating duo — Harsha Bhogle and Navjyot Singh Sidhu. The first two, popularly called the “Bombay boys”, are so biased in favour of Sachin Tendulkar that they fail to see even his most basic faults.
Kalyan Ghosh, Calcutta
Sir — The latest Pepsi advertisement featuring Shane Warne is in extremely poor taste. Warne is irritated with a malfunctioning Pepsi vending machine when a young boy, wearing the colours of the Indian team, walks in, unplugs the machine and extracts a drink — even as “Sare jahan se accha” is playing in the background. Is this an example of how “achha” we are, how easily we can get something without paying for it' Is this the message our future generation should be getting'
Swagata Dasgupta, Kharagpur