The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Letters to Editor

When the battle’s lost and won

Sir — Looking at Sourav Ganguly’s photograph, one would think that India has won the World Cup (“A punch of delight, another at detractors”, Feb 20). His display of exhilaration is a trifle annoying. So is his complaint that the team is not getting enough support from the Indian fans. Where national pride is concerned — and given that crores are raked in by Ganguly and his brethren — it is not unusual for the country to react the way it has been doing of late when the team fails to perform. Aggression on the field is a good thing, but being the captain, Ganguly should learn to take both victory and defeat with some degree of equanimity.

Yours faithfully,
A. Choudhury, Calcutta

Tongue tied

Sir — The editorial, “Sorry state” (Feb 17), is a sad reminder of the lack of self esteem that is so common among the Bengalis today. Various factors have contributed to their lagging behind the rest of the country in economic and political arenas. But the government can surely play a positive role in regaining for the language its past glory. Also, policy planners, educationists, publishers and others working with the language could target and involve the large number of Bengalis living all over the globe to preserve the language and accord it the importance it deserves.

Yours faithfully,
Subhajit Ghosh, Shillong

Sir — Experiences in small towns in West Bengal do not bear out the allegations of the decline of Bengali which gained momentum in editorials during the Calcutta book fair. The language could indeed be on the decline in the urban areas of the state, but that does not give the entire picture. It is true that the Bengali vocabulary has borrowed words and phrases extensively from a host of other languages, including English. This is in the normal course of things, and there is no reason to adopt a purist stance over it. It would be wrong to confuse the economic decline of Bengal with that of its language.

It is easy to whip up popular sentiments leading to a closure of the mind and of reason. If it is really felt that the language is in decline, then it must be asked why it is so. Is Bengali grammar too difficult for first-generation learners of the language' Has the government done enough to revise the Bengali syllabi in schools and colleges to arrest flagging interest in the subject' The truth is that nothing has been done to arrange for simpler learning of the language for young children. The loopholes left in the teaching process and the curriculum could be why numerous spelling mistakes are made by not only schoolchildren, but adults too. Bengali, like any other language, is constantly changing. This change is felt in cafés and campuses. Doesn’t this new form of the language deserve a patient hearing too'

Yours faithfully,
Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt, via email

Sir — There is an urgent need to make compulsory use of Bengali in different fields in West Bengal. Many states have made the study of the vernacular compulsory at the school level. The West Bengal government could do the same. Hindi might be the national language, and it is all very well to popularize it. But this need not mean that a rich language like Bengali has to take a backseat.

Yours faithfully,
Kajal Chatterjee, Sodepur

Parting shot

Sir — The Jabalpur high court’s ruling that Kamla Jaan be ousted from the mayor’s seat is a bizarre case (“Women seat topples genderless Kamla”, Feb 4). Eunuchs have long been isolated from the mainstream of Indian social life, and the ruling will deal a severe blow to attempts at bringing them closer to society.

The judgment is a little baffling too, because it does not address the issue of the eunuch’s gender and the problem it poses for the electoral system. The ruling also undermines the will of the people of Katni who had exercised their right to choose their representative by voting for Kamla Jaan. Couldn’t an exception be made for such an extraordinary person'

Yours faithfully,
Rahul Sinha, Berhampore

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