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Here are some legs to pull

Sir — How does it matter one way or the other whether Jennifer Lopez gets her legs or the buttocks insured (“No ifs and buts in J.Lo insurance policy”, Feb 24)' When Pele got his legs insured some decades ago, it did make headlines, but most people considered it to be a rather wise thing to do. In Lopez’s case, of course, the tone assumed by the newspapers is that of mockery. This is nothing but murdering to dissect. What was the media’s need to go to town with the news — which, it turns out, is merely gossip — if all it wanted to do was disparage the singer’s action. This is not merely bad journalism, but also a callous one.

Yours faithfully,
Priyanka Roy, Calcutta


Who cares'

Sir — In this article, “Bush babies” (Feb 21), Ashok Mitra correctly analyses the mindset of the Indian elite who are ready to support the American cause against Iraq to further their own economic interests. The Indian nouveau riche has benefitted from the process of globalization, and will go to great lengths to please Uncle Sam. World peace and problems like unemployment, poverty and illiteracy are of little concern to them. Mitra is also correct in assuming that the growing anti-Muslim sentiments of the Hindu elite is also a reason for its supporting a war against Iraq.

However, I disagree with Mitra on one point. According to him, the current crop of Indian cricketers can think of nothing but money, being constantly lured by television commercials and sponsorships, and hence perform miserably on the field. But the same team has notched up a number of wins recently like the test series against the West Indies in India, the Natwest Trophy in England, and the ICC Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka.

Moreover, these cricketers have done much better, both in tests and one day matches, than their less-well-off predecessors. Which proves that there lies no easy correlation between the performance of cricketers and their making the quick buck.

Yours faithfully,
Kajal Chatterjee, Calcutta


Sir — Gone are the days when the people of Calcutta, with their Marxian agitational apparatus, would not lose an opportunity to show their disapproval of capitalist conspiracies. I believe that the same people today have well integrated themselves with the forces of the market economy. This is glaringly evident in the Communist Party of India (Marxist)’s hypocritical stand on the impending war in Iraq. Ashok Mitra captures this phenomenon well.

Our comrades are too busy pursuing their own interests to protest against the United States of America’s discriminatory policies.

But Mitra’s observation that the Hindu richer classes support the American aggression against Iraq because Iraq is a Muslim nation, is incorrect, since the rich seldom care about caste, creed or nationality. And, did Mitra really have bring Indian cricketers into his discussion'

Yours faithfully
Surajit Basak, Calcutta


Sir — If affluent Indians were to take to the streets and protest against the US, it would probably make Ashok Mitra happiest. The truth is that affluent Indians are always on the lookout for opportunities to make the US their home. The communists cannot sway them by preaching ideas borrowed from Karl Marx. At least, they are not pretentious about their ideals.

Mitra blindly criticizes the US and the National Democratic Alliance government in New Delhi, while refusing to accept that the left in West Bengal have moved farthest from socialist ideals and consequently, from the people. Mitra should look at how China and France have overcome US pressure on international events, managed their economy and contained labour unrest.

Yours faithfully,
Samir Datta, Nagaon


An announcement

Sir — The birth centenary of the famous economist, Professor A.K. Das Gupta, falls on July 16, 2003. It is proposed to arrange a meeting to commemorate the jubilee. His students and admirers keen to join the occasion may kindly get in touch with the undersigned at 2479 1880.

Yours faithfully,
Ashok Mitra, Calcutta


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