Missing the point
Sir — “Mission of missed martyrdom” (April 18) cannot fail to impress. The six men from Mumbai not only travelled to distant lands at considerable cost and risk, but showed enough ingenuity in devising their own plan to break free of the Jordanian security ring to reach into the heart of Iraq. A sinister question crops up here. Why didn’t these men show the same enterprise in reaching relief to their brethren when they were being butchered the same way in next-door Gujarat' Is it because there weren’t any white infidels shooting off missiles at Muslims' Or is it because that wouldn’t bring them fame overnight'
Mani Sheel, Calcutta
Sir — The Dalit chief minister of Uttar Pradesh is on a rampage following the opposition’s allegations of corruption against her, neatly packed in compact discs. Mayavati shamelessly used the birth anniversary of B.R. Ambedkar as the occasion to initiate her so called pardafash movement against the Samajwadi Party leader, Mulayam Singh Yadav, and his cohorts. It did not worry the chief minister even a bit that while she emerged from her air-conditioned comfort in diamonds to throw her challenge, her supporters stood there being scorched under the unrelenting sun. Madam went on to unveil the statue of Ambedkar’s wife, Ramabai, which has been estimated to cost around Rs 50 lakhs. Yet one would have to really investigate hard in order to come upon Ramabai’s contribution to the Dalit movement.
Since vote-bank politics is crucial to all parties, no one now even questions the role of Ambedkar in the freedom struggle. The Dalit leader has been elevated to a position even superior to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Subhas Bose or Vallabhbhai Patel whose sacrifice for the nation had been supreme.
T. Das Gupta, Burdwan
Sir — It is widely known that Mayavati is a politician without principles and scruples. The fact that she is equally vindictive became evident after she launched her pardafash agitation to counter the CDs released by the opposition that show her giving express instruction to her ministers to divert development funds into the party’s coffers. It is a shame that the most populated and most politically active state in the country has a chief minister like her.
The less said about the Bharatiya Janata Party, which keeps her going, the better. If Gujarat could not move the prime minister into action, there is no reason to believe Uttar Pradesh will. One wonders when India will be freed of men and women like these. Possibly, India needs another bout of imperialism.
Kalyan Ghosh, Calcutta
Sir — I have been fortunate enough to have travelled through your beautiful country for almost six months now and it is with some regret that I make the following remarks. Almost everywhere we have seen plastic littering the streets, lakes and hillsides. It is obvious that the people do not understand this newest form of waste and thus gutkha and pan masala packets line Mumbai’s streets, plastic tea cups pile up in Munnar’s beautiful hills, plastic water bottles get thrown into the stunning Lake Picchola in Udaipur.
It is a simple matter of educating the people about this new insidious non-biodegradable waste. Until then, the country will have to bear this huge pile of plastic waste that is almost impossible to dispose. Surely, an excellent short-term solution would be to make the manufacturer responsible in some way. If they are the ones reaping the profit from this cheap packaging, they should also pay for clearing up the mess. Particularily the big international companies that should know better.
A plastic packaging tax could go a long way to pay for more cleaning projects and recycling schemes that would benefit all. It may even pursuade the companies that the use of fully bio-degradable or reusable packaging, such as glass bottles, is the best way to proceed. Care for your country and its environment and it will care for you.
David Simpson, London