A berth in hand
Sir — Mamata Banerjee has taken realpolitik to farcical levels (“Berth-less Mamata leaves BJP breathless”, September 10). A fast-eroding support base in Bengal and loss of political credibility have robbed her of the capacity to negotiate for a plum ministry. She needs yet another stint in the Union cabinet if she is not to be drubbed by the left. Consequently, her move to accept A.B. Vajpayee’s offer is dictated by political rather than moral or ideological considerations. However, it is sad to see this once-firebrand rebel from Bengal reduced to a mere puppet in the hands of New Delhi’s political masters.
Snigdha Ghosh, Calcutta
Sir — Satyasadhan Chakraborty’s justification for walking out of the inauguration ceremony of a book fair — that his party opposes the worshipping of idols at public functions — does not cut much ice (“Saraswati snub to Joshi”, Sept 7). The left is always accusing Mamata Banerjee of political gimmickry. But wasn’t the state minister for higher education too using a public function to score brownie points' And isn’t that political exhibitionism' Chakraborty had better concentrate on improving the state of our education.
Diptimoy Ghosh, Calcutta
Sir — Saraswati may be the Hindu goddess of education but many Muslim students take an active part in the Saraswati puja held in schools and colleges throughout West Bengal. No Muslim has ever protested against this practice. Thus, Satyasadhan Chakraborty’s taking recourse to minority sentiments is hardly tenable. Besides, if an idol of Saraswati on the stage during a public function destroys the secular character of the left government, why is Saraswati Puja an official holiday in the state'
At stake is an issue much bigger than the idol of Saraswati — the Marxists’ grouse against the Bharatiya Janata Party for trying to loosen their stranglehold over the national education policy.
Chakraborty should know that one important reason for the fall of Marxism was its total rejection of religion. Such denigration of their gods will not go down well with the Hindus. In fact, it is precisely the left parties’ policy of minority appeasement that has brought the Bharatiya Janata Party to power.
Tapan Das Gupta, Calcutta
Sir — Saraswati has come to be synonymous with excellence in education and the performing arts, transcending all religious differences. Satyasadhan Chakraborty’s action is a slur on this tradition of communal harmony. He should not drag the goddess into a petty game of political upmanship.
A. Jhunjhunwala, Calcutta
Sir — Satyasadhan Chakraborty was probably more perturbed at the imminent arrival of Murli Manohar Joshi than at the Saraswati idol, considering the fractious relationship between the Marxists and the Centre. It is such thoughtless actions that have soured the Centre-state relationship.
Phani Bhushan Saha, Balurghat
Sir — Why has so much controversy been generated over the Satyasadhan Chakraborty episode' As a dedicated cardholder of the party, Chakraborty was merely acting on the left view of religion as the “opium of the masses”. In a similar incident two years ago, Chakraborty and other education ministers from non-BJP states walked out of a conference protesting the chanting of the “Saraswati Vandana”. In these days of fast-changing political allegiances, Chakraborty should at least be credited for showing consistency.
Dinesh Agarwal, Calcutta
Sir — I was amused at the way the media sensationalizes petty incidents like the education minister’s antipathy to religious idols. The media made a mountain out of a molehill. Journalists should concentrate on real news rather than on such insignificant matters.
Ashim Sen, Calcutta