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Back on the future

Sir — Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s assertion that “we have turned around” is likely to bring a smile of amusement — rather than of hope and cheer — on the faces of the people of West Bengal (“Turnaround tune on Buddha lips”, Nov 18). While states like Maharashtra, Gujarat and Karnataka have been making progress in the core areas of education, health and infrastructure, the only things that West Bengal can find on its log-book are sick hospitals, rising unemployment and labour unrest. Bhattacharjee’s predictions of an information technology boom in the state — even before any agreement was signed with software giants like Wipro and Infosys — are a classic instance of putting the cart before the horse. The chief minister should remember that these companies nurse natural apprehensions about starting their operations in West Bengal, given the state’s militant trade unionism and lack of a work culture. Given Bhattacharjee’s penchant for rhetoric, perhaps the turnaround implies taking a few steps back rather than in front.

Yours faithfully,
Rahul Bhattacharjee, Calcutta


Fall from Eden

Sir — The TVS Cup final at Eden Gardens may not exactly have been the revenge match that Indian cricket fans were looking for, but it was nothing short of spectacular (“Fielding made the difference”, Nov 20). However, the decision to give the man-of-the-tournament award to Sachin Tendulkar is questionable. Nathan Bracken put up a far more exciting, consistent and entertaining display, bowling mean spells and picking up wickets at the right moment. In the World Cup too, Sachin Tendulkar had been chosen ahead of Brett Lee as the player of the tournament. Is it the little master’s popularity that makes the adjudicators look in his direction, while quality players like Bracken and Lee are ignored'

Also, it does not look fair to have the same player from the losing side bag the man-of-the-tournament award in tournament after tournament.

Yours faithfully,
Pooja Dutt, Calcutta


Sir — V.V.S. Laxman does not deserve the lashing he got from The Telegraph (“Players conspire with pitch, lose”, Nov 19). Losing to Australia is not as catastrophic as the media have put it. Indian players are always under pressure to achieve record-breaking feats every time they play. And the media compounds their problems by deifying ordinary individuals. Laxman’s 281 against the same Australians at the same ground in 2001 (though in a test match) will probably be forgotten owing to one bad day at work. Players senior to Laxman have let the team down several times during this tournament. It is no use making Laxman the fall guy.

Yours faithfully,
Meraj Ahmed Mubarki, Calcutta


Sir —I was keen to experience the legendary “atmosphere” at the Eden Gardens on the day of the TVS Cup final. But I should have known better. At the venue, those who came in late had difficulties in occupying their allotted seats because the seats had been taken over by groups of people who wanted to watch the match together but had not managed to get tickets in the same row. Most people spent their time speaking loudly on their cellular phones, abusing young women spectators, screaming obscenities at Australian fielders and getting agitated every time the Australians appealed. Every time an Indian batsman hit a boundary, most people would stand up on their seats. A truly symptomatic incident was a father encouraging his young son to tear up a piece of paper into shreds and throw it on the spectators in front. People kept moving in and out of seats between overs. The arrangements were also disgraceful— long queues at the toilets and food stalls meant that one was likely to miss a lot of the second innings.

The scoreboards did not give enough information. The speeches at the awards ceremony were not audible. In the absence of a giant television screen for replays, things were left to your imagination because the crowd in front ensured that one did not get to see a complete ball unless you joined them in the jumping about. I wonder if Calcutta still is a city of knowledgeable cricket fans. The next time the city hosts a match, I would request the louts to stay at home.

Yours faithfully,
Pratap Gupta, Calcutta


Sir — I do not understand why experts are not criticizing the Indian think tank’s decision to field Avishkar Salvi (“Hour of reckoning vs the world champions”, Nov 18). The Eden Gardens wicket’s tendency to slow down as the game progresses is well-known. How could the team field a rookie bowler in such a crucial match' If the team management did not want to implement the tried and tested strategy of playing seven batsmen, they should have played Anil Kumble as the fifth bowler. The team management erred in reading the pitch. The blame for the loss is as much upon them as it is upon the eleven who played.

Yours faithfully,
Adhiraj Maitra, Calcutta


Sir — The selection of the Indian team for the Australian tour is yet another “political” affair (“Kartik got a raw deal: Bedi”, Nov 19). Keeping two wicketkeepers is a good idea, but why Deep Dasgupta' Is it because of the “quota system”' Again, why Sadagopan Ramesh, when we have openers like Akash Chopra and Virender Sehwag' Now we have four specialist openers at the expense of other deserving players. Despite Anil Kumble’s 350 test wickets, his current form has been unsatisfactory. His choice over Murli Kartik will demoralize the young Kartik and erode his confidence to a serious extent. Young players like Ambati Rayudu should be given a chance to prove their mettle. Indian selectors should learn from their Pakistani counterparts, who constantly push young players into the international arena. The one silver lining is the selection of Irfan Pathan, who ought to be fielded in the warm-up matches.

Yours faithfully,
Sumant Poddar,Calcutta


Prize obsession

Sir — There does not seem to be a great deal of credibility as far as the Nobel Prizes are concerned, as there is no clear yardstick by which the candidates are judged. For example, this year’s prize for physiology or medicine, which was given for discoveries concerning magnetic resonance imagings, overlooked the major contributor to this powerful technique, Raymond Damadian, while recognizing the contributions of Paul C. Lauterbur and Peter Mansfield. In the past too, great Indian scientists such as Jagdish Chandra Bose, Homi Bhabha, S.N. Bose, G.N. Ramachandran and others have been overlooked for the prize. Let us also not forget that this prize remains a fief of the Western academia and intelligentsia. It is amusing to note that even Albert Einstein got the prize after much delay, in 1923, for discovering the photoelectric effect (which he did in 1905), and not for his famous theory of relativity.

Yours faithfully,
Saligram Mukhopadhyay, Surrey, UK


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