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Tough task: The two elephants at the Alipore zoo try to reach for a drink
Call for a second chance to clear tainted name

It is extremely tragic that Haradhan De, a former convict, is not getting a chance to lead a normal life even after having served a life term (Sentence stigma leaves scars, November 13).

It is not true that all people sentenced to imprisonment are hardcore criminals. Many people commit crimes by accident, in a fit of passion or in self-defence. Many of the prisoners may also be innocent people who have been framed. Even after serving a life term, will these unfortunate ones not be rehabilitated in society' Will the stigma of once going behind bars hound them through their lives'

De’s lawyer has rightly pointed out that the West Bengal government should provide jobs to released prisoners, like they do in Punjab and Haryana, to bring them back to the mainstream. Or else petty criminals will come out of the dungeon-like jails, termed correctional centres these days, and turn hardened criminals after facing rejection at every door.

Kajal Chatterjee,
Sodepur.

Parched pachyderms

It is sad that the supply of drinking water for the two elephants at Alipore zoo is insufficient (Zoo jumbos struggle to quench their thirst, Nov 10). Given that it is the animals that attract visitors to the zoo, earning the authorities a handsome revenue, the least they can do for the birds and beasts in confinement is provide them a decent diet and good living conditions.

Prahlad Agarwala,
Majdia. Nadia.

Cop courageous

Hats off to sub-inspector Debashis Banerjee who took so much trouble in tracing a wallet stolen by a pickpocket from an American tourist. (Not just a cop, a hero, Nov 13). The pedestrian who saw the incident and informed Banerjee deserves due compliment as well. The Esplanade area has become the haunt of the three Ps (pimps, pickpockets and prostitutes). The situation should be dealt with firmly.

Diptimoy Ghosh.
Salt Lake.

The incident is reassuring since the public is fast losing faith in cops in view of the daily reports of malpractices in the force. The action is all the more commendable as the sub-inspector feels that he was merely doing his duty.

Depaprasad Mukherjee,
Nayapatty Road.

Kudos for highlighting the exploits of sub-inspector Debashis Banerjee and a pedestrian who retrieved the wallet of an American tourist. The lady will go back to her country with a first-hand account of the honesty and dedication of a Calcutta Police personnel. This should inspire his colleagues.

B.N. Bose,
Dum Dum.

The report should be an eye-opener for all those who consider the police department worthless.

Kunal Ray,
Santragachhi.

Retracing keys

Pannalal Bose’s family may like to know that he translated Tagore’s Kshudhita Pashan in 1909, since The Modern Review, the leading nationally circulated magazine of those times, published it in February 1910 (A grand 70, machine that keyed in history, Nov 8). Only later did it become the title story of the Macmillan anthology, The Hungry Stones (1916, not 1950). Therefore, Tagore’s commendatory letter to Bose most likely dates from 1910, and certainly before 1916. It could also mean that the Remington Rand is nearly 100 years old! But perhaps Bose owned an earlier model, or perhaps he just transcribed his translation by hand.

As far as I know, Bose never translated anything else by Tagore. He did not take up Tagore’s suggestion of translating more stories, though he was one of the pioneers to do so, among the handful who undertook Tagore translations before Gurudev won the Nobel in 1913. What, then, drew him to the one-off Hungry Stones' I find it intriguing that he chose to translate this ghost story (originally written in 1895) the same year that the Raja of Bhawal appar-ently “died”. Yet he surely could not have foreseen that he would deliver the judgement on this case 27 years later!

Ananda Lal,
Professor of English,
Jadavpur University

No place for politics

Shame on Trinamul Congress (Leaders lay siege, burns victim dies, Nov 12). Political parties should not be allowed inside a hospital.

Sachindra Nath Mitra,
Rakhal Ghosh Lane.


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