The unkindness of strangers
Sir — “BBC presenter sacked for turban remark” (Nov 13) was a strikingly topical story, appearing on Guru Nanak’s birthday and a day before Monty Panesar, the turbaned star of the English team, was set to play in Rajkot. Sam Mason’s apprehension that a driver in a turban would frighten her daughter reminded me of Mini’s mother in Tagore’s short story, “Kabuliwallah”, who too was scared silly by the strangely-dressed Pathan. It is surprising that a broadcaster in a multicultural society, who is expected to be familiar with a range of attires, could make such ignorant remarks. The irony was heightened by a picture of our very own turbaned prime minister published on the same page!
Saran Singh, Calcutta
Sir — It is a shame that in a country where “Children’s Day” is celebrated with great fanfare, five young students had to die after consuming the milk and snacks they were served at their government-aided residential school in Ranchi (“Five kids die after taking milk and snack at school”, November 14). When parents send their wards to boarding schools, they put their trust in the authorities who run these institutions. The people in charge should have been mindful of the quality of the food given to the boys. The guilty must be brought to book as soon as possible.
Bankim Chakraborty, Calcutta
Sir — Complaints abound about the deplorable standard of midday meal given to students of state-run schools in almost all parts of the country. The managing committees of the schools have been suspected of conniving with corrupt contractors, and poor quality food has been the cause of many a tragedy in the past. It would make better sense to stipulate meal allowance for students, which could then be paid to them directly so that they can buy food directly instead of depending on their unscrupulous carers.
A.S. Mehta, Calcutta
Sir — It is a shame that while perjury charges had millionaire British novelist and politician, Jeffrey Archer, sacked from the Tory party, a similar accusation against Sharad Pawar, is unlikely to have serious repercussions (“Pawar hope: perjury an English game”, November 14). The Nationalist Congress Party has declared a Swabhiman Saptah, or self-respect week, from December 12 to celebrate Pawar’s birthday. The party has even valorized its disgraced leader in absurd terms, calling him “not a personality but a national thought”. No wonder a nation, riddled with such mindless sycophancy, features so prominently in the corruption index brought out by the Transparency International.
Sujit De, Sodepur
Sir — Hats off to Jagmohan Dalmiya, one of the best cricket administrators of our times, for showing Sharad Pawar’s true colours to the world. It was Dalmiya’s visionary managerial sense that helped the Cricket Association of Bengal, Board of Control for Cricket in India and the International Cricket Council prosper. It is a pity that he fell victim to internal politicking. The vicious role played by Pawar, the former BCCI president and current vice-president of the ICC, Shashank Manohar, the BCCI president, Ratnakar Shetty, the chief administrative officer, N. Srinivasan, the secretary, Chirayu Amin, the vice-president and junior cricket committee chairman, and Niranjan Shah, the former secretary, led to Dalmiya’s ignominious expulsion in 2006. The six accused should be given exemplary punishment for filing a false affidavit against Dalmiya.
P.B Saha, Durgapur