Rise up to the challenge
Sir — Calcutta is plagued by problems, and there seems to be no way out. If it is water-logging one day, then on the very next, it is political squabbling over industrialization, or power-cut. Other cities encounter similar problems as well, but none of the metros faces all of them at once. Calcutta is failing to maintain its status of a metropolitan city, while smaller cities are faring far better because of their zeal for improvement. Calcuttans need to be more pro-active. How else can talented people be urged to stay back in this city?
Sthiti Raha, Calcutta
Sir — The report, “Penny wise, pound foolish austerity trip” (Sept 15), attempts to decry the efforts of the government to curtail the travelling expenses of ministers. The foreign ministry might have overlooked alternative ways of cutting costs, but honesty should be valued for what it is, without being biased or cynical. In this age of rising cynicism, fair intentions should be highlighted without making undue fun of them.
K.K. Agarwal, Calcutta
Sir — The report on the government’s decision to cut down on the travel expenses of ministers has exposed one of the various forms of tokenism that exist in Indian politics. The media must now continue to expose other forms of tokenism as well.
Keep the faith
Sir — The tragedy of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center is too terrible to give up hope so quickly that common sense will prevail, that dialogue will replace hostility, and that Barack Obama will meet at least the minimum expectations of his fans in the Islamic world. 9/11 should not be viewed as a political episode to justify the violence prevailing in various Muslim countries; nor should it become an excuse to victimize Muslims. We should collectively abhor the rationalization of violence seeking vengeance, and consider what it might take to dissuade those afflicted with a sense of hostility.
Could it perhaps be that we are ourselves responsible for peace being ever out of our reach? We must embrace again the anguish of what happened on 9/11; we must be ever aware that hostilities continue even today. Although the wreckage of that horrible day was cleared years ago, the lessons are still buried beneath anger, frustration, and prejudices.
To unearth those lessons, we must widen our horizons from New York to Baghdad, from Kabul to Gaza — cities that are in some ways worlds apart, but in other ways much closer than we may suspect.
Md. Ziyaullah Khan, New Delhi
Sir — Now that the Maharashtra assembly elections are round the corner, the political parties seem to be competing with each other to promise the impossible to the public. One of their pledges is to create a large number of jobs. But it is never explained how these jobs are going to be generated. Nor is the public made aware that a great many of industrial units have migrated to other states due to various fundamental problems.
Fooling people seems to be the favourite pastime of politicians. Usually, the victims of such games are the young people, who are conned by these false promises and feel lost, without any sense of direction. Ultimately, the nation loses out, as the energy of its young citizens left untapped goes to waste.
Renu Talwar, Mumbai