Sir — The case of Kabir Suman becoming a member of parliament from the Trinamul Congress appeared to be a non-starter from the very beginning (“Suman poops Mamata party”, Jan 12). His association with the TMC may be short-lived as his views contradict Mamata Banerjee’s perceptions on the current political situation in West Bengal.
For quite some time, Suman has been voicing his discontent at the TMC branding him as a “guest” in the party despite his status of an MP. Suman’s differences with Banerjee became more pronounced after the release of the music album, Chhatradharer Gaan,in which he has expressed his sympathy for Chhatradhar Mahato. Since Banerjee has decided to distance her party from the Maoist movement, Suman’s album has raised questions about his loyalty towards the TMC. Many in the party feel that Suman’s behaviour is unpredictable, but, as of yet, no one has demanded that he should be expelled from the party.
It seems that until the TMC comes to power in the state, Suman will remain a restless pawn, unable to extricate himself from the shackles of politics. But why do artists like Suman agree to join hands with politicians in the first place, even when they know that their freedom of expression may be curtailed? Now, it is for Suman to decide whether he wants to put up with this humiliation or escape the clutches of the party so that he can express his views freely.
Ichapore, North 24 Parganas
Sir — It is important for an artist to be able to experience the world of politics. It seems that Kabir Suman had joined the TMC for this reason. But, unlike other politicians, Suman has not engaged himself with petty issues. Instead, he has tried to expose the defects in the TMC. He is more committed to the people of West Bengal than he is to his own party. By voicing his views boldly, he has shown that the TMC is no better than the ruling Left Front. Suman’s case brings to light how wily politicians end up exploiting intellectuals.
Sir — It is shocking that some politicians are trying to create a rift between Kabir Suman and the TMC chief, Mamata Banerjee. The singer seems to be baffled by the criticisms being hurled at him by his own partymen. Suman has always admitted his ignorance about politics. In fact, he was not too keen on contesting the elections. However, his success in the elections cannot be attributed to his fame as a musician only. Those pointing fingers at Suman should realize that they have no right to jeopardize his career as a politician and a musician.
Suman has not been given his due as a politician. The singer has been labelled as stubborn and impertinent, and has been accused of being disloyal to the party. Suman has tolerated the criticism for far too long. It is possible that Suman has very few friends in the music industry. Perhaps this is why other artists have chosen not to stand by him in his hour of need. It is not right for people to heap scorn on this great singer and restrain him from expressing his views in a forthright manner.
Clean the act
Sir — The editorial, “The citizens’ green” (Jan 10), has opined that “handing over the Maidan to the army may not be a solution”. I beg to differ with this point of view. Since long, rallies and exhibitions have been held on the Maidan. The people of Calcutta have never been bothered about this. In the last few years, however, the fact that preserving the Maidan is important in the long run seems to have seeped into the collective consciousness. Consequently, steps have been taken to ban rallies and exhibitions on the Maidan. It would be ideal to keep the Maidan under army control to check pollution on this green stretch.
Sir — The Maidan — the lungs of Calcutta — has been affected adversely by the irresponsible attitude of the people and politicians. Since the state government has failed to keep the Maidan clean, the Calcutta High Court must instruct the greens to be handed over to the army. The army should make the place out of bounds for political rallies and ensure that people do not litter the grounds.
Sir — The demand that hotels be held responsible for the safety of their guests is quite logical (“26/11 parents’ glare on hotels”, Jan 9). Hotels must have no qualms about keeping their guests safe, as the services rendered are paid for. Often, there is a lack of initiative on a hotel’s part to strengthen security for its guests. This is because hotels lose very little materially even if there were to be a terrorist attack like 26/11. Their insurance cover is sufficient to pay for the damages. It is the hapless guests who die, while the State bears the cost of fighting terrorists. In any case, hotel managements are not particularly known for their sense of social responsibility, especially those that are run by business groups with allegedly dubious histories of land grabbing or financing the Salwa Judum (“The split reality”, Nov 20). No one likes to be frisked while entering a hotel. But no one wants to die in a 26/11-like attack either. The nation needs to realize this. The best and perhaps the only way to make hotels sensitive to the lives of their guests is to ensure that they invest adequately in security.