Sir — Ramachandra Guha’s article, “Delhi delusions” (June 18), kills two birds with one stone. Guha, characteristically, expresses his indignation at Baba Ramdev’s movement against corruption and castigates the United Progressive Alliance government for its inept handling of the circus staged by the yoga guru in Ramlila Maidan. Guha does not spare the ‘national’ media — newspapers and television channels — for their distorted and biased coverage of events. The hallmark of this columnist is his outspokenness. That Ramdev has amassed a vast amount of wealth through dubious means is public knowledge. His failure to make an impact in the political arena through his fast dented his credentials further. Ramdev’s nexus with Hindutvavadi leaders calls into question his intentions. It seems that a special liking for the limelight has cost him his credibility.
At the level of policy, Ramdev’s views are ludicrous and puerile. Guha rightly says that the police action on Ramdev and his followers deserves to be condemned, and adds that it was foolish on the part of the media and parties with vested interests to draw a parallel between the police crackdown in Ramlila Maidan and the infamous Emergency. Guha also rues the fact that brutalities inflicted as a matter of routine on women in states like Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Manipur rarely receive media coverage. This parochial mindset of the national media is what Guha finds unacceptable.
Guha seems to suggest that Ramdev’s ‘fight’ against corruption is intended to derive political mileage. The loot and plunder in Karnataka do not concern Ramdev as that state is ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party. The truth about Indian politics is this — it is characterized by a hunger for power on the part of leaders rather than by honest and transparent governance.
P.B. Saha, Calcutta
Sir — Did people in general appreciate Baba Ramdev’s fast against surging corruption? Ramachandra Guha’s piece will force readers to re-think the issue. Guha informs that people in the southern states such as Tamil Nadu and Karnataka had remained indifferent to Ramdev’s antics in Delhi. Guha also argues — and there is no reason to think otherwise — that there was little enthusiasm for Ramdev’s fast in East and Northeast India. I think people ought to ask themselves whether corruption of significant proportions did not exist in India before 2010-2011. Will corruption vanish as a result of such sudden and short-lived movements?
The answer is in the negative. The system has long adjusted itself to the malaise. Only a long struggle to raise public awareness and a determined push to find a solution to the problem can yield positive results. Otherwise, those immersed in corruption will stage-manage protests such as these to enhance their interests.
Asok Kumar Dasgupta, Calcutta
Sir — Ashok Mitra made some pleasantly nostalgic comments following Joe Galibardy’s death in London (“A death in London”, June 20). However, it is not right to suggest that Bengalis were not interested in hockey. Mohun Bagan won the Calcutta Hockey League (First Division) in 1935 with a team largely made up of Bengali players that included the late P.K. Sen, the famous police officer of later years.
Right up to the mid-1950s, the Beighton Cup used to draw wellknown teams from other parts of India, and they played before large crowds. People still talk about the semi-final between Mohun Bagan and Tata Sports of Bombay in 1952 which was won by Mohun Bagan on the third day. As many as seven members of the Olympic gold- medal winning teams of 1948 and 1952 regularly played in the Calcutta League. Keshav Dutt went on playing for India till the 1960 Olympics. I do not want to go on supplementing Mitra’s article with more data. However, one would do injustice if the world’s greatest goalkeeper’s name — Allen of Calcutta Port Commissioners — is not mentioned along with the Tapsells and Galibardys. Also Carapiet belonged to the late 1940s and early 1950s, and not the 1930s, when he donned colours for Mohun Bagan.
Arabinda Ray, Calcutta
Sir — Waterlogging in Calcutta’s roads raises some serious questions (“Water ebbs, not in mayor area”, June 19). The blame lies not just with the inept Calcutta Municipal Corporation but with the land sharks as well. The latter fill up water bodies by dumping the city’s refuse in them. Then they collude with corrupt politicians and bureaucrats to buy the land and sell it to builders. The city’s drainage system will not work unless water bodies are kept clear of all obstructions.
Umesh Chandra, Calcutta