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Wrong time

Sir — The nomination of Sachin Tendulkar to the Upper House of Parliament overwhelmed all Indians, especially sports lovers (“ Congress plays Tendulkar”, April 27). Tendulkar is the brightest player on the Indian side who has undoubtedly raised the standards of cricket and placed India on the world map. The nomination is an honour for Tendulkar, who has never disappointed his fans. It is expected that as a member of parliament, he would not be disappointing either. It is heartening to note that Ashok Ganguly, another MP, reportedly wanted to vacate chair number 100 as a gesture of appreciation for Tendulkar’s 100 centuries.

The United Progressive Alliance government has played a master-stroke in nominating Tendulkar and actress Rekha to the Rajya Sabha at an appropriate time. Rekha, a leading actress of Hindi cinema of the 1970s, has already charmed and mesmerized her innumerable fans. She would certainly be able to cater to the political needs of the people.

Yours faithfully,
Jayanta Mukherjee, Calcutta

Sir — Sachin Tendulkar has been a cause of joy for millions of cricket lovers. However, one wonders how much he can contribute as a Rajya Sabha MP. There is a possibility that he will end up as a showpiece. In a desperate bid to bolster its flagging popularity, the UPA government has decided to nominate Tendulkar. While one does not question the cricketer’s credentials for receiving this nomination, it would have been ideal if the offer had been made once he retired from the game.

Yours faithfully,
Ambar Mallick, Calcutta

Sir — The Congress’s latest move of nominating Sachin Tendulkar to the Rajya Sabha is nothing but a populist step which makes little practical sense. Tendulkar’s nomination had initially caused widespread confusion over whether he would at all be inclined to serve as an MP. Besides, Tendulkar being an active sports person, one wondered whether he would be able to spend enough time in Parliament.

Tendulkar is perhaps the greatest victim of people’s demands in this country. He is the first active sportsman to be nominated to Parliament. At a time when speculations over Tendulkar’s retirement are doing the rounds, his sudden nomination to the Rajya Sabha by the government raises the question about whether it is time indeed for him to retire.

Yours faithfully,
Ketan Pratap, New Delhi

Sir — I was surprised to read about the recent nomination of Sachin Tendulkar to the Rajya Sabha. It is a fact that people who have excelled in different fields of activity such as science, sports, literature and the like, are nominated to the Upper House of Parliament. But Tendulkar is still young and at the height of his career. This is not the right time for him to dabble in politics.

An enthusiastic person like Tendulkar is surely the wrong person to be nominated to the Rajya Sabha, since it is, according to Hema Malini, “for retired people”, and may prove to be an uninspiring place for a sportsman like him. I think Sunil Gavaskar or Ravi Shastri would have been more suitable for the Upper House as they have retired from cricket and so can concentrate on politics.

Yours faithfully,
Aviroop Mukherjee, Calcutta

Sir — It is difficult to fathom who is more smitten by the number 100 — the master blaster himself or his legion of fans. The magic number somehow does not seem to dissociate itself from the cricketing legend. When there was a delay of over a year in getting that elusive ‘ton of tons’, the wait seemed to have been more nerve-wracking for the media than for the player himself. The poor man could not even concentrate on his game, weighed down as he was by the nation’s expectations. One imagined that once Sachin Tendulkar achieved what the country wanted of him, he would not be hounded again. But now, with Tendulkar’s nomination to the House of Elders, the fans are taking their ‘numerical fixation’ to illogical limits.

As a cricketing icon, Tendulkar has been in the limelight for quite a long time. His illustrious career has been characterized by the achievement of numerous records. And now, more than ever, when he is playing the game just for his love of it, he needs to be left alone. Hopefully, at this flag end of his career, there will be no further speculations over the probable date of Tendulkar’s retirement.

Yours faithfully,
Pachu Menon, Margao, Goa

Sir — The editorial, “Bringing the House down” (April 29), is correct in its judgment on Indian political parties, which have no respect for the parliamentary system or for the Constitution. The noble purpose for which the Parliament was created gets trampled under the petty political ploys used by the parties for achieving their narrow ends. The nomination of Sachin Tendulkar and Rekha to the Rajya Sabha is an example of this. It seems that people hardly need to have any special qualification for becoming an MP. If they can engage in mindless mud-slinging, they are deemed fit for the job.

Celebrity status seems to be all that counts for nomination to the Rajya Sabha. It is indeed difficult, as the editorial says, to visualize someone like Tendulkar “standing up to hold forth on matters of State”. These people only contribute to the glamour quotient with their presence.

Unfortunately, democratic principles such credibility and accountability have become unimportant nowadays. Gaining cheap popularity seems to be the sole aim of political parties. Hence the recent nomination comes as no surprise.

Yours faithfully,
Mihir Kanungo, Calcutta


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