Sir — The hockey legend and Olympic gold medalist, Leslie Claudius, passed away recently after a prolonged illness (“Great from golden era loses the fight”, Dec 21). He was among the few sportsmen that India will never be able to forget. Claudius’s name was also a part of the Olympics Legends Map during this year’s London Olympics. One hopes that the chief minister of West Bengal will name a well-known street after the legend. An Astro turf hockey stadium should be built in the city. Such a move would be a fitting tribute to Claudius. It is unfortunate that the standards of hockey have deteriorated considerably. Calcutta’s Maidan was once graced by greats like Claudius, Keshav Dutt, Gurbux Singh, Joginder Singh — all of them were Olympians and legends.
Once upon a time, sport lovers gathered at the Maidan in large numbers to watch the Beighton Cup. Today, hockey in Calcutta has become a mere ritual. Corporate houses should come forward to sponsor hockey to revive its glorious days.
Tushar Kumar Kar, Calcutta
Sir — With the passing away of Leslie Claudius, Indian hockey has lost a hero. He was one of the two hockey players who won four Olympic medals — three golds and a silver. Claudius was a part of the Indian hockey team at the Helsinki Games. Another hockey legend, Gurbux Singh, recently said that Claudius, along with other greats — K.D. Singh Babu, Keshav Dutt, Udham Singh, Balbir Singh ‘Senior’ — “had taken the legacy of Dhyan Chand forward.” Claudius was renowned for breaking up the opponents’ attacking forays and for executing incisive moves for his side. These are the skills that saw him shine in the Olympic. Despite his immense prowess, he was always humble. He was loved and respected by his admirers. Claudius was concerned about the decline of hockey and made efforts to revive it.
Dilbag Rai, Chandigarh
Sir — The news report, “Tickled Bengal govt eyes Tata after Tata” (Dec 17), highlights what Ratan Tata aptly stated in an interview to a news agency. He had said that Bengal has been “ignored industrially”. Though ‘liberal’ Bengalis often declare that industry has declined due to the policies of the Left Front regime, I beg to differ. Tata has rightly stated that the “Bengali people are very nice people”. Bengalis are perhaps the most broad-minded people, and this is why many communities flock to Bengal to make a living . But what Tata should realize is that development of a state can never be possible by sacrificing the land and livelihood of the poor. The welfare of the common people is of utmost importance. The industrialist has claimed that the Tata plant “could have created eventually 7,000-8,000 jobs.” However, though promises were made, no formal guarantee was reportedly given that at least one member of the family of land losers would be provided with permanent employment. Singur though was an ideal choice, given its strategic location.
Kajal Chatterjee, Sodepur
Sir — Ratan Tata has renewed his interest in Bengal. He has expressed a willingness to return to Singur. This may give rise to new hope of industrialization in Bengal. The ruling dispensation seems undecided about a rapprochement with the Tatas. Other industrialists who want to invest in the state cannot make up their minds because of the prevailing business environment. West Bengal needs to address its economic and political problems urgently.
R. Subhranshu, Chandernagore
Sir — I read the report on my talk at the Bengal Club on “Long -term trends in Indian politics”. There are a couple of points which could do with some clarification. As to Mughal rule, I said India was economically better off under the Mughals and the notion that the British divided and ruled India was too simplistic. Speaking of the immaturities of our democracy, I said while the anger of an electorate in expelling the Left Front government was understandable, its choice of the present chief minister, given her long record of unstable behaviour, especially her silence as a member of the Central cabinet after the genocide at Godhra, is an evidence of our political immaturity.
Tapan Raychaudhuri, Calcutta