Tilting towards oblivion
Sir — The leaning temple of Lord Shiva in the village, Huma, 23 kilometres south of Sambalpur, is a unique structure. It is India’s answer to the leaning tower of Pisa. Since the exact cause of its tilt is not known, the government should appoint a committee to study the temple’s architecture. The Archaeological Survey of India is also not giving due attention to the temple. As the administrative body of the temple is weak, funds are being misappropriated. Huma needs urgent attention from the authorities if it is to survive.
Radhakanta Seth, Sambalpur
Sir — In the article, “Face the people” (Dec 28), Malvika Singh talks of “Red battis flashing desperately on the roofs of ‘government cars’ ferrying the unknown, disconnected ‘leader’ from point to point.” Incessant honking has made our roads one of noisiest in the world. To add to this din, we now have the high-decibel sirens of the VIPs’ cars screaming their way through congested and poorly planned roads. The red beacon flashes atop most of our VIPs’ cars while the babus’ gun-toting security guards stand ready to shoot at sight.
In spite of repeated court rulings, our officials are still reluctant to let go of their favourite red battis. Very soon, we may need beacons of multiple colours to differentiate among conveyances like ambulances, fire engines and those of sundry officials. It seems that everybody in the administration is under perpetual threat. Otherwise, why would they need sirens, beacons and security cordons every time they go out? This would suggest either that our security and intelligence network is inefficient or that the babus are at pains to display their difference from the aam admi. The disconnect between citizens and those in power seems to be widening by the day. It is all the more unfortunate that the officials demand all these privileges for themselves in the name of the common man.
H.N. Ramakrishna, Bangalore
Sir — I am a captain in the mercantile marine and have been serving my department for the last 32 years. The demise of Leslie Claudius saddened me immensely (“Great from golden era loses the fight”, Dec 21). Although he was known to the world as a distinguished hockey player, he was also a wonderful human being and a thorough gentleman, as I realized in the course of my brief interaction with him.
It was 1980. As a young officer who had just completed his first sea voyage, I had disembarked at the Kidderpore docks. I was all excited at the prospect of going home loaded with gifts from foreign shores that I had bought for my family and friends. Then I met with a rude shock as the customs officer slapped a handsome duty on my luggage. I simply did not have that amount of money with me.
In stepped a pleasing customs officer, Leslie Claudius. The junior officer reported the case to him. Claudius smiled and immediately put me at ease. Having evaluated the situation, he settled the matter in a jiffy. I had to pay only a nominal duty and happily went home after thanking Claudius profusely.
Claudius’s gesture touched my heart. I salute Claudius for his honesty and willingness to walk that extra mile simply to help a person, without thinking of any personal gain. I am sure he had helped many a seaman like me in his true sportsman-like manner.
Prithviraj Mookerjee, Calcutta