Damning with too much praise
Sir — Popularity can easily go to one’s head (“Fanmail flood for Lyngdoh”, Aug 22). Admittedly, J.M. Lyngdoh’s courage and outspokenness are admirable. But he is only doing his job — there is no need to go overboard with the praise. Here, the fate of T.N. Seshan should serve as a cautionary tale. Seshan too embarked on a crusade as chief election commissioner. Even now, he believes he is the best president India never had. The desperation for power got so bad that Seshan did not flinch to seek the support of a party like the Shiv Sena in the presidential race. Bureaucrats, like children, are better seen than heard.
Ranjan Jana, Calcutta
Villain of the piece
Sir — Sanjay Dutt and actors like him who are now under investigation for their links with the underworld are mere scapegoats. The real culprits are the underworld dons and their godfathers, the politicians, who go free because the police does not do enough to nab them.
Take the murder of Gulshan Kumar or the attempt on the life of Rakesh Roshan — allegedly because they refused to pay extortion money. Bollywood, it is said, maintains a link with the underworld because the latter supplies it with funds. But isn’t it also true that part of the gangsters’ funds come as extortion money from Bollywood itself' If anyone is at fault, it is the law and order machinery which has failed to locate and punish these criminals.
We might win battles in Kargil, but we haven’t managed to rid Mumbai of the dons or the jungles of Karnataka of Veerappan.
Rajeev Bagra, Rishra
Sir — The controversy over Sanjay Dutt’s telephonic conversation with underworld don Chhota Shakeel is just much ado about nothing. The conversation, if one goes through the full text, appears to be casual. Parveen Babi’s allegations, which created a flutter, have also been proved baseless and the Bombay high court has issued a warning to Babi. The police should come up with more clinching evidence of Bollywood’s involvement with gangsters instead of dragging innocents into the controversy.
R. Sekar, Angul
Sir — The quest for easy money is both universal and widespread. Bollywood is no exception to this. Even so, it is shocking how far the Mumbai film industry has gone into the hands of criminals and dons (“An actor and a don”, Aug 4). The erosion of the traditional value system is most notable in today’s Hindi films, where sex and violence have become staples. Aesthetically pleasing as well as morally uplifting films, as the ones by filmmakers of yesteryears like Bimal Roy, Guru Dutt, Sashadhar Mukherjee, are no longer made. Mumbai filmdom has fallen prey to the mafia dons who hope perhaps, that by gaining control of the world of films — the biggest pastime of Indians — they will get some control over the hearts of film-lovers. A vigilant police force should crush this menace before it gets out of hand.
Santanu Das, Serampore
Sir — The underworld has become an important ally of the Mumbai film industry. But the slush money funnelled into the country by mafia dons who reportedly owe allegiance to foreign countries is also playing havoc with the economy of the country. Thus the filmstars accused of mafia contacts are helping the dons to increase their influence. Sanjay Dutt and others like him should not be allowed to get away since, as celebrities, they have a responsibility to society.
Govinda Bakshi, Budge Budge
Gone to the ants
Sir — The Supreme Courts’s biting sarcasm will have no effect on the West Bengal government which came up with the ridiculous “white ant” theory to explain the disappearance of important records in a custodial death case. (“White ant theory gives black eye to Bengal”, Aug 10). The people at the helm of the state’s affairs have forgotten the high-falutin’ notions of equality and revolution they were bred on in their eagerness to hold on to power.
Surajit Basak, Belgachia