Freedom comes dear
Sir — Money sure can’t buy love, but if you are as rich as Bharat Shah, it can buy you pretty much everything else (“Asked for 50 crore, Shah pays 77 crore”, Aug 30). Surprisingly, it is a Mumbai court that is giving credence to this impression that is at odds with the principle enshrined in the statute books that all are equal before law. The court insisted that Shah pay Rs 50 crore as surety for leaving the country. Shah has gone a step ahead and paid Rs 77 crore to demonstrate his pious intent to return back to the country to face charges. That’s what you get for measuring freedom in material terms.
R. Basu, Calcutta
Sir — It was shocking to hear that the white farmers, who have not been given any compensation by the Zimbabwean government, have been arrested for refusing to vacate their lands (“Mugabe stays firm on farms”, Aug 13). I, like most Indians, hold no brief for the whites whose actions in the colonies have not always been exemplary. But I would oppose any effort to subvert the principles of natural justice and law without which no democracy or human endeavour can flourish.
The president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, has failed to ensure his people have the basic necessities of life. He is now trying to cover up for this by seizing the farms of white settlers — a populist policy that will lead to chaos in future. All right-thinking people and governments, including those whose political sympathies lie with the blacks, must compel Mugabe to follow the basic norms of civilized behaviour.
Kajal Ghose, Patna
Sir — Robert Mugabe’s land reforms aim to create equal opportunities for and devolve political power to those non-white Zimbabweans, who presently have none. From a moral standpoint, this seems to be the best way to deal with the evils of colonialism that are even now promoting conflict between the ethnic groups in the country and to end the economic and social deprivation of the blacks. The whites’ refusal to fall in with the land reforms is the reactionary arrogance of a people that is yet to get over its colonial hangover.
S. Basak, Calcutta
Out of favour
Sir — The Armenian church and the church committee are supposed to ensure the welfare of all Armenians in India. The church has a lot of funds and properties, which are to be used for the benefit of Armenians. Thus it is difficult to understand why the church authorities are now trying to drive away the Stephens family from its premises (“Church shuts gates on family”, Aug 8). Very few Armenians remain in India and church properties are being given on lease or sold because there is no one to occupy them.
The inhuman tactics the church has descended to in order to force the Stephens to leave are also shocking. If it is a matter of rents, the church committee should ask the Stephens to perform duties like looking after the church. Or does the church have some other motive for harassing them' All Armenians in Calcutta should come together and ask the committee members to resolve the matter without going to the court. It is shameful for a community known for its gentility and helpfulness, to thus spoil its fair name.
Mesrov Minassian, Calcutta
Sir — The Armenian church committee, which has several non-Armenian members, controls a lot of funds with which it provides aid to the needy sections of society. Sadly, it refused to provide any medical assistance to the wife of Paul Stephen, a resident of the staff quarters within the church premises, when she suffered a heart attack. Such heartlessness, especially from a church committee, towards the lady is inexplicable.
G. Vardan, Calcutta
Sir — The article, “How to stuff your face and stay thin” (Aug 3), says that a person’s energy expenditure increases if the food intake is altered. Reportedly, a research programme in the United States of America has proved this in mice; it is yet to be proved for humans. But this has been in practice in Calcutta for many years. On a corrective nutrition maintenance programme, one can remain slim on a lipid-rich diet of puri, paratha, cheese and so on. This is done by altering food habits and increasing energy expenditure. There have been good results from this programme. It seems what Calcutta does today, the US thinks of tomorrow.
Madhumita Majumdar and Keya Mitra, Calcutta and Howrah