An invitation to more trouble
Sir — With enemies like these, the Bharatiya Janata Party does not need friends (“Mayavati buries Advani’s Babri case”, Sept 18). What could Mayavati’s refusal to issue a fresh notification on the Babri Masjid case possibly achieve for her' Her six-months old coalition with the BJP in Uttar Pradesh has been uneasy at best and it had seemed that the lady was only biding her time until she marshalled the support of Dalits and Muslims again. But the desire to hold on to power must have proved irresitible. Mayavati must realize that for the BJP, this is a fresh lease of life, but for her, this is political death.
Gurudas Bhattacharjee, Calcutta
Sir — It’s Durga Puja time again and already preparations have started for the construction of pandals. But none of these pandals makes even the most basic concession for safety or convenience. In order to give an impression of the popularity of their pandal, puja organizers create an artificial rush by constructing narrow entries and exits so that their is always a rush in front of the pandal. The serpentine queues and the resulting jostling ensures that neither the old nor the very young can get anywhere near. Some medium-sized pujas have one opening only on account of lack of space. The openings are also so small that no more than two persons can stand together. The pandals are all made of highly combustible materials and one shudders to think of the tragedy that would follow should a fire break out during peak hours.
The authorities (both the police and fire brigade) should insist that the front of the pandals should be left open for a height of say 8 to 10 feet. This would not only allow people to view idols from a distance and thus reduce crowds but would also allow easy exit in case of an emergency and prevent stampedes.
A. Bhattacharya, Calcutta
Sir — Durga Puja pandals have begun springing up everywhere from small galis to paras to busy thoroughfares. Soon non-stop music will also start blaring from loudspeakers. Already, numerous groups have started beating on our doors, receipt books in hand, for “chanda”. The sum demanded is not paltry and frequently, force is resorted to to get the money.
We are Christians and I often wonder what the reaction of these chanda-mongers would be if we were to ask them for chanda during Christmas' Also would they have the nerve to be similarly insistent with members of more combative minority communities' Is this the secularism that we take so much pride in'
Julian Paul, Howrah
Sir — How much of the puja fervour that we see everywhere nowadays is devotional or cultural, and how much of it is a marketing gambit to cash in on the one time of the year when the tight-fisted Bengali spends freely'
R. Ghosh, Calcutta
Facts of the matter
Sir — This has reference to the news report, “10 minutes cost boy’s life” (Aug 24), regarding Arun Kumar Chahani who was a student of class XII of our school. All of us at school are deeply shocked and grief-stricken at the loss of our student, a child whom we nurtured with care for the last 15 years. We share the sorrow of his parents and other members of the bereaved family and extend our deepest condolences. But what has pained us more is the manner in which the incident was represented in the media. That he was denied entry for being late is an accepted rule followed by all schools which aim to train their students in discipline. August 22 was a usual schoolday for us and there was no important activity like a quiz on our schedule and neither was there any team of experts coming in from Chennai to hold a selection test. Arun had already won the Calcutta round of the quiz competition organized by the Indian Institute of Metals and along with his team mates had been selected to represent the school at the all-India level at Kalpakkam.
The media has a very important role to play in influencing young minds. As an institutional head, I would request you to maintain utmost care to report facts as they actually take place instead of distorting them and misleading people.
Keya Sinha, principal, Vivekananda Mission School, Joka