Football from heaven
Sir — It goes without saying that Percept IMC’s harebrained idea of popularizing soccer through a football shower will in no way reach its goal (“Soccer shower with suspense”, Oct 17). To start with, it is unlikely that a football in each home will suddenly create soccer players. In any case, there is likely to be one ball in each already. What the management company fails to see is that it requires more than a ball to promote soccer. Instead of this particular publicity stunt, the company should have seen to it that children and adults actually have a place to play with the ball. In a city like Mumbai, that is next to impossible. You can still play cricket in the alleys, which is probably why the sport has taken the fancy of the city’s population, but football is a difficult proposition. Even David Beckham cannot alter that truth. If the company has been successful with tennis, it is because the rich now consider it a show of status. No such luck with a poor man’s game like football.
M. Chatterjee, Calcutta
Sir — An invariable presence at almost all Durga Puja sites are makeshift kiosks clothed in red, selling Marxist literature. The more heavy-weight the party faithful patronizing the festivities, the bigger the kiosks and the more diverse the literature. It is ironical that the champions of a noble cause — keeping religion out of the ambit of politics — are allowing politics to enter religion through the back door, knowing only too well that “true-red” Marxists still would not like to be seen dead in such places even in this present era of their homespun glasnost. Also, the underlying theme in nearly all the printed material on sale is antithetical to all forms of religious pursuits. It is further intriguing that such attempts at subtle propagation are conspicuous by their absence at other religious fora, the reasons for which are not too difficult to discern.
Susenjit Guha, Calcutta
Sir — If road blockades, blaring noise and anarchy are all to be tolerated in the “spirit of puja”, why was the Assembly of God Church stopped since the year 1998 from having its annual Christmas musical out on its very own lawns, in the name of sound pollution' Each year the church would erect a spectacular “singing Christmas tree”, which was a major attraction during the season. However, forced to shift the venue, the practice had to be discontinued as the tree cannot be erected indoors. Yet, year after year the puja pandal right next to the hospital continues to create disturbances for more than a month till Kali puja, blocking a vital entrance to the hospital area without compromise. May I request the mayor, other leaders and my fellow citizens to declare that bans, restrictions and rules cannot be applied to those communities that cannot protest'
Smita Toppo, Calcutta
Sir — The pujas this year were celebrated with the usual fervour in Calcutta despite the imminent threat of a terrorist strike and the grim socio-economic scenario. The festival once again brought out the best in puja organizers, the police and the administration. Art and craft were perhaps the biggest beneficiaries as craftsmen used varied ingredients like sugarcane, jute, thermocol, bamboo, bidi lead, biscuits and broken gramophone records to make their pandals and goddesses.
However, there was much heartburn among the puja organizers who drew huge crowds but did not receive any awards. This calls for setting more scientific criteria for evaluation and streamlining the awards system. There is also a widespread feeling that some of the works of art should not be destroyed or at least they must be made available for public viewing for a longer period of time. Ten of the best puja committees can be asked to hold their pujas in the Maidan next year so that the pandals may remain open to the public for at least a fortnight.
Pabitra Kumar Das, Calcutta
Sir — It is strange that in a country whose Constitution describes it as a “secular state”, we have governments making biased laws in the name of religion. Take West Bengal where it is illegal to burst crackers during Diwali. Yet, during the Durga Puja, we have pandals blocking the roads, crackers and loudspeakers playing in the dead of night.
Shrestha Maheswari, Calcutta
Sir — The pujas involve a huge amount of public money, most of which remains unaccounted for. The state government should set up an independent body with the authority to audit the accounts of the transactions by the puja committees and to bring to public knowledge how the money collected from them has been used.
P.N. Dubey, Calcutta
Sir — Had Sunita Rani not been stripped of her medal, the Busan Asian Games would have been a landmark in Indian athletics. The only other time India won 11 gold medals was at Bangkok in 1978. It is clear that not enough is being done by the federations and associations concerned to check the use of performance-enhancing drugs by Indian sportspersons. Cricket, which has become the national game of India, has already taken a beating because of the match-fixing scandal. We should not allow athletics to become tainted also. Besides, why should an odd crook always take away the moment of glory from all the others who have worked sincerely in their own disciplines'
D.V. Vamsee Krishna, Bhubaneswar
Sir — Evidently, some of the chemicals in the medicines and vitamins used by our sportspersons are banned by international sports authorities. But why haven’t the Indian sports authorities kept our players informed of this most important aspect of international events' They cannot blame individual sportspersons and pass the buck. It is also the duty of the team management to see that sportspersons are not given contaminated water or edibles after sports events. Perhaps Sunita Rani’s allegation that she was given contaminated water after her event is correct. But there is no way her career can be salvaged now. And all because of the incompetence of the sports authorities of India.
Sumant Poddar, Calcutta
Sir — This is not the first time Indian sportspersons have tested positive in dope tests. In the Commonwealth Games, two Indians had shamed the nation similarly. Yet, they were sent abroad after the requisite drug test by the Indian sports authorities.
Rajarshi Ghosh, Calcutta