Stem the flow of protest
Sir — That Deepa Murkunde could be driven to urinating in Margao’s civic office to protest against the unhygienic condition of municipal toilets speaks gallons about what administrative negligence can push people to (“Goa garlands toilet teacher”, Oct 24). What is most beguiling about this incident is that while a soiled chair could start a popular movement, other more serious and heartrending ways of public protest — countless suicides in front of ministerial bungalows in Bihar and Tamil Nadu — have moved neither the public nor political heads. Maybe filth needs to be fought with more filth.
M. Samanta, Calcutta
Every dog has its day
Sir — First there was Narendra Modi making derogatory comments about the chief election commissioner, J.M. Lygndoh, and now it is the turn of Praveen Togadia. Political mudslinging has never been so ugly. If saffronites find English adjectives like “humungous” intolerable, how come they have developed bad-mouthing their political opponents into such a fine art' Political battles have been fought in Parliament, in constituencies and even on the streets. But politicians have never used such crassly abusive terms against each other.
That such crassness is becoming a part of the political vocabulary is courtesy the style of politics that has emerged with the rise of the saffron wing. The hate culture that brought down the Babri Masjid and sparked the pogrom in Gujarat is now making steady inroads into the so long well-conserved protocol and civility of parliamentary politics. What is most strange is that a party that maintained its decorum in the opposition bench for so long is losing its head and tongue all of a sudden' Is it because it fears a political debacle soon' For the saffronwallahs are already beginning to sound like losers.
M. Jai Shankar, Calcutta
Sir — The real victims of the ongoing war between Praveen Togadia and Sonia Gandhi appear to be our hapless canine friends. The picture on page five of the October 24 edition of The Telegraph was shocking. Why must politicians and their cronies torture animals in order to insult each other' The dog forced to bear the banner appears petrified. Imagine if Togadia’s opponent had been Maneka Gandhi! By the way, what happened to the dog ultimately' Was it beaten to death in the name of Togadia, or was it burnt as an effigy' Will Sonia Gandhi kindly stop this dog-bashing'
Prosenjit Roy, Calcutta
Sir — That a dog was forced to wear a collar which said, “My name is Praveen Togadia”, shows a poverty of imagination and complete moral degradation of the agitators. That such a photograph should have been published at all is even more reprehensible. The incident confirms Indian gimmickry which the foreign press is always on the look out for.
Barjesh Dharmani, Guwahati
Sir — The picture of the dog bearing Praveen Togadia’s name in the protest organized by the youth Congress activists in Bangalore holds up a gory picture of Indian politics. What is strange is that ruling party ministers make such remarks about their political opponents, and the party high command does not utter a word. Even the prime minister’s condemnation is not taken seriously. And now we have the publicity stunt of the prime minister trying to consult the Rastriya Swayamsevak Sangh and its allied outfits, as if the Bharatiya Janata Party was ignoring them all this time (“Atal buys truce with Sangh,” Oct 25). M. Venkaiah Naidu has called this decision as a way of trying to “understand”each other’s views. Very much so, since the BJP is nearing re-election time.
Aparajita Dasgupta, Calcutta
Sir — I read the report, “India confirm berth in quarter finals” in the internet edition of The Telegraph on October 24. After reading the report carefully several times I could not find what sport it was talking about. In all probability it was football, but this was not apparent. It could be anything, ranging from American Football to ice hockey. Better care should be taken to avoid such glaring omissions in reports.
Anasua Bhowmik, via email