Written in the genes
Sir — Genetic profiling may be catching on among the yuppie class in tech city Bangalore, but the best it can manage to do is become a fad among the select population of the educated and upwardly mobile (“Gene match outshines stars” (Nov 17). At best, the matching of genes will coexist happily along with the matching of horoscopes in our country of many diversities, just as you will find car and cart jostling for right of way on the same road. For every Arathi Gopalswamy, a designer who will not finalize her marriage date before the results of her chromosomal analysis are out, you will find many a Sulekha Bose, who was rejected by 12 prospective grooms because she insisted that they submit to blood tests for diseases like AIDS. Science and logic have nothing to do with it. In a marriage market that still favours men, it is only women like Gopalswamy, with economic independence and social clout, who can dictate terms, and not the merely educated ones like Bose.
Riya De, Calcutta
Stopped in its tracks
Sir — The Election Commission did well to scuttle the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s vijay yatra since Gujarat is yet to recover from the riots that took place earlier this year (“Poll panel, VHP head for yatra collision”, Nov 13). That the VHP played a role in the Gujarat riots is undeniable. Its only desire in taking out another yatra in the run-up to the state elections was to stir up more trouble. That a rabidly communal organization like the VHP can make so much trouble and still be allowed to exist severely undermines our secular credentials.
A. Dasgupta, Calcutta
Sir — Although the EC was able to get the Gujarat government to come down heavily on the VHP’s yatra, the saffron organization’s defiance in the face of the arrest of its leaders and determination to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition as “vijay diwas” show that Gujarat has now become a prestige issue for it. The VHP may claim to be a quasi-religious and cultural organization, but it undoubtedly harbours political ambitions. Perhaps, it is time Praveen Togadia and Giriraj Kishore contested elections instead of trying to govern the country by proxy.
Shiv Shanker Almal, Calcutta
Sir — The editorial, “Sin of excess” (Nov 16), points to some trends that are putting Indian democracy in jeopardy. Every person in power, be it political or bureaucratic, is determined to prove how powerful he is and does not mind exceeding the limits of his authority in doing so. While the judiciary justifies interference in the function of the executive on the ground that the latter has failed to do its duty, bureaucrats in West Bengal are asked to show “respect” to legislators by acceding to their requests. The latest instance of executive excess, of course, is the EC’s interfering in law and order, a state subject.
It was for the Gujarat government to decide whether to allow the VHP’s yatra since it would have been the one held responsible for any violence that took place during its course, the consequences of which it would have faced in the coming elections. While doing his constitutional duties, J.M. Lyngdoh inadvertently overstepped the limits of his power. One can appreciate his concern, but it is difficult to condone his mistake.
Govind Das Dujari, Calcutta
Sir — Praveen Togadia, the VHP general secretary, has been much in the news in recent times. Be it calling Sonia Gandhi names or his belligerent defiance of the EC’s ban on the vijay yatra, Togadia has demonstrated his communal credentials on every occasion. It is obvious that he covets publicity. Thus instead of giving coverage to everything he says, the media should ignore him. That is the best way to deal with him.
Wasim Ahmed, Calcutta
Sir — The misbehaviour of the Rajkot crowd, which disrupted the third India-West Indies one-day international, is bizarre since it happened at a time India was winning (“Third time lucky with stone”, Nov 13). It would be unfair to blame the police for its failure to anticipate trouble. Controlling a capacity crowd is always difficult, and more so when emotions run high.
Only those who know how to behave themselves should go watch cricket matches; those who don’t should stay at home instead of spoiling the game for others.
Sumant Poddar, Calcutta
Sir — The International Cricket Council should ban cricket venues which have become infamous for crowd violence. This will put a stop to such incidents for some time. And what were the police in Jamshedpur, Nagpur and Rajkot doing during these disturbances' If the authorities want foreign teams to continue touring India, they should take immediate steps to ensure better security.
T.R. Anand, Calcutta
Sir — What would the cricket authorities in India have done if the sand-filled bottle had injured Vasbert Drakes' Cricket’s immense popularity is one explanation for the rise in crowd violence (“Different game”, Nov 14). But while most fans are sporting, there are others who are not so. There are also a few troublemakers in every crowd, who draw attention to themselves by misbehaving. Match organizers may consider video surveillance to monitor the crowd.
Mitul Sen, Calcutta
Sir — As Sunil Gavaskar points out, it is up to the crowd to identify mischief-makers and hand them over to the authorities (“Stop these idiots, stop the trouble, Nov 13). But one wishes the West Indians had shown a little more spirit in Rajkot and resumed play after the police cleared the area from where sand-filled bottles had been thrown.
Sumit Bajaj, Howrah