Appointed to disappoint
Sir — Government jobs are lucrative in most cases, but they can prove to be quite costly occasionally — costly in terms of long years spent waiting for the appointment letter after having qualified in the preliminary examinations, as Subhas Chandra Dutta of Raiganj found out (“Job after 16 years & retirement”, Dec 31). How the whole system functions can make for an excellent brain teaser. Instead of washing his hands of the affair by citing judicial delays, the authorities concerned could have at least taken the pains to go back and check the feasibility of sending an appointment letter to the man who deserved it 16 years back. It is clear that the move was made only because the court ruling finally robbed it of excuses to provide. But it was surely foolish to be under the impression that Dutta would still be waiting for the letter. The insensitivity and callousness of the government body could only have added to the disillusionment of the ex-armyman. He surely deserved better from the government for which he had once rendered his unconditional services.
Aashish Mazumder, Patna
Sir — S.L. Rao has pulled no punches at the propagators of a uni-dimensional view of events in “Hindus and the minorities” (Dec 30). His is the quintessential statement of tolerant Hinduism. My fear, however, is that such tolerance is now found only among the few educated, English-speaking people, while the masses are easily swayed by the rhetoric of the fundamentalists, no matter how prejudiced and unfair it is. The fundamentalists actually believe that the current Hindu-Muslim ratio will be dramatically altered to the latter’s advantage because of conversions and higher birth-rates due to polygamy, although there is no demographic evidence of this. I hope Rao finds many supporters who will eventually stand up against the irrevocable fracturing of the society.
Saroj Kumar Mehera, Calcutta
Sir — The Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s Praveen Togadia ought to be conferred with some kind of honour in addition to the degree he holds as a cancer surgeon. This time for his remarkable ignorance and limited knowledge of history, which showed up in his recent speech attacking three Ghaznis in India. He needs to be told that the invader was not interested in setting up an empire in this country.
Historians have established through painstaking research that the areas attacked by Mohammed Ghazni had a sizeable population of prosperous Muslim traders. Their wealth and Sindh’s prosperity were the reasons for the loot and plunder. Ghazni was also helped in his raids by agents within Sindh, and they might very well have been disgruntled local residents. Ghazni’s attacks, therefore, had little to do with religion. Togadia knows that such dramatic and factually incorrect speeches incite the average Indian easily. But he could try not to parade his ignorance so shamelessly.
Mohammed Rasheed, Hyderabad
Sir— Irrespective of the Supreme Court verdict on the interpretations of Hindutva and the proclamations of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Hindutva has come to mean only minority-bashing in practice. After the mindboggling victory of the BJP in Gujarat, the top brass of the VHP is running amok. So much so that Praveen Togadia has identified as many as three Ghaznis who have done and will do harm to India. These unwarranted remarks only reveal the deep-rooted hatred for the non-Hindu communities, particularly Muslims, which the VHP has assiduously developed by borrowing ideas from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the Bajrang Dal. This paranoid ideology gives a bad name to Hinduism which is as fair a religion as any. It is people like Togadia and Ashok Singhal who are the Hindu Ghaznis.
Shahnaz Fatima, Hyderabad
Sir— The European Union has banned the use of terms like “mild” and “light” on cigarette packs. This is a major achievement, especially since tobacco sales account for a large portion of the revenues of EU countries. Although Indians are used to aping the West, they do not feel inclined to do so in this case. Instead of regulating the tobacco and liquor industries, corrupt officials turn a blind eye to the licensees’ follies. The double standards of the government have also helped the tobacco industry to rake in profits through surrogate advertising.
Arta Mishra, Cuttack
Sir — A reputed insurance company has been advertising its Householder’s Comprehensive Insurance Scheme in some of the train coaches of the Metro rail in Calcutta. The advertisement shows a looted almirah, and the accompanying slogan says: “Because servants do not always serve.” Why should servants be singled out when the police, lawyers, government officials, doctors and politicians, all of whom are supposed to serve the public, do not' In fact, insurance agencies themselves have a history of duping people. Above all, it is not only uncivil but a serious offence to hold an entire group of people responsible for acts which are committed by only a few of them.
Kajal Chatterjee, Sodepur
Sir — Cricket matches, films and live events are impossible to watch on television without the menace of advertisements being telecast continuously and frequently. It becomes all the more irritating when one is forced to miss the action because of the commercials. It is understandable that the sponsoring companies have to get back what they have invested, but this can be done without getting on the consumer’s nerves. There are many, including me, who have vowed never to buy these products again.
Sunil Ranjan Bose, Naihati
Sir — One can take a lesson or two from the Nicco Park authorities on how to make a fun ride out of a tragedy. A children’s slide at the park is called “The Sinking Titanic”. It is in very bad taste. If the idea was to set up a new attraction, an informative set, complete with photographs and miniature models, of the Titanic tragedy could have been put on display.
Amit Kumar Dutt, Calcutta
Sir— The former chief minister of West Bengal, Jyoti Basu, is not known to have maintained sobriety while attacking his political opponents. He has reportedly labelled the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government as uncivilized and barbarous. Looks like he and his men in the state have a monopoly on virtues. What about the fact that he has no scruples about enjoying a horde of benefits at the taxpayer’s expense even after retiring voluntarily'
Tapan Das Gupta, Burdwan