Performer par excellence
Sir — If inviting him time and again to sell his state to industrialists is doing ghor anyay (grave injustice) to Narendra Modi’s Gujarat, then it is time to point out to him that the Confederation of Indian Industry is, in fact, being annoyingly benevolent towards him (“Business touches raw nerve in Modi”, Feb 7). Which other person with the blood of thousands on his hands is granted such preferential treatment' Or is this Modi’s new offensive to prove to people that the Indian industry’s gestures are “routine”' Perhaps he actually expects more accolades for his “outstanding” performance in 2002'
Sougata Pramanik, Calcutta
Sir — I thank Ashok Mitra for not hesitating to point out the double standards in mourning the death of Kalpana Chawla (“Passport to privilege”, Feb 7). Her death was undoubtedly tragic. But isn’t our display of grief — from the government to the media — a little too outrageous' Why are we forgetting that she gave up her Indian citizenship by choice. Rakesh Sharma did not have to do the same for venturing into space.
While a brave sergeant like Bapi Sen can never be officially honoured because he was off-duty when he gave his life in trying to foil an eve-teasing attempt of fellow constables, there seems to be no problems in heaping honours over Chawla, who was not even an Indian citizen.
Amit Shukla, Guwahati
Sir — Ashok Mitra seems to have been waiting for the death of Kalpana Chawla to cavil at non-resident Indians and persons of Indian origin — of the “white countries” in particular — whose “sentiments for a country that they have left behind barely stir them”. This is a gross misrepresentation of facts, and only highlights the author’s personal bias and his anti-West sentiments. Chawla’s life amply demonstrated her deep concern for her home, family and even her school in Karnal in Haryana; and for the rest of India and its well-being.
Coincidentally, India has just signed a historic agreement with the United States of America for a long-term cooperation in high technology areas. This would not have been possible without the positive image presented by the Indian community living in the US. Mitra and his ilk had better not be hasty in judging us merely by the quantum of financial “investments” we have made.
K.R. Rangaswamy, Madison, US
Sir — Blaming the Centre for every malady that confronts it is nothing new with the West Bengal government. It is sad to see that the government is still not ashamed of employing such dubious tactics to save its skin. The amount spent in paying the salary of government employees exceeds the revenue earnings of the state. Why did the government allow the situation to come to such a pass' Why did it not protest against the salary hike announced by the Centre as per the recommendation of the fifth pay commission' Further, on what basis has the government increased the age of superannuation from 58 to 60 years despite the unemployment situation in the state'
The governments, both Centre and state, have not thought of small businessmen, the unemployed and those without pension. The mopping-up strategy would be justified only in case there is a war or there is some major development work that needs to be done for the interests of the nation. But there is no such emergency now.
Skimmer Aha, Bhubaneswar
Sir — The report, “Asim faces fire for empty coffers” (Jan 31) made for disturbing reading. Why blame the Centre when the leftist government has been the supreme arbiter of all things financial in the state for the last 28 years' The financial bankruptcy also puts a question mark on the governance of Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. That the Left Front partners have called for an explanation, show that they no longer wish to buy the “Centre” strategy. Bhattacharjee needs to call for a sea change, in attitudes and in explanations of governmental flaws.
T.R. Anand, Calcutta