Not her father’s daughter
Sir — Why must Pandit Ravi Shankar’s name come up every time Anoushka Shankar or Norah Jones is mentioned (“Norah comes away with all”, Feb 25). Jones pointedly kept her father out of her Grammy Awards acknowledgment speech, in which she referred to only “My real family, my mom, my wonderful boyfriend”. That, and her unfailing reticence on her father, should be hint enough that she does not like the subject to come up. And it is not a matter of filial duty — however much Anoushka might try to explain that her half-sister had called up their father from her hotel room. Even the sitarist has himself admitted that he has had nothing to do with Jones’s music. Her reaction is quite a refreshing contrast to the way the sons and daughters of a few legendary Indian performing artists have been expressing their adulation for their parents publicly. Indeed, whatever be your genes and your patrimony, it is what you make of them that matters
Gauri Mukherjee, Calcutta
Bar on criticism
Sir — R.D. Sharma’s criticism of lawyers is unjust and serves no constructive purpose (“How to check errant lawyers”, Jan 30). Take his comment, “Strikes called by lawyers — even those called for a just cause — alienate people.” Lawyers in West Bengal struck work in protest at the hike in court fees which would hurt their clients, thereby losing out on income for a period. Even so, Sharma condemns lawyers for being self-serving. The Advocates Act, 1961 has provisions to penalize errant lawyers, but possibly, Sharma wants a legislation that overlooks evidence and even the principles of natural justice. Sharma begins his article by quoting a Supreme Court judgment which says lawyers cannot go on strikes, but out of context and without going into its rationale. Lawyers have been declared ineligible to strike because it would hamper the judicial process and because they cannot be classified as workmen. Be that as it may, lawyers do err, and individual lawyers must be chastised. But should an entire class be vilified'
Sharma says that lawyers have lost their high-standing because they charge exorbitant fees. But it has been seen that the costlier the lawyer, the more the demand for his services. Some lawyers are expensive because people choose to go to them for their abilities and knowledge. To be good, a lawyer must expend huge amounts of money and time. What is wrong if he seeks a return on his investments and people are willing to pay for it'
Indeed, much is wrong with the judicial system. Delays are common, but lawyers are not the only ones causing them. A lot of lawyers, Sharma should be told, charge one-time fees for conducting cases.
Syed Hasan Ali Rizwan, Cuttack
Sir — A recent advertisement for recruitment of probationary officers in a public sector bank stipulates that applicants should be first class graduates, having knowledge of computers. This is very unfair. A first class does not always reflect efficiency or intelligence — it may depend on other factors such as financial conditions, university and so on. Given the large numbers of jobless in our country, why should a candidate be deprived of even the chance to compete only because he does not have a first class' As for knowledge of computers, it can be acquired on the job. India may be an emerging computer super-power, but many students still cannot afford expensive computer courses.
Is such a policy intended to reduce the number of applicants and hence, the processing costs' But surely, that can’t be as candidates have to pay application fees. Everyone must be given the chance to apply, and only then selection made.
K. Vaiphei, Guwahati
Sir — In his letter, Ghulam Rasul (“Obstruction course”, Feb 4) says that Islam doesn’t recognize SC/ST status. His concern about the paucity of Muslims in government jobs is understandable, but there is no need to bring religion into it. Religion and a reservation policy are independent of each other. The reservation policy was drafted into the Constitution in order to bring weaker sections of society into the mainstream — not so Hindus could grab a lion’s share of jobs. If Hindus constitute a majority in the workforce, it is because they form 82.4 per cent of the population, while Muslims make up just 11.7 per cent.
Rajesh K. Sharma, Kankinara
Sir — Brahmins in Rajasthan are justified in demanding reservations on the grounds of economic backwardness. Caste-based reservations were originally meant to be in force for only 15 years; that they have been extended until now indicates their failure. Its real beneficiaries are the politicians who have continued to use it to appease their supporters. Perhaps what we need now is a reservation policy of a different kind, meant for all those who have opted to limit their family to two children. This will motivate people to voluntarily adopt much-needed family-planning programmes.
Madhu Agrawal, Delhi
Sir — The unemployed have a raw deal these days as recruitment in government offices has come to a virtual standstill. Barely a handful of government posts are advertised in a year. But even these rare opportunities are wasted as the examinations for the posts fall on the same date. This has happened not once, but time and again. For example, the Corporation Bank probationary officers’ examination was held on the same day as that for Assam Rifles clerks, the exam for assistant commissioners in the employee’s provident fund office coincided with the railway goods guard main exams, and so on. The frustration of unemployed youth at being so unfairly deprived of the chance to compete.
Mridul Sharma, Guwahati