Sir — L.K. Advani is perhaps trying to do what Narendra Modi could not bring himself to do — offer the Ellisbridge seat to Haren Pandya’s wife (“Advani springs seat sop at Pandya widow”, April 2). The obvious irony lies in the fact that Modi’s stubborn refusal to let Pandya contest from his long-held Ellisbridge constituency probably led to Pandya’s death. After the treatment meted out to Pandya by Modi and his men, Advani’s sop will hardly sound appealing to Pandya’s widow. Besides, if she really wanted to join politics, wouldn’t her natural instinct be to join the opposition to get back at Modi'
Arnab Ghosh, Calcutta
Sir — I am surprised that there is so much opposition to the war in Iraq all over the globe. The problem with the demonstrators is that they cannot provide an answer to how the people of Iraq can be freed from the clutches of an autocratic ruler like Saddam Hussein. More intriguing was the news that the so-called intellectuals and academics of Jadavpur University are threatening to boycott the American Center. While it would matter little to the Americans that the university is not making use of its resources, it is the students and teachers of JU who will lose out, being unable to access to some of the most advanced information and technology. And besides, why the double standard in boycotting the American Center, but not the American universities'
Kalyan Ghosh, Calcutta
Sir — It is most surprising that people all over India are organizing demonstrations almost everyday to protest against the United States of America for waging war on Iraq. While Indians are keen to express their solidarity with the people of Iraq, they are not willing to spare a thought for the innocent civilians and military personnel who are killed everyday in their own country, in Jammu and Kashmir in particular. How many demonstrations have we organized against killings by the Pakistan-sponsored terrorists' Can a nation progress with so many ungrateful citizens'
Monoo Bhattacharya, Midnapur
Sir — What is the point of showing how inconsequential we are to the American scheme of things by organizing such farces as the recent “chakka jam”' If we decided instead to work harder as a mark of protest, we might become wealthier than the Americans, who can dictate terms to the rest of the world because they are the wealthiest nation. Protests are being organized all over the world, but nowhere are they disrupting public life as in Calcutta. Protests do not mean anything unless they can really hurt the targetted person or group or country.
Indranil Chakraborty, via email
Sir — The authorities of Giribala Sarkar Balika Uchcha Madhyamik Vidyalaya, which disallowed more than 140 students from taking a class-test because they had not attended a rally against the Iraq war, ought to expel the teachers who took the decision (“Kids skip peace rally, barred from class test”, April 1). This will serve as exemplary punishment and hopefully deter other teachers from doing a similar thing. The ruling communist leadership too will do well to “educate” its cadre to differentiate between right and wrong and help create a better society.
Gautam Banerjee, via email
Sir — Boycotting brands like Coca Cola and Pepsi, Britannia biscuits, and multinational banks because of their American and British affiliations is nothing short of stupidity. If one cares to investigate, one will find that many of the anti-war demonstrators, including large numbers of leftists, are themselves on the payrolls of such multinational companies. Is it fair to pay obeisance to the capitalist god by day and spew venom on him by night'
G.S. Mishra, Calcutta
Sir — Has the war in Iraq stopped because millions of Calcuttans marched miles and stopped traffic'
S. Bhadra, Calcutta