Sir — How can we explain the act of the Duttaguptas (“CM kind pretenders take state for a ride”, May 11)' To disguise oneself or to dress in an attire belonging to somebody else is a common theatrical trope. It is possible that the Duttaguptas resorted to it not to entertain anybody else but themselves. This performance of theirs has, however, served a larger interest. It has warned the population of the state about the extent of the moral degradation that has set in, besides focussing on the negligence of those in power. From the manager of the hotel to the top police officer of North Dinajpur, the Duttaguptas seem to have made a fool of everyone. We need to answer one question honestly though. Will penalizing the Duttaguptas solve our problem' Can it be an assurance that no such rogueries will take place again' Perhaps no. For the fault does not lie with them, but with the system. And it is now almost impossible to change it in any meaningful way.
Koushik Mukherjee, Calcutta
Carrot and lathi policy
Sir — In the recently held chief ministers’ meet in New Delhi, Bihar is supposed to have been rated last among the states in terms of overall performance. Laloo Prasad Yadav and Rabri Devi, the husband-wife duo of the Rashtriya Janata Dal, walked out of the meeting in protest against the “step-motherly” treatment meted out to Bihar. But could they have expected any better given the lawlessness in Bihar' The state in fact would have bagged the top honours had the parameters of judging excellence been the exact opposite. Bihar leads the nation when it comes to corruption and hooliganism. It is a matter of shame that the chief of the party that rules the state had to take up the lathi to assert his supremacy.
Laloo Yadav and his wife should realize that such rustic showmanship will take them nowhere. Bihar will continue to be in a state of anarchy till they mend their ways. Already, there is deep unrest, particularly among the educated classes. I met several students recently who had joined colleges and universities outside Bihar and vowed never to return to their home state again. Bihar has reached a point of no return. Unless the present government is dislodged and the law of the jungle is replaced by emergency rule, the state will continue to remain at the end of the list of all states in matters of performance.
S. Ram, Calcutta
Sir — By taking to the lathi with gusto, Laloo Prasad Yadav has adopted an interesting method of diverting public attention from the real issues of state politics. One is not entirely unfamiliar with Yadav’s gimmickry however. In the run up to the Gujarat assembly elections last year, he had compared himself with Krishna.
The lathi rally had entailed the cutting down of trees, for lathis had to be made from branches. Costly mustard oil had to be put on them to grease them. Both private and public buses were hijacked by goons to make the rally a grand success. Trains were also possibly filled with ticketless travellers to the rally. All this is enough evidence to suggest that Bihar is gradually paling out of the civilized world.
Tapan Das Gupta, Calcutta
Sir — The vision of our president, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, to see India as a developed nation by the year 2020 can only remain a hypothetical statement. How can we even claim India to be a civilized nation when its politicians still fight it out with trishuls and lathis' It is surprising that the Congress, which imposed a ban on trishuls and charged Praveen Togadia of sedition, kept silent on Amar Singh’s sword-rattling and Laloo Yadav’s oiling of his lathi. The hypocrisy is obvious. The Union government cannot take action against Laloo Yadav since the main opposition party supports him.
Subhash Chandra Agarwal, Delhi
Right to co-exist
Sir — The Dimasas have started their movement for a separate Dimaraji. Naturally, several problems have arisen. Since the nomenclature alludes that Dimaraji belongs to the Dimasas alone, it threatens the rights and privileges of other ethnic groups to their inhabited land. Since their movement is based on the question of their exclusive rights,they have alienated the other ethnic groups in the North Cachar Hills. Soft targets such as the Hmars are susceptible to their policy of intimidation. But if historicity is the basis of laying claim on a geographical area and if it is a valid ground for granting the rights to a land to a particular ethnic groups, the political process would become redundant. Could the Muslims of Pakistan lay claim to central India on the grounds that it was once a place where the Muslim empire flourished' The Dimasas should confine their political ambitions to areas inhabited by Dimasas at present.
B.S. Hmar, Guwahati
Sir — The recent violence in Tripura where 33 people were killed by insurgents who came from beyond the border has invited strong criticism from both the state and Central governments. But state action boils down to a call for strike and some compensation to the nearest kin. Problems in Kashmir and Tripura are similar and deserve the same attention. The Prevention of Terrorism Act should be imposed more stringently in the state.
C.R. Bhattacharjee, Calcutta
Sir — The wonderful article on the expedition to Mt Sivling carried an error (“Ain’t no mountain high enough”, April 26). It stated that the budgeted amount of Rs 346,000 for the expedition was “finally supplied” by Exide. We would like to clarify that Exide is the official sponsor of our expedition. But there are numerous other co-sponsors who have helped us with funds. Besides, individual well-wishers of the association have also generously contributed to the expedition fund.
Brijes Day, secretary, South Calcutta Trekkers Association, Calcutta