Chasing the crooked shadow
Sir— Could the credibility of the United States of America sink any lower' The reasons given to justify the invasion of Iraq have become fodder for television comedy shows. The search for the alleged weapons of mass destruction has had to be abandoned, lest the lone superpower runs out of excuses for not finding them. And now the US seems destined to lie in the grave it has dug for itself so magnificently (“Backlash on US”, June 2). There is little doubt the situation in Iraq is gradually spinning out of American control. There are still no powers to lend its troops to serve as proxy for the American marines holed up in hostile territory. And the “liberated” masses in Iraq the US had expected to see kissing its flag are now making bonfires of the stars and stripes. The US had hoped to even drive the shadow of Saddam Hussein out of Iraq. The US occupied territory is now readying to have Saddam back to rule for a century.
Paromita Mukherjee, New Delhi
Sir — The system of reservation, once mooted as a social security measure to provide support to the downtrodden and backward classes, is becoming an increasingly potent political weapon. The ridiculous extent to which the idea of reservation is being stretched can be witnessed in the demands made by the Shiv Sena (“Reserved state”, June 10). Experience has shown that reservations only widens the gulf between the haves and the have-nots. There are millions among the upper castes who fail to make two ends meet. The government, only lately, has acknowledged this reality. However, even if reservations are extended to the poor upper castes, well-off members of the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes will continue to enjoy the benefits that accrue to them by way of the faulty reservation policy.
Social justice and equality cannot be achieved by such policies. They not only compromise the quality of governance in India, but give corruption a free rein. The government of India should think of some other means for the uplift of the downtrodden than blindly following a policy that has already been proved to be a failure.
B.S. Ganesh, Bangalore
Sir — The editorial, “Reserved state”, calls the Shiv Sena’s demand to reserve 90 per cent of jobs in Maharashtra for “Maharashtrians” illogical. However, it would be wrong to assume the demand is entirely unjustified. If Marathis are being genuinely marginalized and are feeling alienated, they should be given some sort of protection by the government of their state. Though constitutionally India is for all Indians, yet the indigenous population of a region can seek benefits when it comes to the question of safeguarding their rights. The migrant community should remain respectful towards the culture and the people of the adopted region and aim for peaceful coexistence instead of dictating terms. The indigenous people should also have legal and constitutional right to protect their ethnic identity, culture and interests.
Kajal Chatterjee, Sodepur
Sir— Contrary to Ashok Mitra’s contention in “The absurd reasoning” (June 27), that Brahmins are “the original and indisputable authors of chaturvarnashram”, they were the product of chaturvarnashram prescribed in the Bhagavad Gita. The idea itself was never static, but it was dynamic in that it propagated the idea of varnas changing on the basis of the work done by individuals. How long will Hindus remain ignorant of their own religion and try to employ it for explaining political issues'
Suren N. Ghosh, Calcutta
Sir — The report, “Digital eyes on poles flout telecom rules” (June 24, Jharkhand edition), has scaled new heights in investigative journalism. It talks about a topnotch builder’s installing of two close circuit cameras on the telephones outside his house to keep a tab on people entering and leaving his house. It also recounts the reactions of various government officials to the apparent “violation” of rules. One needs to remember that this action of the builder involves no depletion of the public exchequer nor does it constitute a threat to people. It would be appropriate if The Telegraph could highlight similar violation of “rules” by those holding official positions. For example, it could name government officials who use hooters in their cars. It could take pictures of official cars waiting outside the main schools of Ranchi and record the names of officials who have been allotted the cars and who are using it for personal reasons. It could also estimate the total wattage of the lights installed in the sprawling lawns of the houses of ministers and judges in the Doranda or North Office Para area and calculate the electricity consumed by the men in exalted positions. The newspaper can also investigate senior police officials who steal electricity by hooking. It would do us a great favour if such reports even marginally reduce the amount of money squandered by bureaucrats and politicians.
N.G. Haksi, Ranchi
Sir — Parliamentarians have the rare privilege to mend government regulations to their convenience. For example, the joint parliamentary committee on parliamentary security has decided to develop bunkers to save peoples’ representatives from nuclear, biological or chemical weapons without caring for the safety of the rest of the population. However, parliamentarians have been shown to be unsafe even within the precincts of the august house. It would be better if a huge shielded residential complex with bunkers is developed for them.
Madhu Agarwal, Delhi
Politics of convenience
Sir — The Trinamool Congress frequently speaks of its concern for the situation in the state. However, this is an eyewash. The people of Makhla under the Uttarpara-Kotrung municipality can attest to the fact. The party usurped the municipal board two years back from the left controlled Makhla Unnayan Samity. Subsequently, municipal taxes were increased indiscriminately. The Calcutta high court however ruled that the municipal authority of Uttarpara could not hike the tax by more than 20 per cent. The municipality refused to obey the court order, forcing residents of Makhla to pay their tax through money order. No receipts were issued for the payment. The services rendered are abysmal. People pay Rs 100 for potable water to the municipality, although it has to be brought from tube-wells near the Uttarpara railway station. Mamata Banerjee remains a silent spectator to the malpractices of her party men.
Shidheswar Mukherjee, Hooghly