Of pens and politics
Sir — It is common in India for a book to be judged on the political leanings of the writer than on its merit (“Teacher’s want Rao’s Inside Man out”, July 4). The controversy raked up by teachers in Andhra Pradesh demanding the withdrawal of P.V. Narasimha Rao’s novel, Insider, from the teachers’ course, is entirely predictable. Strangely, no one seems to object to Rao’s autobiographical work on the grounds of politics entering into education, but because “the hero [is] a wayward character in pursuit of political and social recognition”. Isn’t this merely a way of ensuring that some political feathers are not ruffled'
Sneha Pal, Calcutta
Sir — It is a matter of great concern that all the 21 accused in the Best Bakery killings during the Gujarat carnage have been acquitted due to lack of evidence (“Gujarat riot case charred”, June 28). It is quite evident from the judgment and the circumstantial details that the police have implicated the wrong persons as witnesses. It is also apparent that the witnesses, including the main complainant, Zahira Sheikh, the daughter of the bakery owner and the only surviving member of her family, turned hostile under pressure from Narendra Modi’s men.
Given the long arm of state terror, it is likely that the rest of the riot cases will meet with a similar fate. In states other than Gujarat too, many criminals go unpunished. One had hoped that in the case of the Gujarat pogrom, it would be ensured that justice is delivered.
Bipul Sarkar, Nadia
Sir — The Best Bakery judgment in a Gujarat court has shown that the criminal justice system of India is on the verge of collapse. Be it the killing of Sikhs in the 1984 riots, or the post-Godhra carnage in Gujarat in 2002, the perpetrators and instigators of such communal killings mostly go scot-free. It is sad that the judge, who could have investigated why the witnesses suddenly turned hostile, chose not to do so. There was hardly any distinction between the prosecution and the defence, since both seemed to work in tandem to bail out the accused persons by doing nothing about the manipulation of the witnesses.
Subhash C. Agrawal, Delhi
Sir — There has been no dearth of experiments with tea, and “Milk before or after: that’s the question” (June 26) carries on the tradition. However, these experiments mean little to a multitude who still prefer to have it the good, old way. My grandmother used to say, whatever goes into the teapot is tea.
Anshuman Singh, Calcutta
Sir — Before the “Storm over milk in a tea cup” (June 26) gathers momentum, may I point out that the judgment of connoisseurs of any kind of drink is seldom swayed by flavour. What is given precedence in such judgments is the quality of the liquor. When it comes to liquor, Assam tea is the best. It is time the media stopped fanning such unnecessary debates, for these could provoke regional clashes.
Mrinmoy Goswami, Nagaon, Assam
Sir — The idea is good and the technology is welcome — to genetically modify coffee so that it has less caffeine (“Coffee with less caffeine”, June 20). However, there should be a limit to changing or modifying nature. The varying levels of caffeine in different places are due to differences in geographical and climatic conditions. Moreover, the hazards of GM foods are not totally unfounded.
Arta Mishra, Cuttack
Sir — The article “The cup that cheers” (June 17), by Dolly Roy is informative, but contains a serious mistake. She says, “the brew is known to have antibiotic resistant bacteria”. If it were true, it would be dangerous to drink tea. She probably meant that the brew has anti-bacterial properties.
Pranab Roy, Calcutta