Day of the long knives
Sir — The left’s response to Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s speech during his Calcutta visit shows that not only Alimuddin Street, but the government at the Writers’ still lives under the long shadow of Jyoti Basu (“Basu scripts stinging riposte”, July 18). From directing ministers to bury differences, erect buildings (a la Silver Springs) and writing “scripts”, the veteran politician continues to have his finger in every Marxist pie. Yet this man has been singularly responsible for the sorry state West Bengal is in now. It is shameful that he should be directing his younger colleagues to answer for him.
Joideep Sinha, Calcutta
All play, no work
Sir — Alok Ray asks in “The source of all troubles” (July 14), whether technology or globalization should be blamed for the job scare that outsourcing has created in the United States of America and other Western countries. But outsourcing is a direct result of the processes of globalization and technological advance, and both the forces are here to stay. With companies going global, corporate houses tend to reduce costs by hiring foreign workers at a lower price than what they would have to shell out for using workers in the West. Advanced technology in the form of internet access has made it easier for companies to hire workers globally. Although there are some workers who are losing out in the bargain, there is no doubt that consumers are benefiting because of the lower costs of production. Anyway, there are bound to be some sections clamouring for more protection. But that does not mean the process of outsourcing can be or should be discontinued.
Rajeev Bagra, Hooghly
Sir — Bibek Debroy in “The outsourcing backlash” (June 23) thinks the best antidote against anti-outsourcing legislation is pressure by US companies on the government against capping H-1B and L-1 visas since it is in their interest to hire foreign workers. But would Debroy be prescribing the same medicine if the Indian government suddenly started to hire workers from, say, China, at lower costs than Indian workers' Any people of any country can have problems with the jobs in the country going somewhere else. We should not support a policy simply because it suits India for now.
Asoke C. Banerjee,
Sir — The quotes from the various anti-outsourcing sites that Bibek Debroy lifts only show the public anger against the policy of outsourcing in the US. Indians, especially those employed in white-collar jobs, are comfortable in the US for now. But there are chances that public anger may turn against them. The terrorist strikes of 9/11 have already made them a vulnerable section. There have been isolated cases of violence against them and such cases may increase in the future. Probably, the US government should seriously reconsider the policy of outsourcing and Indians should stop dreaming the American dream for their own safety.
M. Chatterjee, Calcutta
Sir — Despite the efforts being made to bring eunuchs into the mainstream by allowing them to contest elections and giving them important portfolios in local bodies, the actions of the more common among them leave much to be expected. For one, they often give a nightmare to passengers in long-distance trains with their demands for money. Refusal invariably leads to abusive language and insulting gestures.
Last week, a group had come to visit a house in my locality where a child had just been born. They demanded a heavy sum for the rituals they practised. When the father of the child refused to pay up, an altercation followed. The child’s ailing grandfather intervened, but soon collapsed and died. This was an unfortunate incident. But eunuchs are sometimes completely oblivious of what their actions can lead to. In their greed to earn a fast buck, they shamelessly blackmail and harass people.
Dipankar Bera, Howrah