No excuses, please
Sir — Ragging is far from being a thing of the past. Before one has had a chance to recover from the ordeal of the fresher, Sayandip Bandopadhyay, at Jalpaiguri government engineering college, there comes another blow. The principal of the college has chosen to feign complete ignorance about “Fresher slashed, forced to sign suicide note at college” (Aug 7). All his talk about anti-ragging committees visiting the hostel is irrelevant, because surely, he does not expect ragging to take place in the presence of its preventors. Yes, it is necessary to provide counselling to senior students, but their teachers could also do with some.
Palash Mukherjee, Calcutta
Sir — The veteran communist leader, Jyoti Basu, proved once again that politics makes strange bedfellows. He has suddenly made up his mind that his party, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), will back the Congress, “because it is the only opposition party which has an all-India presence, a secular outlook and can lead a coalition” (“CPM to back Congress in elections”, Aug 5). Did he not brand Indira Gandhi and her party as “semi-fascist” in London in 1972' Basu had also said then that his movement to fight the fascism of the Congress would go on until the “revolution” succeeded. No prizes for guessing that he also refused to support the Congress at the Centre. Had it not been a hypocritical figure like Basu, such volte face would have been unthinkable in anyone else. Now Basu is only too eager to lend support to the Congress, led by Indira Gandhi’s daughter-in-law, who was born and brought up in the country of fascism’s origin. Basu’s revolution seems to have come to an end not with a bang, but with a whimper.
Sunil Kumar Pal, London
Sir — Jyoti Basu is an old war-horse. He did not decide to back the Congress in the forthcoming assembly elections in five states for nothing. Although the CPI(M) and the Congress have been sworn enemies from the beginning, their under-the-table understanding, particularly in West Bengal, is no secret. Besides, the CPI(M) stands to gain the maximum from this alliance, since it is a virtual nonentity in these five states, where the Congress has a significant presence. More than all this is the shrewd political sense of Basu, which has never failed him when there has been an opportunity. There is no political move unknown to Basu. Surely, there is some long-term motive behind this proactive role that one would not normally expect from a retired communist.
Sumant Poddar, Calcutta
Sir — Five states are going to the polls — Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram. Of these, the first four are ruled by the Congress. Can the CPI(M)’s decision to ally with the Congress for these elections be called anything but opportunistic'
Gouranga Das, Calcutta
Sir — A lot has been said about the reservation of seats for women in Parliament. But are the women elected representatives doing their job of looking after women’s problems' What have the women parliamentarians done so far about the murder of Madhumita Shukla' It is even more ironical perhaps that the girl was murdered in a state ruled by a woman who has fought against caste discrimination on her way to the top. Sadly, the woman chief minister has chosen to shield the prime suspect rather than see to it that Shukla’s murderer is punished. Can women still hope to get the bill passed'
Govind Das Dujari, Calcutta
Sir — The National Democratic Alliance government plans to help women break the glass ceiling in the private sector (“Women into boardrooms before Parliament”, July 30). The move can only be viewed with suspicion. The women’s reservation bill in Parliament has been thwarted for the umpteenth time. What assurance is there that the government’s prescription that a minimum number of women be inducted into boards of corporate entities will not meet with a similar fate'
Jayanta Datta, Chinsurah