They haven’t moved mountains yet
Sir — The Chinese government’s sudden capitulation on the Sikkim front provides a lot of food for worrying thoughts (“China keeps its word on Sikkim”, Oct 9). In India, the move will be seen as a vindication of the dogged persistence and resilience of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and his team, particularly that of his security adviser, Brajesh Mishra, on the unresolved border question. Riding high on this gesture, India will try to pass off the succeeding meets with the Chinese later this year and the years beyond, as “successful”. Since no time limit has been set on the resolution of India’s border dispute on the east with China, India will continue to refer back to this Chinese sacrifice as indication of noble intentions of the government beyond the Great Wall. In fact, that is precisely what the Chinese have tried to assure themselves by the move — more time to carry on with its occupation and assimilation of Tibet and incursions into India’s Arunachal. If India looks a little more carefully at the Chinese concession, it will see that China has more to gain by its “tweak in cyberspace” than physically moving borders.
Arup Das, Calcutta
Right of way
Sir — There is little doubt that the people of West Bengal are being taken for a ride on the issue of rallies (“Lawless Bengal”, Oct 5). What is most shameful is that political leaders like Biman Bose are not only disrupting all chances of peacefully resolving the issue, but also taking pride in their ability to do so. Even if they were dissatisfied with Amitava Lala’s ruling, respect for the judiciary should have stopped the Left Front leaders from misbehaving the way they have. Our political leaders seem to be resenting and resisting the judgment with the same spirit as that of a convicted criminal. What if criminals too decided to defy court verdicts'
Besides, what “rights” are the political leaders talking of' If these rights lead only to greater chaos and destruction of work culture, then it is time they are curbed. Moreover, will the leaders stop worrying about their own rights and think about the rights of a man who misses his train back home, or those of an ailing person who needs immediate medical attention, or those of families who cannot cremate their dead'
Joyeeta Das, Calcutta
Sir — Biman Bose’s condemnation of the court order on rallies as an “undesirable” “imposition” is unfortunate. Bose has mounted a personal attack on Amitava Lala and should have thought of other ways to express his disapproval of the judgment. Bose has no authority to decide whether Lala should continue in the Calcutta high court. Bose’s statement reflects the communist belief in coercive principles rather than democratic norms. Bose’s act has further tarnished the image of the Left Front.
Manik Ratan Basu, Calcutta
Sir — When a majority of the Calcuttans have welcomed the landmark judgment of the Calcutta high court, what is Biman Bose scared of' Calcutta is one of the most populated cities in the country and the judgment will help the administration overcome some serious problems cause by rallies. The Calcutta police, for example, spend most of their time handling demonstrations and processions. The judgment will ease the burden on them and leave them time to handle the rising crime graph in the state.
Bijoy Menon, New Delhi
Sir — The Left Front has been holding rallies ever since it came to power. What have they achieved by virtue of these demonstrations' Even today, the government has not been able to meet the basic requirements of the people it claims to be fighting for. We hope the judiciary stands by its judgment and the government enforces the order against rallies.
V. Prakasa Rao, Calcutta
Sir — By choosing to defy the high court, Biman Bose may be setting an example for his colleagues, but he is creating a very bad precedent. What Bose is demonstrating is the arrogance that comes with years in political power. He is also taking advantage of the immunity he enjoys by virtue of his party being in power. As long as there are poor and illiterate people in the state (whom Bose and his party would like to keep that way for as long as possible) who would be willing to squat in the middle of Chowringhee for some money, a bottle of liquor or a piece of cloth, it will be difficult for any court order to stop rallies in the city.
R.B. Easwaran, Chennai
Sir — Biman Bose’s outburst against Amitava Lala is not totally unexpected. Marxists consider the judiciary as a capitalist tool. To divert attention from real issues, rallies and bandhs are essential. Which is why the Marxists are so hellbent on a confrontation. In the event, the West Bengal chief minister should clarify his government’s stand on the issue.
Tapan Das Gupta, Calcutta
Sir — Biman Bose will do well if he teaches his cadre to deserve first and demand later. In a democracy, rights have corresponding duties. Without duties, rights are meaningless.
Samir K. Mukherjee, Burdwan
Sir — The reason for a rally or a meeting is to publicize the organizer’s view on any subject of some import. If the main purpose of meetings is to reach the maximum number of people, I think the media would serve the desired purpose better than rallies. Through advertisements and articles, or through the electronic media, a party can reach out to more people effectively without causing hardship to anyone. Most attendants at the rallies are either threatened or bribed into participating by political leaders who think that a rally’s success lies solely in its size and its disruptive ability. Which is why people from rural areas are often found to be attending the rallies of rival parties too.
Asit Kumar Mitra, Calcutta
Sir — The recent developments in West Bengal brings to mind life in Thomas Hobbes’s state of nature, “nasty, poor, brutish and short”. Amitava Lala’s ruling has helped expose the modus operandi of the left. In the name of protecting the “democratic rights” of people, the ruling coterie is creating more misery for the common people.
Indranil Chaudhuri, Calcutta
Sir — In London, Hyde Park is the place where political protesters can express their discontent. In Calcutta too, some place can be set aside for political demonstrations.
C.V. K. Moorthy, Calcutta
Sir — Much has been said about banning processions and demonstrations on working days. I would like to relate a particular incident that has some relevance to the issue. On August 11, 2003, I was on my way to the Alipore campus of the Calcutta university for my history MA, Part I examinations, and found myself in a traffic jam on the Pratapadiya Road-Rashbehari Avenue crossing for more than half-an-hour. A funeral was being held at the Math on the Pratapaditya Road and at least 10 cars with red lights were parked haphazardly along the road, causing the jam. On being enquired, the traffic inspector on duty replied, “Sab jajeder gari” (All the cars belong to judges).
I found out later that the funeral ceremony was that of the deceased father of a a high court judge and several policemen had been deployed to see that no “law and order” problem occurred. It is strange that the police remain hardpressed to provide its force for the security of more ordinary people. Adivasis may be ignorant of traffic restrictions. Are judges equally ignorant of them'
Sebanti Bandyopadhyay, Calcutta