What’s love got to do with it'
Sir — A statement like “the purest form of British love today” is “loving someone no matter what their faults in a blind and unconditional way, such as the love Tony Blair has for George Bush” is unbecoming of Hugh Grant, an actor with university education (“Blind love: When Tony courts George”, Nov 20). Surely Grant doesn’t think that the alliance — a rather unholy one — between Bush and Blair can be termed “love”' They choose to ignore each other’s faults because it helps them pick on the faults of others from a moral high ground. Love or emotions like love do not have a place in this scheme of things.
Supriya Ganguly, Calcutta
Sir — On November 6, I, along with a friend and a professor, boarded the Kathgodam-Howrah Bagh express from Kathgodam. My friend and I were in the sleeper class and our professor in the air-conditioned compartment. My friend was suffering from acute headache. A soon as the train entered Bihar the next afternoon, people started getting in in hordes and pushing us to one corner of the compartment. When we objected, one of the unauthorized passengers said, “This is Bihar.”
When the train entered Siwan, there was complete mayhem. I was forced to report the unauthorized passengers to the ticket-checker, who, to my amazement, said, “This is Bihar”. He then turned to one such passenger and said, “Isko samjhao aur thanda kar do” (Make this fellow understand and put him in his place). We barely avoided getting beaten up, but the people kept reminding us of the recent incident in Bagh Express.
Things came back to normal as the train entered Jharkhand. Could the railways minister, who is from Bihar, himself, tell us why people from all over India feel most insecure while passing through his state'
Saswata Barman, Calcutta
Sir — Railway authorities have, all of a sudden, introduced an application form to be submitted by a senior citizen to buy a rail ticket at a concessional rate. The new system is causing problems for frequent travellers and more importantly, for illiterate passengers. Touts and unscrupulous agents are found to cheat unsuspecting passengers on the pretext of filling up their application forms. On many occasions, I have observed that eligible senior citizens have either had to miss a train immediately available in order to fill up the form or forego the concession benefit to catch the train. The railway authorities should issue attested photo-identity cards after verifying the age of those senior citizens who are interested in availing themselves of the benefit. Tickets can then be issued directly from the counter on production of the card.
Dipak Ranjan Ray, Calcutta
Sir — Travelling in trains has become an ordeal for passengers in India. The compartments are very filthy, and without proper sanitation facilities; the lavatories hardly ever have water and when they do, the water leaks and makes the lavatories dirty. For long, the authorities have shut their eyes to these things. Then there are threats from miscreants, robbers and eunuchs. If a passenger is in trouble, the CRPF guards are not always there to help. Why don’t the media come forward and highlight the plight of the paying passengers'
Arnab Srivastava, Calcutta
Sir — Camera-phones (or is it phone-cameras') have become a menace all over the world, including India. Because of its discreet presence, it is no longer possible to enjoy oneself in public or private gatherings. People are constantly wary, lest they are caught off-guard by these little playthings. The Malaysian government has very wisely ordered the manufacturers of these phones to ensure that all new sets beep whenever a picture is taken. Of course this is not so much of a problem in India, where public gatherings are largely conservative. But even in this country, similar conditions must be imposed on manufacturers in anticipation of voyeuristic tendencies.
Arta Mishra, Cuttack