The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Letters to Editor

Bad miss

Sir ' Once again, Doordarshan, the Board of Control for Cricket in India and All India Radio have together ensured that the average Indian ' whose support is what makes cricket not only the biggest game in the country but also BCCI the richest sporting board in the world ' would not get to watch the Indian team play in Pakistan. This is, indeed, a shame. As the country that provides the maximum support for this game (by virtue of being the most populated cricketing nation in the world), I would have expected the BCCI and others to place a strong case before the Supreme Court, and the government of India to take a strong stand, that Doordarshan should be permitted to telecast the tests and one-day matches. Ten Sports is a satellite channel and does not have the reach that Doordarshan has. With or without advertising rights, Doordarshan should be allowed to telecast the matches so that the majority of Indians can watch live a contest they have been waiting for. If Ten Sports does not want to give any terrestrial feed to Doordarshan, then the government should ask the former to turn itself a non-pay channel for the duration of this tournament. I wonder what 'activists' like Brinda Karat are doing. Perhaps cricket interests her less than Ayurvedic medicines.

Yours faithfully,
R.B. Easwaran, Chennai

Sir ' It is now certain that Doordarshan is not going to telecast the Indo-Pak series in Pakistan. The excessive commercialization of the game is responsible for things coming to such a pass. How is it that no such controversy ever dogs kabaddi or hockey' Why not ban all advertisements during the live telecast of cricket matches' Even the shirts, trousers and other accessories worn by players should come without any logo. No advertisements must be allowed during radio commentary either. Also, no sportsperson should be allowed to promote any product or appear in advertisements till his retirement. If there is no play of money in sports, it will ultimately benefit sports and sportsmen. However, let all sportsmen be paid handsomely for their performances. Will the authorities care to ponder'

Yours faithfully,
Mahesh Kumar, New Delhi

Sir ' It is time that the Union government went ahead with its plan to bring a legislation on making it mandatory for sport events of national importance (including cricket) to be telecast on Doordarshan. In fact, the government-owned Prasar Bharati should have the exclusive right to auction telecast rights of such events to other channels. The money earned in the process by Doordarshan can be better utilized in the production of programmes of greater public interest and less entertainment value which do not find favour with the commercial channels. At least, it is better than a few self-serving administrators swallowing up the revenue earned.

Yours faithfully,
Subhash C. Agrawal, Dariba, Delhi

Nothing's sacred

Sir ' In this country, democracy is often misinterpreted to mean rule by the majority. But if the majority votes for Hitler or Stalin, that is not democracy, but a mass-based tyranny. Democracy is the rule of democratic values, foremost among which is freedom ' of speech and expression in particular. The self-styled upholders of Maratha honour have objected to the description of Shivaji as an 'Oedipal rebel' in James Laine's book, The Epic of Shivaji, co-authored by S.S. Bahulkar ('Shivaji book ban', Jan 10). But the term is not derogatory at all. It does not simply mean that Shivaji wanted to sleep with his mother and kill his father. According to Freud who first proposed the Oedipus complex, it is a structure of desire embedded within the psyche, which helps to explain the psychological evolution of an individual in terms of the development of his libido. The affronted Maharashtrians may be happy to know that the word 'Oedipal' indicates normalcy, not the opposite. But then, it requires a sophisticated intellect to be able to understand and debate upon such issues, something that is beyond the ken of the leaders of our masses. What they seek to do is to put Shivaji beyond debate by situating him in the realm of myth. But modern scholarship does not recognize anything as sacred.

The intellectual history of the West is replete with instances of censorship, imprisonment, exile, torture, persecution and murder. Those who had the courage to defy created a historical momentum that led to intellectual progress and a steady expansion of the horizons of freedom. No such process has taken place in our country. We have got our freedoms almost by default, as part of the legacy of colonial rule. We fought the British for political freedom, but we did not fight for artistic and intellectual freedom. We, therefore, need our own heroes who can stake their lives for their convictions, before we can think of matching the intellectual, scientific and artistic achievements of the West.

Yours faithfully,
Soumitro Das, Calcutta

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