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Letters to Editor 29-09-2005

Getting worse Blood behind bars Parting shot

By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 29.09.05

Getting worse

Sir ? In ?A tale of two sports? (Sept 25), Biswarup Sen talks about the dismal state of Indian football and hockey only, but the condition of some other physically demanding games like these two is equally bleak. Sen blames the consumerist culture for the declining interest in games other than cricket. But the lack of encouragement from pa-rents and teachers in sporting activities is also responsible for this. There is tremendous pressure on students to do well in exams and all other activities, including sports, are given short shrift. Education is not only about academics. It should also help in nation-building, impart a sense of social responsibility, and encourage the students to take up sports. This way, India?s expenditure on health will also decrease as sporting activities help raise the fitness levels of individuals.

However, Sen?s attributing the wane in hockey?s appeal to ?minoritarian origins? is unacceptable. There are many instances of a sport flourishing due to the outstanding contribution of minority communities.

Yours faithfully,
R. Sridhar, Calcutta

Sir ? Biswarup Sen blames globalization for the decreasing popularity of football and hockey vis-?-vis cricket in India, but his proposition is untenable. The logic of a free market says that if a team were to perform badly in any sport, and not bring in large crowds, the game would not be promoted. From the time India failed to shine in international hockey and football, the numbers following the two games dwindled. Had Indian players been more successful, there would not have been a shortage of sponsors. Sania Mirza or Vishwanathan Anand are popular not because the market arbitrarily chose to support the games they played, at the expense of others.

The need of the hour is to include sports in the mainstream school curriculum. At the moment what goes on in the name of physical education is a farce. To generate interest in sports from a very young age is to plant the seeds of world class sportspersons of the future. Since the state still organizes a number of local and international tournaments both in hockey and football, blaming the government squarely only serves to blur the problem.

Yours faithfully,
Aruni Mukherjee, Calcutta

Sir ? Many reasons have been cited to explain the fading glory of football and hockey in India. But the most important among them is the apathy of administrators who run these games in the country. It is a known fact that the president of the Indian Hockey Federation, K.P.S. Gill, spends more time fighting court battles than chalking out plans to improve the standard of hockey in the country. Similarly, his footballing counterpart, Priya Ranjan Das munshi, the president of All India Football Federation, is more concerned about the fate of his party than the problems that afflict soccer in India. If only former players, and not cops and politicians, had been allowed to run them, football and hockey in India would not have come to such a sorry pass.

Yours faithfully,
Chandrima Basak, Calcutta

Blood behind bars

Sir ? The tragic death of an undertrial in a prison in Agra, apparently because he had no money to bribe the jail staff makes one wonder who are the real criminals ? those that are behind bars or the ones outside. No purpose will be served by the customary magisterial inquiry and the routine suspensions that are invariably followed by reinstatements after some time. To avoid such occurrences in the future, the system of jail governance needs to be overhauled. The jail authorities must be held accountable and hauled up for corruption.

It is unfortunate that the tricolour was seen flying over this prison. It would be better if the symbol of our nationhood was allowed to fly only on premises that have been sanitized against corruption.

Yours faithfully,
Raghubir Singh, Pune

Sir ? The riot in the Agra jail, following the alleged suicide of an undertrial, was shocking. Such incidents are fairly common in Indian prisons and point to the inhuman conditions prevailing in jails. The Agra episode should serve as a lesson for other jails in the country. The mere suspension of jail officials and a protracted inquiry serve no purpose as public memory is short and the suspensions of guilty officials are often revoked once things cool down. Instead, justice should be dispensed with speedily, and exemplary punishment should be meted out to the guilty to make them pay for their crime.

Yours faithfully,
Madhu Agrawal, Delhi

Parting shot

Sir ? A Bharat bandh has been called on September 29, 2005. Those who call bandhs should think of their consequences; economic loss being only one of them. The critically ill are inconvenienced by bandhs that affect basic services like transport and hospitals. Those who call bandhs are no less than murderers because many precious lives are often lost as a result of these bandhs.

Yours faithfully,
Gaurav Saboo, Calcutta