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- Published 31.03.05
|End of the road: A woman cuts a lonely figure in an old age home|
At a time when India is going all out to promote tourism, the molestation of an Israeli citizen on the Maidan came as a shock (Bail curtain on Maidan molest, March 11). The offender somehow managed to wriggle out of the legal net.
But to understand the frequent incidence of molestation of foreign tourists in our city, a peep into the psyche of the archetypal Indian male, who has a fetish for white-skinned women (memsahibs), maybe of some help.
The reasons are manifold; some historical, some socio-cultural. In a culture where fair complexion is equated with beauty, occasional spurts of the sultry Bipasha Basus notwithstanding, it is only natural that men?s craving for fair-skinned women will surface in various forms.
Many of our public figures were connected to white-skinned women. Some married them, some wooed them, some others hobnobbed with them. This has given Indian men an impression that chasing firang females, or for that matter, caressing them from behind as Pratik Roy has done, is a shortcut to the limelight, to statues installed on the Maidan itself and getting garlands on birthdays at public cost.
Then there is the colonial hangover. Perhaps the Indian male craves to insult white-skinned women to take perceived revenge for two centuries of oppression and economic exploitation.
Coming to the present, most X-rated films available in India feature white men and women. So, Indian voyeurs grow up on a staple diet of firang flesh; naturally their imagination is shaped thus, and makes such nasty associations. Otherwise, the demand for white-skinned women from poor nondescript regions of the erstwhile USSR would not be so great in our nightclub circuit.
Only the aged and lonely
Apropos the report ?Terms of affection, a pat of warmth?, March 8, the aged are the bridge between the past and the present, and help maintain social equilibrium. Unfortunately, there are families that treat aged members as Man Fridays. In such a situation, old people have no option but to lead lonely lives, ultimately ending up with psychological disorders. It is ironic that the government is trying to improve the lives of the elderly when they are being harassed by their own families. India, like Japan, will soon have professionals to spend time with the aged.
A majority of English-medium students are perpetually scared that their exam results would upset their parents. From the report ?Student lost and found?, March 8, it seems that extreme pressure on Utsab Manna made him run away from his Behala home to VIP Road. The taxi driver has performed a humanitarian task by taking Utsab back home.
Bhupendra Nath Bose,
Dum Dum Park.
Hooligans in uniform
The report ?Blows for him, brutality for her?, March 5, was shocking. There should be a high-level inquiry into the matter and the guilty should be thrown out of the force. They do not deserve the uniform. The sergeants behaved like roadside hooligans.
Apropos the report ?Tough tag on math test?, March 8, there should certainly be a few difficult questions in a paper to differentiate merit, but they should not be out of the syllabus. There is no logic behind making the Madhyamik math paper lengthy and confusing, especially as the students are appearing for their first major exam.
Deba Prasad Bhattacharyya,
No time for research
Is the sudden interest in medical research at the School of Tropical Medicine prompted by the possibility of getting additional funds? (Project prod to revive research, March 10). It is true that infrastructure is necessary for quality medical research, as a former director of the institute indicated. But the claim of the present director that medical research can never take a backseat is hardly believable. Hospitals, and not research centres, are being regularly built in the city. Few doctors opt for research as they can earn a lot more by practising known medicines. Unless the system is radically changed, there is little hope of another U.N. Brahmachari emerging here.
Apropos Sobhanlal Bonnerjee?s letter (Case for fair ground on fort land, March 10), of Fort William is handed over, it would become a concrete jungle in no time via the politician-land shark-criminal nexus. However, I strongly feel that the rest of the Maidan should be transferred to the civil authorities.
Rise above politics
The Behala, Jadavpur and Garden Reach municipalities were merged with Calcutta Municipal Corporation in the 1980s (Ray of light in pockets without power, March 9). Since then, through several elections, no party tried to upgrade the wretched civic amenities in the added areas. Hence, it?s wrong to say the mayor?s attempt to improve the added areas is politically motivated.
Apropos the report ?School agog over fee hike?, March 7, a detailed notice on the fee hike was sent to guardians on February 26, and not on March 5. According to the revised fees, lower nursery students have to pay Rs 1,200 at the beginning of the session and Rs 700 per month after that, and not Rs 1,200 per month. Class XII students with computers will have to pay Rs 3,050 at the beginning of the session and Rs 1,180 per month for the rest of the year, and not Rs 3,050 per month. This is because the annual charges have been included in the fees at the beginning of the session.
Principal, Sunrise School.
Metro replies: Our report was based on interviews with parents of students and school officials. We appreciate the principal?s concern, but our correspondent tried to contact her several times for the authorities? views on the fee hike. ?I have not called you to my school to cover the incident, so I will not speak to you,? is all she said.
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