Precursor of uncertain times in Bengal

I remember the initial days when Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharya took over as the Chief Minister of West Bengal. Among the first things he did was calling on grieving parents in Kasba, Kolkata, who had lost their son to crime. Most of us in Kolkata were pleasantly surprised and extremely happy that we finally had a cultured, humane person as our Chief Minister.

Close on the heels of this incident, he visited a remote village in South 24 Parganas to provide solace to people attacked by dacoits. In this visit, he travelled the last few kilometers by what is popularly known in rural Bengal as a “cycle van”. We, finally, thought we had a political leader who was a “people’s man”.

This was Sonar Bangla after all — a place in India’s geography which has sacrificed its best and brightest for the greater good. All sections of society finally found themselves getting emotionally attached to a political personality after a very long time.


Who would have imagined that years later this very same personality would unleash unprecedented police brutality on poor peasants in our own backyard? The day a Chief Minister begins to ride “golf carts” instead of “cycle vans” is a precursor of uncertain times, irrespective of the political ideology. The conscience of the average thinking person has been rudely shaken out of complacency.

Here too in West Bengal, the rich will always get richer and the poor will be dispossessed of what little they have. Political nomenclature apart, the name of the game has not changed. A Chief Minister who we thought would not allow social exploitation to touch even a single hair on a poor man’s head is now busy ensuring that no one touches “a hair on anyone who represents the Tatas”.

Business empires of the world, please descend on West Bengal — just point your finger at all that you wish to own and our business friendly government will, rightly or wrongly, use every law and form of force to ensure its yours. Who cares what Karl Marx wrote about the “dialectics of materialism”. The Y2K version of even communism supports prosperity of the few at the cost of the many!

DEEPAK RAO, New Alipore, Kolkata

Identity cards

The identity card issued by the Election Commission is an important document. It is used primarily for voting. But it is issued casually and carelessly with incorrect information and handled by inexperienced staff at the data entry stage. One such example was the card issued at Government Elementary School, Bathinda. The data entry staff were adamant to rectify the mistakes when pointed out by the individuals, but for a few cases, they carried out the corrections on the spot.

Secondly, some educated people did not bother to check their cards. As responsible citizens, we must check our cards for their correctness and help others verify facts. The mistakes must be rectified on the spot as it will save individuals from harassment and inconvenience and save the precious resources of the country.


Not the solution

The Punjab government is planning to increase the retirement age of medical and dental teachers. It is debatable whether this will be beneficial to the profession, but the problem will remain unresolved.

The junior teachers need to be recruited soon. Only one post of Professor Dentistry was advertised in December 2001, but the interview was not held. The so-called “direct quota” system should be abolished. There is no dearth of teachers in medical/dental profession. Only the system needs to be changed.

VIMAL K. SIKRI, Amritsar

Quintessence of religion

I endorse the view that “Religion is a very important aspect of life. But the problem is that we treat religion as a closed book. Everyone should be enlightened about different faiths and there (should be) no conflict of any kind.” (“Inter-faith dialogue”, Letter, Nov 22).

Undoubtedly, religion is a vital aspect of human life but it is generally misconceived. It is this misconception that has led to dreadful wars between the Christians and the Muslims in the 12th and 13th centuries for the control of Jerusalem; the unending hostility between the Jews and the Muslims in West Asia and the current fatuous carnage between the Shias and the Sunis in Iraq.

True religion springs from compassion and is sustained by contentment and tolerance. It helps remember God and perform righteous deeds. The basic teachings of all religions are unity of God and brotherhood of mankind.

Unfortunately, under the garb of secularism, spiritual or religious education is being ignored by the media and educational institutions and we are helplessly watching its result in moral depravity of people, exploitation in various forms, corruption, communal riots, scams and many fissiparous tendencies.

Brig HARDIT SINGH KAPUR (retd), Chandigarh



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