Cricket affairs

Print edition : May 13, 2000

The Cover Story ("The rot in cricket," May 12) shows why cricket lovers the world over are disappointed and have no faith in or love for the game any longer. The Delhi Police have brought to light an extremely wrong practice that has obviously corrupted cricket. The episode involving Hansie Cronje, an international cricketing hero respected for many of his outstanding qualities, is only the tip of the iceberg, but an investigation will help catch the other culprits as well. It is time cricketers got tog ether to restore the glory of the game.

Vinod C. Dixit Ahmedabad * * *

Cricket became even more popular than it was earlier after the introduction of one-day internationals and the live telecast of these matches which enabled us to appreciate the finer points of the game. Until recently, cricket provided clean entertainment to the masses. During the past few years there have been allegations of match-fixing. However, sports authorities in different countries have taken a serious view of these developments only after Cronje's confession. Cricket-lovers are keen to know the names of the players who have reduced the charm of the game.

A.S. Rao Pune Sivakasi

It is unfortunate that the impoverished people in Sivakasi and surrounding areas ignore their children's education and play into the hands of a few greedy industrialists ("Children still at work," May 12). It is cruel to treat children as a part of the w orkforce. But this is what is happening in the sweatshops of Sivakasi. And the law is bent to meet selfish ends.

R. Ramasami Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu Jamia Millia

The brutal attack by the police on the students of Jamia Millia Islamia on April 9 again reveals the communalisation of the state apparatus, the police force in particular ("A tale of repression," May 12).

Most of the inquiry commissions that have gone into major communal riots have indicted the police for not only their anti-minority bias but also for their active complicity in fomenting trouble. It is high time the government took these reports seriously and implemented their recommendations. The Srikrishna Commission report, which indicted many a police personnel, was cold-shouldered by the Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena government. The present government in Maharashtra is also sitting over it.

The need of the hour is to give more representation to the minorities in the police force. Regular training programmes for police personnel should be conducted to promote communal harmony. Groups of citizens from various communities should play an adviso ry role vis-a-vis the police during communal riots. But can one expect any of these things from a Union Home Minister who has brought his party to power riding on the chariot of communal hatred and who himself has been implicated in the case relating to the demolition of the Babri Masjid?

Ram Puniyani Secretary, Ekta (Committee for Communal Amity) Mumbai

New economy

In the article "New economy and all that" (April 28) it is mentioned that U.S. President Bill Clinton hosted a conference on the 'new economy' concept which encapsulates a decade of unprecedented and illusive prosperity that the United States has enjoyed and conceals the reality of the U.S. having to borrow over $1 billion every day to sustain its current level of consumption. The conference on April 5, which was attended by a band of select invitees, the "brightest among economists and corporate execut ives", wondered at the end of day-long deliberations whether the "new economy" really existed! Was it a search for a black cat in a dark room? Or was it a search for a ghost that never existed?

The invitees to the conference included Professor Amartya Sen, and Mirai Chatterjee of the Self-Employed Women's Association whom President Clinton had met during his recent sojourn in India. When Clinton asked participants at the conference what they co uld do for India if $3 billion were made available to them, they said that they would employ it to promote health and education and the empowerment of the poorest. In poor countries, any development effort should aim at meeting the basic needs of the peo ple and not at sustaining the levels of hyper-consumption on borrowed funds. It is here that the writer makes a relevant warning - that new economy is a zone of potential hazards and that if India were to venture into the zone in the belief that the econ omic practices of the past will automatically stand repealed, it may lead to "self-delusion of the most dangerous kind".

The economic policy forays based on the "Washington Consensus" with its rationale of liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation (LPG) during the 1990s have served only to widen the rich-poor divide in India. It is necessary that the LPG baby is thro wn out with the bath-water and an alternative development paradigm based on distributive justice is adopted.

K. John Mammen Thiruvananthapuram Power

It is surprising that permission is denied for capacity addition in the power sector at a time when power shortages are mounting ("Regulating the regulator", April 28). If from the beginning this had been the attitude of the authorities concerned, the ad dition of 10,000 MW of captive capacity would have been impossible.

One solution to the situation may be to allow the establishment of captive plants on condition that once commissioned they should feed a grid a fixed percentage of what they generate at a mutually agreed and determined price. This will give relief to bot h the industry and the government.

Vijaya Lakshmi Sidhi, Madhya Pradesh Sita temples

The Sri Lankan Ministry of Tourism says that the Sita temple in Nuwara Eliya is the only temple for Sita in the world ("Over a temple for Sita", April 28). It is not true. The Sita-Lava-Kusa temple at Pulpally in Wyanad district of Kerala is an ancient t emple dedicated to Sita.

Pious Thomas Kannur, Kerala Constitution review

It is surprising that there is no expert group within the National Commission to Review the Constitution to find out how and why the Constitution has been allowed to be abused ("Constitution and some contentions," April 28). The Constitution failed itsel f by prescribing a relatively easy mechanism for its amendment. It has vested the central executive and legislative branches with all the powers for its amendment, giving the go-by to the federal nature of the polity and without providing for rigorous, n ationwide debates whenever it is sought to be amended.

Raghuram Ekambaram New Delhi Ex-Premiers' plans

Whatever be the media's views on the matter, the decision of four former Prime Ministers to raise issues confronting the nation and mobilise the people with regard to them is indeed a good development ("The ex-Premiers' plans", April 28). But the questio n is whether they took the same stand on certain issues when they were at the helm. For instance, how can H.D. Deve Gowda and I.K. Gujral criticise the National Democratic Alliance Government for its economic reforms programme, given the fact that they t hemselves went on with the liberalisation and globalisation programmes initiated by P.V. Narasimha Rao? Could V.P. Singh not have perceived the emerging threat to secularism in the 1980s?

B. Suresh Kumar Banswara, Rajasthan * * *

The former Prime Ministers should create a forum that could be consulted by the incumbent Prime Minister on vital issues. The forum should publish its views on various issues confronting the nation from time to time.

Atif Hanif Lucknow India and Pakistan

I agree with Praful Bidwai's conclusions ("Painting itself into a corner", April 28). India may be better off than Pakistan in many spheres but the nuclear blasts have made them equal - in their capacity to cause a holocaust. India will not be able to re peat the victory of 1971 without engulfing the subcontinent in a nuclear catastrophe. The danger of a catastrophe is all the more ominous because unlike the Soviet Union and the United States, the Cold War rivals, no territory or ocean separates India an d Pakistan.

Kashmir is at the core of our dispute with Pakistan. The issue was not resolved even after Pakistan suffered a defeat in the 1971 war. Indians may be happy that President Clinton has given some sort of endorsement to India's approach to the Kashmir issue but Pakistan has not changed its policy on Kashmir.

Refusing to have a dialogue with Pakistan on this issue does not make sense. The army is the largest and most disciplined party in Pakistan and it has always interfered in the political process in that country. The 'Lahore process' may have gone into com a but Kashmir is also bleeding from terrorism. So a dialogue without pre-conditions may help check the escalation of the proxy war in Kashmir.

Prem Behari Lucknow The Nobel Prize

Apropos of your article "The missing laureate" (March 3) and the responses it drew, anybody who has followed the Nobel Committee's decisions with some interest would know that until the end of the Cold War it was a deeply political institution.

Even now it is not above politics and considerations of ethnicity. It helped to be white, to be Christian (particularly Catholic) and to be on the right of the political spectrum. Albert Schweitzer, a Catholic who practised strict racial segregation in h is camp at Lambarene, Gabon, got the award. Henry Kissinger, one of the main architects of the Vietnam war, got it. It is now known that Kissinger used to send money to Pinochet of Chile for his vicious and bloody campaign against the socialist Allende - no doubt the Nobel Committee was aware of Kissinger's activities and no doubt he earned brownie points for them. Kissinger also sent slush funds to Poland's Lech Walesa for his campaign against the erstwhile Polish regime. Walesa is of course another la ureate. This belligerent man is the most unpeaceable man imaginable. He embarked on slander campaigns against his opponents in the Polish presidential elections and, when defeated, refused to shake hands with the victor; he is also a fundamentalist Catho lic and has absolute opposition to abortion and contraception.

Mother Teresa, another laureate, was similarly opposed to contraception and abortion. The question is: can somebody opposed to contraception and abortion be an angel of peace? Do they not wreck peace at home? Should people who are so opposed to women tak ing charge of their destinies deserve such a universal prize? Recently, two relatively unknown persons, Ramos-Horta and Bishop Belo, got the Prize, both for the East Timorese cause, but they did not share it with each other. However, Nelson Mandela had t o share it with P.W. Botha. Mandela had to wait until South Africa was freed from the apartheid regime to get the Prize, whereas it would have helped his cause immensely if he had got it while in prison. It seems even the Nobel Committee could not just d eny him the Prize in the end. But Ramos-Horta and Belo got it when East Timor was still fighting. Interestingly, Ramos-Horta has spent all his life in Portugal, and Belo left East Timor for Australia as soon as the going got rough.

Another laureate, Andrei Sakharov, was the main architect of the demonic hydrogen bomb but then, according to the Nobel Committee, he had impeccable credentials - he was fighting the Soviet regime. Fair enough, but I shall wait for the day when a Kurdish freedom fighter is nominated, when he is fighting an equally brutal regime. But remember, the Kurd belongs to the wrong race and the wrong religion and above all has the wrong politics.

Gandhi had the wrong colour and wrong politics and, above all, belonged to the wrong religion - his statements berating Christian missionaries did nothing to endear him to the Committee. The Mahatma did not have a chance! There is very little noble about the Nobel Peace Prize.

Dr. Aroup Chatterjee London Capitalism and socialism

I wish to compliment Aijaz Ahmad for his essay "A century of revolutions" (February 4). But I do not share his optimism regarding the "re-reversal" of capitalism. In fact, capitalism has never been successfully checked. What really happened was that it changed its position and shape whenever any attempt was made to root it out. The success of socialism was only temporary and it succeeded only in transforming "liberal capitalism" into benevolent capitalism. Any reversal of capitalism in this fast-develo ping "age of technology" seems impossible. It has a strong base in the middle class, which is growing.

Shakil Akhtar Bhagalpur, Bihar
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