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Readers write

Print edition : Aug 25, 2022 T+T-

Readers write

Letters to the Editor.

Uttar Pradesh

BE it Prayagraj, Kanpur, Aligarh, or elsewhere in Uttar Pradesh, the bulldozer agenda is being successfully enacted without the affected people being issued the mandatory show-cause notices (“Targeted demolitions”, July 15). Even the Supreme Court was shocked at the exhibition of abuse of power in the State. The “bulldozer” has become the Sangh Parivar’s new tool to implement its agenda. The naked aggression of various wings of the Parivar was apparent way back in 1992 when the Babri Masjid was demolished in spite of assurances by the authorities that it would be protected. Uttar Pradesh has shown blatant disregard for Article 300A of the Constitution, which prescribes the rights of property owners. Taking its cue from Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh has carried out similar demolition drives, causing uncertainty among minorities, especially Muslims.

S. Murali

Vellore, Tamil Nadu

Agnipath scheme

THE much-trumpeted Agnipath scheme has stirred up a hornet’s nest and is fraught with serious repercussions (“Sparking a fire”, July,15). Clearly, it is a move necessitated by a need to reduce defence expenditure but at the cost of India’s defence preparedness. The government says that the Agnipath scheme is aimed at fundamentally changing the way that sailors, airmen, and soldiers are recruited. But for many people, joining the armed forces is more a passion than an avocation. My father and two elder brothers served in the Indian Air Force for several years. 

The scheme raises many questions. Is the shortened training sufficient to equip a soldier for modern warfare? Will Agniveers be as motivated as permanent soldiers? Will the two different categories of soldiers impact the unity and solidarity of the armed forces? The government should use the first Agniveers as a test run before going ahead with full-fledged implementation of the scheme. Or the tenure should be extended to at least 10 years.

T.N. Venugopalan 

Kochi, Kerala

The opposition

THE Cover Story “Gathering forces” ( July 1) was an in-depth field report on non-BJP political leaders. It is premature to come to definitive conclusions about them. But why did the Cover Story neglect the role of Karnataka and her political leaders?

Madhava Peraje

Hampi, Karnataka

SINCE I am from Mumbai, I was a little swept away by the praise for Uddhav Thackeray in the article “Gaining acceptance” (July 1). Then, a few days after the issue came out, the political drama unfolded in Maharashtra. A faction of the Shiv Sena broke away from Thackeray and skeletons started coming out of the cupboard, which completely undid your appraisal of him. To be blunt, the magazine got it wrong. .Readers need factual reporting and should be allowed to decide things for themselves on the basis of the facts. Frontline seems no different from other magazines.

Sumeet Mishra

Mumbai

Art

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THE article “Art for what sake?” (July 1) needs  a rebuttal as it calls writers rhetoricians and artists archivists as if their work has no  lasting value. Let me narrate an anecdote from the Spanish poet Pablo Neruda’s Memoirs: The poet and a friend once visited a club and found two thugs fighting, swinging chairs and breaking bottles. Neruda, though no match for them physically, impulsively stepped forward and shouted at them to stop. The men exchanged glances, and one of them came menacingly close to Neruda. However, the other man, taller and stouter, dragged him away. He then came to the poet as if looking for praise. The poet was not pleased and said to him angrily: “You are no better than that scum. Get away!” When Neruda and his friend were leaving, they found the man standing near the entrance. Neruda thought his end was near. But the man asked: “Are you Pablo Neruda the poet?” He hung his head when the poet answered in the affirmative.

“What a b...d I am! Here I am face to face with the poet I truly admire, and he has to tell me what a no-good bum I am.” He continued: “We are the scum of the earth. But there’s one clean thing in my life. It’s my girl. Don Pablo, look at her picture. I’ll tell her sometime that you actually held her photo in your hands. It’ll make her so happy.” As Neruda held the photograph in his hands, the man went on: “She loves me because of you, Don Pablo, because of your poems, which we have learned together by heart.”

So, the written word has meaning to those who are drawn to it, and it makes a difference to their perception of life. 

K. Natarajan

Madurai, Tamil Nadu 

Satyajit Ray

The Iti, Satyajit Da book has a few shortcomings (“A man of letters”, June 17). The 52 letters the maestro wrote to Nilanjana Sen were all handwritten in Bengali, so readers not used to reading handwritten Bengali script will find it difficult to decipher them. Transcripts of the letters were very much needed. In the absence of this, readers have to fall back on the accompanying English translations. But such a poor job has been made of the translation that Ray is lost in the English versions. His choice of words and idioms, the mainstay of his literary genius, has been thrown to the winds, and the literary nuances he introduced in his writings are missing. For instance, Ray addresses the lady in all his letters as “ Bhai Jana” (Jana being her nickname), which in literal translation would be “Brother Jana”; but that would be disastrous, so the translator preferred to make it “Dear Jana”. But the word “dear” has a perfect Bengali translation: Priyo or Supriyo. The maestro, it should be noted, did not address her as such. He purposefully addressed her as “ Bhai Jana”, which gives it a tone of affection. So, it would have been apt to translate it as “Jana Dear” in English.

There are factual blunders too in the English version. In the letter dated September 24, 1977, Ray mentions the euphoria in Calcutta about Pele’s football match (in Bengali Ray writes “ Pele’r khela”) that was supposed to be held in the city. One is flabbergasted to find that the English version speaks about the enthusiasm in the city for “ Dol khela”, or the Holi festival! A little more attention and a lot of care were needed to bring out a book of such importance.

Kudos to Frontline for focussing on the important “Iti, Satyajit Da” art show in Kolkata, which sadly saw very few visitors during its month-long stay.

Subroto Ghosh 

Kolkata