Sitar snaps strings with the mortal world
The passing away of Pandit Ravi Shankar is a big blow to music lovers all over the world. He was the first to showcase the brilliance of classical Hindustani music for westerners and they lapped it up, with some like Beatles’s star George Harrison taking a special interest in this rich tradition. For nearly half a century, he was the undisputed cultural ambassador of India, enthralling thousands with the magic of his music. He never wavered from the purity of classical music and he did not hesitate to admonish the Beatles for trying to hybridize Hindustani music to suit their Rock style. He never attached any importance to name or fame, but they came to him in copious measure. His zest for the finer things of life is amply known. He established a gharana with his style, training numerous artistes in his mould. He will be missed by one and all.
—V Rajalakshmi, Mumbai
At the UPA’s mercy
The Supreme Court has quashed Mulayam Singh’s appeal to restrain the CBI from investigating the disproportionate assets case against him and has ordered the CBI to file a status report before the court and not to the government. This will come as a great setback for the Samajwadi Party chief as the only way he will wriggle out of the predicament now is if the CBI delays the investigations. Thus, he will be totally at the mercy of the UPA government. Instead of dictating to the government the terms of his conditional cooperation, he will have to surrender to its whims and fancies. So, it will not be surprising if the UPA, on its part, demands its pound of flesh to rescue him. Due to the SP’s stubborn opposition to the tabling of the bill on promotions for SC/ST, the UPA was unable to get the cooperation of the Bahujan Samaj Party. Now, we will could see the SP go silent on the issue. Of course, they will explain such somersaults with the now well-known excuse, ‘to keep the communal forces out’.
—VS Kaushik, Bangalore
Yadha praja, tatha raja
Apropos “Maya slams ‘helpless’ Ansari”, we saw last week how members of the Rajya Sabha trooped out of the House immediately after the vote on the resolution against FDI in multi-brand retail. The thin attendance thereafter and through this week has demonstrated the lack of commitment and indifference of our parliamentarians to fulfil their duties. Mayawati’s bitter criticism of the Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari, accusing him of not discharging his duty, made me wonder about rewriting the age-old Sanskrit saying, “Yadha raja, tatha prajaa” (the people will be like their king) as “Yadhaa praja, tatha raja” (the king will be like his people).
—Haridasan Mathilakath, Navi Mumbai
What about Mantralaya fire?
Apropos of “Fire Brigade to drag Jolly Maker society to court”, why has it taken so long for the fire department to wake up to the fact that the fire safety system was not functional? Most of the high-rise buildings in the city either do not have proper fire fighting systems, or if they have them these are not maintained properly. Has any action been taken against those responsible for the fire systems at Mantralaya where there was such a massive fire recently? It is known that most government buildings do not even have a basic fire-fighting system in place. Let the fire department put its own house in order and set an example by prosecuting those responsible for the Mantralaya accident.
—Vanita Shenoy, Mumbai
Peace in the valley
Apropos of “NC politics failed to deliver in J&K”, the frequent crises in Jammu & Kashmir are the result of a lack of wisdom and principles on the part of the government. There is a general feeling among the people that their interests are mishandled and misused by the state and central governments. As a result, the people resort to their own ways of protest. Then there are vested interests and criminal elements who fish in troubled waters. These have to be driven out of the state. It is high time that serious steps are taken to crack down on extremists causing trouble and disturbances. Besides, J&K attracts enormous international attention, so any blunder on the part of the government will have a negative impact. Now is the time to sow the seeds of brotherhood, together with a sense of responsibility and understanding among the people of the state. This will pave the way to peace and harmony.
—P Senthil Saravana Durai, Mumbai
Damn the doomsayers
Apropos “Doomsday panic gains ground as 21.12.12 nears”, there was a similar end-of-the-world panic some 50 years ago, when it was said that the world would come to an end a few days after the SSLC (Secondary School Leaving Certificate) exams were to be over in Kerala. So many students, and parents too, thought there was no point in doing too much in the exams and the SSLC pass percentage that year was the worst ever recorded in Kerala’s academic history. While many of my friends failed, I managed to sail through as I didn’t believe in false predictions of any kind then, and even now. Damn the doomsayers!
—KP Rajan, Mumbai
Redeploy ticket revenues
Apropos of “Projects face mega block”, I believe that the railways should use a part of the money it collects by way of ticket sales, towards development work. It is observed that year after year the expenditure on wages of staff increases, but little is spent on development work. If necessary, the railways should borrow money from the market instead of depending on the government. It is prudent business practice to redeploy a part of the revenue for business development and the railways should be made answerable for its losses.
—Dilip Desai, Mumbai