This refers to the article “The dark side of glamour” by Sevanti Ninan (July 25). It is sad to note that Indian media treat ‘celebrities', dead or alive, as saleable commodities and use them for sensationalism and commercial exploitation. In the process they violate the personal liberties of their families and associates and cause irreparable damage to them. It is time the media realise their social responsibilities and practise self restraint while reporting on celebrities to avoid a negative impact. Though it is a human tendency to make hay while the sun shines, the celebrities and their families should be conscious of the fact that the celebrity status is dependent on youth, especially in entertainment and fashion industries and can never be permanent. As ageing is an irreversible process they should gracefully fade away when not in demand.
The tribute by Lata Mangeshkar to the legendary singer Mohammed Rafi (“Remembering Rafi ”, Ranjan Das Gupta, July 25) was a well compiled piece. Rafi had his legion of fans in Kolkata too where he had sung in several soirees some which were night-long affairs. Endowed with a resonant voice, he hit the limelight with memorable numbers like Abhi Na Jao Chhod Kar from “Hum Dono”, the soulful bhajans from the film “Baiju Bawra” tuned by Nausad , the unforgettable gazals from “Mere Mehboob”. He had sung almost every type of song. No wonder, the living legend Manna Dey once rightly said that Rafi was a better singer than him. Although the latter himself had said, ‘People listen to my songs. I listen to Manna'. They were good friends and a healthy competition used to run between them. Be it a trendy fast number for Shammi Kapoor, the soul-stirring Nafrat Ki Duniya Ko for Rajesh Khanna in “Haathi Mere Saathi” or the melancholy number Teri Galion Me Na for Anil Dhawan in “Hawas”, Rafi mesmerised the audience. In the three decades since his passing away, not one singer has emerged who can step into his shoes.
Khagra, West Bengal
Lata Mangeshkar's reminiscence was indeed touching. She was candid in her observation that Rafi “was not only India's greatest playback singer but also a wonderful person”. Rafi sahib, in fact, had a wide range of pitch and amazingly enough, he moved majestically through this span with his liquid golden voice with extreme skill, dedication and purity. “Music should strike fire from the heart”, said Beethovan, “and bring tears from the eyes”. Happily Rafi sahib has achieved this rare feat in his musical journey spanning three decades. His mastery over film music was complete, as if it was exquisitely chiselled as a piece of sculpture. Undoubtedly, he was indeed a legend of our time and the fragrance of his legacy may continue to endure and waft for generations.
Kelath Gopakumar Menon
Part of our heritage
The article by V. Sriram (“Unsung hero of Madras”, July 25) with the majestic photograph of Sir Thomas Munro sitting seated on a horse was very informative and worth reading. This is a monument and as far as I am concerned, removing the same is totally out of question. It is not an exaggeration to say that the British empire has shaped our nation to a great extent towards good.
The statue for a man who rode on his horse, almost throughout the Madras Presidency should stay in Chennai as V. Sriram has very well articulated. Munro loved his horses and took great care of them, as evidenced from some of his correspondence he has left for posterity. It is said that he never used a stirrup to handle his horses and hence the absence of a stirrup on his statue.
Rev. Philip Mulley
One cannot but agree with V. Sriram's plea for letting the statue of Sir Thomas Munro stay where it is. Munro easily reminds one of Sir Henry Ramsay, who, beginning as an ensign went on to serve as the Commissioner of British Kumaun (corresponding roughly to what is today known as Uttarakhand) for over three decades and left an indelible mark. Every single institution in the state of Uttarakhand — revenue and judicial administration, education, health, irrigation, forest management, town planning —can be traced to that great administrator. However, after independence the schools, hospitals and roads bearing his name have been renamed. What a pity that in our over zealousness in demonising the British rulers, we tend to forget the ones who indeed contributed to the well being of the people.
Anil K. Joshi
Dept. of History, Kumaun University, Nainital
Correction: The exhibition The Indian Portrait – 1560-1860 mentioned in Ranvir Shah's article, “Magic through miniature” (July 25) was held at The National Portrait Gallery, London and not as published. The error is regretted.