Those gathered at the Azad Maidan on Saturday were protesting against the killing of Muslims in Assam and Myanmar, so we are told. But what happened in Assam? Sorry for asking, but this was exactly what my friend asked me when I sat down to write about the Assam riots. I am frustrated by the double standards of our media. We know what is happening at the London Olympics, we know what happened in a gurdwara in Wisconsin, we even know what happened in Mumbai on Saturday. Assam is as much a part of our country as Mumbai is. Why is there no information on what is going on in Assam? Am I being cynical in thinking that we do not hear much from the State because Muslims are being targeted there?
M. Z. Imran
It is ironical that the protest rally, organised by the Raza Academy to highlight the “poor” media coverage of violence against Muslims in Myanmar and Assam, itself turned violent claiming the lives of two persons and injuring many. That Mumbai, a city known for its resilience, should have become the venue for such unrest resulting in death and destruction, is a cause for concern.
A. Michael Dhanaraj,
The violent behaviour of some angry Muslims against the police and mediapersons in Mumbai is condemnable but their anger should be viewed in the context of the continuous harassment of Muslims over several decades by the city’s police. During the mass killing of Muslims in January 1993, the police played a blatantly partisan role.
The attack on mediapersons covering the Mumbai protest is condemnable. The media is not responsible for the killing of Muslims in Assam or Myanmar. In fact, it is the media that is responsible for bringing the incidents to light. Taking out the ire on mediapersons for what a group thinks is inadequate coverage of an incident cannot be justified under any circumstances.
The UPA government’s decision to introduce a bill to provide reservation for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in promotions in government jobs is surprising. The Supreme Court has upheld a High Court decision striking down reservation for the SCs and the STs in promotions introduced by the Uttar Pradesh government.
Promotions in jobs are to do with individuals, not social groups. Merit, efficiency and dedication should be the criteria for promoting a person. The socially handicapped are already being taken care of by reservation in recruitments. The government should have convened an all-party meeting to discuss the issue.
C. Koshy John,
I am in support of the reservation system but against its misuse. All tribals should get the benefits of reservation so that they can become part of the mainstream. So should students below the poverty line, irrespective of the caste to which they belong. Reservation should be discontinued to families in which two generations have enjoyed its benefits. This way, we can slowly phase out the quota system. Let our future generations talk about careers and nation-building, not castes and reservation.
S. Jai Venkatesh,
The article “The Boxer on the flight” (Aug. 11) left a bitter taste in my mouth. The true life account clearly showed that the Indian boxer returning from the London Olympics was interested in unwanted things and felt no remorse whatsoever for his failure to win a medal. One hopes sportsmen like him will bear in mind that the government bears the expenses on their travel and accommodation abroad hoping they will bring pride, not disrepute, to the country. The coach could have kept an eye on the boxer’s conduct.
I was disturbed on reading about the indecent behaviour of the boxer. As it is, we have failed to win even one gold medal. The boxer added insult to injury. Amitava Kumar’s narration underscores the dangers of a woman travelling alone, even on a flight. I feel sorry for the young German woman who, I am sure, must have had an unpleasant trip.
India & Olympics
It is really sad that the Indian hockey team finished last in the London Olympics. For years, hockey was our only hope of an Olympic gold medal. I was in college when the Indian team lost to Pakistan in 1972, and I remember I wept at the loss. Now, 40 years later, I am not overcome by any such emotion. The critics in the media lose no time hounding all concerned with the sport for the poor show. We prove time and again that, as a nation, we overreact on winning and losing.
The need of the hour is to address the root causes. Schools and colleges should give more importance to sports — at least provide a proper playground. Talent should be spotted at a young age and encouraged. If we are honest about these, India will find itself competing with others sooner than later. Finally, let us be sympathetic to our players who did their best.
The dismal show of India at the biggest games was on expected lines. Small countries which are no more than dots or tiny patches on the world map excelled and put up a great show compared to us. Sportspersons alone cannot be blamed for our disastrous performance.
Sports administrators — politicians who do not have the vision to create the necessary infrastructure and environment for sportspersons to excel — are largely to blame. Our country will have to wait for many more years to achieve a respectable position at the Olympics.
It is true that a country with a billion people has not done well at the Olympics. It is also true that smaller countries like Jamaica won gold medals while India couldn’t manage even one gold medal. But it is equally important to appreciate that India has progressed in sports; it sent a record number of athletes to London and recorded the best ever performance. We also need to understand that there are not many takers for less attractive sports in our country — one more reason why India did not have participants in sports like gymnastics. Indian hockey’s glorious past has been erased and this may happen with other sports too if they are not given importance.
Many sports like kabaddi, chess and cricket, in which India has more chances of winning, are not included in Olympics whereas countries like the U.S. which are good at athletics — major Olympic events — grab the medals. Instead of blaming out sportspersons, we should focus on building talent in Olympic events rather than excel in a few sports.
Adithya L. Narayanan,