Minds with or without fear
SIR, This is with reference to Sreeram Chaulia&’s article, “Where the mind is with fear” (31 October) on the flight of intellectuals trying to establish themselves as persons whose mind is without fear. The dictators of the one-party system in China are ready to clip the wings of the intellectuals as did Mao in his heyday of “let hundred flowers blossom”.
The present leaders of Communist China are no different from Mao. In a democracy, we have a two-party or multi-party system.
In India, the free media and the opposition parties miss no opportunity to prick the bubble of scams. In China, the person honoured with the Nobel Prize is jailed and a professor of the stature of Dr Xiayeliang is harassed. But he is not the only person in the world to be gagged. Socrates and Galileo suffered a similar fate. Their ideas are still valid though the states, which repressed them, have vanished. Jesus is the monarch in the hearts of millions and Roman Gladiators are a part of history. Stalin&’s Soviet Russia was shattered and Julius Caesar had to die for his ambition to be the king, doing away with the principles of Republicanism.
To the Greeks we owe the seeds of democracy. The Titanic sank because of the failure of the navigators to assess the extent of the impending danger. As Mr Chaulia writes, the students in attempting to liberalise the classroom may one day “seek accountable governance” and ultimately democracy will triumph over dictatorship of the proletariat or the one-party system as in China.
The days of ostracism will eventually lead to liberalism, indeed  liberty,  equality  and fraternity.
Yours, etc., GN Mukherjee,
Kolkata, 1 November.
BANKS & BANKING
SIR, This is with reference to the distinguished economist, Amiya Bagchi&’s letter, ‘The distance between banks and customers’ (23 October). During my service career, I was associated with the Reserve Bank and its associated financial institutions and foreign banks. Prof Bagchi may not be aware of the transformation in terms of consolidation, product innovation, financial inclusion and customer services etc. that have taken place in the banking system on the basis of policies formulated by the RBI and the Finance ministry. The system has changed considerably in comparison to the years after nationalisation, a period that witnessed stagnation at the cost of customers and financial inclusion.
The consolidation of the system has come about with the introduction of technology, updating of the system and staff training at all levels. There is much greater involvement of human resources. The public sector banks are now in a position to compete with the ones in the private sector. Indeed, customers can now avail of banking services at the doorstep.
Yours, etc., SP Ghosh,
Kolkata, 30 October.
GITA AND GANDHI
SIR, ‘An unlikely friendship (8th Day, 3 November) is an excellent article. The Gita was Mahatma Gandhi&’s companion ~ “When doubt haunts me, when disappointments stare me in the face, and when I see not a ray of light on the horizon, I turn to the Bhagavad Gita, and find verse to comfort me; and I immediately begin to smile in the midst of overwhelming sorrow. My life has been full of external tragedies, and if they have not left any visible and indelible effect on me, I owe it to the teaching of the Bhagavad Gita”.
Polak found solace in living in the time of Gandhiji. In his reckoning, it was a period of the history of mankind. In his article, “The wisdom of Gandhiji”, Polak wrote: “It is good to live in a time that has produced another great ‘lover of mankind’, following so soon after Tolstoy”. I express my thanks to The Statesman for publishing the article.
Yours, etc., Susanta Kumar Ghose,
Kolkata, 4 November.