Dalits and quota-based promotion
SIR, ~ Apropos  Kuldip Nayar&’s article, “Dalits and quotas” (29 August), he has justified the importance of quota in the matter of promotion for Dalits. He iterates the problems of casteism and untouchability in contemporary India. The situation is actually more serious than what has been portrayed in the article. Even 67 years after Independence, caste Hindus still resent a Dalit hoisting the national flag or riding a horse. In many places, the roads are closed to Dalits. There is every possibility that Dalit public servants will be discriminated against when their promotion is due as such matters are handled by their upper-caste brethren.
According to Mr Nayar, bureaucracy is ‘the sheet anchor of the administration’ and its sanctity should not be affected by reservation-based promotion. That sanctity is being maintained at the cost of the Dalits. According to newspaper reports in 2009, there wasn’t a single Dalit officer holding the post of Secretary to the Government of India. There was only one Scheduled Caste additional secretary. Indian bureaucracy “is the worst in Asia with a 9.21 rating out of 10” (The Statesman, 11 January 2012). There is no reservation system in the appointment of judges in the High Courts or the Supreme Court.
yours, etc., sudhakar sardar, mandirbazar (south 24-parganas), 29 august.

Non-essential import
SIR, ~ The severe foreign exchange crisis can be resolved by increasing the import duty on certain non-essential goods and bringing down overseas investment. The government could also consider a 60 per cent cut in the import of crude out of the annual import of 70 million tonnes.
   A total ban on the import of gold and silver might also help turn the tide. Certain forms of tele-entertainment and  expensive cars come under the category of non-essential luxury imports. “Austerity”, instead of garibi hatao, should be the government&’s slogan at this juncture.
yours, etc., samir das gupta, kolkata, 20 august.

At the Oval…
SIR, ~  Cricket gained popularity in the 17th century, when English aristocrats started playing the game and in what they called “a gentlemanly manner”. This meant no sledging, cheating, bodyline bowling, throwing a tantrum or excessive appeals. If the batsman knew he was out, he should “walk” towards the pavilion even if the umpire decided otherwise.
   Cut to 2013 ~ it is shocking that three England players ~ Stuart Broad, Kevin Pietersen and Jimmy Anderson ~ relieved themselves on the crease after conclusion of the fifth Ashes Test. The Oval is where the legend of the Ashes originated. It&’s a ground with a long history, and players are expected to respect tradition.
  Of course, they can celebrate victory, but not by contemptible conduct on and off the field. That&’s not cricket which has given them fame and money. These players, including  Monty Panasar, have disgraced the game.
It is distressing to reflect that cricket, a glorious game of uncertainties, is now controlled by money-power. Adam Gilchrist, Courtney Walsh, Sir Frank Worrell and Mike Brearly will be remembered for their gentlemanly behaviour. Stuart Broad was sure he was out, but did not leave the crease because the umpire&’s decision went with him.
yours, etc., s s paul, chakdaha (nadia), 27 august.

…Insult to pitch
SIR, ~ Stuart Broad, Jimmy Anderson and Kevin Pietersen have disgraced the legendary Oval pitch after the 3-0 Ashes Test victory. Was urinating on the pitch part of the victory celebrations?  Were the three cricketers emulating the example of Monty Panesar after a few drinks? Have England cricketers forgotten that cricket is a gentleman&’s game which originated in their country? They have insulted the pitch that has been kissed by many famous  cricketers after  entering the record books.
While Britain&’s sports minister, Hugh Robertson, has said that the allegations will be examined, the England coach, Andy Flower, has refused to comment. The three players deserve to be suspended for at least five years. The ICC should consider the issue.
yours, etc., bidyut kumar chatterjee, faridabad, 29 august.