February - March 2007
To The Editor,
I am a Indian born doctor who currently lives in the UK. I recently visited
Kolkata, India, for one month but during my short stay, to my surprise and
dismay, I noticed that West Bengal has deteriorated to the extent of becoming
a state of rubble and corruption. I was born and bred in Kolkata and experienced
the lifestyle for many years before leaving; but nothing prepared me for the
level of corruption and incompetence that I witnessed in all aspects of Kolkata’s
This includes Solicitors from the Lower to the Higher Courts and Doctors, who
are believed to be honest throughout the World. The Doctors are mostly unscrupulous,
trying to show off their knowledge in their particular speciality, which they
learnt in the UK over 20 years ago. Such people never try to polish their old
knowledge with new ideas, and instead try to show the patient that they know
everything of medicine, by prescribing the most unwanted, toxic chemical substances
which were used by foreign doctors many years ago, which have now been discarded
in favour of more effective drugs in Europe.
Regarding practicing Solicitors, many seem to keep taking time unnecessarily
to linger over simple problems in order to turn them into difficult cases.
As a result, the cases never go forward from Lower Courts to the High Court
in spite of clear laws.
One particular area of concern is Tenancy laws in West Bengal. Large numbers
of privately owned properties are affected by non paying tenants who keep on
occupying valuable properties throughout Kolkata. The Authorities should understand
that this issue not only affects the property owners, but also results in loss
of revenue and income for the State. Even though the ruling Party within the
State has held power for almost 30 years, the Government has not managed to
show any kind of constructive approach in dealing with non-paying tenants.
We have also seen that in the last month, the different political parties have
been flexing their political muscles over different issues and trying to enforce
their incoherent and unworkable views on the general population. This powermongering
recently resulted in a three-day strike that paralysed the city, affecting
millions of people and ensuring total disruption to the city. It is no surprise
that these foolish strikes damage only the livelihoods of honest and hard working
people, many of whom are very poor and desperately need to work to survive,
whilst the wealthy and arrogant political leaders laud over their so called "achievement".
Nobody ever chooses to mention the obvious, which is that the primary reason
that West Bengal will never reach the level of development that most other
states in India have achieved (such as Gujrat or Tamil Nadu), are its impossible
barriers to entry (such as total corruption at all levels of local government)
and strike-dominated work culture.
Throughout history, the existence of Marxist views and policy in countries
like the USSR, the Castro regime in Cuba, or China has inevitably failed and
been replaced by updated forms of communism or even capitalism. However, in
Kolkata, The CPI(M) insists on clinging to the failed doctrines to the bitter
end. This is an attitude that will eventually destroy Kolkata, while the communist
intellectuals look on without any shame. It is an irony of fate, that the land
of Clive’s capital of India, the ‘City of Joy’ is now converted
to the City of rubble and dirt.
(Dr) SK Das
Even to many Muslims the veil worn by some Muslim women is antiquated practice
that should be laid to rest in a museum. But even these oddities can be useful
In 1947, India was partitioned and Pakistan was created as a country for Muslims
of the sub-continent. This partition was followed by much blood shed and mass
killing of Hindus, Sikhs and Muslim on both sides of the new artificial border.
One of my uncles was a farmer who lived in our village in Jehlum Dist. which
became part of Pakistan. My father who was a civil servant managed to go to
our village to get my uncle and family out of Pakistan. He used some contacts
and got a police constable assigned to him to help him to get my uncle and
family to a refugee camp. The family had to walk along a main road. The constable
told them that if Muslim mob saw my aunt, they might abduct her as she was
a Hindu. He advised my father to get a ‘burqa’ for my aunt to put
on. My father was somehow able to get a burqa from a Muslim friend of his;
and my aunt then covered herself with it. This sad story tells us that even
silly oddities can sometimes prove good. My uncle’s family arrived at
the refugee camp safely. The burqa saved my aunt from abduction and life of
by Kurt Metzer
The Forty Days of Musa Dagh
by Franz Werfel (Publisers: Carrou & Graf 1997 ISBN 0-88184 -668-6)
This book is of great importance in the history of alleged genocides and free
speech, because it was written by a Jew (not an Armenian) in 1933 in Austria
when Hitler had just become Chancelor of Germany. At present it is considered
criminal in France to deny that Armenians were massacred by Turks during World
War I, and equally criminal to assert such a massacre in Turkey!
The book is a work of fiction and does not pretend to be precise history. The
Armenians in the book fight back against the Turks and some escape via a French
ship. There is also an analysis of the motives of the Ottoman Imperial Government.
Nevertheless, the book was welcomed by Armenians and is not totally unfair
to the Turks, who were involved in many conflicts (against Greeks, Turks and
Arabs) and also in the middle of a very tough war. In the history of the Ottoman
Empire, Jews were treated much better by the Turks than by their opponents,
such as Czarist Russia or the Rumanians, whose hero is Vlad the Impaler, the
original of Dracula!
The book is valuable not only for students of the Holocust but also of the
India-Pakistan conflicts and massacres in Burundi and the Sudan and Congo.
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