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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 society.

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.

Yours sincerely

(Dr) SK Das


K.N. Dewan

Finchley, London

The Veil

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 sometimes.

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 indignity.

Yours sincerely

K.N. Dewan

Book Review:

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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