Playing a dirty game”With the mud slinging and public washing of dirty linen by sportspersons and politicians, the Arjuna Awards ought to be renamed the ‘Duryodhan Awards’.”-Jinu Mathew, on e-mailThe Broken RunYour cover story has exposed the darker and gloomier side of the state of Indian sports (“Prize and Prejudice”,,Playing a dirty game”With the mud slinging and public washing of dirty linen by sportspersons and politicians, the Arjuna Awards ought to be renamed the ‘Duryodhan Awards’.”-Jinu Mathew, on e-mailThe Broken RunYour cover story has exposed the darker and gloomier side of the state of Indian sports (“Prize and Prejudice”, September 3). The Arjuna Award, once the pride and dream of Indian sportspersons, has now been reduced to a farce thanks to political lobbying and corruption. What is equally disheartening is the plight of past Arjuna winners who are forced to sell their trophies for survival.-Rohit Bhandiye, PanajiIt is a shame that in our country recognition doesn’t come on its own for the deserving – it depends on one’s ability to pull the right strings.-K. Balaramakrishnan, ChennaiMilkha Singh’s decision to decline the Arjuna Award is not justified. It is, after all, a national honour. But I’d also like to add that the complaints aired by him and a few others cannot be ignored. If the country’s best prize for sportspersons is awarded to people unworthy of it, upcoming sportspersons cannot be motivated to perform well in the international arena. I suggest that a rule be made that any person whose name is being considered for the award should have at least one international medal to his name. Secondly, the number of Arjuna Awards given per year should be reduced. Only then can its value be restored.-Lokesh Thakur, ShimlaArjuna was a warrior and even the Arjuna Award emblem depicts him taking aim with his bow and arrow. I, therefore, find it disgraceful that this award is not associated with soldiers but with sportspersons.-Lt-Col (Retd) R. Nandkeolyar, LucknowadvertisementSleeping with the EnemyThe custom of sharing brides among the Gurjjars in Rajasthan is nothing but prostitution in the garb of marriage (“Family Bride, September 3). I am convinced that the women hardly have any choice in this matter though your report seems to suggest that they are quite happy as they are freed from doing household chores. It is preposterous and utterly shameful.-Jayati Mandal, on e-mailThe story of the gurjjars’ dearth of females calls for an introspection into our demographic guidelines and the rules by which we dilineate our population parameters. It brings to mind the vulnerability of another ethnic group which is on the brink of extinction – the Great Andamanese.-J. Mathew, on e-mailThe story offers a lesson to all those who believe in a patriarchal society: indulge in female infanticide and foeticide and pay the price.-Aruna Saxena, PuneNot GuiltyI find it distressing that you are trying to denounce the means adopted by Tehelka (“The Truth Uncovered”, September 3). Your report smacks of double standards because the means to unearth misdoings at the top echelons cannot always be above board but that does not mean we try to stop the pursuit of truth. Besides, such unconventional means are adopted by many media houses for exposes. Moreover, it diverts attention from the main issue: corruption in high places. Why is there an urgency to launch criminal proceedings against the Tehelka team when there’s a greater urgency to book the bribe-takers?-Dr R.N. Trivedi, KanpurIn a Different ContextYour article on George Fernandes and his reinduction into the government is regrettable (“Doghouse Woes”, September 10). In describing his exclusion from the Government Fernandes has been quoted as saying that “it is a grave injustice to me” when his actual statement was that a question pertaining to his inclusion in the Cabinet was an injustice. Besides, the NDA has made no complaint about the slow progress of the Justice Venkatswami Commission. It is unfair to say that the SP is “griping” about delays in proceedings of the Commission.-Dr Shambhu Shrivastwa, General Secretary, Samata PartyStatus QuoYour story on the “commendable work” being done by the Gujarat Government came as a shock (“Turning a Calamity into an Opportunity”, September 3). It seems your reporter did not visit Gujarat, let alone Kutch, and even if he did, he probably spoke only to those in power and not the hapless victims of the quake. The victims are still running from pillar to post for succour and aid. The government has failed miserably in providing that most fundamental necessity: a shelter.-B.G. Varghese, AhmedabadThis was an advertisement feature and not an INDIA TODAY report. – EditorRank InefficiencyI am not surprised at the poor performance and bad results of the tourism minister (“Ministries of Inaction”, August 27). While foreigners find the food here to be cheap, entrance fees to monuments are very high. It is my third visit to India and I appreciate the kindness of the people but I must say that visiting India is quite a financial burden for a family man as far as monuments are concerned.-Nicolas Geiger, FranceYour analysis of the ministry of Tourism portrays a sad picture for a remarkable country. After spending a month here on holiday, I am still surprised by the government legislation that makes the tourist’s life unpleasant, difficult and expensive. The US$20 Taj Mahal entrance fee is outrageous but would not be so bad if one could guarantee that it would be spent on maintenance of the building or the surrounding area. Instead, I suspect that it will form part of a government official’s holiday fund to a foreign country which has realised that such blatant discrimination is detrimental to its tourism industry.-Alex Marshall, on e-mailadvertisementGoing by the grading system you have adopted for the ministers, the petroleum and natural gas minister should be the topper. After all, nobody outside the Government is interested in attributes like “understanding of issues” or “commitment to reforms”. It is the “achievements” that count.-B. Rita, on e-mailI was dismayed to see that Laloo Yadav is the most preferred chief minister of Bihar (“Missing a Leader”, August 20). What about the fodder scam, caste carnages, and non-existence of tourism and industrialisation? Srikrishna Sinha, the man responsible for putting modern Bihar on the map of India, has been forgotten. And it was only after 1961 that Bihar and Biharis became the butt of jokes.-Suresh Shankar, PatnaCaste and CharacterIn the editorial on violence in Kashmir, you mention that “part of the problem is India’s national character” (“Passive Resistance”, August 20). It is this “character” perhaps that made an English magazine state after a thorough exploration that except for two, no Hindu temples were attacked in Kashmir. Again, it must be this “character” that tries to rationalise every action of the terrorists and opine that anyone who reacts in provocation is the scum of the earth.-Ashok Chowgule, president, VHP, Maharashtra PradeshCurriculum of the BabusIn her column, Tavleen Singh tries to deflect the blame from our disastrous present Government (“Missing the Point”, September 3). She tries to pin the blame on the Congress by saying that in the 40 years that it ruled us we had an education system that was designed to turn India into a nation of clerks. Is she not aware that our country produces the highest number of competent engineers, as also a large number of other professionals? And what about herself? Was she educated abroad or does she think she hasn’t risen above the level of a clerk considering that she was a product of the same system she talks of so contemptuously?-C. Sunita Reddy, HyderabadI couldn’t agree more with Tavleen Singh. Both A.B. Vajpayee and Sonia Gandhi need to understand that what we teach is more important than how we teach it. The most important point of quality of education is sidelined by both the BJP and the Congress: where is our education system headed? As an instrument of change and development, the education system in India must be depoliticised and modernised.-Aashish Opal, ChandigarhadvertisementOptical DelusionPlease desist from publishing irrelevant comments of B.S. Bedi (“Captain Cowboy”, August 13). He seems to be suffering from a delusion of grandeur. Though a great spinner of the 1970s, he was recently spitting venom while discussing the lack of character of current Indian cricketers. Not only a foot, he put both his legs in his mouth. It is beyond any doubt that Sourav Ganguly has some “pet” cricketers. But what is the harm in backing competent cricketers? At least he is not promoting provincialism and aiding incompetent ones as done by his predecessors.-Mahasweta Mitra, Jayant, Madhya Pradesh
Indian boxers will now be able to compete under the national flag at the Asian GamesIndian boxers will be allowed to participate at the Asian Games under their national flag after the sport’s amateur world governing body gave provisional recognition to a new national federation.AIBA president CK Wu issued a statement on Tuesday saying the new entity, Boxing India, has been unanimously approved for provisional membership.The previous Indian Boxing Federation was suspended by AIBA in December 2012 for not following proper procedures during elections in which it elevated previous president Abhay Singh Chautala to chairman of the body.Chautala’s election as president of the Indian Olympic Association that same week led to IOA’s suspension by the International Olympic Committee. The IOA was reinstated to the Olympic movement during the Sochi Winter Games in February after a new set of officials were elected.”I would like to emphasize the importance of managing Boxing India in the most transparent, fair, democratic manner and most importantly in the respect of all AIBA rules and regulations,” said Wu, who advised Boxing India to apply for an affiliation to the Indian Olympic Association.That could spark more issues: the national Olympic committee was prevented by AIBA from conducting the Boxing India elections, and subsequently refused to send an observer to the poll.Indian boxers have competed mostly as independent athletes since the suspension, with the promise of holding elections ensuring their participation as part of the Indian contingent at this year’s Glasgow Commonwealth Games.advertisementThere were also fears that Indian boxers would not be allowed to compete under the national flag at Incheon but AIBA’s communications manager Albina Krasnodemska confirmed to The Associated Press that “they can use their flag now.”Boxing was a major contributor to India’s tally at Guangzhou four years ago with nine medals, including two gold. India will need the boxing medals if it hopes to match its Guangzhou haul of 65 medals, including 14 gold.Beijing Olympic bronze medallist Vijender Singh has pulled out due to injury but India has a five-time world champion in the women’s ranks – MC Mary Kom, who won a bronze at the London Olympics two years ago.Mary Kom said the boxers had been “really depressed” over the uncertainty of their participation.India failed to win a boxing gold medal at Glasgow after having won at least one gold at each of the previous three editions of the Commonwealth Games.Boxing events are scheduled to be held in Incheon from September 24-October 2.