21 MARCH 1992, Page 29

Staying on

Sir: The residents of the Grant Govan Homes have done nothing whatever to jus- tify William Dalrymple's mocking article `Playing the white man' (22 February). They are a retired community rightly enjoy- ing conditions of (relative) security and comfort, towards the end of hardworking lives.

As members of the committee which is responsible for their welfare, we know the residents well. We defend their right to some of the affection and indulgence we show our own elderly relations — as well as to the expression of ideas which may strike some of us as eccentric, but which are nobody's business but their own. Like lone- ly old people everywhere, they confide freely to their few visitors, expecting their confidences to be respected. They are, moreover, well aware of the need to main- tain civilised relations with each other and their Indian environment — however much steam they may let off to interested visitors.

Was this opportunistic and inaccurate article really of sufficient interest or literary merit to warrant the damage done to indi- viduals and their relationships within the


Homes, as well as to the Anglo-Indian com- munity as a whole?

I. C. Weathrall

Grant Govan Homes committee, Brotherhood House, 7 Court Lane, Delhi 110054