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We love a poet, but do you know it? | Brief letters

Rifles in India | Blood donors | Chuka Umunna | Poetry | Charlie Brown

Peter Betts is quite right (Letters, 23 October). Ever since the so-called “mutiny” of 1857, British Indian troops were habitually armed with obsolete weapons. The then state-of-the-art 1850s Enfield rifle-musket was replaced with an inferior smooth-bored version, and when regular troops received the lever-action Martini Henry in 1879, the poor old Indian service had to make do with the relatively primitive 1867 Snider-Enfield conversion. And so on. The extent to which all this was a matter of conscious colonial control or sheer logistical expediency remains a matter of debate.
Jeremy Muldowney
Heworth, North Yorkshire

• I applaud Marc Quinn’s message in an article about his new artwork (Artwork taps 5,000 blood donors for refugee message, 24 October). Years ago a neighbour, who was a blood donor and whose heritage was Indian, said she always hoped that a white racist might get her blood – a silent attack on their views from the inside!
Linda Rhead
Hampton, London

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