Starry, starry nights
Sir — Ashish Sinha’s grouse in “Keeping another tryst with destiny” (Nov 14) is entirely directed at the Bollywood artistes selected to perform at Jharkhand’s anniversary celebrations. But what tells Sinha that Bollywood is not a part of the composite national culture' Can he pick out a single paan-shop in Jharkhand which does not play Hindi songs' He may raise cain about the senseless waste of money to hold the jamboree, but he cannot argue that “local artistes” would have represented Jharkhand better. And if money is to be spent on entertainment, Bollywood alone would give money’s worth.
S. Patnaik, Calcutta
Enjoy your drink
Sir — In India, the taboo against drinking has a great deal to do with the fact that most alcohol-consumers do not know how to enjoy their drink without making a nuisance of themselves (“Cakes but no ale”, Nov 2). Most drinkers consume too much, too often. Sometimes they become abusive and physically violent. Apart from that, the basic conservatism of Indian society also makes us shun drinkers.
Although the Central government and liquor companies are minting money from the sale of alcohol, they have not bothered to educate people about the etiquettes of social drinking. Yet people in the West know how to enjoy their drink without inconveniencing others.
A noted columnist in The Telegraph had once written of a club in Mumbai formed by celebrities and socialites. They assembled at one of the members’ house every month and drank the finest scotch whisky before dinner. Drinking more than two or three pegs was strictly restricted. If the younger generation can be taught the art of social drinking, the taboo associated with alcohol consumption would go gradually.
Govind Das Dujari, Calcutta
Sir — The editorial, “Cakes but no ale”, cites the consumption of beer by young adults in our country and refers to the relevant rules in Germany and Switzerland to defend the students of a particular college in the state. In this consumerist era, it has become acceptable for the young to display some rebelliousness and have fun. However, since most college students do not earn and are therefore financially dependent on their parents, they should spend within their means. It is important that parents and educators help young people strike a balance between liberalism and conservatism.
J.C. Kundu, Calcutta
Sir — It is shocking that the drinking of beer should have led to a confrontation between students of the Bengal Engineering College, Shibpur, and the college authorities. When will the self-appointed custodians of morality accept that our society has changed and that youngsters today are more liberal-minded' Also, given that the students were all adults, it is difficult to understand what the fuss was about. One hopes that the college authorities will spend more time on issues that directly concern the welfare of students.
Govinda Bakshi, Budge Budge
For all seasons
Sir — In his letter, “Uniform chaos” (Nov 11), Pranjal Kothari accuses the Calcutta police of discrimination between Bengalis and non-Bengalis. Kothari should be aware that Durga Puja today is no longer confined to the Bengali community, or Diwali within the non-Bengali community. The strict regulations for Diwali thus do not amount to the infringement of non-Bengali rights. He should in fact rejoice that Chhat Puja in the state continues to be celebrated with blaring microphones and beating of drums, together with traffic jams.
Kajal Chatterjee, Sodepur
Sir — I condemn Pranjal Kothari for bringing in the non-Bengali factor in analy-sing police action in Calcutta. Just like Durga Puja is for everybody, Diwali is for all Indians. People like Kothari should stop spreading hatred among different communities in our country.
A.K. Ghosh, Ranchi