Nowhere to hide
Sir — Alicia Silverstone has appealed to Indians to wear fake leather (“Please go pleather”, July 5). She will surely become the ambassador of some pleather brand soon. What no one has told her or the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, perhaps, is that cattle are not killed for leather. They are slaughtered when they outlive their financial utility for the farmer. And this is how things will be until PeTA comes forward to finance the feeding of millions of old cattle in India. But of course, these words are probably wasted on Silverstone. She is not a committed activist like Brigitte Bardot, but merely a politically correct film star.
Tapan Pal, Batanagar
Sir — The photograph of Indian and Pakistani students holding lighted candles before the launch of their documentary film, Bus, brought tears to my eyes (“Students ride bonhomie bus”, July 14). No wonder the film had the audience in Islamabad in tears as well. It is amply clear from these reactions and from reports that the people of both countries want peace and access to the people across the border. Of the two governments, the Indian one has always played a bigger spoilsport in letting the people of the two countries interact with one another. There is no denying that keeping a fake rivalry and threat alive helps gain votes. Hopefully, the efforts by the students will not be stalled by their political rulers on flimsy pretexts.
Kalyan Ghosh, Calcutta
Sir — The Bangalore surgeons who plugged the holes in two-and-a-half-year-old Noor Fatima’s heart also managed to act as a cementing force between their country, India, and Fatima’s country, Pakistan. The photograph of Indian children praying for Fatima’s recovery outside the hospital bears testimony to the fact that sympathy and fellow-feeling know no political boundaries. It also speaks very highly of the Indian medical fraternity.
Debal Kumar Chakravarti, Calcutta
Sir — “Sunny, not Advani, villain in Lahore” (July 15) was a much-needed article. It is a well-known fact that strong cultural and trade ties between two nations are a necessary prerequisite for a strong political relationship between them. It is strange that when the Indian and Pakistani leaders seem to be ready for another round of talks, the censors are bent upon souring trade and cultural relations by giving clean chits to films like Gadar which are all about abusing and battering Pakistanis. The so-called “action films” produced in Pakistan too fan anti-India sentiments. It is also surprising that the Indian government is still not prepared to allow cricketing ties to resume between the two countries in subcontinental venues.
It does not help if Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Pervez Musharraf sit for another round of talks if there is not going to be any sincerity about strengthening sports, cultural and commercial ties between the two countries. The wounds will continue to fester.
Aritra Roy, Shyamnagar
Sir — Why should Sunny Deol pay the price for the games that politicians and Bollywood play for their own petty interests'
Kajal Chatterjee, Sodepur
Deserving his due
Sir — In connection with the report, “Iti on her way, Shobhan waits” (July 12), let me state that Jadavpur University on its own tried to locate Shobhan Pal and did contact him through the good offices of Kanti Ganguly, minister of state for Sundarban development. Shobhan has been instructed to attend the counselling session to be held for successful Joint Entrance Examination candidates for admission into engineering colleges or universities. If we had known of him earlier, Shobhan would not have had to wait for a year. Jadavpur University always welcomes good students, and takes care that they are not touched by the new fee-structure, if they deserve it on grounds of the economic condition of their families.
Rajatkumar Bandyopadhyay, registrar, Jadavpur University, Calcutta