Only a matter of time
Sir — Indians may be currently losing their sleep over the possible damage the foreign colas have wrought on their frail bodies, but they should also trust the gaping holes in their memory. Given enough time, all the news about the carcinogenic effects of the multinational colas are likely to slip through that massive sieve they have in their heads. Just as one can guarantee that Indians have forgotten Bangaru Laxman’s tehelka image of a bribe-taker, one can also attest to the fact that within a year Indian children will be found sipping their colas with as much gusto as they did only a week ago.
J. Acharya, Calcutta
Sir — The arguments put forward in the editorial, “Painters’ protest” (August 6), do not hold much water. The editorial argues that M.F. Husain has made an evaluation, albeit a subjective one, about Bengali artists. But his running down of the other artists in Bengal should be excused because he also pays tribute to three Bengali artists. This, the editorial argues, is not a racial slur of any kind. Mathematically produced, the argument amounts to all minus three equal to zero. But this is a fallacy.
The editorial thinks it is “unfortunate” that the chief minister of the state, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, has allowed Bengali sentiments to influence his decision. Wouldn’t it have been more unfortunate if he did the opposite'
Sujit De, Sodepur
Sir — No matter how much he tries, M.F. Husain cannot belittle Bengali culture by casting aspersions on the creativity of Bengali artists. Thus, instead of wasting their energies on protesting against the Husain comment, Bengali intellectuals and artists would have served their community better had they kept quiet. Their public protest has drawn unnecessary attention to the publicity hungry Husain. Another thing. Why are Bengalis never equally energetic while protesting against the politics of Hindutva'
Kajal Chatterjee, Sodepur
Sir — M.F. Husain seems to have got into the habit of revising his estimate about “Bengali artists” with great regularity. Only years ago, he had denigrated almost all artists in Bengal, save one. Now, he seems to have condescended to accommodate three others in his hall of fame. Yet, artists in Bengal have never insulted Husain. In fact, Paritosh Sen had come out strongly in his support when Husain’s Saraswati had become the victim of Hindutva fanatics. Why does Bengal recur in Husain’s estimates' Why does he not turn his attention to artists in other states, say Delhi for example' Is it because he sees Bengali artists as a threat'
J. Sikdar, Calcutta
Sir — Why do Bengalis have to be such sentimental old fools' What does it matter if M.F. Husain thinks some Bengali artists are better than the rest' Does it hamper their creativity' Or is Husain’s the last word on their talent'
Chinta Sen, Calcutta
What’s up, baby'
Sir — There are grave doubts whether the offensive poster released by PeTA, featuring Imogen Bailey, in its campaign against cruelty to animals will achieve its purpose (The Telegraph, August 3). That it will achieve what it probably did not mean to is beyond doubt — depicting woman as a sex object. It is not clear how much this poster of a nude model with a come-hither look will do for the poor baby elephants of Thailand, but it will definitely leave women feeling outraged and men drooling. There is an alarming trend of using a woman’s body in commercials without any justification whatsoever. PeTA’s poster is a classic example of that. There are surely other ways of protesting against cruelty to animals. One way is to ask students to draw posters on such issues. I am sure they will definitely come up with something better. PeTA should withdraw this offensive poster immediately before it gets caught in the eye of a storm.
Lalita Agarwal, Calcutta