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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Desperate measures

Sir ' You know liberals are getting worried when the name-calling and outlandish comparisons become fast and furious. When you hear Amnesty International progressives drawing a parallel between the Guantanamo Bay camps and the Soviet Gulag labour camps ('Amnesty pins blame on US', May 26). What could be more absurd' But probably the liberals are starting to fear that nobody might listen to them anymore, hence they must resort to such desperate measures.

Yours faithfully,
Miguel A. Guanipa, Whitinsville, US


Up in smoke

Sir ' Banning of smoking on silver screen is a hare-brained idea. Since cinema is supposed to mirror social realities, sometimes smoking becomes essential for portraying characters. If young people are really so influenced by what their screen heroes do, then I am sure there would be many more cases of young men coming to the help of the weak and the defenseless than we can find.

Yours faithfully,
Payel Bhattacharyya, Calcutta


Sir ' It was distressing to read that more women are getting hooked to tobacco ('Women target of slim threat', June 1). More youngsters are also getting addicted to tobacco and tobacco products such as gutkha. The adverse effects of tobacco on the reproductive health of women are well known. Unfortunately in India, there is a very strong tobacco lobby and our politicians bank on it for revenue. Without tobacco, liquor and gambling, there would be far less poverty in rural India.

When actors smoke in films, illiterate and ignorant villagers think it is a truly heroic thing to do. Therefore, if filmstars are no longer seen flaunting cigars, cigarettes and beedis on screen, smoking will cease to be glamorous.

Yours faithfully,
B.S. Ganesh, Bangalore


Sir ' The Union health minister, Anbumani Ramadoss, proposed a ban on onscreen smoking and the film and television producers' guild opposed it. Both parties have a point, but the health ministry does not come through as entirely sincere in its effort. If it could encroach upon the jurisdiction of the information and broadcasting ministry and propose the ban, then why did it not have the courage to close down all the manufacturing units of tobacco in this country'

Yours faithfully,
Jang Bahadur Singh, Jamshedpur


Sir ' On May 31, the government's health department proposed a ban on showing smoking in movies or tele-serials from August 1 this year. Isn't it getting a bit too much' Today we have the ban on on-screen smoking, tomorrow we will have a ban on on-screen drinking and the day after, a ban on tying shoelaces. Things can only go from bad to worse.

Yours faithfully,
Omar Luther King, New Delhi


Sir ' The Union health ministry's proposal to ban the portrayal of smoking in both movies and television, may appear ridiculous at first. But it is certainly a novel effort to eradicate the menace of smoking ('Smoke alarm for films, without fire', June 1). Though it is true that showing a character smoking is often necessitated by the story, the way in which smoking is nowadays glorified in the so-called 'gangster' movies draws young people towards this social hazard.

What the government can do, instead of banning outright all forms of smoking scenes, is to censor such undesirably emphatic packaging of smoking scenes. A complete ban may be considered after judging the impact of a partial censorship.

Yours faithfully,
Arjun Chaudhuri, Calcutta


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