Sir — While having a casual walk with my friend in Park Street, I came across a scene which has become rare in this city nowadays. A man was guiding a blind beggar to a shade and using his umbrella to protect the poor beggar during the short journey. I thought this was a humane act, hardly witnessed in this city of joy, where people usually find very different means of enjoyment. This incident may inspire others to be a little less self-centred the next time they venture outside their comfort zones.
Yours faithfully,Agniv Banerjee, Calcutta
Sir — The Indian Parliament celebrated the 60th year of its existence on May 13 (“60, still shy to speak up”, May 13). During my schooldays in Benaras, I had the opportunity to meet parliamentarians like Ram Manohar Lohia, Indrajit Gupta, Madhu Dandavate, Deendayal Upadhyaya, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Kamalapati Tripathi, Bhupesh Gupta, Bidhan Chandra Roy, and many others. I also had the opportunity to listen to their speeches on several occasions. They were great debaters, orators and sources of inspiration. They were not only full of knowledge and wisdom but were also great patriots. Yet surveys reveal that the average educational qualifications of members of parliament have improved over the decades. Has dedication increased proportionately?
In 1965, when I was studying in Class X of the Central Hindu School of the famous Kashi Hindu Vishwavidyalaya, the university was celebrating its golden jubilee year. We were asked to gather in the stadium of the university to participate in the celebrations. Jawaharlal Nehru was to address us. His flight got delayed and we had to wait for a long time. At last, Nehru arrived, took the dais, grabbed the microphone and said in Hindi, “Aap logo me jinko mera awaz nahi sunai de raha hai, kripaya woh khare ho jayen” (“Those of you who can’t hear me, please stand up”). Interestingly, almost everyone in the gathering stood up. At this, Nehru said, “Agar aap ko mera awaz nahin sunai de rahan hai, aap khare kaise ho gaye?” (If you can’t hear me, how did you all get up?”) This shows his sense of humour. Nowadays, we do not find it in politicians. People are either unable to understand humour or take it personally. Since people have forgotten to laugh, laughing clubs, where you have to laugh under compulsion and not spontaneously, are mushrooming. Yet it is not that the country has not progressed at all. So we should not give up hope. Let us be optimists and think of a better tomorrow.
Yours faithfully,Sriprakash Bhattacharya, Calcutta
Sir — The heat is getting more intolerable by the day. Global warming is the reason behind this. The earth does not have infinite resources and we are exploiting what we have because of our need and greed. Over-population, pollution and deforestation are inviting global warming, which is also the reason why floods, cyclones, earthquakes or landslides are increasing. We must save the planet and protect our environment before it is too late. Although Oman is a dry place with perpetual water shortage, you will be surprised to see how the greenery has been cultivated there. We too must plant trees, use public transport, minimize the use of air-conditioners and other energy-consuming appliances, and control the population.
Yours faithfully,Dipti Prakash Pattnaik, Balasore, Odisha