Sound and fury
Sir — Diwali is considered to be a festival of lights. However, it has been turned into a festival of sound. The bursting of noisy crackers all over the country is a testimony to this disturbing fact. The noisy celebrations and fumes increase atmospheric pollution. People should stop buying crackers and opt for sparklers instead. Diwali is often used to spread the message of peace and compassion.Why not use the occasion to spread awareness among citizens about the threats posed by sound and air pollution?
Mohd. Ziyaullah Khan, Nagpur
Sir — In “Changed conditions” (Nov 14), Ashok Sanjay Guha has made a very interesting analysis of the reasons for the economic stagnation in the so-called developed world. But the analysis seems to ignore a pertinent point — consumer demand in these countries has reached the point of stagnation and cannot be revived.
With almost every household possessing numerous gadgets, one or more cars and with the population stagnating, generating fresh consumer demand has become challenging. Since the late 1960s, additional consumer demand has been created by banks that provided loans for housing, consumer durables and cars, education, and so on. This resulted in the accumulation of high personal debt. These loans were mostly paid off only when the borrowers were in their fifties or sixties.
Attempts to create artificial demand through frequent changes in fashion and the launch of new technological gadgets — mobile phones, tablets, computers, and so on — would inevitably lead to customer fatigue and offer diminishing returns. Markets in the developing world led by India and China are the ones to look out for in the future. The Chinese market will taper off faster than the one in India because of adverse demographics resulting from the one-child policy. This global trend is something that no leader can change.
Alok Sarkar, Calcutta
Sir — It may sound cynical but it is true that a film festival of international standard is not meant for everyone. It is, in fact, meant for those with a serious interest in cinema. Ideally, the best films from around the world are selected for viewing in such festivals. So only a select audience that can appreciate these films are supposed to attend these festivals.
Any attempt to turn an international film festival into a ‘people’s event’ is a useless exercise. The solemnity and seriousness of these festivals should be maintained. Due weightage ought to be accorded to the inaugural ceremony. The endeavour to lend a carnivalesque spirit to the inaugural ceremony of the 18th Kolkata Film Festival was unfortunate. It was shocking to learn that most of the people left the venue as soon as the Bollywood stars, Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan, finished their speeches.
It is apparent that these people had no interest in watching the films. The occasion resembled a Bollywood function rather than a film festival. If such a trend continues, the standard of the film festival would be diluted.
Ujjal K. Pal, Calcutta
In the article, “Someone, if not something, to believe in” (Nov 15), it was mentioned that “Henry VII broke with Rome....” The correct name is Henry VIII. The error is regretted.
— The Editor