Sir — There was a time when children used to eat too many chocolates. Now you hear of six-year-olds getting diagnosed with oral submucous fibrosis, a disorder related to the inflammation of tissues in the mouth, on account of chewing tobacco. A government survey found that people aged between 15 and 31 years are the worst affected because of their consumption of tobacco products like gutkha. Given the seriousness of the situation, it is time to impose a blanket ban on the production, marketing and consumption of gutkha in India.
Farzana Z. Khan, Nagpur
Sir — “Almost musical sadness” and “A unified field of pain” (Jan 14 and 15) by Gopalkrishna Gandhi provided for interesting reading. The personalized narrative centres largely on such eminent personalities as Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore, Rajaji, and the former chief minister, Bidhan Chandra Roy, as well as on the opinions and beliefs of these great men.
However, a glaring omission was that of C.R. Das, whose untimely demise in 1925 changed the entire complexion of political life not only in Bengal but in the whole of India. Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, the former Pakistan prime minister, reportedly believed that had Das lived longer, he would have ‘eliminated the causes of Hindu-Muslim conflict and bitterness’. We may then have rejoiced in the independence that was won after a long struggle instead of mourning the horrors of the Partition.
One also expected Gopalkrishna Gandhi to refer to a few outstanding scientists from the state and their contributions. This list should have included names like those of J.C. Bose, P.C. Ray, U.N. Brahmachari and M.N. Saha.
Arun Bhatnagar, New Delhi
Sir — Whenever there is a discussion on Bengal, Rabindranath Tagore is bound to be invoked. His poems and songs remain relevant to every sphere and emotion associated with life, including sorrow.
It is true that in spite of bereavement and separation, there exist peace and joy. Bengal has risen from its pain and marched on to achieve glory since the days of Partition and the great famine.
Alok Ganguly, Calcutta
Sir — The Telegraph should be thanked for publishing the full text of the Kamala Lecture entitled “My Bengal” that was delivered by the former governor and erudite scholar, Gopalkrishna Gandhi. No praise is high enough for the thought-provoking and illuminating lecture in which Gopalkrishna Gandhi expressed a deep sense of nostalgia and affection for and understanding of Bengal’s past and present. With the help of his masterly prose, he has depicted the joys and sorrows, pains and pleasures, emotions and sentiments of Bengal and its people — poets, writers, artists, as well as the common people. The lecture is an unbiased assessment of Bengal’s condition. The author’s philosophical interpretations of grief and fire were equally poignant.
Satyananda Bhattacherjee, Kharagpur
Sir — Gopalkrishna Gandhi’s piece was profound and written in a sparkling style. Consequently, reading it was both a pleasure as well as an education. It is obvious that Gopalkrishna Gandhi understands Bengal in a way few others do. Could we not have more of him on a regular basis?