The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Letters to Editor

Wasting spare time

Sir — Shatrughan Sinha may have given up reel life, but still hasn’t forgotten the stunts if the report, “Afraid' Not Smokin’ Shotgun” (Nov 9) is any indication. Clearly, Sinha seems to be in need of some more funds to complete furnishing his Nirman Bhawan office (or maybe his own house), or to undertake some more foreign trips which the state coffers can no longer accommodate. What other reason could he have to gun for the tobacco industry, which he must remember, had allegedly hounded out his predecessor from office' Yes, Mr Health Minister, control over tobacco consumption is important, but not as important as having another electro-cardiogram machine in the hospital he just visited or better food and facilities for the children there. Instead of aspiring for a change that would require a constitutional amendment, why doesn’t the minister use his spare time (from the unending foreign trips) on more relevant issues and immediate needs'

Yours faithfully,
N. Chatterjee, Calcutta

In all unfairness

Sir — Indian society is yet to wake up from its slumber. Take a look at some of the television advertisements. The fairness fad seems to have become alarming. Yet, we have to realize that a society’s intolerance of dark skin is a sign of stagnation and narrow-mindedness. Lovers of the fair skin are no worshippers of beauty. They are scoundrels and need to be treated as such.

Our society is basking in the glory of pseudo-progressiveness. Anyone who watches a few episodes of our prime time soaps will realize that. Take Kahin Na Kahin Koi Hai. The men (and their parents) who come to the show belong to the pre-historic era. They believe that women should be like “sugar” which dissolves easily and spreads its sweetness. Yes, sugar also loses itself in the water.

Clearly, Indian society has a long way to go. A course in “morality” is not enough. A course in feminism also needs to be introduced. The young should be made to realize that their mothers are also individuals who need to be respected for what they are, not because they work untiringly from daybreak to nightfall. A man who realizes in his growing years that his mother needs as much rest and recreation as others, will give his wife the same respect as he gives his mother. A girl who knows her rights as a human being will never allow others to exploit her and will never exploit another woman.

It is rather unfortunate that people think that feminist theories need to be locked up in academic citadels. The basic purpose of any feminist theory is to show that women are persons too, and should be recognized as such, by men, but most importantly, by women themselves. It is our responsibility to educate the young generations, who in turn will educate TV serial-makers and advertisers.

Yours faithfully,
Maushumi Guha, Calcutta

Sir — The advertisement of a particular brand of fairness cream is in very bad taste. It shows a girl’s marriage being fixed with an aged man because her complexion is dark. As she later acquires a fair complexion after applying that cream, her kundali is matched with a good-looking man. The advertisement feeds the stereotypical notion of dark girls being unwanted. Should it not be taken off air'

Yours faithfully
Aparajita Dasgupta, Calcutta

Sir — The double entendres of the small screen advertisements shock at times. Take that of a famous soft-drink multinational where a young farmer “jokingly” refers to some girls as “tomatoes in a field of sugarcane. The Union information and broadcasting ministry should ban advertisements that denigrate women and also those that publicize brand names, especially liquor brands, in the guise of selling either apple juice or soda.

Yours faithfully,
Madhu Agrawal, Calcutta

Sir — The reports, “Tonsure trial for in-law’s suicide” and “Torture and stop parades bridge north and south” (Sept 12), were heart-rending. Both the cases, in one of which the mother-in-law of a tortured bride was beaten up, and in the other, two women were abused by their families and acquaintances, show the moral deterioration of our society. Although the incidents have taken place in the suburbs where illiteracy still reigns supreme, such cases are not unheard of in urban areas as well. This calls for closer monitoring by civic bodies and the electronic media in suburban areas. Raising awareness is a must, and both have a prime role to play in making people aware.

Yours faithfully,
Diptimoy Ghosh, Calcutta

Uniform chaos

Sir — The police at Kakarvitta, which serves as an entry point between India and Nepal, simply do not care about the smuggling racket that goes on right under their nose. Yet, the innocent passengers are harassed, asked unnecessary questions and sometimes fleeced. Last time when I was on my way on a bus from Panitanki to Bagdogra, a policeman on duty stopped the bus and checked what was inside. He found several litres of petrol. To my utter disbelief, he merely threatened the man who was smuggling the petrol and then took Rs 75 to let him go. If this is the general pattern, then it is not surprising that we have Maoists entering India with arms.

Yours faithfully,
Dinesh Sharma, Bagdogra

Sir — The Calcutta police seem to be following two different laws with regard to noise pollution. While violators during the Durga Pujas are excused on the pretext that exceptions must be made during festivals, Diwali revellers are not. Is this not a case of discrimination between Bengalis and non-Bengalis'

Yours faithfully,
Pranjal Kothari, Munich

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