Some more beauty myths
Sir — What could be a better example of getting the best of both worlds than handsome men producing the best quality semen and beautiful women having the nicest voices (“Beautiful is best”, May 29)' For those who are not lucky in the looks department, there are more things to crib about, thanks to the scientists at the University of Valencia, Spain. But they need not be too crestfallen with the latest of such scientific trivia. For, even if a handsome man and a beautiful woman were to make a baby together, what guarantee is there that it will be a good human being'
Arta Mishra, Cuttack
Sir — World Environment Day, celebrated only a couple of days ago, reminds us every year how nature’s resources and treasures are destroyed unabashedly by man. The pollution on Everest is a case in point. At the same time, governments play passive onlookers as hundreds of people, mostly poor, are dying of the heatwave in India. Although heat and cold waves and droughts and famines are no strangers to India, it is sad that the governments have still not evolved a mechanism to combat these natural calamities.
Scarcity of water is another phenomenon which visits Indian states every summer. To overcome this problem, rainwater harvesting should be promoted, and a plan for the linking of the country’s rivers be implemented as soon as possible. Ultimately, it is a question of how we treat nature and its resources, for that is exactly the way nature will treat us.
Dipankar Bera, Calcutta
Sir — The editorial, “Dirt on the peak” (May 30), points at the net result of men climbing up the world’s highest mountain. The urge to scale Everest is a manifestation of the peculiar human desire to explore more of the same, and in the process harm the ecological balance. I do not understand why we human beings, for our selfish purposes, do not hesitate to destroy some of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring things nature has given us. When it is known that the mountaineers climbing Everest in droves pose a major threat to the mountain’s ecology, then what is the need of allowing them to go up' There should be a ban on mountaineering on Everest. But this will never be implemented, so the least the climbers can do is be conscious of their debt to Everest.
Bidyut Nath, Silchar
Caught in the rut
Sir — West Bengal’s dubious distinction of producing 22 polio cases will perhaps be covered up by the communist rulers of the state citing the fact that the state has overtaken Bihar in something, so what if it is polio deaths (“Catching up”, May 16). The health minister and officials do not seem to take the World Health Organization’s latest figures seriously enough, for the polio vaccination drive has not been notably stepped up. A proper and effective awareness and education programme which would make the common people aware of the effects of the disease needs to be put in place. Without the state government taking the initiative at the right time, the situation will not improve.
Indranil Chaudhuri, Calcutta
Sir — Aiming at eradicating polio, the government of India embarked on a nationwide campaign some years back by introducing pulse polio for children upto the age of five years. Amitabh Bachchan was roped in to educate the masses via the audio-visual medium about the necessity of the pulse polio drop. The legend of Hindi films was seen trying to persuade parents to take their children to pulse polio centres on the dates announced by the health ministry.
However, the figures in West Bengal show how completely ineffectual the drive has proved to be. The fact that most of those affected are from the minority and illiterate sections of society prove that the government has not been successful in reaching its message to these people at all. In playing with the future of the children, the government is putting at stake the future of the country.
Tapan Das Gupta, Calcutta