Sir — The government of India is trying to ban cow slaughter to protect Hindu sentiments. But what about the fact that Hindu institutions, such as the Kamakhya temple, is endorsing the sacrifice of human beings, even 18-month old babies (“Baby sacrifice bid”, June 14)' Noteworthy in the Kamakhya incident is the fact that a baby girl was chosen to be the item of sacrifice by none other than her father, Amritlal Majumdar. Was he trying a novel way to get rid of the burden of a girl child' The incident is a sad reminder that neither superstition, nor gender discrimination is a thing of the past.
Reshmi Chowdhury, Calcutta
Film over the eyes
Sir — Protests that have greeted the introduction of the word “Bollywood” into the new Illustrated Oxford English Dictionary deserve wholehearted support, especially from the true film-lover who seeks in films not masala and pelvic thrusts, but means to enrich their intellectual selves (“Bollywood gets Oxford entry”, June 8). The general culture that Bollywood films promote only serves to pollute the natural aesthetic senses of people. The introduction of the word into the dictionary would mean granting recognition to such a degenerate culture. The real cinema-loving people of India, including directors, producers and viewers should try to make themselves heard to convey the message that in India, there exists a rich tradition of serious popular cinema independent of mainstream Bollywood.
R. Ghosh, Calcutta
Sir — The editorial, “Tollywood’s ray of hope”, June 8, suggests that the film industry of West Bengal should try making Hindi films for its own survival. However, I feel that the graph of Tollywood is on a brisk rise. The Bengali ethos may have been lacking in some of the recent crop of films, but these films have managed to attract large audiences and proved to be profitable ventures. Theatres like Metro, Globe and Roxy, which used to consider it beneath their dignity to screen Bengali films, now do so quite willingly. The parallel cinema of Bengal is not only being appreciated at international festivals, but also bringing in good returns for its producers. To recent releases, Subrata Sen’s Nil Nirjane and Goutam Ghose’s Abar Aranye have been released in Pune and Mumbai along with Calcutta.
In fact, good Bengali films, which are not so few and far between these days, draw larger audience these days in Calcutta than mainstream Hindi films. The Tollygunge studios, which bear the legacy of great stalwarts of yesteryears, should not allow Hindi ventures to intrude into their territory.
Kajal Chatterjee, Calcutta
Money for nothing
Sir — With front pages regularly flashing news of dowry killings, Nisha Sharma’s act of reporting her dowry-demanding in-laws to the police cannot be lauded enough. But while some women would take the cue from her, most women would be too scared to speak. The trouble is that unlike Nisha’s case, where the groom’s family openly asked for a dowry, the practice of indirect demands, particularly after marriage, is in vogue. In such cases, it is difficult to pin down the guilty. Also, the groom’s family often conveys to the bride’s parents that it is their duty to shower their daughter with consumer goods and money. Anti-dowry laws can hardly do much about this form of extortion. Courage like Nisha Sharma’s can.
Ranjana Das, Calcutta
Sir — Dowry-death is a medieval phenomenon which, unfortunately, frequently recurs in modern India. Behind most such deaths is the groom’s family’s greed for some easy money. And for every Nisha Sharma who raises her voice in protest, there are many Madhubalas who die. The idea of the girl child being a liability of parents — the faster they are got rid off the better — is also behind the prevalence of dowry cases in India, because many parents subscribe to this view. The more Nisha Sharmas we produce, the faster this evil practice will end.
N. Banerjee, Calcutta