Could it be that human beings are altruistic, after all?

Research suggests that the more money a lost wallet contains, the higher the chance the owner will get it back

  • Published 24.06.19, 6:34 PM
  • Updated 24.06.19, 6:34 PM
  • 3 mins read
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Perhaps the thought of depriving someone of a sum of money that could make a big difference compels finders of lost wallets to put themselves in the shoes of the loser (Shutterstock)

Sir — Truth is indeed stranger than fiction. Latest research suggests that the more money a lost wallet contains, the higher the chance the owner will get it back. Unsurprisingly, this left economists scratching their heads. Could it be that human beings are an altruistic lot after all? It could be argued that the thought of depriving other people of a sum of money that can make a big difference forces the finders of lost wallets to put themselves in the shoes of the loser and, as a result, return the wallet. This would not be a factor when the sum of money is not significant.

Samir Pal,
Calcutta

Five-time member of parliament from Berhampore, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury
Five-time member of parliament from Berhampore, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury (PTI)

Strong leader

Sir — After its dismal performance in the Lok Sabha polls and the resignation of the party president, Rahul Gandhi, the Congress seems to have no clue about who to select as a new leader. Is there a dearth of experienced leaders who have worked their way up from the grass roots in the Congress? The few stalwarts still in the party are armchair politicians, mostly descendants of families with a political background. It is thus hardly surprising that the party has zeroed in on the five-time member of parliament from Berhampore, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, as the leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha.

Chowdhury has served the Congress loyally for a long time now. He has an impeccable record as an organizer. Chowdhury would be an ideal choice for the post of the party president as well. Selecting Chowdhury, a hard-working Congressman who still has an ear to the ground, would be the perfect way to wash away the stains of dynastic politics that have stained the Congress.

Kalisankar Adhikari,
Calcutta

Sir — The elevation of Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury as the leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha is laudable. Chowdhury was among the first to dare to dream of stopping the Left Front juggernaut in West Bengal more than two decades ago. It is he who can, once again, have the courage to face the juggernaut that is threatening to change India forever.

The selection of Chowdhury to lead the party in the Lok Sabha is a heartening sign. Chowdhury has earned this place for himself. Winning in the 17th Lok Sabha election was no mean feat for him, especially in a state where the Congress is organizationally very weak. This speaks volumes about Chowdhury’s abilities as a leader. One hopes he will work as hard to bring about positive changes in the Congress. Unless the Congress is run as a tight ship with a strong captain at its helm, it will not be able to defeat the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party.

Jayanta Datta,
Hooghly

Sir — The BJP spared no effort before the general elections to highlight the importance of West Bengal. Yet, it has nominated only two deputy ministers from the state out of its 18 MPs. But the Congress, which has just two MPs from Bengal, has made one of them the leader of the party in the Lok Sabha. This has proved, once again, that the BJP only believes in paying lip service to the region.

Following the prolonged illness and subsequent death of Priya Ranjan Das Munshi and the election of Pranab Mukherjee as the president, Bengal had faded from the fabric of the Congress. Adhir Chowdhury’s new role will now provide a boost to the Congress in Bengal. Chowdhury deserves to be appreciated for boldly choosing to take his oath in chaste Bengali.

Kajal Chatterjee,
Calcutta

Sir — Kudos to Sonia Gandhi for nominating Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury as the leader of the Congress. Chowdhury, the five-time MP from Berhampore, is strongly connected to the people and the rank and file of the party. He has managed to hold fort in spite of the Trinamul and now the BJP wave that swept across the state. The elevation of Chowdhury would also send a strong message to the electorate that the party will reward those who work on the ground.

It is expected that the Congress will give Chowdhury a free rein. Chowdhury, too, has stated that he is a dedicated soldier of the Congress and will not fail the party. He will ably highlight the loopholes of BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government and lay stress on implementing people-friendly schemes. But more than anything, one wishes that Chowdhury will be able to re-energize the Congress in his own home state, where the party has been reduced to less than a shadow of its former self.

Jayant Mukherjee,

Calcutta

Parting shot

Sir — A journalist recently received a lot of flak for heckling doctors and nursing staff in a hospital in Bihar. This, of course, is a violation of journalistic ethics. But one must ask why were a reporter and a cameraman allowed to enter the ICU of a hospital in the first place? She made a nuisance of herself and there seemed to be no one at the health institution who could stop her. It is people who suffer for the collective failure of various institutions.

Rima Roy,
Calcutta