Sir — Frugality can be the mother of invention. Recently,a woman travelling from Australia wore clothes weighing over five kilogrammes in an effort to avoid paying the fee for excess baggage. Although the 19-year-old wore so many layers of clothing that she, self-admittedly, looked like a “bear”, her ingenious idea did not pay off and she was fined $65. While wearing heaps of clothes on a flight might be against the rules of several airlines, some carriers like Air India should consider making it mandatory. After repeated incidents of inebriated men urinating on co-passengers, it seems like wearing several layers of impenetrable clothing might actually be the safest way of travelling on such flights.
Sir — Ruchir Joshi is understandably dismayed at the participation of several artists in the exhibition, Jana Shakti: A Collective Power, which was organised to commemorate the 100th episode of the prime minister’s talk show, Mann Ki Baat (“Lending a brush”, May 23). Exercises in self-promotion are Narendra Modi’s forte. While there is no dearth of sycophants when it comes to the prime minister, one has to wonder what prompted these artists to create a eulogy for Mann Ki Baat. Perhaps they were reminded of the example of Kishore Kumar, who was banned from government radio channels after he had refused to promote Indira Gandhi’s 20-point programme on radio during the Emergency.
Sir — The list of names of the artists who participated in the exhibition, Jana Shakti: A Collective Power, was, indeed, surprising. Many of these stalwarts are known as conscientious critics of social evils. How can they participate in a show celebrating a sham of a government and its pretension of being democratic?
Manish Kanta Das,Calcutta
Sir — Malnutrition continues to be a problem for India’s large population, with the poorest being particularly hard-hit. It retards the development of children and results in an increasedchildhood mortality rate.The 2022 Global Hunger Index had ranked India 107th in the world; it found that at 19.3%, India’s child wasting rate is the highest of any country in the world. It has been estimated that India loses up to 4% of its gross domestic product annually owing to malnutrition.The government should take urgent steps to solve this crisis.
Sir — The prime minister, Narendra Modi, has assured the Ukranian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, that India will do everything in its power to bring an end to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Perhaps Modi would do well to dwell on internal conflicts, such as the violence in Manipur, that continue to plague India.
Sir — Gopalkrishna Gandhi’s article, “Different challenges” (May 21), rightly pointed out that despite India’s massive advancement in space technology, it has failed to address the problem of religious intolerance. Interreligious marriages, for example, still lead to communal violence (“BJP leader puts off daughter’s marriage”, May 21). It is a shame that while India soars beyond the skies and into space, humanitarianism in the country is in the pits.
Sir — The New York City council has passed a bill making it illegal to discriminate among citizens on the basis of weight and height for housing, employment, and public accommodations (“Weighty issue”, May 21). People who are heavy-set have to face many challenges — they are bullied in school, they find it difficult to get married, and even face biases in most professions. Being overweight does not necessarily imply that the person is unfit.
Sir — The 10 microgramme-per-litre concentration threshold set by the World Health Organization for groundwater arsenic has been proven incorrect by a group of researchers who have stated that there is no safe limit for the metalloid (“Arsenic: No ‘safe’ levels, suggests study”, May 22). Arsenic can impair a child’s intellect and behavioural cognisance. Rice, a staple of Indian diets, absorbs and accumulates high amounts of arsenic from the soil. Washing and pre-soaking rice and then discarding water from part-boiled rice and adding fresh water help in reducing its arsenic content. This lengthy process is cumbersome for many. Public awareness should be created regarding arsenic to avoid a mass health crisis.
Sir — A 22-year-old Infosys employee who was travelling with her family in a car lost her life after getting stuck in neck-deep water in an underpass in Bengaluru. Despite being overcrowded with skyscrapers, flyovers and metro rails, many of our metropolises lack basic infrastructure requirements such as proper drainage systems.
Minashu Masta,Shahdol, Madhya Pradesh
Sir — The app, Meri LiFE, encourages the youth to tackle climate change by promoting the careful utilisation of resources. The app also promotes mass initiatives such as cleanliness drives, bicycle rallies, plantation campaigns, marathons, plastic collection campaigns, composting workshops and so on.
Vijaykumar H. K.,Raichur, Karnataka