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Letter to the Editor: Winnie the Pooh banned by China

Readers write in from Calcutta, Nainital, Kalyani, Faridabad and Mumbai

The Editorial Board Published 28.03.23, 03:49 AM

Reality check

Sir — Most political regimes have been accused of censorship. China, of course, is a leading example in this regard. The Chinese government recently blocked the release of the new Winnie the Pooh horror movie in Hong Kong and Macau owing to the cartoon character becoming the symbol of the anti-lockdown protests in the country. This essentially has its roots in a 2013 meme, which likened Pooh to the Chinese president, Xi Jinping. While the likeness to a kind bear being considered derogatory can be silly, it is perhaps the notion of being compared to the vengeful, axe-wielding half-man, halfbear in the new movie that seems to have angered the Chinese premier. Given the crackdown on freedoms in the country, this image could be too close to the truth for the audience.


Dhruv Khanna, Mumbai

Worsening dispute

Sir — The worsening disputes between the Centre and the Supreme Court collegium regarding the appointment of judges to the high courts and the apex court are not good for the democratic ethos (“Collegium flags worry on seniority”, Mar 23). The Narendra Modi-led government has been interfering in judicial appointments by either delaying or overlooking the recommendations sent by the collegium. This has greatly disturbed the principle of seniority in the judiciary. It must be noted that the delay in the appointment has been mostly for those judges who have been critical of the Centre. Judicial principles dictate that the justices be impartial in the discharge of their duties. Predisposition to certain points of view can have a bearing on judicial orders and must be avoided.

Debkumar Sarkar, Calcutta

Green lessons

Sir — In his column, “Chipko at fifty” (Mar 25), Ramachandra Guha recalled the virtues of the Chipko movement that sought to protect the environment from human greed. Guha also rued that the gains made from such exemplary environmental movements in the 1980s were undone in the subsequent decades by the profit-seeking model of development adopted by the government. It is also disheartening that scientific expertise on environment is rarely tapped into by the government owing to the latter’s tacit relationship with industrialists. It seems that the principles of the Chipko movement are relevant now more than ever.

Jahar Saha, Calcutta

Sir — The overexploitation of natural resources has caused unprecedented damage in Uttarakhand. Disasters such as the flash floods in 2013 and the land subsidence in Joshimath have all been the result of human activities that created imbalances in the delicate mountain ecology. The expansion of the tourism industry is one of the prime factors behind environmental degradation. The authorities should resort to promoting foot pilgrimage given the fragile nature of the Himalayan ecosystem.

Alok Ganguly, Kalyani

Monopoly ends

Sir — It is heartening that the Indian Patent Office has rejected the application by the American pharmaceutical giant, Johnson & Johnson, to extend its patent on the life-saving tuberculosis drug, Bedaquiline, in India beyond July 2023. This will surely end J&J’s monopoly in the drug market. Further, the current price of Bedaquiline is $400 for a six-month treatment course. This keeps it out of the reach of average Indians. The new decision will thus pave the way for domestic manufacturers, such as Lupin and Macleods, to produce the drug in order to ensure its access and affordability.

Vijay Singh Adhikari, Nainital

Calcutta chronicles

Sir — Mukul Kesavan’s idea of Calcutta being synonymous with Alipore may be historically justified (“Homecomings”, Mar 26). It is commonly believed that Calcutta was part of Siraj ud-Daulah’s conception of Alinagar, named after his grandfather, Alivardi Khan. In fact, several historians have also opined that Alipur is the culmination of the erstwhile urban capital that the last independent Nawab of Bengal had envisioned.

Koushik Sen, Calcutta

Sir — Calcuttans should be proud of the city’s architectural heritage (“Heritage monuments in ruins”, Mar 26). Calcutta was the confluence site of several cultures during the colonial period and each of these groups has left its mark on the cityscape in the form of grand buildings such as churches and residential mansions. It is unfortunate that these structures have been subjected to neglect and are on the verge of ruin. Merely classifying these relics as heritage buildings will not suffice. The government must collaborate with specialist groups to preserve them.

Amit Brahmo, Calcutta

Special victory

Sir — Australia must be congratulated for defeating India by 21 runs in the third one-day international by clinching the three-match series 2-1 (“Batters gift Aus series on a platter”, Mar 23). This is the second time in a row that India has lost an ODI series against Australia in a World Cup year. It is unfortunate that India were ahead on both occasions before losing unceremoniously. The ODI victory also comes as a consolation for the Aussies who lost the BorderGavaskar Trophy to India this year. It is unfair that Surya Kumar Yadav, who was dismissed for nought, is being solely blamed for India’s loss whereas the top batting order did not even stand a chance against Mitchell Starc’s bowling.

Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee, Faridabad

Sir — The fact that the Aussies ended India’s fouryear unbeaten streak in home ODIs is significant. This will boost their confidence for the World Cup.

Dipankar Biswas, Calcutta

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