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Letters to the Editor: 20-year-old Uttar Pradesh woman's daring act similar to Viru’s in Sholay

Readers write in from Calcutta, Navi Mumbai, and Chennai

The Editorial Board Published 26.11.23, 09:14 AM
Sholay movie poster

Sholay movie poster File picture

Brave hearts

Sir — In the popular imagination, men are more commonly associated with committing daring acts in the name of love. But a 20-year-old woman in Uttar Pradesh recently put that stereotype to rest by climbing a 50-metre-tall mobile tower to profess her love for a 24-year-old man from the same village. This incident led to parallels being drawn with Viru’s brave declaration of love for Basanti in the film, Sholay. But real men and women who defy their families to elope with each other, crossing entrenched caste and religious divides, perhaps deserve as much, if not more, praise for their acts of courage.


Swapna Tikader, Calcutta

Unfree state

Sir — In granting bail to the journalist, Fahad Shah, and quashing charges framed against him under Sections 18 and 121 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh High Court has underlined the importance of the right to life and personal liberty (“2011 case ‘dug out’ after scribe bail”, Nov 21). Shah had been accused of glorifying militancy after the publication of an article titled “The shackles of slavery will break” on his news portal, The Kashmir Walla.
The court noted that no witness had been presented to support the claim that the article had promoted militancy. The judgment, once again, raises questions about the use of draconian laws like the UAPA against dissenters.

Shovanlal Chakraborty, Calcutta

Sir — Governments at the Centre have long tried to bring stability to Jammu and Kashmir. But stability cannot exist without freedom (“Silent valley”, Nov 23). It has been close to five years since Article 370 was abrogated with great gusto but the Centre is yet to chalk out a roadmap to reinstate democratic processes in the erstwhile state. The authorities should realise that political opposition is vital for a democratic ethos. Each attack on personal freedoms in the Valley, such as the campaign against Fahad Shah, further weakens the foundations of democracy.

R. Narayanan, Navi Mumbai

Sir — Can anyone compensate Fahad Shah for the 655 days that he spent in jail? The editor of The Kashmir Walla had been arrested in February 2022 and has been granted bail only in November 2023.

Fakhrul Alam, Calcutta

Petty insults

Sir — It is unfortunate that the Election Commission of India has issued a showcause notice to the Congress leader, Rahul Gandhi, for referring to the prime minister, Narendra Modi, as a bad omen and comparing him to a pickpocket during a rally in Rajasthan (“EC notice to Rahul for ‘panauti’ taunt”, Nov 24). If such conduct is unbecoming of a senior politician — as the Bharatiya Janata Party’s complaint to the ECI states — was the prime minister’s comment calling Rahul Gandhi a leader of fools not equally inappropriate coming from the leader of the nation? The prime minister was given a taste of his own medicine.

M.C. Vijay Shankar, Chennai

Parting shot

Sir — The birthday of India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, is celebrated as Children’s Day in India because he endeared himself to children with his amiable interactions with them. But this year, the joyous day was marred by news about the death of thousands of Palestinian children in Gaza. Perhaps the world has become so desensitised by the internet and its attendant distractions like posting images and emojis that it is no longer shocked by massacres and genocide. Maybe it is only children who retain some semblance of a conscience and it is they who can realise the gravity of the violence in Gaza. The deafening silence of the adults speaks a thousand words.

Sanjukta Dasgupta, Calcutta

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