regular-article-logo Sunday, 14 April 2024

Letters to the editor: A tomato lost and found in the International Space Station

Readers write in from Calcutta, Madhya Pradesh, Ujjain, Nadia, Chennai, Mumbai, and Hooghly

The Editorial Board Published 14.12.23, 08:02 AM
International Space Station

International Space Station File picture

Lost and found

Sir — Losing small items, be it keys or a pair of glasses, in and around the house is something we have all faced at some time or the other. But the experience of the Nasa astronaut, Frank Rubio, shows that the problem of storing things and forgetting about them is not restricted to everyday items. A recent broadcast from the International Space Station stated that a tomato grown, harvested and subsequently misplaced on the ISS by Rubio was found two months after his return to terra firma. He had previously been jokingly accused of having eaten the small vegetable. But this discovery has vindicated his earlier claim that the lost item — like all other misplaced trinkets — would turn up sooner or later. This is something to remember next time we lose something.


Riddhisourjo Basu, Calcutta

Fresh faces

Sir — The surprise choices made by the Bharatiya Janata Party high command for the chief ministerial posts in the three states where it recently won elections — Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan — make it clear that it is the writ of the prime minister, Narendra Modi, that now runs in the party (“BJP old guard all out”, Dec 13). This is especially true as elections are fought and won in Modi’s name. The senior leaders have been left with no option but to swallow a bitter pill and withdraw from the limelight.

Minashu Masta, Shahdol, Madhya Pradesh

Sir — Following an emphatic victory in Ujjain (South), Mohan Yadav has been appointed as the new chief minister of Madhya Pradesh. To bring forward a fresh face instead of backing stalwarts like Narendra Singh Tomar, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Kailash Vijayvargiya was a masterstroke. The BJP seems to have a good momentum going before next year’s Lok Sabha elections. Questions remain about what will happen to Shivraj Singh Chouhan, endearingly called ‘Mamaji’ by his followers.

Tashi Baheti, Ujjain

Sir — The BJP’s chief ministerial choices in the three heartland states signify a generational shift. The shunting of senior leaders like Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Raman Singh and Vasundhara Raje, who had helmed their respective state governments, some of them multiple times, is an attempt to concentrate power in the hands of the party high command. But that is not all. The three newly-anointed chief ministers are close to the BJP’s parent body, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, and are staunch supporters of Hindutva principles. Their elevation thus sends a message about the BJP’s political strategy for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

S.S. Paul, Nadia

Sir — Many people are perhaps wondering who exactly is Bhajanlal Sharma, the chief minister-designate of Rajasthan. Similar queries are bound to arise about Sharma’s counterparts in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. The BJP has clearly kept caste considerations in mind before the upcoming general elections. Local satraps have been done away with in all three states. But no organisation should put all its eggs in one basket. This is what the BJP has done — it is banking entirely on Narendra Modi’s popularity to win elections. The Congress, too, suffers from a similar quandary.

Amit Brahmo, Calcutta

Sir — The central leadership of the BJP deserves to be lauded for its decision to appoint three new leaders as chief ministers in the three states where it won power recently. After choosing a tribal leader, Vishnu Deo Sai, in Chhattisgarh and a politician from the other backward classes, Mohan Yadav, in Madhya Pradesh, the BJP has now given a first-time member of the legislative assembly, Bhajanlal Sharma, the chance to head the government in Rajasthan. This proves that the BJP shuns dynastic politics and is ready to assign power to any loyal party worker. This might also negate anti-incumbency sentiments against the party in these states.

N. Mahadevan, Chennai

Act now

Sir — It is disappointing that the president of CoP-28 in Dubai presented a draft deal that stopped short of advocating the complete phasing out of fossil fuels, the main drivers of climate change. The draft deal has suggestions for countries to effectively reduce emissions of greenhouse gases but the removal of text requiring a phased ban on the production and use of fossil fuels has become a bone of contention, with entities like the European Union and many island nations calling for more stringent norms. A young climate activist from India who ran up on stage during these tense negotiations and called for an immediate end to fossil fuel use has earned a round of applause.

Bhagwan Thadani, Mumbai

Sir — The bravery of the 12-year-old Indian protestor, Licypriya Kangujam, in running onto the stage at the CoP-28 summit to demand an end to the use of fossil fuels is praiseworthy (“Completely frustrated: Young climate activist”, Dec 13). She has repeatedly called for educating children about the impact of human activity on the environment. Her rebellious act is an apt answer to the inaction of politicians around the world when it comes to addressing the issue of climate change.

Jayanta Datta, Hooghly

Foul air

Sir — It is a cause for concern that the air quality in Calcutta in recent days has been quite poor. Calcutta is now consistently ranked as one of the 10 most polluted cities in the world by international indices. As a resident of Calcutta with elderly parents suffering from pulmonary ailments, I request the media to shine a light on this problem.

Sourav Das, Calcutta

Sir — The AQI in Calcutta deserves as much attention as Delhi’s air quality seems to get each year.

B.N. Pal, Calcutta

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