Letters to the editor: Calls for a female Bond
Sir — As Daniel Craig hangs up his boots as the British super-spy, James Bond, there have been calls for casting a female in the iconic role. In fact, the most recent Bond film, No Time to Die, has cast a black woman in the role of 007 — Bond’s code number before he retired from MI6. But is there truly any space for Bond, a misogynistic relic of a bygone era, in contemporary cinema? Rather than trying to ‘rewrite’ a role in a more palatable light, screenwriters should put in the effort to create better roles for women. It is time for James Bond to put the gun down once and for all.
Sir — An investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative journalists — this included more than 600 journalists from 117 countries working in more than 140 media organizations — has exposed financial frauds conducted by several well-known people around the world (“Indian names in Pandora Papers”, Oct 4). As usual, many prominent names from India feature on this list — Sachin Tendulkar, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Anil Ambani are some of them.
Although the government has directed a multi-agency probe into the Pandora Papers, nothing significant is expected to come of it. The government’s claims of bringing back kala dhan have been belied time and again while the poor in the country get poorer and one leak after another continues to implicate the rich and famous in India. Why else are those named in the Panama Papers and the HSBC leak yet to be punished?
Sir — It has become common practice for the wealthy to stash away a part of their fortune in offshore accounts. There have been numerous data leaks about tax evasion — the HSBC data leak in 2015, Panama Papers in 2016, Paradise Papers in 2017 — but no government has been able to bring this menace under control. The common people are increasingly coming to terms with such criminal activity going unpunished. It is unfortunate that we can no longer trust the government to hold the guilty accountable.
Yash Pal Ralhan,
Sir — It is heartening that the United States of America has returned over 157 stolen artefacts and antiquities to India (“Easy pickings”, Oct 1). In spite of strict domestic and international regulations, art theft continues to be a booming business — it is estimated to be the third-largest international criminal activity after drugs and arms trafficking.
There is an immediate need to catalogue our treasures and train specialists to protect museums and archaeological sites. The government of India must do all it can to put an immediate stop to the drainage of our cultural heritage.
Sir — Several Western nations have filled their museums with loot from former colonies. Many such ‘stolen’ items are still exhibited at some of the foremost institutions in the world; their repatriation remains a distant dream. While Joe Biden must be lauded for returning smuggled cultural artefacts to India, there is an urgent need to initiate a broader discussion on art repatriation that would include artefacts acquired by colonial rulers. The international community must address this historical injustice.
Sir — The Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission, which aims to digitize personal medical records using a unique health identification number and create national registries for doctors and health facilities across the country, is a step in the wrong direction (“Beyond digital”, Oct 4). Millions of Indians have poor or no access to the internet. In such circumstances, any drive towards digitization is bound to benefit only a small section of the urban population. The government must address the digital divide before implementing such programmes. There is also a need to train people on data management for such measures to be useful.
Brij B. Goyal,
Sir — The funds that have been allocated to the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission would have been better utilized in beefing up India’s primary health sector, which suffers from a paucity of personnel, equipment and medicines. This initiative would have been laudable had the health budget been increased. At present, it is a waste of meagre resources.