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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 16 July 2024

Letters to the Editor: Human obsession with chillies can be baffling

Readers write in from Mathania, Calcutta, Barnala and Kanpur

The Editorial Board Published 17.06.24, 07:02 AM
Representational image.

Representational image. Sourced by the Telegraph

Pleasurable pain

Sir — Things have been heated in the culinary world ever since Denmark recalled three instant ramen varieties with enough capsaicin, the chemical that gives chillies their heat, to cause acute poisoning. The manufacturer of the ramens, however, has claimed that the spice levels are within normal parameters. This fiery debate raises questions about cultural differences in spice tolerance and the potential health risks associated with ultra-spicy foods. Considered objectively, the human obsession with chillies is baffling since the pain caused by eating chillies equals the pain caused by an actual burn. But for some, this is a pain that also offers one of the greatest pleasures in life.

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Nidhi Nagori, Mathania, Rajasthan

Poisoned minds

Sir — It is appalling that objections were raised ab­out a Muslim single mother in Vadodara, Gujarat, taking possession of a flat allotted to her under a state government scheme (“Muslim mom’s house horror”, June 15). The majority of the owners in the low-income housing complex are Hindus and have protested against the Muslim woman’s residing in a ‘peaceful Hindu’ complex. This reminds me of the play, A Raisin in the Sun, by the African-American playwright, Lorraine Hansberry. In it, an impoverished African-American family is determined to settle in an area dominated by white Americans. It is visited by a white negotiator who coaxes, cajoles and threatens the family and tells them that the entire neighbourhood was dead set against them buying a house in the white community and settling there. But the family persisted and moved to the white neighbourhood despite the open hostility and racial slurs.

But life is stranger than a play written in 1959. In 21st-century digital India, such religious discrimination and hatred towards minority communities indicate that despite the rash of mobiles and smartphones our minds are deeply rooted in the medieval age.

Sanjukta Dasgupta, Calcutta

Sir — A significant percentage of Hindus possesses deep antipathy towards Muslims for historical reasons and this hatred is exploited by the likes of L.K. Advani and Narendra Modi. When there is political patronage for communalism, is it not natural that the ‘Othering’ of certain communities will receive a boost? Communalism has thus become blatant. So much so that citizens of a Hindu-dominated housing complex in Vadodara have no shame in openly decrying the presence of a Muslim woman in their building.

Instead of flaunting the Tricolour zealously on August 15 and January 26, people must introspect on what being an Indian truly means. Being a vishwaguru in hatred is surely not what Indians want.

Kajal Chatterjee, Calcutta

Sir — The openly communal sentiments of the people of New India are shocking. It is pitiable that the government of Gujarat could not come to the aid of one of its citizens and protect her fundamental right to be treated equally. Is this what the famous ‘Gujarat Model’ stands for: discrimination on the basis of religion and caste? The government must ensure that the Muslim woman does get her apartment.

P.K. Sharma, Barnala, Punjab

Security counts

Sir — The Bharatiya Janata Party’s victory in Odisha is significant for India’s internal security. Now that the BJP runs the local government in both Odisha and Chhattisgarh, naxals and Maoists can be targeted more effectively. The governments must actively work on this to ensure internal stability and a terror-free ambience.

Kirti Wadhawan, Kanpur

Follow the rules

Sir — The Calcutta Police had rightly prevented the Bharatiya Janata Party leader of the Opposition in the West Bengal assembly, Suvendu Adhikari, from entering the Raj Bhavan to meet the governor. As a responsible leader, Adhikari should not break the rules — Section 144 is imposed in and around the Raj Bhavan at present. He ought to have taken permission from the police authorities before making such plans.

Khokan Das, Calcutta

Sir — The Calcutta High Court has allowed Suvendu Adhikari and the alleged victims of post-poll violence in West Bengal to visit Raj Bhavan provided permission is granted by the secretariat of the governor. One wonders why Adhikari went straight to the high court instead of seeking permission from the appropriate authorities. This is improper conduct. The Calcutta High Court has, in recent times, passed many verdicts against the ruling Trinamool Congress government. Is this the reason why Adhikari approached the high court?

Arun Gupta, Calcutta

Entwined identity

Sir — The article, “Wri­ters’ block” (June 16), reminded me of the days when Jyoti Basu was the chief minister of West Bengal and his office was in the Writers’ Building. Almost every day, there were images or footage of Basu entering or leaving Writers’. The legendary politician and the famous building had been almost inseparable for many Bengalis.

Sourish Misra, Calcutta

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