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Letters to the Editor: Humanity’s preoccupation with speed

Readers write in from Calcutta, Almora, North 24 Parganas, Chennai and Mumbai
A man living in Northumberland, United Kingdom, recently received a letter that was sent in 1995.
A man living in Northumberland, United Kingdom, recently received a letter that was sent in 1995.

The Editorial Board   |   Published 03.02.23, 03:55 AM

Snail mail

Sir — A man living in Northumberland, United Kingdom, recently received a letter that was sent in 1995. While the letter arrived in mint condition despite being stuck in the postal service for decades, the reason for the delay is not yet known. This may sound shocking to younger people, many of whom are strangers to letter-writing. Technology has indeed changed our relationship with speed. With the advent of the internet, the letter was replaced by Gmail. But recent trends show that even Gmail is not ‘instant’ anymore. Humanity’s preoccupation with speed is thus an exercise in futility.


Smriddhi Dey, Mumbai

Terror returns

Sir — A recent suicide attack by the Taliban on a mosque in Peshawar killed more than 100 people, injuring over 200. It was the deadliest terrorist attack in Pakistan in years and essentially signals the resurgence of the Talibansponsored militancy that engulfed the country a decade ago (“Shaken Pak grapples with attack”, Feb 2). Moreover, the attack happened at a time when Pakistan has been battling economic and political crises. The unstable domestic situation has made the ground fertile for terrorism. The government and the Opposition must iron out their differences to solve the formidable challenges.

Ranganathan Sivakumar, Chennai

Sir — The suicide blast in Peshawar was a grim reminder of the militancy period. A similar suicide attack on another mosque in Peshawar last year claimed more than 50 lives. This is proof that the terrorist groups have resumed their activities in the country emboldened by the Taliban takeover of neighbouring Afghanistan in 2021. This is disconcerting. The political impasse must thus be resolved at the earliest to nip militancy in the bud.

Gregory Fernandes, Mumbai

Worrying tilt

Sir — The report, All India Survey on Higher Education 2020-2021, has highlighted some worrying trends. While female enrolment in higher education has increased and more women have enrolled in science courses, the overall figures for science, technology, engineering and mathematics enrolments remain largely skewed in the favour of men. There is a need to correct this imbalance. In fact, the employment sector poses formidable hurdles for women — they are often forced to leave jobs on account of family compulsions, erratic work schedules and other constraints. The government must increase women’s representation in STEM courses and harness the potential of the skilled labour force to make the economy more viable.

Vijay Singh Adhikari, Almora, Uttarakhand

Home tourism

Sir — The Tamil Nadu school education department is considering taking the best-performing teachers and officials on annual foreign trips. Last year, students who performed well in a state-level quiz competition were similarly sent on a trip to Dubai and Sharjah. The initiative to reward teachers for their performance is heartening. However, the logic behind taking students or teachers on foreign trips is questionable, especially since there are several places to visit within the country itself. The tourist spots in India serve not only recreational but also educational purposes. It would also be a boost for tourism.

N. Mahadevan, Chennai

Spirited fight

Sir — It was heartening to learn that the British author, Hanif Kureishi, is determined to write again (“Hanif Kureishi fights to write again after paralysis”, Feb 1). The Oscar-nominated screenwriter suffered a near-fatal fall last year that made him immobile. It is still unclear whether he will be able to walk or write again. One hopes that Kureishi finds help in some voice-operated technology with his day-to-day functions.

Dyutiman Bhattacharya, Calcutta

Sir — The ruminations about life by the author, Hanif Kureishi, from his hospital bed are a treasure trove. Since the fall, Kureishi has been dictating the tweets to his son. It is inspirational to see the author find newer avenues of creativity in his predicament.

Sudarshana Ganguly, North 24 Parganas

History lessons

Sir — The section, “Yesterdate”, on January 31 by Chandrima S. Bhattacharya reflects on the painful memories of the Marichjhanpi massacre of 1979, wherein the eviction drive of the refugees from the Sunderbans resulted in hundreds being killed. It must be noted that when the Congress government in West Bengal, in consultation with the Centre, decided on the Dandakaranya region in Chhattisgarh as a rehabilitation place for the refugees, the then Opposition, led by Jyoti Basu, had opposed the move and advocated for the refugees to be allowed settlement in Bengal. However, after coming to power in 1977, the Basu-led Left government made a complete U-turn and undertook desperate measures to evict them. Such lessons in history must not be forgotten.

Jahar Saha, Calcutta

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