Sir — It is an unfortunate reality that war affects women and children disproportionately. Apart from the physical violence visited upon defenceless populations, the mental toll that such ceaseless abuse takes is often left undiscussed. It is thus heartening that many women in Afghanistan are taking refuge in art therapy, which has become one of the few means of expressing their angst. After the new Taliban government banned women from all higher educational institutions, an increasing number of women and girls are now going to art studios to draw and paint. Perhaps similar artistic endeavours can be started in other war-torn countries where women have to bear the burden of war silently.
Zainab Rahman, Calcutta
Sir — The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test is a sensitive subject. Political leaders should thus address it with care. Many students fail to score well in the NEET despite passing their Class XII examinations with flying colours. It is disheartening that the governor of Tamil Nadu, R.N. Ravi, refused to entertain requests from anguished parents to sign a bill that would provide students in the state an alternative to the NEET for admission to medical colleges. A 19-year-old boy recently committed suicide after failing to clear the NEET twice. How many more young lives need to end for this strict examination to be scrapped?
Tharcius S. Fernando, Chennai
Sir — It is unfortunate that the NEET has been politicised in Tamil Nadu. The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam promised to ban it after coming to power, even though it has been accepted as the standardised test in most other states. The demand by the chief minister, M.K. Stalin, that the governor, R.N. Ravi, give his assent to the bill abolishing the NEET seems to have fallen on deaf ears. The state government should institute coaching classes to improve students’ abilities and train them specifically for such difficult examinations instead of blaming the governor for withholding his assent to the bill.
Sravana Ramachandran, Chennai
Sir — R.N. Ravi’s arrogant response to a question posed by a concerned parent of a NEET candidate while interacting with undergraduate NEET toppers was shocking. The guardian had rightly expressed anguish at having to spend around Rs 20 lakh in order
to get his daughter admitted to a coaching centre. The governor behaved like some leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party who have an aversion to tough questions. The introduction of the NEET has only profited private learning centres. The administration should look to scrap it as soon as possible.
M.C. Vijay Shankar, Chennai
Sir — The complexities of mental health have begun to be recognised in India
and emotional turmoil can be tackled in numerous ways. It is thus disheartening that many youngsters still feel compelled to take the extreme step, as was observed in the recent suicides of an AajTak journalist, Akashdeep Shukla, and a teenaged medical student from Tamil Nadu. Our duty should be to assure our loved ones that while life might be full of setbacks, our failures do not define us.
F. Akhtar, Hyderabad
Sir — It is disturbing that leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party, who leave no opportunity to claim a moral high ground, continue to use pejorative terms like ‘vanvasi’ to refer to tribal people (“Rahul sees distortion on tribals”, Aug 14). Do they wish to keep the tribal people confined to the forests? Perhaps this condescending idea stems from their mistaken belief that they, as Aryans, are racially superior to the original inhabitants of the land, the Adivasis.
Kajal Chatterjee, Calcutta
Sir — The decision of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Reserve Bank of India to keep the repo rate unchanged at 6.5% is pragmatic (“Red flag”, Aug 16). Inflation remains unexpectedly high and the future continues to be uncertain owing to El Niño and unpredictable monsoons. Food prices could thus continue to soar for the foreseeable future. Given the global headwinds arising out of the recession in China and the prolonged war in Ukraine, the RBI can ill afford to lower its guard.
M. Jeyaram, Sholavandan, Tamil Nadu
Sir — It is alarming that retail inflation in July has climbed to a 15-month-high of 7.44% (“Bid to check inflation spike”, Aug 16). It has shattered the hopes of economists who had expected inflation to fall after reaching the low of 4.25% in May. The RBI’s MPC has thus been forced to keep the repo rate unchanged. This decision came after the Centre’s measures to ensure greater availability of vegetables and pulses in the market failed.
Khokan Das, Calcutta
Sir — The death of the renowned physicist, Bikash Sinha, at the age of 78 is saddening (“Physicist Bikash Sinha no more”, Aug 12). He contributed immensely to the field of scientific research with his work on quark-gluon plasma. The void he leaves behind cannot be filled easily.
Jayanta Datta, Hooghly
Sir — The news that a pregnant wild elephant was mowed down by a goods train in the Dooars is deeply unfortunate (“Train mows down pregnant jumbo”, Aug 11). The railway authorities must seriously consider building elevated tracks in areas with high animal activity to reduce instances of such collisions in the future.
Sourish Misra, Calcutta