Letters to the Editor: Influx of fortune seekers in Somaliland
Sir — Human greed knows no bounds. The recent influx of fortune seekers in Somaliland is proof. While gold has been exported from Somalia for many years, the recent upsurge in gold digging has led to the uprooting of its centuries-old frankincense and myrrh trees, thus endangering them. This has greatly disrupted the perfume trade in a country already mired in conflict. Interestingly, the Biblical Magi had gifted these three elements to the newborn Jesus. Out of these, frankincense and myrrh are essentially healing oils. One wonders, then, whether the ‘gold’ gifted by the Magi to Jesus was something else?
Monami Ray, Calcutta
Sir — In a recent interview with The Wire, the Nobel laureate, Amartya Sen, minced no words in condemning the divisive policies of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Central government (“Modi govt one of the most appalling: Sen”, Jan 15). The saffron dispensation has been undermining the rights of minorities, especially Muslims, who are often taunted as “Babar ki aulad” and relegating them to second-class citizenship. This is in line with the party’s desperate bid to project India as a Hindu nation. Sen has rightly predicted that such a sustained, vicious campaign against minorities will cost India dearly. The Opposition parties must thus unite to defeat the BJP in the 2024 elections.
Iftekhar Ahmed, Calcutta
Sir — Amartya Sen’s criticism of the Narendra Modi-led dispensation is justified. The prime minister’s slogan of inclusivity in ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ is belied by his regime’s tacit support for atrocities against minorities and Dalits. In fact, the saffron party does not have a single Muslim member in either Parliament or state assemblies where it is in power. It must be noted that while addressing the centenary celebrations of Anandabazar Patrika last year, Sen had cautioned that the situation in present-day India is not very different from its colonial past: issues like poverty, unemployment and religious polarisation are still plaguing the country. These words must be heeded with utmost urgency.
S.S. Paul, Nadia
Sir — Arghya Sengupta’s article, “Fruitless debate” (Jan 18), puts forward a valid point: the apex court should not be unduly concerned that the independence of the judiciary or the quality of justice delivery will suffer if a broad-based committee is tasked with making judicial appointments. As in the case of public service, the bureaucrats selected by the Public Service Commissions are screened by multi-disciplinary committees. This provides the necessary checks and balances.
Amit Brahmo, Calcutta
Sir — The prime minister of Pakistan, Shehbaz Sharif, recently sought serious and sincere dialogue with his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, saying that Pakistan has learnt lessons from three wars with India. This is a welcome move. However, Sharif also sought a resolution to burning issues in Kashmir and demanded the restoration of Article 370 by the Modi regime. Pakistan is in utter crisis at present owing to political and economic instability. Sharif’s offer for talks might be a diversionary tactic and thus must be approached with caution.
N.R. Ramachandran, Chennai
Sir — India must accept Shehbaz Sharif’s offer for dialogue. Wars only result in casualties, destruction, and the draining of resources. The two neighbours must iron out their differences to usher in peace in the region. Further, the money spent to sustain the wars must be redirected towards nation-building.
Sajid Mehmood Shaikh, Mumbai
Sir — Pakistan has made it clear that Kashmir would be the core issue of discussion with India. Shehbaz Sharif has upped the ante; it remains to be seen how India responds.
Sailaja Kundu, Mumbai
Sir — After recently stating that Tamil Nadu should be renamed ‘Tamizhagam’, the governor, R.N. Ravi, has now denied suggesting any such thing. The U-turn seems to have been the result of criticism by the members of the state government as well as public backlash against his remark. Further, Ravi has repeatedly tried to block the executive decisions of the M.K. Stalin-led regime. This is not right. He must give assent to the bills to ensure the smooth functioning of the government.
G. David Milton, Maruthancode, Tamil Nadu
Plug the gaps
Sir — OpenAI recently launched its chatbot, ChatGPT, which can generate write-ups based on word prompts provided by the user. This not only endangers creativity but also runs the risk of plagiarism and the spread of misinformation. AI is going to change the contours of learning. These gaps must thus be plugged at the earliest.
Vijay Singh Adhikari, Almora, Uttarakhand