Sir — Many people feel like Neanderthals when confronted with modern technology, often cursing their inability to navigate the ever-changing operating systems that run our mobile phones and computers. Interestingly, however, a recent viral video from Bolpur in West Bengal has shown a monkey deftly operating a computer and turning the pages of a register like a seasoned professional or a government employee hard at work. The antics of the langur at the enquiry office of Bolpur railway station even startled railway officials, many of whom joked about the ‘new recruit’. It is a sign of how much technology has pervaded every aspect of our lives that even monkeys are accustomed to computer screens nowadays.
Riddhijit Banik, Birbhum
Sir — The caste-based survey report released by the Bihar government is of immense social and political significance (“Nitish’s Mandal 2.0 in Modi’s face”, Oct 3). It will bring the cause of social justice to the forefront of the political discourse in this poll season. The Bharatiya Janata Party has denounced the report as an ‘eyewash’. Perhaps it fears that a closer scrutiny of socio-economic inequalities and the under-representation of deprived castes will expose its lies about “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas”. Democracy becomes representative only when all communities get their proportional share of welfare benefits, allowing disadvantaged groups to improve their lives.
G. David Milton, Maruthancode, Tamil Nadu
Sir — Bihar has become the first state in independent India to release the results of its caste-based survey. The revelations have repudiated previous estimates about the percentage of the population belonging to the so-called backward castes — other backward classes and extremely backward classes together make up around 63% of the population, at least 5% more than earlier thumb-rule estimates. This will intensify demands for a national caste-based census.
D.V.G. Sankara Rao, Andhra Pradesh
Sir — The caste-based survey in Bihar has far-reaching political ramifications. It has been published with an eye on the upcoming general elections in 2024. Nitish Kumar, the chief minister of Bihar and one of the leaders in the INDIA bloc, will certainly try to garner as many votes from the OBCs, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes as he can. While no one can deny that casteism is still widely prevalent in Bihar, using population percentages to assign jobs in the government sector, instead of using merit as the only determinant, shall further hamper the growth of public sector undertakings.
Subhash Das, Calcutta
Sir — The recent caste-based survey conducted by the Bihar government is simply an attempt by politicians to stay in the limelight and keep their vote banks happy. Reservations in government jobs have become irrelevant as the economic status of people belonging to the so-called backward castes has improved considerably. The proposed demand for a higher percentage of seats in educational institutions for the depressed castes and STs will only result in animosity with religious minorities. This truth will only be understood by certain power-hungry politicians when they suffer defeat in the polls.
Srikanth Mahadevan, Chennai
Sir — It seems that the release of the results of the caste-based survey by the Bihar government on Gandhi Jayanti has set alarm bells ringing for the BJP. It is a huge jolt for the saffron brigade in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections of 2024.
Fakhrul Alam, Calcutta
Sir — The BJP-led government has always shied away from conducting a caste census as it is afraid of upsetting the electoral applecart. But Nitish Kumar has now rattled the sangh ecosystem by releasing the caste census of Bihar. This data will have ramifications for the 2024 general elections, especially in North India.
Samir Das, Cooch Behar
Sir — In an excellent display of relentless effort and determination, the Indian athlete, Parul Chaudhury, scripted history by striking gold in the women’s 5000-metre race at the ongoing Asian Games. She must be applauded for making a remarkable comeback in the final moments to outclass Japan’s Ririka Hironaka.
Vijay Singh Adhikari, Nainital
Sir — The economies of several countries are dependent on tourism. This sector’s potential is not just economic. Tourism promotes global unity, diplomatic cooperation and an appreciation for different cultures. The Centre and state governments in India must develop tourism facilities and employment opportunities in rural locations to prevent the workforce from migrating out of the villages.
N. Ashraf, Mumbai
Sir — The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has proposed a ban on the use of perfume by pilots. This is a welcome step and can ensure the highest levels of safety in aviation. By prohibiting the use of products like perfumes that contain alcohol and can lead to a breathalyzer test showing positive results, the DGCA hopes to prevent any compromise in the sobriety standards required for pilots and crew members of aircraft. While the ban on perfumes may seem unusual, it reflects well on the dedication and the commitment of India’s civil aviation regulator to upholding the highest safety standards in the aviation industry. Pilots and crew members must thus change their habits and be conscious of the potential impact of alcohol-containing products on their breathalyzer tests.
Ranganathan Sivakumar, Chennai