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Letters to the Editor: New book throws light on women who feel at home in a Massachusetts prison

Readers write in from Shillong, Hooghly, Mohali, Bengaluru, Guwahati, Calcutta and West Burdwan

The Editorial Board Published 21.06.24, 08:30 AM

Sourced by the Telegraph

True picture

Sir — A picture speaks a thousand words. Jack Lueders-Booth’s new book, Women Prisoner Polaroids, compiles a series of vintage photographs of women inmates in a Massachusetts prison who appear content and cosy as the institute made them feel at home. While it might seem unnecessary to provide inmates with a relaxing environment, prisoners in India live in terrible conditions. Perhaps photo-documenting them will not only prod the government to improve the condition of the prisons but also remind the courts of the huge number of undertrial prisoners.


Soham Chaturvedi, Shillong

Democratic check

Sir — Ruchir Joshi has correctly identified the West’s censure as an effective deterrent against the Indian government’s use of draconian laws (“Not that distant”, June 18). But the rise of the right-wing parties in the West spells doom for Indian democracy as the Western countries will now refrain from speaking against stringent laws in India.

However, Joshi seems to be under the impression that only foreign powers can keep the Indian rightwing’s aggression in check. We must also have faith in our voters.

Sukhendu Bhattacharjee, Hooghly

Deadly scam

Sir — It is disturbing that many women were held captive, tortured and raped for months after being recruited by a telemarketing company in Muzaffarpur (“Bihar job shock: Women ‘held captive, raped’”, June 19). Women need to be wary of such scams. The government must be proactive to prevent these atrocities.

Abhilasha Gupta, Mohali

Shared blame

Sir — The National Council of Educational Research and Training chief, D.P. Saklani, cannot blame parents for preferring to send their wards to English-medium schools. The lack of resources to adequately learn English in government-aided schools forces parents to bear the financial burden of admitting their children to private institutions.

While students must learn vernacular languages, proficiency in English is important to secure jobs. Denying students the opportunity to learn English will hinder their career prospects.

H.N. Ramakrishna, Bengaluru

Novel ideas

Sir — The chief minister of Assam, Himanta Biswa Sarma, has ordered the state ministers and high-ranking government officers to pay their electricity bills from July onwards. Setting a precedent, both the chief minister and the chief secretary will begin paying their electricity bills to put an end to what Sarma has called the “VIP culture”. The state secretariat complex has recently been equipped with solar cells, making it the first civil secretariat to be run on solar power.

The government is also encouraging people to instal solar panels on the rooftops of commercial and residential complexes. Such eco-friendly initiatives must be lauded.

A.K. Chakraborty, Guwahati

Burnt landmark

Sir — It is disheartening that the iconic Holong bungalow in Alipurduar, a favourite holiday retreat for Bengalis, was completely gutted in a massive fire recently (“Basu haunt gutted”, June 19). This wooden bungalow was a popular location for spotting one-horned rhinos. It was built in 1967 and was frequented by the erstwhile chief minister, Jyoti Basu. This is a huge loss for Bengal’s tourism.

Sourish Misra, Calcutta

Sir — A massive fire broke out at the bungalow in Holong due to an alleged short circuit (“Heritage bungalow fire probe on”, June 20). The bungalow provided the best views of the forest. The route to Holong is scenic and passes through the Jaldapara National Park. The bungalow evokes nostalgia in many Bengalis and the government should restore it as soon as possible.

Khokan Das, Calcutta

Rare scholar

Sir — The historian, Parameswaran Thank­appan Nair, has passed away (“Calcutta historian PT Nair no more”, June 19). He arrived in Calcutta in 1955 and fell in love with the city. Nair authored several books on Calcutta. Fondly remembered as the ‘barefoot historian’, he was among the most respected historians who had worked on Calcutta’s history. Sadly, the scholar was not bestowed with any prestigious award by the government.

Jahar Saha, Calcutta

Waste not

Sir — According to the Food Waste Index of 2021, 931 million tonnes of food ended up in the bins in 2019. Household-level food waste in lower- and middle-income countries was 91 kilogrammes per capita each year. Food waste accounts for nearly 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions and increases the demand for agricultural land and water use. Instead of focusing on supply chains, we need to change our consumption patterns.

Arka Goswami, West Burdwan

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