Weed and weft
Sir — Water hyacinths — the humble kachuripana — cause economic losses in the millions by adversely affecting hydel projects, pisciculture and so on. Known as the ‘terror of Bengal’, kachuripana had a direct hand in aggravating the Bengal famine by causing crop failures. They double their biomass in six days and take over local aquatic ecosystems. But a non-governmental organisation in Bengal has found an innovative way to tackle this terror by producing paper and even fibre from water hyacinths. They are being fused with cotton to create exquisite tant sarees. Necessity, truly, is the mother of invention.
Piyal Basak, Nadia
Lessons in hate
Sir — The incident where a teacher encouraged her students to beat up their Muslim classmate is shocking even if one does not take into account the religious angle (“Teacher makes kids beat Muslim classmate in UP”, Aug 26). Teachers inflicting corporal punishment on students is not unheard of. But teachers asking — encouraging, even — students to beat each other up is a new low. The teacher must personally apologise to the student, both for singling him out for his faith and for causing him physical harm.
Avinash Godboley, Dewas, Madhya Pradesh
Sir — A teacher asking her students to hit their seven-year-old Muslim classmate is deeply distressing and goes against the fundamental principles of education. Teachers play a pivotal role in nurturing young minds. Such actions not only harm the immediate victim but also tarnish the reputation of the education system as a whole.
F. Akhtar, Hyderabad
Sir — The father of the schoolboy who was beaten up by his fellow classmates on the instruction of his school headmistress, Tripta Tyagi, had apparently arrived at a “compromise” with the school at first. But how many times will he manage to compromise with wrongdoings because of his religion? One can understand the man’s fear though. New India is no country for Muslims. They have rightfully lost faith in the justice system.
Kajal Chatterjee, Calcutta
Sir — Teachers are often equated with god in Indian society. Thus, when a teacher discriminates among her students on religious grounds, all hope is lost. Children are the future of our society. They need to be nurtured with love and care. It is shameful that the prime minister did not address this despicable incident in his monthly radio show, Mann Ki Baat. Surely he could have spared some time from boasting about India’s space achievements under his leadership.
Aayman Anwar Ali, Calcutta
Sir — Supriya Shrinate, a Congress spokesperson, has demanded that the teacher in Uttar Pradesh who encouraged her students to slap a Muslim student be arrested. She is right. The incident was a severe jolt not only for the parents but also for the nation. The teacher’s loathsome behaviour will cause fear among Muslim students across the country.
Md. Shahnawaz, Champaran
The plot thickens
Sir — The secret of a dictator’s long reign is that he or she does not tolerate any opposition or opponents. In this context, it is not surprising that the opponents of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, for instance, have been disappearing one by one. Yevgeny Prigozhin, formerly the head of Wagner, a private military group, mysteriously died after a plane crash (“Prigozhin presumed dead, Putin breaks silence”, Aug 25). This came two months after a rebellion against Moscow.
Prigozhin was once a close aide of Putin. He must have known that rebelling against Putin would end in death. Whatever the official reports might say, Prigozhin’s death is too much of a coincidence to dismiss as an accident.
Jang Bahadur Singh, Jamshedpur
Sir — Yevgeny Prigozhin’s death in a plane crash is a message for those who may dare to rebel against Vladimir Putin in the future. Prigozhin seemed to have got away with his rebellion with impunity until the plane crash. This would have threatened the Russian president’s grip on power.
It is unclear who will take charge of the thousands of fighters in the Wagner group after both Prigozhin and his right-hand man in the organisation, Dmitri Utkin, died in the plane crash.
Khokan Das, Calcutta
Sir — The Wagner chief was not alone in the plane crash that killed him. Most of his military commanders and civilian associates were with him. Their deaths have cast a pall of uncertainty over the mercenary group. The shadow of the Kremlin looms large over the Wagner group.
Yevgeny Prigozhin was too prominent a figure in Russia to be exiled quietly. It would thus not be wrong to speculate that he was ruthlessly removed from the scene completely by the Establishment. This sends a clear message within the Russian security structure to those who want to free themselves of the Kremlin’s control. There seems to be no way of outsmarting the Russian government.
Arka Goswami, West Burdwan