Sir — Cultural traditions change as societies evolve. For instance, the focus of Oktoberfest, the 200-year-old carnival organised in Munich every year, has been on freewheeling merriment with music, food and beer. This year, however, the festival menu has made a conscientious change with the introduction of organic chicken. While the move was prompted by the city’s policy push towards sustainability, it has ruffled the feathers of traditionalists who have dismissed the exorbitantly priced snack as a product of ‘wokeism’. Given that organic chicken predates farmed chicken, is not the purists’ cry against woke culture a tad misplaced?
Rita Seal, Calcutta
Sir — The sanction for prosecuting Arundhati Roy, an acclaimed author and activist, under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act by the Delhi lieutenant-governor, V.K. Saxena, is a sign of the times (“Arundhati faces anti-terror case on 2010 FIR”, Oct 11). It seems that Roy is paying the price for her criticism of the Narendra Modi-led government’s policies. The case pertains to a speech that the author made in a seminar in 2010 on Kashmir.
As a free citizen and a public intellectual, Roy is entitled to the freedom of speech and expression. She has never shied away from speaking truth to power and has called out the current dispensation for its divisive agenda. The bid to intimidate her with legal cases is deplorable.
G. David Milton, Maruthancode, Tamil Nadu
Sir — In a seminar in 2010, the Booker Prize winner, Arundhati Roy, had stated that “Kashmir has never been an integral part of India” and called it a “historical fact”. Roy has always faced the glare of ruling regimes for her powerful opinions on politically sensitive issues. Following her remark, she was asked by the then Congress government to retract her statement, which she had refused to do.
Significantly, the permission to prosecute her comes at a time when Roy is at the forefront of a spirited protest against the crackdown on free speech in light of the arrests of several journalists of NewsClick by the Delhi Police. This shows that her prosecution is politically motivated.
S.S. Paul, Nadia
Sir — The Indian government has launched Operation Ajay in an attempt to evacuate Indians stranded in Israel and Palestine as the two countries are engaged in a fresh conflict. This is a welcome move. In the past, the Centre has carried out successful evacuation operations to bring back Indians stranded in strife-torn areas. Facilitating the safe return of Indian nationals is the moral responsibility of the government. It should also extend humanitarian assistance to other countries in their evacuation efforts.
Kirti Wadhawan, Kanpur
Sir — There are about 18,000 Indian nationals stuck in Israel amidst one of the bloodiest wars that the country has seen in recent years. The Indian government should maintain clear communication with its embassy and the Israeli government to ensure the safe evacuation of its citizens at all costs.
Arun Kumar Baksi, Calcutta
Sir — In a clear departure from the well-calibrated, non-aligned stance on the Ukraine-Russia war, the prime minister, Narendra Modi, has been rather quick in expressing solidarity with Israel in the ongoing conflict with Hamas (“Bibi calls Modi, gets support”, Oct 11). While extending his support to Israel, Modi did not utter a word about its illegal occupation of Palestinian territories. This begs the question: does Modi still stand with the Palestinian cause for an independent State?
S.K. Choudhury, Bengaluru
Beacon of hope
Sir — In a world where economic history has long been chronicled through the male lens, the 2023 Nobel Prize winner in Economics, Claudia Goldin, is a trailblazer (“Goldin wins Eco Nobel”, Oct 12). Goldin won the prestigious award for her exemplary work on the gender pay gap.
Goldin’s research not only reveals the complexities of wage disparities, emphasising issues that women face after childbirth, but also advocates for the establishment of a robust support system that will strengthen childcare facilities, improve parental leave policies and offer flexibility to women at workplaces. Her recognition thus serves as a beacon of hope for women.
Ranganathan Sivakumar, Chennai
Skip the sugar
Sir — A study has highlighted that despite improvements in sugar levels, 60% of diabetic patients failed to achieve the desired sugar control over the course of three years (“60% diabetics fail to achieve desired sugar control: Study”, Oct 12). It also showed that diabetes is affecting Indians at a relatively younger age compared to people in the West.
Apart from medication, diabetic patients should exercise regularly, follow an appropriate diet and go for regular check-ups. People should also avoid a sedentary lifestyle to keep the disease under check.
Kiran Agarwal, Calcutta