Sir — It is unfortunate that many people get away with heinous crimes simply because of their celebrity status. Take, for instance, the case of the Moroccan pop singer, Saad Lamjarred, whose recent song, “Guli Mata”, is topping charts worldwide. Lamjarred has several charges of sexual assault against him and was convicted of raping and beating up a woman in France earlier this year. But these grave charges did not deter producers from signing projects with him. The popularity of the song shows that fans, too, remain oblivious to the wrongdoings of celebrities. Such blinkered fandom is toxic.
Sritama Ghosh, Calcutta
Sir — The 15th BRICS summit at Johannesburg has proved, once again, that the group is an important platform to address the concerns of the Global South (“BRICS expanded to include 6 countries”, Aug 25). Six more nations will be inducted into the body next year. However, this could pose challenges. The expansion of BRICS could make it difficult to find common agendas because of a myriad differences among its current and incoming members. BRICS has its work cut out for it before it can emerge as an effective geopolitical platform.
M. Jeyaram, Sholavandan, Tamil Nadu
Sir — The economies of the BRICS countries are varied: Brazil, Russia and South Africa are dependent on raw material exports, while China and India are largely manufacture and service-oriented economies (“Growing family”, Aug 26). These economic differences allow progressive trade among member states. The inclusion of new member countries will bring both challenges and possibilities. Although BRICS members have individual trade relations with Western countries, the bloc can engage in bilateral trade by bypassing the US dollar. BRICS countries must find common ground through compromises to benefit each member economically.
R. Narayanan, Navi Mumbai
Sir — The 15th BRICS summit has been used by China to advance its expansionist politics. By welcoming new member countries that have previously clashed with the West, China has laid the foundation for an alternative power bloc. India thus needs to tread carefully.
Amit Brahmo, Calcutta
Sir — The National Curriculum Framework has made some important recommendations that might have a far-reaching impact on Indian school education. Given its large working-age population, educational reform should be India’s priority. The NCF’s suggestions seem to be aimed at ridding education of undue mental stress. However, reforms should also focus on weaning students away from rote learning and making education holistic.
Mohammad Taukir, West Champaran
Sir — Exposed electrical wires and mobile towers have severely affected the bird population worldwide. In India, birds are often killed or injured after being electrocuted by exposed wires or on colliding with mobile towers. India must take a cue from other countries that have underground electrical systems. To aid avian conservation at the individual level, more people should install bird feeders and nesting pots.
Md. Imdadullah, Muzaffarpur
Sir — It is heartening that the Election Commission of India has named the legendary cricketer, Sachin Tendulkar, as its ‘national icon’ (“Freedom of opinion on icon’s lips”, Aug 24). Considering Tendulkar’s immense popularity among Indians, one hopes that this will encourage more voters to turn up and exercise their franchise during the upcoming elections.
Sourish Misra, Calcutta