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Letters to the Editor: Standing up to social media bullies is welcome

Readers write in from Calcutta, Nellimarla (Andhra Pradesh), Faridabad, Mumbai,

The Telegraph   |   Published 04.03.22, 01:55 AM


Be kind


Sir — Anyone who has grown up in the age of social media has been forced to deal with negative comments from strangers on their feeds. The comments section is a playground for vicious bullying, which has adversely impacted our sense of self and emotional well-being. Recently, however, I have been pleasantly surprised to see an overwhelming number of strangers leaving words of encouragement, concern or even joy for those sharing intimate details of their lives online. They even quickly shoot down any attempts at bullying. It is wonderful to finally see people coming to each other’s aid on social media.
Srijani Saha,

Grave loss

Sir — A young medical student from Karnataka, Naveen Shekharappa Gyanagouda, has become the first Indian casualty of the Russian invasion of Ukraine (“Student killed, horror of Russian invasion that India won’t condemn hits home”, Mar 2). The Indian government has tried its best to evacuate its citizens stranded in the war zone. However, the intensity of the conflict is escalating and all civilians, including foreign nationals, are in the line of fire. The Russian ambassador-designate to India, Denis Alipov, has announced that Russia is working on creating a humanitarian corridor for the Indians stuck in Kharkiv. Hopefully, all Indian citizens will be able to return home safely.
D.V.G. Sankararao,
Nellimarla, Andhra Pradesh

Sir — It is unfortunate that instead of condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine, several people on social media have accused the Indian students stuck in Ukraine of not heeding the warnings of the Indian embassy to leave the war-torn country. Such narratives were amplified at a time when the Centre has been criticized for the delay in evacuation and for issuing confusing advisories through the embassy in Kyiv. What is even more worrying is that the Union parliamentary affairs minister, Pralhad Joshi, thought it would be an appropriate time to remark that most students who go abroad to study medicine fail to qualify the entrance exams in India.

It is appalling that people could vilify those in Ukraine when we should be praying for their well-being. The Indian government must condemn those responsible for such hate-mongering.
Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee,

Sir — The Opposition parties are right to lambast the Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Centre for mishandling the evacuation of Indian citizens from Ukraine. The Shiv Sena has accused the BJP leadership of being more focused on holding roadshows in poll-bound states than in mitigating the suffering of those in the war-torn nation. The party also accused the government of sending four ministers as special envoys to Ukraine when the situation was already out of control. The Centre should have been swift in its response.
Bhagwan Thadani,

Glaring gaps

Sir — The Narendra Modi government has approved a revamped scheme on adult literacy with a focus on online learning (“Adult literacy online”, Mar 1). The New India Literacy Programme aims to provide foundational literacy, digital literacy, numeracy, and childcare and education. However, the proposal fails to take into consideration the comparatively low internet penetration in rural areas — 31 per cent — thereby automatically eliminating a substantial chunk of the population from accessing the programme. Furthermore, the pandemic has shown that basic education cannot be imparted through online learning.

It is essential that programmes aimed at providing elementary education to adults are interactive and designed to meet the differing needs of people. Online learning cannot take into account the unique circumstances of adult education. The government should focus on in-person learning if it hopes to increase the adult literacy rate in the country. 
Kiran Agarwal,

Eternal joy

Sir — The article, “Necessary pleasure” (Mar 1), by Samantak Das correctly regards conversation as vital to our lives. Books alone cannot provide one with sufficient knowledge. One must engage in conversation with others. Conversations must be free and fair so that all participants have an equal opportunity to express their views. We must remain vigilant and prevent conversations from turning into needless arguments.
Goutam Narayan Deb,

Calculated move

Sir — The guidelines for the National Overseas Scholarship Scheme of the ministry of social justice and empowerment — it provides funding for students from scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and landless agricultural labourer families to pursue postgraduate education outside India — has been amended. The programme will no longer cover students hoping to pursue education in Indian culture, history, heritage and social science. This is a misguided attempt to control young minds, especially those from marginalized communities, and prevent critical analysis of topics of national significance. This must be condemned.
Shovanlal Chakraborty,

Parting shot

Sir — The ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup begins today in New Zealand. It is the 12th edition of the tournament and eight nations, including India, are vying for the trophy. One hopes that all the participating squads play well and make this World Cup a memorable one for the admirers of the game.
Sourish Misra,

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