regular-article-logo Wednesday, 31 May 2023

Letters to the Editor: The flexibility of time

Readers write in from Calcutta, Patna, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Hooghly, Jamshedpur, Chennai and South 24 Pargana

The Editorial Board Published 30.03.23, 05:23 AM

Sourced by the Telegraph

Time warp

Sir — Subjective perceptions of time have always captured our imagination. Although time is uniformly measured in seconds, minutes and hours, these measurements can appear to grow longer or shorter. Hours spent in an activity you enjoy may pass away in the blink of an eye, while 30 minutes at a boring lecture may seem endless. During an examination, time even seems to speed up as the end approaches. It is interesting to note that there may be a scientific explanation behind it. A study by psychologists at Cornell University has found that individual perception of short spans of time may depend upon the length of a person’s heartbeat. Perhaps that is why time seems to stretch out when one waits for a reply to a text message from one’s beloved.


Santosh Thakur, Patna

Practical demand

Sir — The police lathicharge on protesting doctors in Rajasthan is condemnable. The doctors are justified in protesting the right to health bill, which mandates that all hospitals, whether public or private, have to provide treatment to patients free of cost in case of an emergency. The doctors are demanding that the state government clearly define what constitutes an emergency. It is unfortunate that their demands have been met with high-handedness. Although the universal right to health is a noble ideal, itis unrealistic. The government should instead focus on realistic measures to improve the public healthcare system.

D.V.G. Sankararao, Andhra Pradesh

Entrenched bias

Sir — It is disheartening, but not surprising, that car­penters in Uttar Pradesh refused to build a bier for the cremation ceremony of a Dalit woman (“Carpenters refuse to build Dalit’s bier in UP”, Mar 26). Even in this day and age, crematoriums often refuse to perform the last rites of those belonging to the so-called lower castes. Is there no equality even in death?

Kajal Chatterjee,Calcutta

People power

Sir — The citizens of Israel should be praised for taking to the streets against the contentious judicial overhaul planned by the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu (“Iron hand”, Mar 29). Realising that he is trying to consolidate power in his hands, the entire country rose up in revolt against Netanyahu, with labour union strikes paralysing Israel and even shutting down diplomatic missions worldwide. The protests should serve as a reminder for autocratic regimes not to take their citizens for granted.

Tharcius S. Fernando,Chennai

Grave threat

Sir — The president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, has repeatedly issued threatsof using nuclear force against Ukraine. His latest decision to place nuclear weapons in Belarus is further evidence of his war-mongering (“Putin sends nuclear signal”, Mar 27). In the early 1960s, the Cuban missilecrisis occurred when ships from the United States of America intercepted some nuclear missiles that the erstwhile Soviet Union had shipped to Cuba. Putin’s act of placing tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus willescalate tensions with the West.

Ashok Kumar Ghosh,Calcutta

Sir — It is not surprising that the president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, has readily welcomed the placement of Russian nuclear weapons in his country. Vladimir Putin has claimed that he has taken this step to counter the presence of American nuclear weapons in countries like Belgium, Germany, Italy and Turkey. But the US’ peacetime alliances with these nations and Putin’s aggressive posturing amidst an ongoing war are not the same things. The threat of nuclear attacks like those on Hiroshima and Nagasaki looms large.

Jang Bahadur Singh,Jamshedpur

Unlawful act

Sir — The death of a 53-year-old man in police custody in Tripunithura is part of a worrying trend of custodial violence. He had been arrested on suspicions of drunk driving. The suspension of the sub-inspector who was involved in the incident is not sufficient punishment for such extra-judicial killings. In their zeal to collect fines to fill the State coffers, the police have made the lives of vehicle users in Kerala miserable.

K.A. Solaman,Alappuzha, Kerala

Mixed legacy

Sir — The article, “Partial success” (Mar 27), by M.G. Radhakrishnan rightly questions the idea that the Vaikom Satyagraha was an unmitigated success. It was a rare occasion when progressives from different religions joined together to fight for the rights of backward castes in the erstwhile princely state of Travancore. But Mahatma Gandhi’s insistence on excluding non-Hindus from the agitation alienated leaders like E.V. Ramaswami Naicker.

Sukhendu Bhattacharjee,Hooghly

Bed of roses

Sir — It is disheartening that the West Bengal higher secondary council had advised paper setters to frame “easy questions” for this year’s higher secondary examination (“Life’s first boards, so HS papers were ‘easy’”, Mar 28). This decision harms the future of students who learnt very little during the pandemic.

Debaprasad Bhattacharya,South 24 Parganas

Thrilling debate

Sir — The Telegraph National Debate 2023, held at the Calcutta Club on March 25, was thrilling. A clash among some of India’s most brilliant minds entertained the large audience. It was such a close contest that no winner was eventually picked, and the motion ended in a tie.

Murtaza Ahmed,Calcutta

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