Sir — Halloween may have come and gone but bhoot chaturdoshi is right around the corner. But the spirits that visit Bengali households are not malevolent ones. Bengali folklore has it that it is the spirits of near and dear ones that come back to the household on this night and prodips are lit to help them find their way back home. This can be rather reassuring in a year when almost every family has lost someone or the other close to them to the pandemic. There is no reason to believe that the dearly departed will transform into forces of evil and harm the people they once loved. Rather, in Bengali culture, their presence is almost protective.
Sir — Consumers are flocking to shopping centres in anticipation of Diwali. This has boosted the spirit of business owners. The anti-Chinese sentiment in the country has also helped local producers. Buying local products this Diwali will encourage local artisans and this will go a long way in setting an example of self-reliance. Shopping local is also key to balancing the losses that will result from the cracker bans in parts of the country.
Sir — It is heartening that the Calcutta High Court has imposed a total ban on the bursting of firecrackers this year (“Green crackers too banned”, Oct 30). The honourable court rightly observed that even a moderate degradation in the air quality index will cause severe problems for people suffering from respiratory ailments. There is also the noise pollution caused by firecrackers to be considered. The majority — especially the infirm and animals and birds — have to suffer for the enjoyment of a few.
South 24 Parganas
Sir — According to experts, even though the so-called ‘green crackers’ hardly emit any sound, they do produce quite a bit of smoke. The Calcutta High Court’s intervention was thus timely and necessary. However, one wonders if the ruling will be effectively enforced. The countdown to Kali Puja and Diwali has begun and it is up to us as responsible citizens to ensure that we celebrate the festival of lights without adding to air and noise pollution. Governments should spread awareness about how our activities affect the environment and how we can protect it.
Not so smooth
Sir — The article, “The Ink Rush” (Oct 31), by Moumita Chaudhuri, reminded me of my school life. Back then, students, especially in the primary section of government schools, were only allowed to write with fountain pens. The aim was to improve our handwriting. Indeed, using fountain pens in the formative years of my life did change my handwriting for the better. Before I had started with ink pens, my handwriting resembled what is called ‘kaager thyang, boker thyang’ in colloquial Bengali. I will always be thankful to fountain pens.
Sir — Unfortunately, fountain pens are now relics of the past. In a world that is fast running out of time, the patience required to write with fountain pens is a luxury. More importantly, how many people still write on paper in the age of computers and smartphones?
Sir — It is saddening that Myanmar’s military junta is suppressing the voice of its own people and propelling the nation towards civil war. The military would do well to pay heed to the advice of other Asean nations and restore democracy in the country. The world has seen the fate of Afghanistan, Yemen and other smaller countries that have been devastated by civil wars.
The economic challenges facing the world are already significant. Myanmar should focus on improving living conditions instead of continuing this struggle for power. Countries around the world and the United Nations should do everything they can to help bring democracy back to Myanmar.
Brij B. Goyal,
Sir — Most commercials aired on TV, especially during the festive season, are repulsive. Deceptive advertising is not only illegal, but it also distorts market forces like competition and consumer choice. Such advertisements violate the consumers’ right to information and choice. The Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 says that “no person shall transmit or re-transmit... any advertisement unless [it] is in conformity with the prescribed advertising code” and the relevant laws of the country. But does anyone really care about such stipulations or bother to check those in breach of these?
Sir — There seems to be no respite in sight from rising fuel prices. With its spiralling effect on prices of all commodities, the overall burden on the shoulders of common man has become unbearable. The government should step in now.
Nellimarla, Andhra Pradesh