regular-article-logo Wednesday, 31 May 2023

Letters to the Editor: Toys seldom limited to playthings

Readers write in from Calcutta, Andhra Pradesh, Sholavandan, Siliguri and Mumbai

The Editorial Board Published 27.04.23, 05:36 AM

Sourced by the Telegraph

Special doll

Sir — It is not a matter of child’s play. Dolls and other such toys are much more than just playthings. Take, for instance, Barbie. This iconic doll has been responsible for setting unreal standards about ideal body types in young girls since it was first launched. Such is the impact of Barbie’s image that Evelyn Mazzocco, the head of the Barbie brand, routinely receives death threats over it. But Barbie has changed shape, complexion and more over the years. Recently, Mattel — the company that produces the doll — launched a Barbie with Down Syndrome. Some other avatars have the doll in a wheelchair and with a hearing aid. Barbie’s reinvention, which is taking her far away from her original image, is an important step towards inclusivity.


Raheel Haque,Calcutta

Collateral damage

Sir — Two of Sudan’s most important generals are locked in a power struggle, which could mark the beginning of another long civil war in the country (“Game on”, April 25). The growing fear of war has led to the evacuation of international citizens. New Delhi has organised Operation Kaveri to bring back the Indians who are employed in Sudan. Indian diplomatic missions in other countries should also be prepared to carry out similar operations given the rising conflicts across the world.

Gregory Fernandes,Mumbai

Sir — The massive evacuation exercise which has been initiated by the Centre to rescue thousands of Indians stranded in Sudan is commendable. New Delhi cannot afford to turn a blind eye to the Indian diaspora working abroad.

Sudan’s current crisis has a history spanning three decades. The international community must exert pressure to bring the warring parties to the negotiation table.

M. Jeyaram,Sholavandan, Tamil Nadu

Sir — Civilians always bear the brunt of any conflict. This is also the case with the tussle between the army and the paramilitary forces in Sudan. The war has greatly weakened the nation’s unity and set back its development prospects. The two warring generals, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, should iron out their differences for the sake of the citizens.

Aranya Sanyal,Siliguri

Historic verdict

Sir — The Supreme Court has created a web page to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Kesavananda Bharati versus State of Kerala case. The verdict in that case established that Parliament cannot alter the basic structure of the Constitution and sought to preserve secularism and democracy in the nation. Spreading awareness about this historic judgment is the need of the hour. A well-informed citizen can come forward to safeguard the true constitutional spirit.

D.V.G. Sankararao,Andhra Pradesh

Break the taboo

Sir — It is unfortunate that the education ministry is opposed to providing menstrual leave in educational institutions (“Primitive prejudice”, April 24). Topics related to menstruation remain a taboo in India and the ministry’s lack of initiative on the subject is both regressive and disappointing. Paid menstrual leave is necessary not only for improving the working conditions for women but also to increase awareness and reduce the stigma surrounding menstruation. Effective educational programmes that impart accurate information about menstruation must be introduced into school curricula.

Kiran Agarwal,Calcutta

Question mark

Sir — A second cheetah has died in less than a month in Kuno National Park, causing a serious setback to the project of reintroducing the big cats to India’s dwindling forests. The project was too ambitious. Rampant deforestation, hunting and poaching had wiped out the cheetah population from India and the state of wildlife has only worsened since then. Various species of plants and animals are becoming extinct regularly owing to anthropogenic activity.

Anwar Saeed,Calcutta

Dangerous ride

Sir — Private buses in the city compete with one another to get the maximum number of passengers and, in the process, miss designated stops and force passengers to alight while the vehicles are still in motion (“‘Told by conductor to get off moving bus’, boy fractures leg”, April 26). Roads have become dangerous even for pedestrians owing to rashly driven buses. The police must curb this menace immediately.

Amit Brahmo,Calcutta

Elusive feeling

Sir — Although Artificial Intelligence may introduce various gadgets that can replace menial workers, it will be tough for AI to simulate empathy (“Wanted, a body”, April 24). This intricate process of bio-neuro-electro transmission has developed over a long period of evolution and has not been completely decoded so far. Replicating it is thus a tall order.

Basab Chaudhuri,Calcutta

Missed moment

Sir — When we look at a photograph of a notable moment, it takes us back to that time in our minds. However, with increasingly easy access to better cameras, shutterbugs get so immersed in the process of taking the photograph that they miss out on the main objective — that of living the moment. One might get that perfect shot of a tiger but will they remember the regal manner in which it walked, the way it contorted its facial expressions or the mist that accompanied its every exhalation in the cold morning?

F. Alam,Calcutta

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