Sir — There was a time when longevity and complete protection from the rain were the selling points for umbrellas. Not so anymore. The luxury brands, Gucci and Adidas, have jointly created an umbrella worth a whopping one lakh rupees. But there is a catch: it is not waterproof and cannot protect the user from the rain. Expectedly, this led to criticism, prompting the manufacturers to declare that the product can be used as a sun umbrella. Sadly, the trinket will not be useful even against harmful UV rays. Is buying a criminally-expensive, yet leaky, umbrella worth making a fashion statement?
Mrinalini Basu, Malda
Sir — When the Supreme Court delivered the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid verdict, it was hoped that a long and communally-charged chapter in the history of modern India has come to an end. But the sangh parivar has now turned its gaze towards other Islamic structures (“BJP turns to Kashi, Mathura”, May 20). The Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi, Shahi Idgah mosque in Mathura and the Qutub Minar are being targeted. The law mandates that the character of places of worship shall remain the same as it existed on August 15, 1947. The government has failed to curb inflation and unemployment and perhaps needs a new set of deliverable promises. It remains to be seen how long the Hindu majority can be distracted by narratives that claim to set alleged historical injustices right.
Shovanlal Chakraborty, Calcutta
Sir — The editorial, “At it again” (May 19), underlines the aim of the Hindu Right to polarise the country with an eye on the 2024 general elections. The contentions over the Gyanvapi mosque violate the provisions of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991. It is shameful that the Bharatiya Janata Party has failed to condemn this. Further, it remains blind to the economic distress of the common people. The lack of a credible Opposition has led to this situation.
Sanjay Agarwal, Calcutta
Sir — The courts must not entertain petitions that seek to alter the character of places of worship. The judiciary is overburdened. Resources should not be wasted on meaningless litigations.
Amit Brahmo, Calcutta
Sir — It is unfortunate that floods and landslides triggered by heavy rainfall killed eight people in Assam. The catastrophic events might be a result of both climate change and man-made errors. The torrential downpour also eroded sections of roads and railway tracks in the Dima Hasao district. This incident is a reminder of the consequences of development in a complex and unstable terrain like the Northeast without sufficient planning. The government has initiated several heavy infrastructural projects in the region without keeping in mind its fragile ecosystem. While the region needs development, it should not come at the cost of the environment.
Himangka Kaushik, Guwahati
Sir — Nikhat Zareen must be congratulated for winning the gold medal at the Women’s Boxing World Championships. Zareen displayed great skill to defeat the Thai athlete, Jutamas Jitpong, 5-0 in the final of the flyweight 52-kilogramme division held in Istanbul. Zareen is only the fifth Indian female boxer to win the gold after Mary Kom, Sarita Devi, Jenny R.L. and Lekha K.C. Apart from Zareen, fellow Indian boxers, Manisha Moun and Parveen Hooda, also won two bronze medals in the 57kg and 63kg categories, respectively. This brought India’s overall tally at the World Boxing Championships to 10 gold, 8 silver and 21 bronze medals across all editions.
Bhagwan Thadani, Mumbai