Sir — In his article, “Complicated fandom” (Aug 13), Vaibhav Vats writes about the experience of watching Oppenheimer with an Indian audience unaware of the political history being depicted. Interestingly, I watched the film in a New Delhi multiplex too and one of my fellow moviegoers kept whipping out his phone to google names and scientific theories that stumped him. Streaming and the ‘second-screen experience’ have changed how we experience movies. Since many people who stream movies on laptops are used to having a second device handy, using the phone in the midst of a movie has come to be accepted. But this spoils the immersive experience of moviegoing for not just the viewer with the phone addiction but also others.
Sharanya Banerjee, New Delhi
Sir — The decision to replace the Indian Penal Code, the Indian Evidence Act and the Code of Criminal Procedure is unwarranted (“Uploading: Bharatiya Animal Farm”, Aug 12). It will create unnecessary confusion for the judiciary and the police. Sections from the IPC, the CrPC and the IEA could have been amended or repealed according to the needs of the modern nation. Moreover, it is clear that the government is trying to introduce new sections to tamp down dissent.
Courts in India are already overburdened with pending cases. They will now have to work overtime to dispose these cases within three years before the new laws come into effect.
M.C. Vijay Shankar, Chennai
Sir — The Union home minister, Amit Shah, has announced that with the three new bills that seek to overhaul India’s criminal justice system, the sedition law will be removed. This law has often been misused against activists and journalists. Its removal is thus encouraging.
Yet, the Bharatiya nyaya sanhita bill, 2023 — which will replace the IPC — has a provision that punishes acts endangering “sovereignty, unity and integrity of India” with life imprisonment or imprisonment up to seven years and a fine. One hopes that this is not the sedition law under a new name.
Khokan Das, Calcutta
Sir — The country’s criminal justice system, which was shaped by the British, is set to undergo significant changes. The former system was designed for a colonial nation, not a democratic one. New forms of punishment such as community service and other such means of reformative justice will soon be part of the criminal justice system in India. Unnecessary laws lead to excessive arrests, overburdening the judiciary. The new laws are thus welcome.
Satyawan Saurabh, Bhiwani, Haryana
Sir — Ragging must be eradicated from colleges and universities by taking stringent measures against rogue students who engage in this heinous practice. The tragic death of a fresher at Jadavpur University is a reminder that in spite of laws to prevent it, ragging is still thriving (“JU student dead”, Aug 11). The faculties of the universities where ragging is taking place must be held accountable too.
Mrinal Kanti Kundu, Howrah
Sir — Swapnadeep Kundu’s life was extinguished before he could fulfil his dream of studying at one of the most prestigious universities in Calcutta. One wonders what an elite institution like Jadavpur University is teaching its students if they subject their juniors to the humiliation and trauma of ragging. Students will now be wary of joining Jadavpur University, especially if they are not from the city and have to live in the university hostel.
Diganta Chakraborty, Hooghly
Sir — It is heartbreaking that a student was forced to end his life at the Jadavpur University hostel owing to ragging. The governor, C.V. Ananda Bose, has promised to form a committee to take stern action against the culprits. This is heartening. But his first reaction was to blame the government. This is not acceptable. Being the official head of the state he should not add fuel to the fire.
M.N. Gupta, Hooghly
Sir — Prabhat Patnaik has rightly highlighted the menace of external debt in his article, “Break the trap” (Aug 10). In 2014, the Central government had a debt of
Rs 55.87 lakh crore which has now come to Rs 155.60 lakh crore. If the government now borrows from the International Monetary Fund, it will impose stringent measures like stopping government subsidies in all sectors. This is worrying.
Subhash Das, Calcutta
Sir — It is surprising that the chief minister of Tamil Nadu, M.K. Stalin, who is always prompt in solving labour problems, has not taken steps to fulfill the demands of auto drivers for a revision in tariffs. The existing rate was fixed in 2013 and a revision is thus necessary. However, the demand to double the existing fare is exorbitant. While revising the tariff, the state government should get a signed undertaking from auto drivers’ unions that no driver will refuse to ply by the meter or refuse rides based on the destination.
N. Mahadevan, Chennai
Sir — ChatGPT can only search; it cannot research. The platform powered by Artificial Intelligence has won the world’s attention because of the speed with which it assembles and produces information in a logical sequence. But research has no value if it only summarises known information. It took years to discover the atom and the theory of gravitation. ChatGPT can summarise these discoveries, but it cannot add to them. Research is a daunting task and calls for hard intellectual work.
Nandini Bhattacharya, Calcutta