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regular-article-logo Sunday, 26 May 2024

Letters to the Editor: When bird poop failed to bring luck

Readers write in from Calcutta, South 24 Parganas, Siliguri, Barasat, East Burdwan, and Murshidabad

The Editorial Board Published 27.02.23, 03:59 AM
At a recent match, Alexander Zverev, who is making his way back from serious injury, had the first set under his belt against the American, Michael Mmoh, when a pesky seagull unleashed a dollop of poo on his head

At a recent match, Alexander Zverev, who is making his way back from serious injury, had the first set under his belt against the American, Michael Mmoh, when a pesky seagull unleashed a dollop of poo on his head

Unlucky spot

Sir — There is a common superstition that bird poop brings luck. The German tennis player, Alexander Zverev, would have to disagree. At a recent match, the former world number two, who is making his way back from serious injury, had the first set under his belt against the American, Michael Mmoh, when a pesky seagull unleashed a dollop of poo on his head. Zverev’s golden locks seemed to be a favourite spot with the birds as several more avians aimed for his head. But this shower of blessings failed to bring Zverev any luck. He lost the match 6-7(1), 6-4, 6-3, 6-2. Sportspersons are known to be notoriously superstitious. One hopes that now they will realise that counting on such superstitions is a bird-brained idea.

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Aratrika Bhowmick, Calcutta

Forked tongue

Sir — The controversy over the purity of the Bengali language between the artist, Shuvaprasanna, on one side, and the Indologist, Nrisingha Prasad Bhaduri, and the poet, Subodh Sarkar, on the other, has snowballed into a huge political controversy. The Bharatiya Janata Party has, unsurprisingly, sided with Shuvaprasanna’s more conservative stance. Almost all major languages have ever-expanding vocabularies owing to loan words from other languages. Shuvaprasanna seems to have some ulterior political motive behind his obduracy.

Ashoke Basu, South 24 Parganas

Sir — If words like “paani” and “daawat” irk the artist, Shuvaprasanna, one wonders how he reacts to words like “ayna” and “kagoj”, both of which originated from Arabic/Farsi. While it is true that these words are more prevalent in the Muslim-majority nation of Bangladesh, this is no reason to treat them as pariahs. After all, it was Bangladesh that fought against the fangs of Urdu imperialism and established a country named after the Bengali language. Borrowing words from other languages should not be dubbed as a corruption of language. Rather it often enriches the language of the borrower. Having said this, it must be mentioned that those who are ashamed of learning Bengali and use Hindi or English words to appear fashionable must be chastised. Shuvaprasanna should have spoken about Bengalis’ obsession with Hindi. This would not have pleased the BJP as much as his divisive comments have.

Kajal Chatterjee, Calcutta

Suspicious timing

Sir — It is unfortunate that the English question paper of the ongoing Madhyamik exam was leaked online. The West Bengal Board of Secondary Education has issued a statement claiming that the incident cannot be termed a ‘leak’. Three images of the Class X English paper appeared on social media at around 1:40 pm. However, the exam had commenced at 12 noon and students were already appearing for the paper. The WBBSE rightly suspects sabotage rather than a leak. Nonetheless, the board should initiate an investigation into the matter and all stakeholders should ensure that such incidents do not recur.

Khokan Das, Calcutta

Wonder grains

Sir — The government’s impetus to grow millets is heartening as it requires fewer resources than other staples like wheat and rice. Millets are resilient to climate change as they can adapt to a wide range of temperature changes and moisture levels. They can be grown in areas that have less water and they reduce our carbon footprint. That is not all. Millets are known to be storehouses of various nutrients and thus have serious benefits and can protect us against chronic diseases. It is thus key to bring these superfoods into the mainstream of agricultural production. The staple diet of rice and wheat — this was largely promoted by the Green Revolution — needs to be displaced by one that gives equal, if not more, importance to millets.

Bishal Kumar Saha, Murshidabad

Clean transport

Sir — The editorial, “Still useful” (Feb 20), rightly pointed out that trams can lower pollution levels to a great extent. This is key in a city like Calcutta, where the air quality index always shows alarming results. Human greed is what has led us to this stage. The least we can do is support an environment-friendly mode of transport. Aranya Sanyal, Siliguri „Sir — A vivid picture of the West Bengal government’s apathy to trams was painted by the editorial, “Still useful”. The government should take lessons from the West and modernise the tramways.

Sanjoy Mukherjee, Barasat

Brave stance

Sir — The BBC is understood to be operating in the United Kingdom under a royal charter granted by the monarch, with a licence that is renewed every ten years by the home secretary there. Here, in India, we have Prasar Bharati operating under an Act of Parliament. But the difference in outlook on free speech and maturity between the two organisations is noticeable. There is a lesson to learn from the report, “BBC to India team: Report without fear” (Feb 25). The question is, do the India media have the will to learn such an exemplary policy? A course correction of the media in the mother of all democracies will be of immense benefit to its citizens.

Suman Sankar Dasgupta, Calcutta

Right path

Sir — The West Bengal government has allocated Rs 3,000 crore to implement Rastashree, a new project to improve and build rural roads (“Purse strings loosened for rural roads”, Feb 16). Most roads in rural areas have not been repaired in a long time and are unusable. People in rural areas have to suffer a lot as a result of this. The Didir Doot programme has rightly drawn the government’s attention to this issue.

Shyamal Thakur, East Burdwan

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