Sir — We often yearn for a long bath after a hectic day at work. Turns out that there is a bit of science behind showers working wonders on our minds and bodies. According to a recent study, the act of cleaning ourselves can reduce anxiety during stressful moments. This is unfortunate in a world that is fast running out of clean water. Long showers — any kind of bath for that matter — are a luxury that many cannot afford. According to one estimate, 3 in 10 people worldwide do not have access to clean water to even wash their hands. That is stressful news.
Rohini Sen, Calcutta
Sir — It was saddening to read that the former chairman of Tata Sons, Cyrus Mistry, was killed in a road accident on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway (“Cyrus Mistry killed at 54 as car slams into divider on bridge near Palghar”, Sept 5). The police have attributed the accident to over-speeding. Mistry was seated in the rear of the vehicle and was not wearing a seatbelt. Speeding continues to be the biggest killer on Indian roads. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, out of the 1.5 lakh deaths last year, 86,241 lives were lost in road crashes on account of speeding. Global road safety experts claim that managing speed remains the biggest challenge. There have also been campaigns to raise awareness about the need for passengers in the rear seats to wear seatbelts to minimise the chances of fatalities and serious injuries.
Khokan Das, Calcutta
Sir — The untimely demise of Cyrus Mistry is shocking. It is a big loss for the world of commerce and industry. Mistry was the sixth chairman of Tata Sons and responsible for turning around the fortunes of the Shapoorji Pallonji group. But these accomplishments aside, Mistry is remembered by those who knew him well as an affable, down-to-earth and understanding man. He will be missed.
Diganta Chakraborty, Hooghly
Sir — Bangladesh has been India’s most steadfast ally. As such, the ongoing India visit of the Bangladeshi prime minister, Sheikh Hasina Wajed, is crucial for both New Delhi and Dhaka. For India, Bangladesh is vital for improving alternative ways of connecting to the Northeast other than through the chicken’s neck. Wajed, too, needs to show substantial gains from her visit, especially before the 2023 elections in that nation. Having failed to deliver on the Teesta water sharing pact owing to its own domestic politics, India has now lined up a memorandum of understanding to share the waters of the river, Kushiyara, instead. Bangladesh will also be seeking to boost bilateral trade, which continues to remain heavily lopsided in India’s favour.
Shovanlal Chakraborty, Calcutta
Uncover the truth
Sir — On September 8, a granite statue of Subhas Chandra Bose will be unveiled at India Gate. On this occasion, a renewed appeal by Anita Bose Pfaff, Bose’s daughter, to conduct a DNA test on his remains requires attention. The narrative on the plane crash at Taihoku — in present-day Taiwan — which is supposed to have killed Bose remains shrouded in mystery. If a DNA test can confirm when and where Bose breathed his last, it would be a fitting tribute to the freedom fighter on the 75th year of Indian Independence.
Kunal Kanti Konar, Calcutta
Sir — India and Pakistan clashed for the second time in the Asia Cup 2022, this time in the Super 4s stage in Dubai. The match went right down to the wire with Pakistan winning on the penultimate ball with five wickets in hand. This ended India’s unbeaten run in the Asia Cup tournament — the side had not lost one match in the 2016 and 2018 editions and had tied once. The young seamer, Arshdeep Singh, dropped a relatively easy catch off the bowling of Ravi Bishnoi in the 18th over, giving Pakistan some much-needed leeway. Singh has been pilloried in a way that few other cricketers have. This is exactly what many fans had feared would happen if India lost to Pakistan. Such is the venom that has been injected into the country’s veins that none can appreciate the game of cricket for what it is anymore.
Sohini Ghosh, Calcutta
Sir — Indian fans were utterly dejected after losing to Pakistan in the Asia Cup. They soon started looking for reasons for the defeat and zeroed in on a singular scapegoat, Arshdeep Singh, who dropped a vital catch. Given the history between the two countries, the rhetoric of the blame is one that’s driven by nationalistic fervour and it often devolves into accusations of being anti-national, seditious, or traitorous. A sizeable section of fans began questioning Singh’s loyalty to the country. They branded him a ‘Khalistani’ — a name given to militant Sikh separatists. Fans overlooked the fact that Singh had the most economical bowling figures by an Indian, or that even when the winning team required only seven runs in the final over it was his bowling that dragged the match till the penultimate ball. His religion, however, was enough for spectators to unleash their abuse and vitriol at him.
Vedant Singh, Ludhiana
Sir — The abuse against Arshdeep Singh got so bad that former cricketers and his teammates had to publicly come out in his defence. In response, some people claimed that they had a right to criticise Singh’s dropped catch since he was an Indian player. Indeed, there have been times when fans have been enraged even at legends like Sachin Tendulkar or Sourav Ganguly. However, as privileged-caste Hindus, those players were never targeted for their religion or caste the way Singh was. Therein lies a fundamental difference between their experience and what Singh was subjected to.
Aditya Banerjee, Gurgaon
Sir — Even if nationalist sports fans may begrudgingly tolerate the inclusion of someone whose identity does not align with their idea of the nation, they waste no time in reminding the players in question that they do not belong. Sports nationalism, then, is just a form of dangerous majoritarian exclusion — one that belies the spirit of sportsmanship itself.
Ankita Joshi, Mumbai