Sir — Pigcasso, a sow rescued from an abattoir in South Africa as a piglet, is apparently an artist. Armed with a brush and paint, she scribbles paintings that fetch up to $4,000. Pigs, like elephants — the other famed animal artists — are intelligent creatures. But would a pig or an elephant in the wild have taken up painting? Unlikely. Surely Pigcasso was taught to hold the brush in her teeth, dip it in colour and brush it onto paper? How is this any better than using an animal in a circus for human entertainment?
Sir — The chief electoral officer of Kerala has made it clear that using the Sabarimala controversy for communal polarization in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls would amount to a violation of the model code of conduct for the elections. This is absolutely justified. In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court, upheld the constitutional provision of equality and said that women too can enter the Sabarimala temple. The Election Commission must be strict in dealing with political parties that highlight outdated religious and traditional biases to gain electoral dividends.
Sir — It was perceptive of the Election Commission to announce that images of the armed forces cannot be used while campaigning for the upcoming general elections. Political parties do not care about the sacrifices of the armed forces unless these can be exploited to gain votes. This is abominable and should not be allowed.
Sir — A little more than a year ago, the world lost one of the most brilliant minds of this era. Stephen Hawking, was one of the greatest theoretical physicists. He used quantum physics to propound that black holes are not really black. His momentous contributions to science were made in spite of the fact that he had been debilitated by a motor neuron disease, which bound him to a wheelchair. He was able to speak only through a speech synthesizer. It is thus heartening that the United Kingdom Royal Mint has unveiled a 50 pence coin to commemorate Hawking’s work.
The coin is meant to remind people of Hawking’s unique ability to make difficult subjects accessible, intelligible, engaging and relatable. The image of a big black hole has been inscribed on a tiny coin — surely, the great scientist would have been left chortling had he been around to see it.
Hawking was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in his 20s. But he never let this stop him. One hopes that the coin will also remind people of his indomitable will and spirit and his endless curiosity to discover new things. He is an inspiration for generations to come, teaching them to fight against all odds.
Pramatha R. Bhattacharya
Sir — The article, “A code of conduct for all” (March 11), was thought-provoking. Devi Kar rightly highlights the change in the parents’ perspectives as a result of the commodification of education and how this affect the future of children. Parents — often unwilling to understand the direction of a child’s natural talent — wrongly judge their wards and teachers on the basis of poor marks received in some school subjects. They tend to believe that a child’s development can only be measured through marks. If a child fails to score expected marks, parents automatically put the entire blame on teachers. This is unfair. A teacher knows where a child’s aptitude lies and grooms the latter accordingly.
They must understand that teachers are more experienced than parents when it comes to assessing a student’s abilities, his strengths and weaknesses. Kar has thus rightly said that there should be a code of conduct not just for teachers but also for parents.