Precious lives; Unfair remarks; Right step; Uphill task
- Published 7.06.18
• Sir - The interception of a vehicle smuggling gibbons and other animals into India has once again brought to light the cruelty inflicted upon animals. Gibbons are on the verge of extinction. Their conservation has gained momentum in Thailand and Bangladesh. It is worrying that smuggling continues unabated in spite of security measures. People should be informed about the conservation status of endangered animals. This requires an awareness about the pitfalls of an imbalanced ecosystem. Alongside this, deforestation must be combated as it forces animals to venture into human territories, where they cannot avoid capture.
• Sir - In a tweet, a spokesman of the Congress called the prime minister, Narendra Modi, a "petty, confidence-trickster" in contrast to Jawaharlal Nehru, whom he called a "dignified noble statesman". One wonders how an incumbent prime minister can be compared to his predecessor who was at the helm decades ago. Swapan Dasgupta, too, made such comparisons in his article, "By the people" (May 31), by claiming that Modi's convocation speech as the ex-officio acharya at Visva-Bharati University was uniquely down to earth, unlike the speeches of past acharyas which were "typical, ponderous... that only dwelt with the rich legacy of Tagore".
There is no denying the fact that Nehru earned both accolades and brickbats during his 17 long years as the prime minister. Dasgupta has the right to hold Modi in higher esteem than Nehru. However, in his eagerness to prove his point, he stoops too low. The comment about Nehru's friendship with Countess Mountbatten was irrelevant and lacking in decency.
Never before in India has the press been so divided between those who sing the praises of the ruling dispensation and those who struggle to maintain the impartiality of the fourth estate. Dasgupta's article, unfortunately, just reinforces this division.
• Sir - In "By the people", Swapan Dasgupta has rightly explained the contrast between Jawaharlal Nehru and Narendra Modi. But I do not concur with his comparison between the two leaders. They, after all, belong to two different time periods. One cannot possibly compare Abraham Lincoln with Donald Trump. I also did not like his comments about the contemporary media and intellectuals. Change is bound to occur and it must be accepted.
• Sir - Following the decision of the Prime Minister's Office in Nepal to go paperless within six months, the Nepalese prime minister, K.P. Sharma Oli, has reportedly asked his ministers to learn how to operate a laptop, failing which they will be dismissed from duty. Oli has stated that the ministers should enlist the help of their assistants. In case they are found wanting, they will be shown the door but, at the same time, given a laptop to help them practise until the next tenure.
Charity, indeed, begins at home. Once the ministers are able to operate laptops, communication can be carried out through e-mails. The use of paper can be largely avoided. This is an environment-friendly step. There is no reason why the Indian prime minister, with his ambitious projects like 'Digital India', cannot follow the example set by his counterpart in Nepal. This could even percolate down to the states, and chief ministers could come up with similar ideas. The current practice of sending petitions on paper would then come to an end.
• Sir - It is laudable that China has removed 8.5 tonnes of waste from Mount Everest since April 2018. Recent years have seen a rise in the amount of garbage left by mountaineers on the world's highest mountain. Cities, lakes and rivers are already polluted. Now, the polluting of mountains has created serious concerns among environmentalists and scientists. All nations from which mountaineers go to the Everest should contribute towards clearing household waste, oxygen cylinders and other equipment. More awareness needs to be created in this regard.
• Sir - China has set a precedent by taking steps to clean the garbage accumulated on Mount Everest. But cleaning the mountains should be a shared responsibility. People who go for treks and expeditions should be made aware of the fact that leaving behind waste on the mountain tops is fatal to the environment.