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Letters to the Editor: Social media and the dip in popularity of pujabarshikis

Readers write in from Bengaluru, Jamshedpur, Ujjain, Chennai, Nellimarla, Gurugram, Mumbai and Calcutta

The Telegraph Published 08.09.22, 04:25 AM

Pleasurable past

Sir — Clear blue skies and fields overgrown with kashful are harbingers not just of the goddess, Durga, but also of Puja sankhyas — annual festive issues of Bengali newspapers and magazines. Even waiting to get our hands on the pujabarshikis was a joy of its own. Besides containing a variety of literary offerings, festive editions of publications, such as Desh, Anandamela, Shuktara and Nabokollol, are also attractive for their innovative cover designs. However, with the advent of social media, fewer people are interested in reading Bengali magazines. This has led to a dip in the popularity of pujabarshikis. Publishers and readers must come together to try and conserve this tradition which is an inextricable part of Bengali identity.


Manasi Ghosh, Calcutta

Shift the focus

Sir — The Union finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, recently berated a district collector because a fair price shop in Telangana did not have a picture of the prime minister, Narendra Modi. She said that since the Modi government is financing the free ration scheme, the prime minister’s picture must be put up as a show of gratitude. This is a shameful display of sycophancy (“How not to please FM’s boss”, Sept 4). It is not the prime minister, but the taxpayer who funds welfare schemes. Moreover, printing pictures of politicians is a waste of funds.

S.K. Choudhury, Bengaluru

Sir — After Nirmala Sitharaman took a Telangana district collector to task over missing pictures of the prime minister, some members of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi government tweeted videos of posters of Narendra Modi stuck to cooking gas cylinders with “Modi Ji Rs 1105” written on them. The price of domestic LPG has nearly tripled since 2014 when Modi came to power. At a time when the economic distress is pushing people towards destitution, the government should focus on alleviating people’s woes.

Swati Pandey, Ujjain

Serious charges

Sir — The chief minister of Jharkhand, Hemant Soren, has won the confidence vote moved in the 81-member state assembly with 48 members of the legislative assembly voting in his favour. This will provide a much-needed breather to the ruling coalition in the state. The floor test was sought by the chief minister amidst the possibility of his disqualification as an MLA on charges of corruption (“Soren proves strength in Assembly”, Sept 6).

Soren alleged that the Opposition, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party, was trying to topple his government by instigating defections. Such charges cannot be dismissed given that three Jharkhand MLAs were arrested from Calcutta with large amounts of cash. The saffron party has been on a mission to topple governments in places where it is not in power; Karnataka and Maharashtra are recent examples of its success. This is harmful for federalism.

D.V.G. Sankararao, Nellimarla, Andhra Pradesh

Sir — The BJP has been destabilising elected governments in Opposition-ruled states with impunity, often with help from the respective state governors. For instance, the governor of Jharkhand, Ramesh Bais, flew to Delhi amidst the political crisis in the state. This lends credence to the apprehensions against the BJP.

Tharcius S. Fernando, Chennai

Due credit

Sir — The former health minister of Kerala, K.K. Shailaja, has declined the Ramon Magsaysay Award. She was chosen for her extraordinary achievements in controlling Nipah outbreaks in 2018 and 2019 and during the first wave of the Covid19 pandemic in the state. Shailaja’s decision seems to be an instance of her toeing the line of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (“CPM Magsaysay veto for brutal anti-communism”, Sept 5).

The Left believes that the achievements were not the result of individual effort, rather of collective leadership. This lays bare the party’s hypocrisy and the inability of its members to rise above petty ego battles. Moreover, the CPI(M) has also expressed reservations about Ramon Magsaysay, a former president of the Philippines, who was believed to be an oppressor of communists. This argument does not hold much water either.

Khokan Das, Calcutta

Dangerous trend

Sir — Statistics show that Bollywood films have not been doing well at the box office lately. Two possible reasons for the failure are the poor content of films and the competition posed by OTT platforms. But another important factor is the growing trend of boycotting films to target actors from the minority community and stories that espouse plurality and diversity. For instance, a widespread call for a boycott led to Laal Singh Chaddha’s poor showing at the theatres. If this trend goes unchecked, it will not only hurt businesses but could also kill creativity in the long run.

Jang Bahadur Singh, Jamshedpur

Final curtain

Sir — It was saddening to watch one of the greatest woman tennis players of all time, Serena Williams, exit the US Open, which she has declared will be her last tournament. With her retirement, Williams’s dream of equalling Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam titles will remain unfulfilled; the American has won 23 Grand Slams to date. During her career, Williams played some extraordinary tennis and showed grit and determination. Her exit has left a void in the world of sports.

Kavitha Srikanth, Gurugram

Sir — Serena Williams has won 73 singles titles, 23 of them Grand Slams, in her career. Her exit from the US Open was sad, but it does not take away from her achievements.

Bhagwan Thadani, Mumbai

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