Monday, 30th October 2017

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Taking dietary supplements could do harm rather than good

A balanced diet and regular exercise hold the key to living a long and healthy life

  • Published 18.04.19, 4:14 PM
  • Updated 18.04.19, 4:14 PM
  • 3 mins read
Those who take 1,000 milligrammes of calcium or more as supplement are reportedly more likely to die of cancer Shutterstock

Sir — Leading a healthy life is important. But popping vitamin pills incessantly will not help. Researchers at the Tufts University have revealed that taking dietary supplements does not ensure a long life. They may, on the contrary, be harmful. Those who take 1,000 milligrammes of calcium or more as supplement are reportedly more likely to die of cancer. A balanced diet and regular exercise hold the key to living a long and healthy life. The findings may come as a relief to those who are forced to swallow pills that are unlikely to have any beneficial effects.

Anishka Roy,


Too little, too late

Sir — Last week, the British prime minister, Theresa May, expressed “regret” in the House of Commons about the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in which hundreds of people lost their lives (“Hardest word”, April 12). She even quoted an earlier remark by Queen Elizabeth, describing the incident as a “distressing example” of Britain’s past vis-à-vis India. May’s statement came after members of parliament across political parties called for a formal apology during a debate. But she stopped short of making a formal apology.

The indiscriminate killings, which took place in Amritsar on April 13, 1919, caused unprecedented shock and gave birth to resentment against the raj not only among Indians, but also among Britons. In Britain, many condemned the massacre, including Winston Churchill, the then secretary of war. The incident became a watershed moment in the history of India’s freedom struggle.

A hundred years later, the horror and anger have still not dissipated. Now that the centenary has gone by, there is little hope that a formal apology will be made.

Khokan Das,


Sir — Even though Theresa May expressed regret about the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, admitting that it is a black spot in the history of Britain, she did not apologize for it. The incident still makes our blood boil, but it seems unlikely that Britain will issue an official apology for it.

When I read about the incident for the first time, I was dumbstruck. How could humans be so cruel to their fellow humans? Mass killings might not be taking place in India any longer, but the oppression of common people continues unabated. Even a hundred years after the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, there is still lot to be done if people are to be made aware of their rights and feel safe in the country.

Alok Ganguly,


Sir — It is not surprising that the British government did not offer an official apology for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. This might raise questions about financial compensation for the living kin of the deceased. The misadventure by the British brigadier-general, Reginald Dyer, and the lieutenant-governor of Punjab, Michael O’Dwyer, was indeed an event “without parallel in the history of civilised governments”, as mentioned by Rabindranath Tagore, in a letter written to the then viceroy, requesting to be relieved of his Knighthood.

It is unfortunate that the appeal of British economist, Lord Meghnad Desai, and others fell on deaf years. If David Cameron could issue a State apology for the killing of 14 civil rights marchers by British soldiers on ‘Bloody Sunday’, why can something similar not be done in the case of Jallianwala Bagh? When the British high commissioner to India, Dominic Asquith, laid a wreath at the memorial in Amritsar he was paying mere lip service to the martyrs.

Anjan Majumdar,


Free to satirize

Sir — The Supreme Court verdict, imposing a fine of Rs 20 lakh on the West Bengal government for virtually banning the film, Bhobishyoter Bhoot, augmented the faith of common people in the judiciary. A day after its release on February 15, the film was taken off screens by theatre owners owing to an intervention by the police. The latter claimed that the film might hurt public sentiments and lead to law and order issues.

It is quite improbable that such a drastic step can be taken by the police without the tacit approval of their political masters. This is curious in a state like West Bengal, where the chief minister seeks to project herself as a strong votary of democracy. The fine on the government will be taken out of the taxpayers’ money. This is not right and it must be ensured that it is reimbursed by those responsible for issuing the orders against the film.

Jahar Saha,