Sir — Many of us were introduced to fountain pens when we were taught penmanship as children. The use of fountain pens has dwindled with the rising popularity of ballpoint pens. Yet, simultaneously, limited edition fountain pens that are exorbitantly priced — some of them are comparable with pieces of precious jewellery — have flourished. While it is not surprising that corporates have turned an item of everyday use into a luxury purchase, what is astonishing is that neither schools nor parents introduce fountain pens to their wards. Fountain pens not only help in improving handwriting but also reduce hand fatigue and cramping, allowing students to write for longer periods of time. There is more than one reason to bring back fountain pens.
Anagha Mohite, Mumbai
Sir — The Varanasi district court has upheld the maintainability of the suit seeking the right to worship Hindu deities within the Gyanvapi mosque premises all year round (“Court to hear Gyanvapi Hindu worship petition”, Sept 13). This has raised fears that the Gyanvapi case could take a violent turn. A similar sequence of events had led to the demolition of the Babri Masjid. The Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991 was expected to stem the tide of claims and litigations seeking to alter the status quo of religious sites. But Hindutva activists are mistaken to think that the decision of the district court is a win for the majority community.
G. David Milton, Maruthancode, Tamil Nadu
Sir — The Gyanvapi mosque controversy is rooted in history. According to some historians, a Shiva temple was destroyed on the orders of Aurangzeb in the 17th century and the Gyanvapi mosque was built on the site. The laws prohibit the conversion of any place of worship and provide for the maintenance of the religious character of any place of worship as it existed on August 15, 1947. The laws of the land must be upheld.
Nirmala Basak, Calcutta
Sir — There is no denying that Ukraine’s advance in northeast Kharkiv is a potential breakthrough for the war-torn nation (“Ukraine makes rapid gains”, Sept 12). This will be a morale booster for the Ukrainians who have been fighting Russia for months. The earliest setback for the Russian troops was its failed onslaught on Kyiv owing to miscalculated logistics. Furthermore, a steady supply of sophisticated arms by the United States of America has strengthened the Ukrainian defence. The war is far from over, but it seems that the Ukrainian forces are gaining ground.
Gregory Fernandes, Mumbai
Sir — The demise of Queen Elizabeth II and the ascension of King Charles III has brought to the fore the discontent of a section of British society towards the monarchy. Protests against the monarchy have shaken parts of the United Kingdom as many in the younger generation feel that it is time to do away with this archaic institution. There are 43 sovereign states in the world with a monarch as their head. There may still be some time before monarchy as an institution is abolished for good.
Jang Bahadur Singh, Jamshedpur
Sir — In 2017, the UK foreign office released a statement condemning the April 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre. Citing a former prime minister, the foreign office noted that “the massacre was a deeply shameful act in British history and one that we should never forget.” However, this is far from an official apology. Queen Elizabeth II may not have apologised for the UK’s colonial history but King Charles III could become the monarch who recognises the atrocities of the Empire. The Indian government should press for an official apology as well.
Arun Kumar Baksi, Calcutta
Sir — Ben Stokes, the captain of the England men’s Test cricket team, must be lauded for successfully leading the side during the third and final Test against South Africa at the Oval. Stokes seems to be having an incredibly prosperous summer — the English team won three Test matches against New Zealand, one against India, and finished two against South Africa. The South African team left much to be desired. The early retirement of AB de Villiers and the non-selection of Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock for the tour certainly affected the performance of the team. Hopefully, the selectors in South Africa will review their choices and work towards putting together a stronger team.
Vinay Mahadevan, Chennai
Sir — The mental health survey conducted by the National Council of Educational Research and Training has found that 29 per cent of school students lack concentration and 33 per cent comply with peer pressure most of the time. Over 45 per cent of students are not satisfied with their body image and 43 per cent between classes VI to XII have mood swings. It is worrying that children are battling such problems.
Divyansha Sharma, Ujjain
Sir — The number of passengers availing local trains in Mumbai and its suburbs is increasing by the day. Although the number of trains has been increased, passengers still have to struggle during their daily commute. While it is still possible for the young to push their way into a compartment, it has become very difficult for senior citizens to travel by train. Railway officials must take note of their plight and reserve a compartment for the elderly on local trains.
Sudhir Kangutkar, Badlapur, Thane