Papering things over
With reference to Vir Sanghvi’s article, Of bail-outs and micro-payments (Counterpoint, February 15), nobody opens the Internet to read the news, especially today’s youth. All the channels churn out the same news with the same one-minute video clips for days on end which can get really boring. At least for senior citizens, putting on their glasses and reading newspapers is a bit of enjoyment. Housewives, too after their morning chores, sit with the newspaper to relax. Whatever happened to reading books? It would seem that chatting on the internet and sending SMSes have become the only things that seem to interest people.
Jayalakshmi Chellappa, Delhi
Newspapers are still better-read in print than online. Besides this, many people in India do not have internet connections. It is wrong to say that reading and writing habits in our country are dying because of the invasion of the electronic medium. The only change now is that it is e-writing. Moreover, reading a newspaper online is still a costly affair unless one has broadband with unlimited downloads. Mahesh Kapasi, Delhi
Vir Sanghvi has suggested a bit of helplessness in switching to the internet from newspapers. It is time we work out the economics of profitable web newspapers and save millions of trees each year. If we can do so, it would be profitable in the real sense. Please do take the lead in this good cause.
Rakesh Yadav, Gurgaon
The pulls of memory lane
Apropos of Indrajit Hazra’s article The pulls and pushes of rickshaws (Red Herring, February 15), without going into the debate whether the vocation of hand-pulled rickshaws is inhuman or not, the West Bengal government’s decision to withdraw rickshaws from the streets of Kolkata will take away the symbol and memorabilia of a city known for its tradition. No doubt the rickshaw-pullers are going to be the sufferers for whom the state government should think of providing an adequate rehabilitation package. But one also cannot get away from the nostalgia factor.
Bhaskar Sen, via email
This is indeed an awkward situation. A person doesn’t even know or care that he’s in dire need of justice. The hand-pulled rickshaw-wallahs will obviously be undeterred by protests as this is their livelihood and they are proud of it, even though their profession borders on slavery for a few sensitive ones. I’m relieved that the law has finally recognised that just because such people are blind to the fact that they deserve justice, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have it. It’s all the more reason to convince them that they’re being wronged and that they have a choice. The very validation of their profession makes us all a part of an uncivilised and even a brutal society. So it’s our obligation towards them to provide them with a suitable and stable alternative. Or Mr Hazra’s idea of upgradation might sound good to them too.
Sherein Bansal, Delhi
An uncivilised nation
In his article Making MLAs behave (Loose Canon, February 15), Manas Chakravarty aptly stated that the degree of civilisation of a country is known by the conduct of its representatives. Adopting those parameters, we have to accept that we are an uncivilised nation. The unruly scenes in Assemblies and Parliament are a shame on our democracy. Today marshalls in the House will outnumber parliamentarians and legislators in view of their large numbers who indulge into unruly behaviour, punching each other and throwing whatever comes handy. And the Governor, the constitutional head of the State, watches in silence. It seems democracy today has become the tyranny of the masses.
SK Shah, Delhi
The news is that several MLAs from Uttar Pradesh are separately claiming that they are the ones mentioned by Manas Chakravarty in his last column about unruly legislators. They are now demanding Padma awards in acknowledgement of their deepest respect for the Assembly. After hearing this, we are reminded of the saying: If you can’t beat them, join them.
Shriram Bapat, Mumbai
An enthralling ride
Apropos of Rahul Singh’s report Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s our man in an F-16! (Grey Matter, February 15), one could actually experience how Singh had felt inside the aircraft. A well-written report, indeed.
NR Malhotra, Delhi