Gone, not forgotten
Television writer and producer Sutapa Sikdar’s tribute to husband Irrfan Khan is heart touching (‘Our life was a masterclass in acting’: Read Sutapa Sikdar’s tribute to her husband Irrfan). Irrfan Khan will always be there to guide his children and his beautiful wife, Sutapa. He was very popular among French people here, in Paris. Sometimes, it is really difficult to accept the life as it presents itself to us. But to honour Mr Khan, we should not shed tears. – Sahana Bar
With the passing away of Ronald Vivian Smith, Delhi has lost one of its ace raconteurs for whom telling the city’s stories and its people was a lifelong passion (RV Smith, chronicler of Delhi, author and poet, dies). It is an irreparable loss for his readers who had long been learning about the great city, its obscure nooks and corners, traditions and history through his anecdotal style. The son of a journalist, he hailed from Agra and came to Delhi in 1961 to work as a press reporter. He was soon to fall in love with the city. He familiarised himself with Delhi by roaming about its lanes, crumbling ruins and meeting common people. Before long, he made the city his abode for good.
As someone who loved reading his writing, I can state that his prose was simple and conversational, free from scholarly jargon. His writings were primarily meant for the layman. He succeeded in arousing his readers’ interests in history, architectural heritage and customs. He was an exceptionally gifted author who had earned considerable fame – even Khushwant Singh complimented him by saying to him that he would never go stale. Yet, he came across a man who preferred to maintain a low profile. He seemed as simple as his style. Smith was a story teller par excellence who will be missed by every lover of Delhi. Last but not the least, he will continue to be a perennial source of many a budding writer to chronicle their own respective cities in the Smithian style. – Samiul Hassan Quadri
The lockdown in some parts of India has been extended to another two weeks to end on May 16 (Covid-19: Lockdown to be extended till May 17; Maharashtra reports 1,008 cases in a day). It is now imminent that normal services will be restored only in June, as the pandemic has not ceded till now. The move to extend the lockdown, while easing the restrictions in some green and orange zones, seems to be a welcome reprieve. Also, facilitating movement of those stuck amid the lockdown – labourers, students, tourists – will help people settle down quickly in their respective homes. The government should meticulously plan lockdown exit strategy during this period in May. The exit strategy should be planned well to contain the spread of virus and restore normalcy in a quick and efficient manner, while adhering to social distancing. Government should also communicate its plans much ahead of time and disseminate the same to its citizens in a timely manner. – Varun Dambal
A pathetic narrative indeed (Covid-19 lockdown: Only 6% of migrant workers have received full wages till April 26, says report). The other day, I read an article where it was mentioned that elaborate arrangements were made to ensure the safe return of migrants, such as special trains, screening at the entry points and exit points, wearing masks, hand sanitisation, etc. All this was appreciable and better late than never. In fact, had this been chalked out well in advance, there would have been lesser scope for apprehensions of Covid-19 spread.
But all this apart, these people who have endured many hardships all along should have been provided with some cash too, which would have been a fitting gesture. The government asked employers not to deduct employees’ salaries but did not ensure its implementation. Given a chance, many want to take advantage of the situation and exploit them by evading payments. Who will take care of their meals and means in the absence of work? With another fortnight’s extension of lockdown, do they have to keep starving? What about those without ration cards to have access to ration? Is it not fit to announce compensation for those who lost lives in the pandemic? Suggestions have been pouring in from various corners to announce a stimulus package commensurate with the needs of the day to take care of the hungry millions, ailing sectors and struggling sections of people. Any further delay may be detrimental to the wellbeing of the migrant labourers. – Ramana Gove
Freedom of ‘speech’
Many people say many things and that’s what makes this country a democracy. So what if Arnab Goswami made remarks about Congress President Sonia Gandhi? (Mumbai: Arnab Goswami appears before police for questioning in Sonia Gandhi defamation case). We should support Arnab; it is high time that Indians realise what is right and wrong, no matter what their religion is. There should be a rule that no one can leave a political party or change their support after election results. This way, only honest people will work for the party. – Dharmesh M Mody
Arnab Goswami is a person who always speaks truth (Bandra migrants protest: Case filed against Arnab Goswami for allegedly spreading communal hatred). He is very much devoted to the country and its nationals; and annoyed with anti-nationals. I do not know why congress cannot tolerate utterances against anti-nationals and persons engaged in unlawful activities. The Congress should give an explanation. Arnab Goswami has never spread communal hatred and would not allow others to do so. However, he is a person who would work hard to unravel the truth and expose miscreants. I wish him success in his pursuit to unravel the mysteries for the true nationals. May the Almighty help him in solving his national problems. – Narinder Pall Bhalla
Deoria legislator Suresh Tiwari’s advice to not purchase vegetables from Muslim vendors is utterly disgracing and not befitting a person elected to be a lawmaker (Uttar Pradesh: BJP MLA tells people not to purchase vegetables from Muslim vendors). Party spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi’s remark that the Bharatiya Janata Party does not endorse this is not enough. Loudmouths should be controlled and not allowed to express their personal views as long as the pandemic keeps on infecting and claiming lives of citizens. Media should also highlight the deeds of Tablighi Jamaat members, who after getting cured of the dreaded infection, have donated blood for plasma treatment of infected patients, even during Ramzan. – Rajendra Kulkarni
This issue of Gorkhaland has been unresolved for more than three decades (Gorkhaland demand: From street protests to silent rallies, photos capture the mood in Darjeeling). Why? To my mind, language is the most important part of human culture – it shapes dress patterns, food habits, formation of thought process, social bindings and other things. Let us not forget the breaking down of the Soviet Socialist Republic into several countries, mainly due to the language factor. In the creation of Bangladesh also, language issue played a very crucial role.
From 1947 itself, India and the government of West Bengal should have taken a unanimous admirative decision over the entry of outsiders in Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Sikkim. The Nepali language shapes Nepalese identity and distinguishes it from Bengali culture in many ways. No government can deny Nepalese in Darjeeling a separate state status. What is being done is the systematic resettling of Bengali schools, colleges and offices in Darjeeling. The Chinese government is following a similar policy in Xinjiang and Tibet. Now, Mandarin Chinese is fast replacing Tibetan languages there. India’s central government must take steps right now before Darjeeling and Sikkim become separate states, whose advisor will be China. – G Chaudhuri
This was one of the most informative articles I have read in a long time (How a new paperback format for novels made the books market explode after World War II). This has only made me treasure my collection of fiction books. All my life, about a quarter of my salary went into purchasing books. Before that, I was a member of circulating libraries near my home or college or railway stations in Mumbai. Sadly, they have all died out and one of the old libraries I used to visit was, last year, selling novels on the footpath for Rs 5. The library has been replaced with a video game store. Life has changed. Will this virus change the very DNA of human existence as we know it? Only time will tell. From the secrecy and morality of Victorian times to the freedom of hugs and kisses under masks and gloves, we wonder: is this the new normal? Only eyes to gaze, to visually touch the world. – Nirmala Pillai
I very much appreciate the effort and courage you guys take in putting such nice and truthful articles together (India’s armed forces are losing their political neutrality – putting national security at risk). I am myself an ex-serviceman and of the firm opinion that the pseudo-nationalism being promoted using ex-Army officers for political gain is dangerous. I have tried to convey this point to some neighbours and relatives, but they all dismiss my opinion. It is quite unfortunate that society today does not believe anything until it’s in a news article. I would be very glad if you start putting up Hindi translations of such articles as well. – Anil Warade
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