Media trial

Thank you very much Rahul Shivshankar, Navika Kumar, Padmaja Joshi and everyone else for your efforts to bring out the truth in Sushant Singh Rajput’s death probe. We, as the audience, are always with you.

Kindly pass on my message to the Bollywood as I do not know how to pass it on. I would just want to let all the people in the Bollywood know that they think they are kings and queens who can talk for and against anyone they choose to. That is okay.

But they should remember that all of them have become celebrities and risen to fame because of the people. The audience appreciates their acting skills and talents. Yes, we all work hard and with our hard-earned money buy the tickets to watch a movie in the theatre. So please learn to be thankful to the public. We can make or break you.

Secondly, to all those who are supporting Rhea Chakraborty, sure you all have the right to support her. But that does not mean you degrade or do character assassination of a colleague who is no more in the world to defend himself.

To all of you who say Rhea loved Sushant and that she took care of him. Really? If procuring drugs for your boyfriend (who she says was a drug addict) is taking care? In other channels, she goes on to say he was taking drugs and she tried to stop him. How? You stop someone from taking drugs by taking them to rehab or contact a doctor who helps drug addicts, not by getting drugs for them.

I am a woman too, but it does not mean if another woman is wrong I should support her. Even procuring drugs, consuming them and getting them for others is a crime which she has admitted to Narcotics Control Bureau, so what is all this fuss about. Bollywood should wake up be fair to all the right and good people in the industry. – Juhi P Ramchandani.


I cannot understand at this moment what is more important for the media? To put Rhea Chakraborty behind the bar or how the country is moving. The government has decided to retrench employees with three months of notice. The finance minister is showing god when asked about the country’s financial conditions, the manufacturing industry is dying but you have no time to discuss that. Shame on you. – Rana Chakraborty


While there is no doubt that Ronny Sen means well in his attempt to strip the current discourse on drug use of its moral overtones, there is a deep contradiction at the heart of the article that ultimately undermines its purport (Rhea Chakraborty arrest shows how India sees drug addiction as moral crisis – not the illness it is Link: ). He makes a very important point at the beginning when he writes that the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act is “not able to successfully differentiate between a recreational drug user and an addict”. That, ideally, should have been the thrust of the overall argument, but he fails to follow up.

Instead, he turns towards positioning addiction as an “illness”. He writes, “We have to start in more basic and fundamental ways: first, by recognising addiction as an illness and not confusing this with a misguided moral or ethical position.” What he fails to point out is that any medicalisation of addiction is fraught with moral and ethical positions. To insist on viewing addiction as an “illness” is to make a deeply insidious moral claim. To be sure, I am not seeking to deny the physiological basis of addiction. It is well-established that habitual drug-use transforms the brain in lasting ways. But so do other habitual patterns of behaviour.

I must clarify that I am not trying in any way to condone or glorify drug use. My contention here simply is that if we are to work towards de-stigmatising drug use, to speak of it as “illness” is not likely to do much good.

While acknowledging that “addiction is a complex biopsychosocial condition”, he then goes on to say in the same breath, that “a person is born an addict and will die an addict regardless of whether they are still using. At any given time: an addict is either using or recovering.” Earlier in the article, he tells us that “there is a deep lack of sophistication and nuance in the understanding of addiction in India”. It is quite unfortunate that the article is a prime instance of that deep lack. – Nikhil R

Period leave for women

The need for period leave for women employees is purely due to biological reasons (Why men should stop debating the right of women to take ‘period leave’). Studies have proved that women suffer from menstrual cramps due to several reasons and sometimes no specific reason. At least one in ten women suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome which causes heavy bleeding, severe pain, scanty periods and a lot more. Not even an experienced gynaecologist can explain the “extent” of pain, a woman suffers.

It clearly varies from person to person and is more often than not incurable. It is unfortunate to see leading feminists like Barkha Dutt go against this very basic need. True that rules must be formulated so that women do not face discrimination due to their period leave. They must not be denied the promotions they deserve or reduction in salary. After all, they are not demanding for shorter working hours or less difficult projects.

Any change in the established “social norms” has always faced resistance. But the resistance fade with time. What doesn’t change is the pain most women go through every month. It is high time we respect women’s need and protect their right. Aleena Vinod

Corridors of memories

I have just read the article on Elizabeta Ghosh and I am extremely moved (Her voice from the sky: My mother’s years in All India Radio’s Russian language unit). I was almost born in Radio, worked primarily in Calcutta Station of All India Radio from 1976 to 1999. I was posted as the director, Transcription and Programme Service in Delhi for two years from 1994 onward. I passed through the corridors of Broadcasting House and spent so many hours with Director of External Services Division, Iyer, knowing nothing about the wonderful people working in various language units. We used to say, broadcasters never retire, they just fade out. It is sad that Ghosh had to abruptly stop her news broadcast. AIR was fortunate to her on board. – Amit Chakraborty


The wonderful and beautiful evocative piece which drives me down the memory lane of the majestic Broadcasting House (Her voice from the sky: My mother’s years in All India Radio’s Russian language unit). I was working at All India Radio Delhi in the 1980s as producer (women’s program).

The British-era building housed three stations those days – AIR Delhi, External Services Division and News Services Division. There was a circular studio complex at the centre of the building used extensively by all. This gave us the opportunity to meet colleagues working at various units and stations, and that is how I met Elizaveta Ghosh in the studio corridors.

Her personality attracted me at first sight and with a brief introduction, used to exchange greetings while passing the studio galleries. Sometimes when I visited the Russian unit to meet Shri Mathur (forgetting his first name) who was working as a production assistant at that time, Elizaveta Ghosh was so busy on her desk focusing on the translation work that my presence remained unnoticed by her.

I had a great admiration for her Indian dress as well. Once I asked her how she manages to wear a sari. She laughed and said, “I like this dress and have a good collection”. It is true that she looked like a foreigner, but was Indian by heart. Thanks for sharing the cherishable memories. – Indira Mathur

Dangers of radiation

Radiation is a source of danger if levels are beyond permissible limits (In photos: India’s nuclear dreams are a nightmare for residents of a uranium-rich Jharkhand area). As has been the case in several instances, those carrying out the mining activity should address the grievances of the locals such as loss of land, livelihood, and the most important health hazards, apart from the likely damage to the environment in the form of deforestation if any.

The hazards due to radiation vary from minor short-lived problems like nausea, diarrhoea to long term irreparable damages such as stillbirth, cancer, impairing fertility and genetic damages which can spread over to successive generations too, depending upon the dose of radiation revived. Unlike in the case of hazards in other activities, the genetic damages are of additional concern while dealing with radiation.

Since the people in the area are in continuous exposure over a prolonged period of time, there may be some scope for health hazard and the best indication is the revelation of the health profiles over the last decade.

The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board is the nation’s apex body in the matter concerned, and the reports of their periodic surveys and evaluations coupled with the history of health complications over the last one or two decades would help arriving at a better and a rational conclusion. More than anything else, the safety of lives is of utmost concern and even mere granting of compensation, if at all done, cannot undo the damage done.

Since two important but simple factors that help in radiation protection are distance and time, it is better if the people are rehabilitated to far off areas and that the miners are given shorter working times on alternate days which would tone down the intensity of exposure.

A simple rule to be shared with my reader fraternity is that by doubling the distance from the source of radiation the intensity falls to 1/4 of earlier value and by trebling the distance, it falls to 1/9 and so on. That is the role of distance which one may use in daily lives too in ensuring safety while using mobiles, computers etc. – Ramana Gove

Great writers

I agree with one main point that (the author) Richard Herrett has raised – certainly, there has been an innovative flowering in people’s ways of expressing themselves through art, music, literature during these past months when outside disturbances were few and people were not afraid to search their souls (To understand the value of art and nature during a pandemic, we have to turn to Tolstoy and Tagore).

The myriad ways in which people celebrated Tagore’s birthday this year in their homes was a good example. It showed his songs and poetry are ingrained in the Bengali psyche. Whether people actually turn to Tolstoy and/or Tagore’s literary works to come to any resolution of their dilemmas is another matter and doubtful in my opinion.

Modern society as a whole (not individual persons) has mostly eschewed lessons from literature and relies on solutions stemming from media such as TV, WhatsApp, etc which conveniently spoonfeed their audience and of course the ideas are disseminated at lightning speed throughout society. So Tolstoy and Tagore who took time and pages to expound their ideas do not find favour with people, even the so-called Bengali bhadralok.

The lone voices preaching inclusiveness and sustainable living might as well be crying in the wilderness. The reins of restraint visible now are only temporary I fear and mindless consumption will be back on the agenda as soon as restrictions are lifted, simply because the whole economy is geared to consumption. But, I am very glad to see Herrett is leading by example and as is said, every drop of water helps to wear away even the hardest stone. I wish him all success in his quest. –Sakuntala Basu