Kudos to Janaki Lenin for her thoughtful and in-depth analysis of causes behind the man-elephant conflicts occurring off and on in various forests (“Desperate neighbours” March 14). This conflict is mainly due to loss of habitat. And agricultural operations are carried on close to reserve forests. This is due to conversion of revenue forests into cultivable land in the late 1950s. One can come across such cases in Asanur, near Dimbham, Anaikatti near Coimbatore and even in Chitheri. Nothing but drastic measures are called for to integrate these areas to the reserve forests. Then only will the crop depredation by elephants stop. Will the Centre and States come forward to bell the cat?
I was born in Lahore 78 years ago and still long to visit my birthplace at least once before it is too late. It was therefore quite heart-warming to read the two articles on Lahore this Sunday (March, 14): “Being fashionable in Lahore ” by Hindol Sengupta and “Outsider, at home” by Vidya Shah.
While such cultural exchanges go a long way in bringing the common people of the two countries together, I wish some way can also be found to allow people of the pre-partition generation like me (whose number is fast dwindling) to visit their lost homeland, just to refresh old memories and to make new friendships. It is reassuring to read Kamiar Rokhni's words (as quoted by Hindol Sengupta): “We are not letting a small bunch of people take over our lives. We are not them. They are not us. We are just like you”. Perhaps it is a bubble but let us hope, as Sengupta says, this is ‘a bubble of courage' and will eventually survive the present storm.
Madan M. Mathur
Regarding Vidya Shah's write-up on her visit to Lahore for performing a classical music concert, it is a pity that Pakistan has lost its classical music tradition partly due to religious taboos and partly due to the Indian connection. Whatever has survived has been tampered with. As a great fan of the Pakistani brothers Nazakat Ali Khan and Salamat Ali Khan, some of whose recordings I possess, I am very sad.
Missing the sparrows
That March 20 is World House Sparrow Day is news to me and I am thankful to Rama Devi Menon for giving this information in her interview with Mohammed Dilawar (“A voice for sparrows”, March 15). The house sparrows have been an endearing presence in our quarters in various places in Andhra Pradesh I've lived as a peripatetic railway functionary. They were ubiquitous in villages and cities alike. Even Hyderabad was no exception. We heralded them as the harbinger of summer. It was amusing to watch these birds indulging in amorous fights among themselves.
Sad to say they are too rare to find these days even in semi-urban areas. The proliferating communication towers have been a deadly deterrent to these winged visitors who never waited for any invitation. In our present residential colony, there are four such terror towers in an area of half a square kilometre. Significantly, we miss the house sparrows these days in our household.
N. Sadasivan Pillai
Widening the base
The article “On the beaten path” by Sevanti Ninan (March 14) has rightly pointed out that the speakers invited on the TV shows are the oft-repeated same faces, reducing the base of opinions resonating in the show. If it's Congress it has to be Manish Tiwari or Mani Shankar Aiyyar. If it's BJP it has to be Ravi Shankar Prasad or Arun Jaitely. If it's Shiv Sena it has to be Rahul Narvekar. The monotony of representation is so much that even these people might have got bored of each other. The question is not about their credentials and the quality of their argument and articulation but about widening the base of the opinion. The younger political breed, especially female counterparts, have almost negligible presence on TV shows. The news channels should ensure that this stagnation is seen off. This will add some freshness (and also few TRPs) to their shows.
Vaibhav C. Ghalme