Try banning ideas

Have no doubt. Books are banned in India not out of “respect” for the sentiments of a group (You can't read this book, Hasan Suroor, March 4). They are banned out of “fear” for the violence that the group is prepared to perpetrate. As a liberal and atheist, I am routinely offended by the nonsense that many religious extremists force, through the collusion of a spineless government, on the rest of the population. If offence is the only criterion, the government ought to have banned these extremists long ago. The point is that the only groups which are able to get our government to enforce bans are those extremists groups which are prepared to back up their positions with the explicit threat of violence. But I am optimistic. You cannot ban ideas and the inexorable march of liberty and freedom cannot be stopped forever by the extremists.

Raamganesh

Posted on the website

In this day of electronic explosion, banning a book is too archaic. There are plenty of sites on the Internet which offer books. What is the government achieving by banning a book? It only increases the curiosity of the reader to read such books. It is better to leave the issue to the wisdom of the readers. Nobody is naive to be carried away or influenced by merely reading a controversial book. Today, raising a tantrum against a book is made only for grabbing media attention and nothing else.

T. Anand Raj

Posted on the website

The last Jews

To this writer who left his hometown Ernakulam, close to Jew Town, half a century ago, the PhotoFile, “The Last of Jews of Kochi” by Tulasi Kakkat (March 4) was a nostalgia-raiser, bringing back recollections of his strolls in that locality's now somnolent streets. Renowned Malayalam poet Vyloppilli Sreedhara Menon has written a touching poem titled, “Keralathile Yahoodanmar Israelilekku”. Describing the last contingent's departure from Kochi to their native home, he also refers to the exodus of the tribe from their fatherland centuries ago to Kerala, “home of black gold” (pepper), and makes them pay glowing tributes to the generosity of the Kochi kings and the friendliness of their subjects. He also mentions a promise by the grateful folk that once back home, they would plant, in their native soil, Kerala's coconut trees that would, in due time, be laden with ‘the fruits of the Malayali friendship and tolerance' and through whose fronds would rustle ‘fragrant memories'.

C. Divakaran

Thiruvananthapuram

The article was touching. Jews were always persecuted and they had to flee to various countries to settle down. They found a safe haven in India, built their own synagogue and have been following their customs and rituals diligently since 1568. Their culture, customs, language has given them a meaning in life and hope though they live all over the world. This is amazing and one can realise their strong identity. I wish the small Jewish community the best.

Kurt Waschnig

Posted on the website

Not much to celebrate

“Selling nirvana” by Kalpana Sharma (March 4) rightly puts forward the fact that celebrating Women's Day is a done thing for a handful of elite class but the real womenfolk who must know about women's rights and Women's Day have not even heard the words rights or liberation. A large number of women in our country face sexual harassment, gender bias in wages, are denied promotions, taken for granted by one and all. Those who are in a position to celebrate Women's Day must always remember their sisters who are not fortunate even to be proud of being women and at the same time if they can do their bit to help them it will be the celebration of Women's day in real sense.

Maya Bhatkar

Chennai

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Sunday MagazineJune 28, 2012