From Deforestation To Dust Storms
From Rajasthan in the west, to Delhi at the centre, and to Uttar Pradesh further east, winds blowing up to 130 km/ hour brought life to a standstill. Houses crumbled like a pack of cards, electric polls fell like ninepins, trees were uprooted even as 125 people lost their lives as unprecedented dust, wind and rains hit the states leaving scores injured. Though not an uncommon pre-monsoon event, the scale of the storm numbed the people and scientists though some weather experts have termed the storm a “freak happening”. The common cause for the dust storm is the wind speed. Loose sands and dirt from the dry earth surface are plucked by the speedy winds and carried to hundreds of miles away and beyond. The downburst causes dust particles to vibrate and leap to hit the ground repeatedly and then rebound to form a suspension. It merges with the atmosphere to follow with a thunderstorm. All along, an heightened moisture, surge in temperature and an unstable atmosphere act in tandem with the wind. Most of India is sizzling but the regions that were hit is simmering with temperatures hovering around 45 degrees Celsius. Hot temperature moves the dust upward. The easterly wind from the Bay of Bengal looks to have brought in the moisture; in the absence of moisture, dust storm can wither out and fail to cause a thunderstorm.
Ganapathi Bhat, Akola
Feeling Comfortable With Hate Than Love
This refers to Kajal Chatterjee’s letter, ‘On obscenity and moral policing’ (NT May 5, 2018). We fail to treat our own adult daughters and sons as human beings. We even do not want to recognise that they have certain fundamental rights which are guaranteed by our Constitution. According to statistics from the United Nations, one in five cases of honour killings internationally every year comes from India. We live in such a society of hatred where even some parents can go to the extreme of (honour!) killing their daughters, sons, daughters-in-law, sons-in-law in the name of caste, class or religion to replace love by hate. We feel more comfortable with hate than love. It has now become a new normal that anti – Romeo squads can work overtime to nip love in the bud and some people can even go out with national flags in their hands in support of the child – killer – rapists! However, it is true that we need four walls to hide ourselves from the public glare to respond to any call be it of nature’s or that of biological or romantic. Having said that, I must add that being a regular commuter of Kolkata Metro since its inception, I have not seen a single incident that can be labelled as vulgar. Indeed, it is more vulgar to intrude into other’s space.
Sujit De, Kolkata
Ongoing Ruckus Over Land Conversions
Civil society activism is not new to Goa with a number of movements over the years having exposed the government’s repressive agendas. Public protests over ill-defined and pretentious plans have been exposing the government for its prejudiced stance on a number of issues that cry for some degree of legitimacy. The Anti-Nylon 6, 6 Citizen’s Action Committee, the Goa Bachao Andolan and more recently, the Goencho Avaaz have epitomized people’s anger against anything perceived as being against the interests of Goa and Goans. Citizens and civil society organizations expressing shock over the condescending and presumptuous manner of many a legislator named for their complicity in the on-going ruckus over land conversions is but a natural response to what people interpret as the covert machinations within the government which formally allows the ilk to get away with such inconsistencies. While initial denials and the subsequent justifications over such disclosures are but routine for politicians, it is the manner in which the RP 2021was sought to be brought into force by the government in spite of the contentious plan having been frozen due to massive increases in illegal settlement for profits for builders and land sharks that has been demeaning. Even the conciliatory measures by the government to rein in the agitation and assuage public ire over the ‘revelations’ made by the conveners of the campaign as regards the involvement of legislators both in the ruling and the opposition in illegal land deals reek of crass audacity at one moment to unbelievably ridiculous at the other. As things stand today, ‘development’ has become the magic mantra that allows the government the ease of doing business without public interference. But when such ‘progression factors’ literally hold a region to ransom with the gross irregularities observed hardly perturbing those in the administration, it becomes necessary for a concerned citizenry to voice its apprehensions in no uncertain terms. With timely ‘checks and balances’, Goa has, so far, been able to hold on to its unique identity with the spate of people’s movements.
PACHU MENON, MARGAO