24 Letters

posted Nov 9, 2017, 2:09 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Nov 9, 2017, 2:09 AM ]

Misplaced patriotism?

Sir, A wave of patriotism seems to have gripped our politicians today. They seem to be in a hurry to get over the hangover of foreign rule—be it the British or the Moghuls. And so they go about renaming cities, railway stations, roads, etc. They want to wipe out all traces of foreign regimes.

Elphinstone Road station was one of those stations which they had proposed to rename, because it bears the name of a Britisher. What happened recently at this very station is there for all to see. The reality does not change just by renaming. Charni Road is another station on the 'renaming' list, and some time before the Elphinstone Road tragedy, part of an FOB. at Charni Road came crashing down.

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Pope: "Civilise the Market!"

Sir, Pope Francis addressed members of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences during a three-day meeting (October 19-21, 2017) – "Changing Relations Among Market, State and Civil Society." This topic was inspired by Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI's 2009 encyclical letter, Caritas in Veritate which upheld the right and obligation of governments to intervene with policies to ensure that the market economy does not lead only to the creation of goods and services, but that such benefits all members of society.

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On Social Media

Sir, One of the most important and easily identifiable influences in and on the cultural scene of our times is the use of social media. The number of sites keep on increasing - Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Snapchat, Skype are the ones that are most frequented.

There is hardly a day that does not see some quick clicking on the mobile on the road, in places of work and worship, parks, and what-have-you. While these sites can be put to good use, as when someone is congratulated, the room for misuse can be, and is, enormous. Facebook is often used for self-adulation, and even used to induce persons into committing actions that are highly undesirable, to say the least.

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Protecting the environment

Sir, The Council for Social Justice and Peace (CSJP), Goa has advised the faithful to avoid the use of plastic and other toxic material to decorate graves on All Souls' Day with a view to protecting the environment. (In Goa, the majority of parishioners have family graves. On All Souls' Day, graves are spectacularly decorated). CSJP has also drawn attention to other occasions such as Anniversary and Month's Mind Masses, weddings, meetings etc where use of toxic material should be avoided.

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Fr Warner shows way to deal with wedding expenses

Sir, This refers to a small write-up in the Times of India (Nov. 6).

A couple, Sailesh and Anjana, exchanged their wedding vows at St Jude Church, Malad on Oct. 29, eight years after they first met, surrounded by strangers they had just met. Expenses for weddings today amount to Rs 10 lakh and above. They did not have the required savings and wanted a simple nuptial ceremony on any convenient day, they said to the Parish Priest.

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Genetically Modified foods

Sir, Genetically Modified (GM) foods are foods derived from organisms whose genetic material (DNA) has been modified in a way that does not occur naturally e.g. through the introduction of a gene from a different organism. Currently, available GM foods stem mostly from plants, but in the future, foods derived from GM microorganisms or GM animals are likely to be introduced in the market.

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Music therapy for old age

Sir, Music can be therapy for old age says 'Speaking Tree' (TOI dated Nov. 6). Under the caption 'The Elderly need Music more than ever', the author refers to The Lancet, where exhaustive studies point out the benefits of music for the elderly. We are told that music drives away 'old age blues' experienced by most senior citizens.

Throughout history, scholars of various stripes have pondered the nature of music. Philosophers, psychologists, anthropologists, musicologists and neuroscientists have proposed a number of theories concerning the origin and purpose of music, and some have pursued scientific approaches to investigating them. The origin of music is shrouded in prehistory. There is little physical evidence that might provide clues to music's past. Necessarily, hypotheses concerning the original functions of music will remain speculative. Nevertheless, there are a number of plausible and interesting conjectures that offer useful starting points for investigating the functions of music.

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