Apropos of the report “Massive fire destroys National Museum of Natural History”, the destruction of the entire collection of specimens of flora and fauna housed in the National Museum of Natural History is an irreparable loss. Every Indian is likely to have been overwhelmed with feelings of sadness to see the footage of the museum being gutted by fire and with feelings of anger at the failure of the government to keep it fire-proof. What is the point in talking of nationalism when national heritage, as preserved in the museum, could not be protected with utmost care? It was lost due to negligence of the worst kind. The Kohinoor is nothing compared to the 160-million-year old fossil bone of the Indian sauropod which lost to the fire along with other pre-historic fossils, taxidermy mounts of birds and animals, rare eggs and herpetological specimens. Museums enrich our lives and knowledge. A visit to a natural museum is a walk back into history. As a heritage centre, the National Museum of Natural History opened up a whole world of bio-diversity to us. It hard to understand how the museum can be restored when it was completely gutted and reduced to ashes in the fire. We feel diminished and mourn the loss of specimens of immense evolutionary significance.
G David Milton , Maruthancode (TN)
In his last Mann Ki Baat radio talk the prime minister, Narendra Modi, praised the Railways for organising the ‘water-train’ Jaldoot Express, a 50-wagon train which carried 25 lakh litre of drinking water from Miraj in Sangli district to drought-hit Latur in Maharashtra. Few decades back, nobody would have imagined that water would one day be sold. Who knows, in the future, even pure, unpolluted air may be sold. It is said water is the oil of 21st century and many wars of the century will be fought over water as it is unevenly distributed across the globe. Most of us would recall school chemistry, that water is a universal solvent, but one wonders when people will dissolve their differences over water and resolve issues amicably before it reaches a boiling point. One wonders whether inter-linking rivers will solve India’s water crisis or lead to more disputes. Benjamin Franklin said, “When the well is dry, we know the worth of water.” Let us all remember to save water as every drop counts.
TS Karthik, Chennai
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