Sunday, August 1, 2021
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A Vanishing Art

‘The lost world of letter writing,’ (your issue dated Nov 30, 2017) evoked nostalgic memories of childhood and the golden days of yore when mankind accorded topmost priority to human values and sentiments. The first letter to one’s parents on getting a job, mother’s advice to her wards from time to time, the love letter to one’s beloved, the numerous exchanges of ideas and pleasantries with pen pals in distant lands etc. are now a part of the memory treasure trove. In desolate and forlorn moments, rummaging through old letters serves as a great morale-booster and pulls up sagging spirits. In the digital world, communication has undoubtedly become faster and made letters redundant to a large extent. Still, there are a large number of writers who cling on to the old habit to convey their innermost thoughts to their near and dear ones through the written word. At the same time, it enables the letter writer to beautify his handwriting style so that he becomes the cynosure of all eyes. Alas! with the advent of computers and  smart phones, letter writing is now an endangered art and fast heading towards extinction. What a pity! when one compares the organised and well- composed letters of Rabindranath Tagore, Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and numerous other distinguished personages with the inane  messages transmitted vide e-mails these days. Furthermore, the art of letter writing besides fostering literary skills also enabled the letter writer to acquire a mastery over the language in the course of time. In view of the numerous advantages associated with this traditional art, it should be revived and accorded its due importance in the school curriculum.

Amit Banerjee

(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)

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