The “cattle class” remark by Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor on Twitter has become a source of embarrassment to the Congress and the UPA government. It reflects the mindset of an elite class which has come to occupy the seat of power without any real understanding of the suffering of the masses it erroneously claims to represent. One hopes the policies formulated by such leaders will be for human beings, not cattle.

Sameer Qaiyum, Aligarh

Mr. Tharoor’s comments were unfortunate. Our people will not take kindly to his “cattle class” utterance. They will regard it as an affront. The phrase refers to those who travel in second class coaches in trains or economy class in planes. A political novice, Mr. Tharoor should be careful when he posts his comments on his website. He should learn to laugh with people, not at them.

C. Rajasekaran, Kumbakonam

Many people fail to see the idiomatic, metaphorical or allusive element in English expressions and get easily riled. I have learnt to my cost that I should never use the proverb “The dog barks but the caravan moves on” in any day-to-day conversation. For many people, this Arab proverb evokes no picture other than a pack of canines in hot pursuit of a company of people travelling together for security across a desert in ancient times or perhaps a house on wheels driving through any town in present times. Immediately, an argument ensues as to who the “dogs” are.

C.G. Rishikesh, Chennai

Mr. Tharoor will do well to read the Thirukkural. Thiruvalluvar talks about the need to mind one’s tongue. Kural XIII - 7 (as translated by G.U. Pope) says: “Whate’er they fail to guard, o’er the lips, men guard should keep; If not, through fault of tongue, they bitter tears shall weep.”

K.R.A. Narasiah, Chennai

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