Letters to the Editor — April 30, 2021

Looming threat

I write this letter as the former Director of Research and Health, Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University. There is certainly a very important medical emergency, namely Antimicrobial Resistance(AMR), waiting to strike across the world (OpEd page, “Antimicrobial resistance: the silent threat”, April 29). It is indeed apt to call it a slow tsunami that threatens to undo the medical progress achieved over a century. Though such warnings and threats have been in print for quite a while, nothing tangible appears to have been done by regulatory authorities. Unlike in the developed world, an antibiotic audit is followed with least regard in the developing world which includes India. Antibiotics are available freely over the counter in pharmacies. It is common sight to find local pharmacies selling a single dose of antibiotics given along with an anti-allergic drug to people who have only a common cold. Though indiscriminate antibiotic usage has been largely curtailed in livestock farming, its usage still persists in the poultry industry and in aquaculture farms to a level that is not required.

Clinical laboratories should be equipped with the expertise and the infrastructure to quickly process samples and report AMR patterns to aid the clinician in choosing the appropriate antibiotic for treatment instead of resorting to irrational selection of antibiotics for treatment. Many herbs, beginning with Allicin (garlic) have shown promising results as antimicrobial agents which the poultry industry has begin to use; this has to be scientifically supported and their usage widened.

Before Antimicrobial Resistance becomes a major health emergency, the regulators should wake up and have in place stringent measures.

Dr. V. Purushothaman,


India and the pandemic

The article, “Gasping for air, gasping for answers” (Editorial page, April 29), appears more as an overdramatised, Cassandra-like lament rather than a sensible and well-considered dissection of the pandemic’s second wave.

One does not treat trauma with expressions of moral affront. The nation is facing a humanitarian crisis and one expects policy experts to offer implementable solutions to provide immediate relief to the people. When a fire is raging we focus on extinguishing it.

The second wave is a complex web of reinforcing factors. The search for a single cause such as state failure is a futile exercise. The only discernible cause at the moment is a lowering of vigil at all levels of society. Sure, the government’s vaccine policy could have been designed better. Campaigns against the quick approval of two vaccines did not exactly help to build public confidence. The lack of national unity will derail our efforts to tide over the crisis and signal to the world that India is incapable of coping with the pandemic.

V.N. Mukundarajan,


No myth

It is naive to say that Hindu kings did not own and administer temples (Editorial page, “Temples are not fiefdoms of the state”, April 29). It is not a ‘colonial myth’, as the writer claims. For this one does not have to look at ‘inscriptions cast in stone’. The Zamorin of Calicut owned 64 temples; they still own 43. The Cochin royal family owned and managed a large number of temples and uttoos (free kitchen), details of which were given by the 20th century scholar, Kanippayyur Shankaran Namboodiripad, in his memoirs.

All royal temples had large tracts of land attached to them. They were run by the rental income. Normally, the king appointed a local lord to manage them on his behalf.

P. Raman,


New Delhi

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