Letters to the Editor - August 25, 2018


Foreign aid and relief

Just as it did in the case after Hurricane Katrina, the U.S. government did not seek help from the international community for a few weeks after the BP oil spill. But in the end, it did, reaching out to Sweden for specialised equipment. Given the fact that Indians from Kerala constitute about 80% of the over 2 million-strong Indian diaspora in the United Arab Emirates, the offer of assistance by the UAE should be taken as a recognition of the contribution of those from Kerala.

Political parties across the spectrum should set aside their egos, forget the destructive political-opportunistic approach and work in a united manner by accepting assistance from every source. There must be proper machinery in place to streamline such aid and also ensure that it is properly accounted for.

Suddapalli Bhaskara Rao,

Muscat, Sultanate of Oman

Perhaps the most acceptable method to provide financial assistance by foreign governments to Kerala for relief and reconstruction would be to route it through the United Nations. This would be in accordance with the Government of India’s policy of accepting foreign aid from international foundations. The UN has to, however, monitor the funds to ensure that they are spent for the desired purposes.

N. Rama Rao,


In the context of specific offers made to Kerala by various governments, the UAE’s offer of about ₹700 crore is not a paltry sum to be ignored. Given the unprecedented damage caused in Kerala due to the severe flooding, this is by no means an occasion when assistance can be refused. I am sure that wisdom will eventually dawn on the Centre (Editorial, “Accepting help”, August 24).

V.V. Hari Prasad,

Secunderabad, Telangana

The simple fact is that the magnitude of devastation in Kerala is enormous. It requires a huge economic package in monetary and material terms. There should not have been any sort of hesitation or confusion in accepting assistance from abroad, especially when it has been voluntary. It must be accepted as a kind gesture and one which will keep our diplomatic relations fine-tuned.

Ravi Bhushan,

Kurukshetra, Haryana

The sceptical attitude towards the acceptance of foreign funds at such a crucial juncture is avoidable and may only result in abhorrence of the Centre’s stand. Citing the existing policy is also unacceptable as it is riddled with ambiguities. The unhappy developments are a case for completely overhauling disaster management strategies.

N. Vijai,


Handling trauma

Is enough attention being paid to the psychological impact of the calamity? Research has shown that in post-trauma scenarios, raised degrees of stress could lead to depression and other mental illnesses especially among those who have lost their loved ones and livelihoods.

Other findings are that rescue workers and volunteers who are exposed to mass destruction and life-threatening situations could be affected by psychological disorders. Counselling centres are also required. What we need is the psychological understanding of people from their ethno-cultural traditions, community practices, beliefs and value perspectives. Only then will the services provided be worthy and value-oriented.

Dr. Nandeesh Y.D.,

Uppinangady, Karnataka

Importance of history

An inquiring mind matched with a seamlessly interesting method of teaching can do wonders in shaping the collective self of our population (Editorial page, “Why history matters so much”, August 24). Our perception towards prevailing crises — whether they are regarding long-standing, self-deterministic movements, politico-geographic problems, and even the legal ones — is shaped by a proper understanding of their provenance. Today the science and technological revolution has been guiding our potential behaviour but regressive problems still hinder bright prospects which stem from a fragile public ethos and lack of perception of a shared identity. Issues such as the Naga insurgency, the Gurkha turmoil in West Bengal, and problems concerning the Rohingya present an opportune moment to leverage the analysis that history has to offer.

Atin Sharma,


The urge to mould history to suit a particular narrative in present times is something not hidden from anyone but what is being forgotten is the falsehood being propagated. For example, one only has to look at history books in Pakistan to see the quantum of distortion. Of course it is not so bad in the Indian context. Such adventures with history will only lead to a decline in intellectual discourse. History requires not only the right way of teaching it but also its acceptance in higher and competitive education.

Naveen Rattu,


A collaboration

I would like to add a few more examples to what the writer has highlighted in his article, “A chronicle of collaboration” (Editorial page, August 20). Malayalam for instance has many Christian kirtanas set to Carnatic tunes, which were composed by those like Mosavalsalam Sastriar in the early 20th century. The late Bishop Amritham organised a kutcheri by Yesudas many years ago to celebrate Christmas. The only issue was that those who came to listen to him could not appreciate classical music. There is a priest in Kerala, Fr. Paul Poovathingal, who runs a Carnatic music school, and who is known as the ‘Padum Padre’.

D. Babu Paul,


That music transcends religion is a universal truth, but trying to justify the ‘super imposition’ of music of a different character on devotional songs is hardly convincing. It amounts to meddling with what is revered by lovers of Carnatic music. The issue should be settled amicably.

B. Gurumurthy,


Let off to sea

The report about 100 tmc of Cauvery water having been let into the Bay of Bengal in the last month is distressing. At a time when large parts of Tamil Nadu are facing water scarcity — this includes Chennai — the government should have had measures in place to channel the excess water to these parts. It may be a long time before we get such a monsoon bounty.

Ramdas Naik,


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