Letters to the Editor — January 26, 2022

COVID and schooling

The article, “The devastating impact of school closure” (OpEd page, January 25), would also highlight the simple, inexpensive and an age-old method of learning — open air classes. India has a conducive climate for this and it can be done. For millions of schoolchildren who will not be going to schools, this is a simple and inexpensive way out. Learning online has its limitations and not all students have the luxury of Internet access. Reports suggest that students have regressed because of lost classroom time particularly in the core subjects and it is likely that there will be a lost generation. Physical interaction is also the best way to learn and communicate.

H.N. Ramakrishna,



Dropped hymn

Why bring in a desi approach when it concerns ‘Abide with me’? For an overwhelming number of Indians, the hymn is associated with its tune and rhythm. A tune is a tune. And a tune that captivates one and all must be noted for why it captivates us. Its colonial past has no place in this. The perception is that this has more to do with the ruling party’s agenda to ease out the past.

Thomas K.E.,


Close on the heels of the controversy surrounding the Republic Day tableaux issue — which has yet to die down — comes another move by the Union Government: to drop a favourite hymn. The government of the day appears to be fond of dropping anything that does not gel with its agenda. Any tune or music score that is pleasant is acceptable. Music cuts across all barriers. Those who made the decision to drop the hymn must beat a retreat.

V.N. Gopal,


I am a septuagenarian and have been watching the Beating Retreat ceremony for years. It is an event of national pride and ‘Abide with me’ has been part and parcel of the Retreat ceremony. It is baffling what prompted the Government to replace this good old song in what is essentially a solemn occasion.

P. Victor Selvaraj,

Palayamkottai, Tamil Nadu

There are so many other issues to focus on than to make unwarranted changes. The powers that be must also ponder over the idea of oneness and brotherhood.

Shreya Bansal,

Fatehabad, Haryana

It is not important to know how many Indian tunes will be played during the ceremony. It is not a necessity to know whether Bollywood tunes or any other numbers are included. It is also immaterial to know how many buglers, trumpeters and drummers will be in the bands playing the tunes. The crux of the issue is that some tunes continue forever.

Manoharan Muthuswamy,


The move deserves praise. ‘ Ae mere watan ke logon ’ is a pertinent song that evokes nationalism. There are many elements of the colonial era that must be changed.

Mohit Rawal,

Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh

Child rights

The explainer, “The need for shared parenting” (E-paper, ‘Text & Context’ page, January 24), has raised a very pertinent issue which needs redress. As a nation, we have failed miserably as far as the protection of child rights in matrimonial disputes is concerned. When one parent gains custody of their child, the child is often forcibly deprived of the love of the other parent and extended family. The parent without custody — in many a case — has to run to court, often fruitlessly, to gain access. Most family courts prolong the matter, and if some kind of physical access is awarded, the parent with custody often challenges the order in a higher court. The parental alienation syndrome is bound to hamper the mental health and holistic growth of the child concerned, which I highlight as a grandmother grappling with this issue.

Sadhna Gupta,

New Delhi

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