Letters to the Editor — July 19, 2021

Afghan’s stability

Though the Afghanistan President, Ashraf Ghani, sounds optimistic in the face of grave adversity (Page 1, “Taliban won battles, we will win the war: Ghani”, July 18), will optimism alone be enough to turn things around in the troubled country? Dependence on foreign aid to quell terrorism has clearly dented the country’s ability to defend itself, and the Taliban, more than anybody else, know this very well.

Whatever the U.S. and its allies have done so far has been undone in one stroke by their sudden withdrawal, leaving the present regime at the mercy of the Taliban. Fundamentalist forces from Pakistan are fomenting trouble, which Islamabad is either unwilling or unable to control. Pakistan also does not seem to have realised what the growth of fundamentalism can do to a country; it has a great example right next door. India is in a vulnerable position. New Delhi must explore all means to facilitate a lasting solution to ensure the neighbourhood’s peace.

Yoganandh T.,

Salem, Tamil Nadu

Punjab politics

The Punjab Chief Minister eventually blinked (Page 1, “Sidhu may captain Congress in Punjab”, July 18). There will now be two power centres, probably working at cross purposes and each turning out to the nemesis of the other. Captain Amarinder Singh may have bought peace to buy time and recalibrate his strategy. One has to consider his good job in governance and a high possibility of his getting re-elected being pretty high now being damaged. The Gandhi family according precedence to sycophancy over performance will prove inimical to the Congress party.

Deepak Singhal,

Noida, Uttar Pradesh

Astrology and India

Though the writer of the article, “No pseudoscience, please” (OpEd page, July 15), has tried to make out a strong case against a degree course in astrology, I believe that people’s faith in India is too deeply entrenched for any amount of rationalist thinking to be successful in the real sense. Such beliefs have been in practice for years when even kings relied on sages for a “propitious time” to carry out duties. And our own elected representatives arrange their swearing-in as advised by astrologers.

A fear of the unknown, fear of divine wrath, societal or peer pressure are probable reasons why there is blind belief in all kinds of rituals and propitiatory ceremonies. These fears are skilfully fuelled by astrologers, especially in the rural areas, ensuring a steady income stream for themselves.

Education, which is the normally touted panacea for most of society’s ills, is also not a cure! One finds even educated families immersed in the subject.

India needs a central anti-superstition statute. But given the ideology of the government of the day, such a statute may exist only on paper.

V.V. Koushik,


“I don’t believe in astrology; I’m Sagitarius and we’re skeptical,” was what Arthur C. Clarke once said, amply expounding how profoundly we are enwrapped in this truism. In every walk of life the influence of astrological predictions, warnings, remedies, etc. are so inextricably entwined that opposing or favouring IGNOU launching a degree course in astrology is of no significance. There is no foreseeable end to the exploitation of the masses seeking solace from these so-called astrology gurus wielding considerable influence on their clients. Any great astrologer, if he is to bare his conscience, would admit that all the build-up of astrological analysis is to gain the confidence of anxious seekers.

Vaduvambal Sankaran,


As a teenager who avidly loves science, I am shocked by the number of people who support astrology and affiliated courses. I wonder whether we will soon have a situation where there will be courses on black magic and witchcraft. There are many who believe in these too. If one reads treatises written on astrology by some of the famous astrologers, one finds these books lack a proper and honest scientific approach. The definitions and methods used in these books are vague and lack rigor. I wonder what the IGNOU course will be like.

Rishi Sunil,

Valiyapadam, Kollam, Kerala

One of the letter writers (Letters to the Editor) is averse to calling ‘astrology a pseudo science’. What is it then’? Does he want it to be called a ‘science’? Yes, there are lakhs of people in India who consult astrologers. It works at a subconscious level. My deep fear is that if astrology becomes a discipline of study, it may not be far-fetched to say that some government could make it formal for departments to function according to predictions.

M. Gandhi,



Biomedical waste

The acceleration in the statistical rates in the accumulation of biomedical waste is a serious issue. It calls for adequate disposal measures to save the environment. Rather than use landfills, proper disposal mechanisms such as incineration and microwave irradiation should be considered even at the district level.

Kukku C. Jayamon,

Kumarakom, Kottayam, Kerala

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