Letters to The Editor — May 22, 2024

Published - May 22, 2024 12:24 am IST

Fifty years ago

The Railway workers’ strike — on the grievances of working conditions, diminishing wages, soaring prices and meagre pay hike based on the Third Pay Commission — was a remarkable display of working-class unity (Opinion page, “Revisiting the Railway strike of 1974”, May 21). At that time I was a senior draughtsman in the Chief Engineer’s Office at the Southern Railways headquarters at Central. Striking workers threatened us, asking us not to attend office. But the administration warned of strict disciplinary action if there was absenteeism. Afraid, only a handful of us — there were a total of 80 staff — attended office. We had police protection, evident at the entrance on the day the strike began. In the afternoon, a group of striking workers came inside the office asking us to leave and cooperate with them. They said, “If you don’t leave, you will be pushed out.” We immediately went into the officer’s room and lodged a complaint.

But a sentence that still rings in my ears is, “You all, first safeguard yourself.” After this was said, we did not attend office till the strike was called off after 20 days, and unconditionally. The period of absence was, however, treated as loss of pay — which was subsequently revoked when the Janata government came to power.

D. Sethuraman,


‘Mehta toss rule’

I write this letter as a sports aerodynamics consultant. As we approach the end of the regular IPL season, all the teams in contention are vying for the first two spots (seed 1 and seed 2), and for good reason, since they get “two bites at the cherry”! However, what is the advantage of finishing first (as opposed to second)? Under the current IPL rules, none whatsoever. And, for that matter, there is no advantage in finishing third as opposed to fourth. In almost every other sport, seeding matters when it comes to the playoffs. Should that not be the case in the IPL as well, and, if so, how can it be achieved? In most other sports, the advantage for the higher seed is by gaining “home field advantage”. However, the venues for the playoffs are predetermined in the IPL, so that cannot be applied. So, how can the team with the higher seed be rewarded? I suggest the “Mehta Toss Rule”! The team with the higher seed is automatically granted the coin toss win. This can be applied all through the playoffs (including the final) whereby the team with the higher seed is awarded the coin toss win.

There is so much discussion regarding the toss before every IPL match, and for good reason. Depending on the pitch/ground conditions and weather forecasts, each team decides what their preference would be if they won the toss and this can sometimes affect the outcome of the match. So, this coin toss win would serve as a well-deserved advantage for the team with the higher seed.

With the IPL playoffs starting next week, it will be really interesting to follow the role (if any) of the coin toss in the outcome of a given match. While too late for this year, I urge the IPL management to seriously consider the “Mehta Toss Rule” for future IPL tournaments.

Rabindra Mehta,

Mountain View, California, U.S.

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