Letters to the Editor — October 12, 2020

Court on protest

Anarchy will replace democracy if the right to protest is exalted as an unqualified right. The so-called leaderless and organic protest is a myth. One of democracy’s hazards is its vulnerability to covert destabilisation of the elected government by vested interests. Every law creates its own discontents, but that cannot be the reason to romanticise disruptive and sectarian protests orchestrated by agenda-seeking masterminds who lurk in the background and pull the strings on the indoctrinated protesters. The spirit in which the Supreme Court of India’s observations were made must be noted (Editorial, “The right balance”, October 10). It did not call call for a crackdown on all protests indiscriminately.

V.N. Mukundarajan,



Worthy recipient

It is heartening that this year’s Nobel Prize for Peace goes to the World Food Programme. The scourge of hunger, exacerbated by the pandemic and concomitant loss of income, predominantly man-made climate change and never-ending wars, represents a humanitarian crisis of inconceivable proportions. The pangs of hunger must be experienced to be understood, and those who have food to eat should not avert their eyes from the hungry. The hard-working and dedicated staff of the WFP are frontline fighters, tackling huge logistical problems and going beyond the call of duty to avert starvation deaths. One only hopes that the WFP receives adequate funding.

G. David Milton,

Maruthancode, Tamil Nadu

The Nobel Peace Prize is, without doubt, recognition that freedom from hunger is what lays the foundation of world peace. The award is truly for the millions of food producers — farmers. From time immemorial, they have been slogging, silently and often bent over with poverty, malnourishment and overwork, to feed us. There are years when food crop fails due to various factors that try and destroy the spirit of living. But the producers of food do not give up. While the fury of nature and the power of the virus are news, the story of the struggle of farmers and aid workers trying to overcome these forces of destruction is kept out of the public eye.

Ajoy Kumar Basu,



Savithri Vaithi

In the passing of Savithri Vaithi, a whole era of undaunted, selfless service to destitute women has come to an end (Chennai, “Founder of Vishranthi Old Age Home dead”, October 11). She was a pioneer in setting up the “Vishranti” in Chennai, a home for such women from the poor strata of society under the aegis of the Monday Charity Club. For nearly half a century she went about attending to their welfare in ever so many ways. Her most courageous act was her decision to perform the funeral rites for the deceased women among them, herself, when she found that their family members were either not available or unwilling to take up the responsibility. This act of hers truly explicated the message of the Bhagavad Gita on ‘nishkamya karma’. She may even be called the Mother Teresa of Madras. Savithri Vaithi comes in the illustrious tradition of progressive women leaders devoting their life to the cause of public good in an altruistic spirit. She deserves to be conferred a Padma award.

C.T. Indra,


Ms. Vaithi had foresight and was a pioneer in supporting social causes. Her performing the funeral rites of elderly abandoned persons if their relatives did not do so was indeed laudable and noble. It is a matter of regret that she has not been conferred with any national award for her unique services to the cause of the elderly.

P.S. Subrahmanian,


Snail city

In Kerala, the threat posed by the Giant African snail (Achatina fulicais) is growing by leaps and bounds. In the Ernakulam area, the damage to vegetation is colossal. Initially, the threat was confined to the Willingdon Island area, where the creature is said to have landed, brought in through the sea trade along with imported wood or logs. Now, almost all parts of Ernakulam city and its adjoining areas have been invaded. The pest appears to be most active at night, when there is no chance to notice the damage. The snail is ugly and irritating, with the adult almost 20 cm in length. Many fear contracting infections if they consume the vegetables and fruits the snail may have come in contact with.

Mohan Mangattussery,



CSK’s slide

There seems to be no end to the misery Chennai Super Kings is undergoing in the current IPL season. For the first time, perhaps, a champion side may not qualify for the play-offs unless it makes a dramatic turnaround. There are two major problems the team faces: its fragile middle-order batting which is unable to accelerate the scoring rate when batting first or caves in while chasing even a moderate target. The second is there is not a single fast bowler who can bowl at high speeds; the medium-fast deliveries of its bowlers on slow wickets allow the opponent batsmen to step out often and hit those big shots at will. Virat Kohli did that during his brilliant 90 not out the other night. The ‘Whistle Podu’ Army may soon find it hard to whistle.

R. Sivakumar,


In any sport, there can be only one winner. No doubt, this year, the most favoured and loved team, CSK. has not lived up to expectation. Dhoni is a captain who has never shed his responsibility or been averse to bouquets or brickbats. At the same time, a bad show or two does not call for physical threats being issued to his family. This is most despicable.

Janaki Mahadevan,


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