Letters to the Editor

Published : May 11, 2016 12:30 IST

Temple entry

fl13 cover temple
THE Bombay High Court’s decision to allow women entry into the Shani Shinganpur temple is heartening (Cover Story, “Winds of change”, May 13). It will be interesting to see how the temple authorities react to this development. They should not forget every person is equal in the eyes of God, irrespective of gender or caste. It is men, the so-called stronger gender, who have created this divide and restriction to boost their egos.

Bal Govind, Noida, Uttar Pradesh

THE Bombay High Court’s ruling that the state is duty-bound to end gender discrimination at temples is progressive. It is shocking that the trustees of the Shani Shingnapur temple joined hands with local people to prevent women from entering the sanctum sanctorum. After Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis instructed the district administration to ensure that the court order was followed in letter and spirit, those opposing women’s entry into the temple relented. This sends a positive message and ends an archaic tradition that had no logic or reason.

K.R. Srinivasan, Secunderabad, Telangana

I CONGRATULATE Trupti Desai and other activists of the Bhumata Ranragini Brigade on their efforts to enter the sanctum sanctorum of the Shani Shingnapur temple. However, the photograph on the cover showed Trupti Desai and others pouring milk on the idol by emptying a plastic pouch straight on it, which is not the proper way to do a milk abhishek. The milk should have first been poured into a vessel made of copper/brass/bronze/stainless steel.

R. Nambiar, Pune, Maharashtra

THE clamour for the entry of women in the 10 to 50 age group in the Sabarimala temple is quixotic (Cover Story, “Pressure on a hill shrine”, May 13). The restriction on women, apart from being part of the temple’s time-tested customs and rituals, which are the bedrocks of religious belief, is in the wider interest of women themselves for safety reasons as the temple is located in a forest. The litigants do not represent the aspirations of the overwhelming majority of the stakeholders. When there are so many issues pertaining to women’s empowerment in the social, political and economic spheres crying for attention, this controversy is much ado about nothing.

Ayyasseri Raveendranath, Aranmula, Kerala

Temple tragedy

IT is not uncommon for tragedies to occur during festivals at places of worship across the world because at such congregations faith and traditions take precedence over logic and reason (“Template for tragedy”, May 13). Accidents can be avoided and festivals conducted safely if temple authorities and law enforcers work in tandem to ensure that safety norms are adhered to. The Thrissur Pooram finale was a fine example of how this can be done.

K.P. Rajan, Mumbai

THE tragedy highlights Indians’ lackadaisical approach to safety. We do not take even simple precautions to avoid accidents, so tragedies are just waiting to happen. While temple fireworks, an age-old tradition, cannot be banned, at least a simple drill should be conducted to check whether safety precautions are in place. Only competent people should be allowed to handle fireworks and be in charge of their storage.

D.B.N. Murthy, Bengaluru

Drug ban

THE article “Faulty prescriptions” (May 13) drew attention to the hazards of unsound fixed-dose combination (FDC) drugs and the professional patronage for them. With FDCs, pharmaceutical companies can circumvent the drug pricing and packaging regulations. It is surprising that State and Central drug authorities permit them to be marketed without sound clinical data on their efficacy. Meetings of physicians’ associations and conferences and seminars that provide “Continuous Medical Education” for doctors, have become opportunities to court physicians over meals at appealing venues. They allow drug companies to pay speaking fees to the favoured. The advertising and marketing budgets are sometimes higher than R&D costs, though the industry is fond of claiming that drugs are expensive because its spending on research is huge.

H.N. Ramakrishna, Bengaluru


THE article “African connection” (May 13) was a delightful journey to a forgotten corner of Indian history and heritage. Many more such stories, which find no place in our Anglo-centric history texts and other writings, must be waiting to be written. Some remarkably frank and perceptive observations regarding both Europeans and various native communities can be found in the Australian John Lang’s books based on his travels in India in the 1850s. The extent of slavery in the colonial period is perhaps worth a separate study because the practice was prevalent the world over but is seldom mentioned in the literature commonly available here.

In a well-researched book mainly about colonial Lucknow in the 18th century, Rosie Llewellyn-Jones says: “Most Europeans in Calcutta had one or more slave children. Sir William Jones, the scholar and founder of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, had a slave boy called Otto. Slave boats laden with children came down the Hooghly, especially during times of famine when parents would sell them to traders. These children were Indians, but there were also negro slaves from Africa, sometimes employed as domestic servants, but sometimes as soldiers, like the 25 Africans who fought for Sir Eyre Coote during the siege of Pondicherry.”

Elsewhere, she mentions that a proclamation against slavery had been issued as early as 1789. There is surely a lot more to all this, and one hopes that some impartial historians can open up such topics to the interested lay public for discussion.

T. Tharu, Chennai

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