Letters to the Editor

Published : Feb 15, 2017 12:30 IST


Jallikattu protest

THE people of Tamil Nadu are emotionally attached to jallikattu because it has been a part of their culture since the Sangam era (Cover Story, February 17). The sudden and spontaneous protests that one witnessed in the Marina beach in Chennai and in Madurai, Coimbatore and other places were against the Supreme Court’s judgment banning the use of bulls in jallikattu or other such events. The judgment, which went in favour of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), was perceived as an assault on Tamil culture and pride, and the agitation became a mass movement, channelling people’s, especially the youths’, simmering discontent over many issues.

The government of Tamil Nadu failed to read the true nature of the protest, leading to police excesses on the last day. This protest has larger implications for Tamil Nadu’s polity.

N.C. Sreedharan, Kannur, Kerala

THE Marina protest, which drew youths in large numbers in an unprecedented show of unity and strength, surprised the world.

The city had shown during the floods of 2015 and Cyclone Vardha of 2016 that its people could come together in the face of great natural calamities. One saw something of the same sprit in the protests to revoke the ban on jallikattu. The youths, who protested peacefully for seven days, should have dispersed when the police asked them to do so. Perhaps they thought the police were their friends and well-wishers, but it is unfortunate that it ended in violence. Still, the protest remains a unique, landmark event.

A.J. Rangarajan, Chennai

SO-CALLED animal lovers must understand that the bulls used in jallikattu are the same ones used for agricultural work throughout the year and are looked after very well by farmers. These bulls are used for breeding, and jallikattu is one of the physical activities that prepares them for it. Furthermore, there are clearly laid out rules for the conduct of the sport. One is allowed to hold the bull only by its hump. Holding its neck or horns or twisting its tail will lead to disqualification.

Sustaining a protest for seven days is not easy, but these youngsters, aided by technology, the Internet and social media, not only pulled it off but also managed to get the government to fulfil their demands. They deserve applause and appreciation.

P. Senthil Saravana Durai, Mumbai

BSF soldiers


BSF jawans seen relaxing taking food at the BSF Border outpost along the western border in Raan of Kutch in Rajasthan and Kutch in Gujarat , two western Indian border States.The paramilitary Border Security Force personnel along the western border live with their eyes `peeled' open. Rising above topographical and other constraints, they do their duty - checking infiltrators and preventing smuggling. __1986-02-08

THE Border Security Force soldier’s video, posted on social media drawing attention to the substandard food given to soldiers posted in inhospitable terrain, was a shocker (“Food for thought”, February 17).

The inhuman treatment meted out to soldiers guarding our borders is shameful. The defence put forward by the BSF station chief seems calculated to defend the guilty. It is unfair that even before the official probe instituted by the BSF could come out with its findings, senior officers have accused the soldier of mental instability and transferred him to another location. An independent high-level probe should be instituted and the guilty should be brought to book so that such practices do not continue.

K.R. Srinivasan, Secunderabad, Telangana

SOLDIERS’ grievances should be given top priority. But soldiers should not approach the media directly to air them. Other internal official channels should be tried first, like raising the issue with senior officers or higher authorities.

Mahesh Kumar, New Delhi

Obama’s record


FILE - In this Jan. 18, 2017 file photo, President Barack Obama speaks during his final presidential news conference, in the briefing room of the White House in Washington. A spokesman for Obama says the former president "fundamentally disagrees" with discrimination that targets people based on their religion. The statement alluded to but did not specifically mention President Donald Trump's temporary ban on refugees from several Muslim-majority countries. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

GOING by his track record, it is clear that Barack Obama did not deserve the Nobel Peace Prize (“Trail of blood”, February 17). He should have pardoned Edward Snowden and paved the way for his return to the United States, but Obama chose not to do it. A Nobel Peace prize winner is not expected to harass whistle-blowers, but a number of them have been jailed during his regime.

Civilian casualties because of air raids by U.S. planes have been high in conflict zones such as Syria. Obama should have brokered a peace deal in Ukraine instead of blaming Russia for the crisis and imposing sanctions on it.

Deendayal M. Lulla, Mumbai

Islamic banking

THE concept of interest-free banking that seeks to generate wealth through sharing risks and rewards is not to be brushed aside (“Well worth a try”, February 3).

Since Islamic banking has proved to be conducive to developing entrepreneurship, why should we shy away from embracing it? When diversification of financial products makes economic sense, the time-tested idea of Islamic banking should not be ignored because of unfounded prejudices.

Ayyasseri Raveendranath, Aranmula, Kerala

THE interview with Shariq Nizar cleared all misconceptions regarding Islamic banking (“Islamic banking will help develop entrepreneurship”, February 3). Islamic banking is not for Muslims alone. The entire world can benefit from it. People are beginning to realise that it is a sophisticated banking and finance structure based on moral and social values, yet compatible with modern-day financial needs. “Islamic counters” in conventional banks is not a bad idea.

Shafeeq Rahman V.P., Nellaya, Kerala

Om Puri


BANGALORE, 15/12/201: Actor Om Puri at the inauguration of Bengaluru International Film Festival at Jnana Jyothi Auditorium, in Bangalore. Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

OM PURI’S baritone voice, body language and effortless ease in essaying complex roles made him a versatile actor (“One who rose above his roles”, February 3). He was a courageous actor who was not scared of playing off-beat roles, bringing sensitivity and humanity to the characters he played. Who can forget his work in “Sadgati” (1981), “Gandhi” (1982) or “Tamas” (1987)? In a career spanning 40 years, he acted in over 250 films and over 20 TV serials. He won the heart of millions not just for his roles in serious films but also for comic roles in films such as “Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro” and “Chachi 420”. His passing is an irreparable loss to the world of cinema.

Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee, Faridabad, Haryana

Cho Ramaswamy


Cho S Ramaswamy, Veteran journalist and Editor of `Thuglak', tamil magazine, at an interview, in Chennai on Feb. 7, 2014. Photo : Bijoy Ghosh

CHO RAMASWAMY was always a supporter of the Bharatiya Janata Party. He had campaigned tirelessly for the party’s previous incarnation as the Bharatiya Jana Sangh in 1971 in Delhi and Mumbai (“On the Right trajectory”, January 6). His electioneering did not help the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, which performed dismally in that election. Despite his constant criticism of the political processes in India, he was constantly patching up coalitions that suited his fancy in Tamil Nadu rather than following the lofty political principles that he harked upon in his political satires, dramas, speeches, and writings. As the article stated, it was appalling that Cho was a director in an alcohol-producing company in which Sasikala and her family members are stakeholders. How he was able to reconcile this with his world view that upheld varnashrama dharma, with Brahmins at the top of the hierarchy, is something that only his twisted logic could explain.

Narayana Menon, Canberra, Australia

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