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Published : Jul 27, 2023 11:00 IST - 5 MINS READ

Indian documentaries

THE Elephant Whisperers winning an Academy Award has given the Indian documentary a fillip (Cover Story, July 28). The arrival of OTT and other digital platforms has boosted accessibility and catapulted the genre to an unprecedented level of public acceptance. The list of important documentaries in the Cover Story left out Children of the Pyre. The award-winning 2008 documentary by Rajesh S. Jala is the heart-wrenching story of seven children who made a living by cremating bodies at Manikarnika ghat on the banks of the Ganges and selling the stolen funeral shrouds for a pittance. The film rekindled the passion of a new generation of directors. Since many of the recent documentaries have political overtones, they do not find favour with the ruling class. Twenty-first century problems such as environmental pollution, deforestation, shrinking freshwater resources, gender inequality, and the plastic menace are a few themes worthy of documentation.

T.N. Venugopalan

Kochi, Kerala

FROM silent films to talking films, from mythological and war films to films on varied issues concerning nature, and from viewing and enjoying films in cinema halls to enjoying content in the comfort of one’s home, this medium has seen a lot of changes. OTT platforms have made it possible to move beyond YouTube and social media and made it possible to watch content on smaller screens. OTT has given old and new movie-makers with ideas the ample space to make documentaries rather than be confined to making movies based on fictional stories and laced with songs, jarring music, hatred, jealousy, and fighting, and ending with victory of virtue over the evil.

OTT has made it possible for new dreamers to make their dreams come true and allowed female filmmakers to bring women’s issues, neglected so far, to the fore. The Cover Story threw sufficient light on the OTT platform.

M.Y. Shariff



THIS is with reference to the article “Tipping the balance of Pawar” (July 28). Indian politics is extremely filthy, and to prevent defections, the splitting of political parties, and the murder of democracy, laws that do the following need to be enacted immediately: (i) expel defectors for an entire five-year term of an elected body; (ii) double the defector’s expulsion if the offence is repeated; (iii) make it mandatory for political parties and alliances to elect their candidates who will contest elections; (iii) restrict Chief Ministers, Deputy Chief Ministers, the Prime Minister, and Deputy Prime Minister to two terms; and (iv) make psychiatric and health check-ups mandatory for those standing for office. One can (and must) prevent power politics quickly this way.

Peter Castellino


AFTER Eknath Shinde, along with many Shiv Sena MLAs, broke away from Uddhav Thackeray and joined the BJP in June last year, all was going well for the BJP in Maharashtra. The Election Commission also allowed Shinde’s faction to use the Shiv Sena’s bow and arrow symbol. A strong combination of the BJP and the Shinde Shiv Sena can face the elections in 2024. Therefore, one wonders why the BJP has joined hands with Ajit Pawar and other NCP MLAs. This has made a Maha mess. This entire game seems to be controlled remotely by NCP chief Sharad Pawar, who along with his nephew Ajit Pawar is working to destabilise the Maharashtra government, with the ultimate aim being to make Ajit Pawar Chief Minister. Maybe the BJP senses that Shinde and his MLAs could be disqualified. But this is likely to leave BJP voters confused.

Ashok Nihalani

Pune, Maharashtra

Politics & Islam

THE article “The retreat of political Islam” (July 28) made for interesting and informative reading. Islam is a pluralistic, diverse, and flexible religion. Authentic Islamic doctrine resists violence and seeks to establish communal harmony. However, so-called political leaders have promoted extremism in the name of political Islam. In this modern era, we should practise being true Muslims and follow authentic practical Islam.

Ubaida Abul Hasanat



The Indian Football team celebrates after winning the SAFF Championship by beating Kuwait in the finals in Bengaluru on July 4.

The Indian Football team celebrates after winning the SAFF Championship by beating Kuwait in the finals in Bengaluru on July 4. | Photo Credit: MURALI KUMAR K.

HEARTIEST congratulations to the Indian football team for winning the South Asian Football Federation Championship by beating Kuwait in the thrilling final in Bengaluru on July 4 (“Still getting a kick at 38”, page 9, July 28). The pulsating final, during which the fortunes of both sides fluctuated, was vintage stuff. Skills apart, team spirit and the will to succeed were the major factors that contributed to India’s memorable triumph. The architect of the victory was Sunil Chhetri. Notwithstanding the success, India has still a long way to go before it becomes a major force in the arena of football. The Sports Authority of India and the Central government should take note of the latest success and provide better facilities, infrastructure, and encouragement for the sport.

B. Suresh Kumar

Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu


THE existence of “zero villages” is an indication of poor governance and shows that the struggles of the poor and marginalised to secure their basic rights did not stop after India became an independent country (“The ‘zero villages’”, July 28). Many unamended outdated colonial laws still haunt Indian citizens. The Indian governance machinery is mixed up with the executive strands of colonialism and subjugates people. It is nothing more than a case of public deprivation being endorsed by officialdom. The use of the terms revenue villages/lands is a relic of colonial rule that classified property to ease the collection of revenue by the exploitative British. Forcing tribal people off their agricultural land on the pretext of a revenue category amounts to the state generating refugees among its own citizens. The Odisha government must revisit the Forest Rights Act to accommodate the deprived individuals in the so-called zero villages.

B. Rajasekaran


The sengol

The sengol from Tamil Nadu that was installed in the new Parliament building, which was inaugurated on May 28.

The sengol from Tamil Nadu that was installed in the new Parliament building, which was inaugurated on May 28. | Photo Credit: PTI

THE writer agrees that the sengol stands for wise and just governance (“What place does a sceptre have in a democracy?”, July 28). Unlike many of our elected governments, kings such as Rajaraja Chola governed well. The people of Tamil Nadu feel proud that the historic sengol was installed in the new Parliament building. Indian history is a chronological conundrum and gives fake historians the licence to challenge true historical narratives. India is one of world’s oldest civilisations, and naturally Indians have unwavering faith in God and tradition. It was not a bad idea to install the sengol in Parliament as it will remind legislators that wise and just governance should be the hallmark of India’s democracy. Did the world’s most powerful democracy, the US, lose its democratic credentials when it adopted the motto “In God We Trust”?

Kangayam R. Narasimhan


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