Sir — The Phantom of the Opera, Broadway’s longest-running show,is scheduled to close in February 2023. The closure will come less than a month after its 35th anniversary— it will conclude with an eye-popping 13,925 performances. Although it still does not come close, the Hindi film, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, has been running at Maratha Mandir in Mumbai for over 26 years. Even after the pandemic it drew crowds of hundreds. What is it about these productions that ensure their lasting popularity? Is it content, mere nostalgia or the result of herd mentality?
Sir — The Bharat Jodo Yatra seems to have failed to inspire the Congress’s Goa unit. Eight Congress members of the legislative assembly from Goa, including the former chief minister,Digambar Kamat, have joined the Bharatiya Janata Party. This is definitely a blow to the Congress. Only time will tell if the Bharat Jodo Yatra yields any real results for the Congress.
Sir — The recent defection of eight Congress MLAs proves, once again, that the Nehru-Gandhi family is not enough to hold the party together. The repeated resignations from the Grand Old Party reveal a lack of trust. It is high time the party elected a president and got its house in order.
Sir — The breakfast scheme launched by the chief minister of Tamil Nadu, M.K. Stalin, for students of Classes I to V in government schools in the state is a great initiative. Many children attend classes each morning on an empty stomach, getting to eat only when the mid-day meal is served. However, the authorities should ensure that students get freshly prepared meals. It is difficult to assimilate what is being taught in school on an empty stomach. This initiative may drive up school enrolment. It will definitely have a positive impact on the nourishment of school children. Other states should take a leaf out of Tamil Nadu’s book.
Sir — The latest National Health Accounts report has revealed that India’s per capita healthcare expenditure has remained stagnant in spite of an increase in government spending. Expenditure by government and non-government agents has declined as compared to our country’s gross domestic product. Out-of-pocket expenditure on health is still steep. One reason for this could be the poor state of public healthcare infrastructure in India. Government hospitals are mostly overcrowded,understaffed and ill-equipped. Many villages and small towns lack modern healthcare facilities, especially critical care. A large number of patients die as they cannot afford medicine and treatment. Every citizen must be medically insured, but there is hardly any awareness about insurance in rural areas. The pandemic has exposed various gaps in the country’s health sector. The government must find ways to plug these.
Let it be
Sir — India is a secular country according to its Constitution. Atheists have as much right to exist as people of all faiths. The inscriptions on the statue of E.V.Ramasamy should, thus, not bother anyone.
K. Nehru Patnaik,Visakhapatnam
Sir — The inscriptions on the statue of Periyar are not affecting anyone other than those who care to read them. One hopes the courts dismiss petitions against the inscriptions.