Sir — Getting in shape should not lead to added anxiety. Most people who are overweight find it difficult to exercise in public, fearing that they would be ridiculed. Be it the gym or even a walk around the block, many with large bodies experience cruel or demoralizing comments — sometimes disguised as concern — making it challenging for them to continue. Hearteningly, a number of people are standing up to such bullying and forming communities to encourage one another. Everyone, irrespective of their weight, should have a safe and uplifting environment to pursue their fitness goals.
Sir — It is astounding that in spite of a range of problems plaguing the nation, the prime minister, Narendra Modi, decided to devote the majority of his time during his reply to the discussion of the motion of thanks to the president’s address to the Congress (“PM finds a foe bigger than China”, Feb 8). Modi has been quick to point out the shortcomings of the Grand Old Party but stops short of acknowledging the mistakes of the Bharatiya Janata Party government. The prime minister should have utilized this opportunity to address issues of immediate concern.
Sir — Narendra Modi’s response to the discussion of the motion of thanks to the president’s address was disappointing. He launched a familiar attack on the Congress by accusing the party of being in the grips of “urban Naxals” and becoming the leader of the “tukde tukde gang”. It is curious that the prime minister would use the pejorative term, “urban Naxals”, for political opponents even though the former minister of state for home, G. Kishan Reddy, had stated in the Rajya Sabha in 2020 that the expression does not figure in any official document, record or statement issued by the home ministry. The government must clarify its stand so that people are not falsely accused of extremism.
Sir — It is amply clear that Rahul Gandhi’s speech in the Lok Sabha, drawing attention to the socio-political condition of the nation, has hit a sore spot. Narendra Modi rehashed a number of old accusations against the Congress in Parliament. But before laying blame on others, the BJP must introspect on the limitations of the policies brought forth in the last eight years.
Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee,
Back to basics
Sir — The editorial, “Gone fishing” (Feb 9), rightly argues that the campaign strategies of the candidates for Odisha’s panchayat elections represent a breath of fresh air. One sarpanch nominee has been carrying a fish — her election symbol — while another candidate could be seen hauling a TV set as they appeal for votes. These campaign strategies are devoid of any fanfare and provide the voters the chance to see the candidates up close.
Over the last few years, the campaigning process has become disproportionately reliant on technology and obscene amounts of money. But with rallies and road shows banned for the time being in view of the pandemic, political parties now have little scope for extravagant campaigns. They must utilize this opportunity to forgo all flamboyant campaign tactics and rely on the strength of their messages. Such simpler forms of campaigning will level the playing field and give all candidates, irrespective of their party affiliation, a fair opportunity to fight the elections.
Satish Shivram Phadte,
Sir — The Odisha panchayat election candidates’ decision to opt for door-to-door campaigns must be lauded. These days, candidates across political parties treat the electorate as an invisible chunk of votes and rarely bother to interact with the people they aim to represent. Furthermore, an over-dependence on digital forms of campaigning has led to the alienation of those who do not have access to the internet. Political parties must return to door-to-door campaigning so that they can effectively engage with the public.
Sir — The manner in which Senegal won its maiden Africa Cup of Nations title by defeating the seven-time champion, Egypt, was remarkable (“Mane shows nerves of steel”, Feb 8). The Senegalese team clinched the victory with a 4-2 penalty shootout following a 0-0 draw in the decider. Sadio Mane, who also plays for Liverpool FC, scored the team’s winning goal and was crowned the player of the tournament. Senegal’s win in the tournament was certainly well-deserved.
Sir — Sadio Mane’s decisive penalty goal at the Africa Cup of Nations final fulfilled Senegal’s dream of lifting the trophy for the first time in 60 years. The Senegalese team must be congratulated.
Sir — In an alarming finding, researchers at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development have warned that the highest glacier at the top of Mount Everest could disappear by the middle of this century. The findings estimated that the ice in the South Cole glacier, located at the height of 8,020 metres, is thinning rapidly at nearly two metres per year. It is already too late to reverse many of the damages inflicted on the planet. There will be more such ominous findings in the years to come.
Sir — It was sad to learn about the demise of the actor, Praveen Kumar Sobti, who played the iconic role of Bhima in the TV serial, Mahabharat. Sobti acted in many popular movies like Shahenshah, Loha and Aaj Ka Arjun. But few would remember him as one of India’s premier athletes. Sobti began his career as a discus and hammer thrower and represented India at the Olympics, the Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games. He won gold medals in discus throw at the 1966 and 1970 Asian Games and a silver medal for hammer throw at the 1966 Commonwealth Games. He will be missed.