Sir — Some 3.5 crore devotees participated in the Kanwar Yatra in 2019. Last year, the yatra was cancelled because of the pandemic. This year, the Centre and the Uttarakhand government opposed the yatra in the apex court hearing, but the Uttar Pradesh government had stated that only vaccinated people will be allowed to take part in the ritual. But the court was not impressed; it has ordered the Uttar Pradesh government to cancel the yatra (“SC to Yogi: Ban Kanwar Yatra or we will do it”, July 17).
Large sections of Indians are religious and opposed to a scientific approach. Even the prime minister recently urged citizens to develop a scientific mind. I am myself a religious person, but with a scientific mind. I will never put my religious beliefs above the safety of other people. The pandemic has already created havoc in the country; a third wave is anticipated any time now. In such a situation, it will be near-suicidal to allow a large congregation of people over a long period of time. While the Uttar Pradesh government may face some backlash owing to the cancellation of the yatra, nothing can be more important than saving human lives.
We have to keep pace with the times instead of becoming dogmatic. The Uttar Pradesh government should keep this in mind while planning its next course of action. Perhaps a virtual yatra can be arranged for the ‘bhakts’.
Ashok Kumar Ghosh,
Sir — It is unthinkable that the Uttar Pradesh government is bent on allowing the Kanwar Yatra. So much so that the Supreme Court had to issue an ultimatum to the state government to call off the event. This sort of adamance is against the welfare of the nation and its people. Did the government learn nothing from the monumental blunder of Kumbh? This is all the more outrageous at a time when the third wave is knocking on our doors.
K. Nehru Patnaik,
Sir — It seems that the Uttarakhand government has learnt its lesson from the Kumbh fiasco as they suspended the Char Dham Yatra and now the Kanwar Yatra. Given the shocking images of tourists flouting Covid norms in places like Mussoorie, Manali, Shimla and so on, this is a welcome move. What is shocking, though, is that neighbouring Uttar Pradesh refuses to suspend the yatra. There is no way it can ensure either RT-PCR tests or full vaccination for such a large number of people.
It should follow Uttarakhand’s example rather than flirting with danger. Uttar Pradesh may have political compulsions as elections are a few months away, but can anything be more important than the lives of thousands of people? We all have seen miserable times during the second wave; there is no need to invite danger again.
Sir — The prime minister claims to share his ‘Mann ki Baat’, but there is a world of difference between what he says and what he wants and what he ends up doing. He talks of the need for social distancing and following rules, but when the Uttar Pradesh government wants to go ahead with the Kanwar Yatra, it is not the prime minister but the top court that takes the initiative to stop it. There is no one in the world to compete with the prime minister in words; he reminds the chief ministers to focus on the ‘four Ts’ — test, track, treat and tika. But where are the vaccines? As usual, there are no answers.
Jang Bahadur Singh,
Sir — The Simpsons has done it again. The show had predicted Richard Branson’s space sojourn in 2014. It had previously predicted the Trump presidency, the discovery of the Higgs boson particle, 9/11 and Disney’s takeover of Fox. But there is no crystal ball in The Simpsons’s writers’ room. One only has to turn to the concept of “the law of truly large numbers”. Harvard mathematicians, Frederick Mosteller and Persi Diaconis, claimed in the 1980s in a paper titled “Methods for Studying Coincidences” that with a large enough sample, a number of outrageous things are bound to come true.