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regular-article-logo Monday, 24 June 2024

Letters to the Editor: First official portrait of King Charles since coronation grabs eyeballs

Readers write in from Calcutta, Howrah, Kazipet, Bengaluru, Andhra Pradesh and Alappuzha

The Editorial Board Published 17.05.24, 07:25 AM
A handout image released on May 14, 2024, shows a portrait of Britain's King Charles by artist Jonathan Yeo.

A handout image released on May 14, 2024, shows a portrait of Britain's King Charles by artist Jonathan Yeo. Reuters

Red flag

Sir — Royal portraits are usually meticulously envisioned to mould a favourable public perception. Artists thus tend to stick to conventional portrayals. However, the first official portrait of King Charles III is markedly different. The painting by Jonathan Yeo, a British artist, shows the king standing in his Welsh guard uniform bathed in garish crimson. Many viewers got the impression that the monarch is shown to be floating in a pool of blood. Indeed, for anyone aware of the monarchy’s association with British colonialism, it would be hard to miss the powerful symbolism of bloodshed evoked by the colour, red.

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Sukriti Sinha, Calcutta

Doublespeak

Sir — In a recent media interaction, the prime minister, Narendra Modi, claimed that the day he played the Hindu-Muslim card he would no longer be fit for public life. After spewing venom against the minority community during the entirety of his campaign trail thus far, Modi is trying to portray himself as secular. But he cannot brush off his ‘anti-Muslim’ image so easily. From the atrocities committed against Muslims during the Godhra riots when Modi was the chief minister of Gujarat to the tacit protection offered to cow vigilantes under his prime ministership, the oppression of Muslims has become a defining feature of Modi’s political journey.

The Hindutva narrative of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is so strong that even self-proclaimed secular leaders from Opposition parties have been forced to play the Hindu card and visit temples to garner votes. This competitive religiosity is creating a negative impact on electoral politics.

Saikat Hazra, Howrah

Sir — After demonising Muslims in nearly every election speech, Narendra Modi has made a U-turn by saying that he has never tried to create divisions between Hindus and Muslims. In the course of the past few weeks, Modi has publicly denigrated Muslims as “infiltrators” and those “who have more children”. Now he has claimed that he was not talking specifically about Muslims but the poor in general.

There is ample evidence of Modi publicly making hateful comments against Muslims. For instance, at a recent poll rally in Rajasthan, he said that the Congress would confiscate mangalsutras from Hindu women and hand them over to Muslims if voted to power. Further, the Citizenship (Amendment) Act currently being implemented by the Central government was specifically designed to exclude Muslims. Modi’s volte-face shows that he can change colours faster than a chameleon.

Zakir Hussain, Kazipet, Telangana

Hidden agenda

Sir — The editorial, “Dod­gy data” (May 14), correctly pointed to the disinformation being spread by the ruling dispensation about an allegedly burgeoning Muslim population. This is in spite of official data highlighting that the decline in the total fertility rate between 2005-06 and 2019-21 has been the “most precipitous among Muslims”. The lies being spread by the ruling regime are shameful attempts at hoodwinking Hindu voters.

Sujit De, Calcutta

Sir — A recent paper by the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Mi­nister claims that the Hindu population declined by 7.82% between 1950 and 2015 while the Muslim population rose sharply in the same period. The paper’s release amidst the general election makes it suspicious. This is because most credible studies show that the Muslim population has been declining in India.

Khokan Das, Calcutta

Strategic interest

Sir — By signing a 10-year contract with Iran on the operation of the Iranian port of Chabahar, New Delhi seems to have cocked a snook at both the United States of America and Pakistan (“Port of call”, May 16). The spectre of American sanctions clearly failed to deter India from going ahead with the deal.

India has been purchasing Russian oil despite Western sanctions owing to Moscow’s war in Ukraine. This time, too, India has prioritised its own interests and not allowed existing geopolitical alignments to become an impediment to its individual dealings.

N. Sadhasiva Reddy, Bengaluru

Sir —The erstwhile Donald Trump administration had exempted India from sanctions for signing a deal with Iran regarding the Chabahar port owing to New Delhi’s key role in Afgha­nistan. But the US is no longer in the mood to go easy on India, especially since Iran is supporting Hamas in the war with Israel, a US ally. The Chabahar port is strategically important as it will help India counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative. India must move forward assertively but in a balanced manner.

D.V.G. Sankara Rao, Andhra Pradesh

Sublime works

Sir — With the demise of Alice Munro, a Nobel laureate, Canada has lost a great literary icon. Her craftsmanship took the genre of short stories to sublime heights.

Dileep D. Anand, Alappuzha, Kerala

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