Letters to the Editor: Quidditch, but no longer Quidditch
Play it right
Sir — One need not attend a school of wizardry to enjoy Quidditch. Much to the delight of fans of Harry Potter, the game began being played in real life from 2005. But die-hard fandom need not be blind to real problems. In a joint statement, two Quidditch leagues have declared that they would be changing the name of the sport to dissociate themselves from the author of Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling, in the light of her transphobic comments. As a sport that prides itself on gender inclusivity — no more than four players of the same gender from a team can be on the pitch at a time — this was the right step. While it may not be called Quidditch any longer, this will ensure the game retains its magical spirit.
The game's afoot
Sir — Narendra Modi is trying to undo the damage done to the image of the Bharatiya Janata Party from incidents like corpses floating in the Ganga during the second wave of the pandemic or the farmers’ protest. While inaugurating the renovated Kashi Vishwanath Dham, Modi projected himself as a visionary to suggest that under his stewardship India has managed to achieve balance between disparate spheres such as politics and religion (“Imbalanced”, Dec 15).
But by stirring Hindu religious sentiments, Modi has undone the efforts of the founding fathers who sought to unite the nation under democratic ideals. Modi’s evocation of Aurangzeb as an outsider who tried to destroy Indian civilization will provide ammunition to Hindutva vigilantes to attack minorities. If political leaders continue to be insensitive, India will cease to be a democracy.
Sir — Anyone who has read history will know that Aurangzeb did not invade India. He did try to rule the country by imposing his religious beliefs on others — much like the sangh parivar does — and was, thus, a tyrant. But the BJP brings up the atrocities of Muslim rulers and juxtaposes them with the so-called benevolence of Hindu kings in an attempt to polarize the electorate.
Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee,
Sir — There is no doubt that the prime minister has used religion to the hilt in all recent elections. His visit to Kashi, months before the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, was a spectacle. The image of Narendra Modi taking a dip in the Ganga at the Lalita Ghat is likely to be a visual that dominates the election campaign.
In a multi-religious country like ours, election campaigns should never be run along religious lines. The polarizing statements made by Modi during the inauguration of the Kashi Vishwanath corridor were shocking. The alleviation of people’s miseries should take precedence over any kind of restoration of ‘past glory’.
G. David Milton,
Maruthancode, Tamil Nadu
Sir — Narendra Modi can make all the tall claims that he wants but the gap between his speeches and reality is too wide to be breached. People will not be fooled anymore.
Sir — The news of the informal meeting between the Prime Minister’s Office and the election commissioners was shocking (“Stand firm”, Dec 21). No matter what the reason, it is unacceptable. With the upcoming assembly elections in five states, the meeting could raise doubts regarding the impartiality of the EC. The Congress is right to allege that the Narendra Modi-government is treating the EC as a “subservient tool”. It is clear that the BJP government is determined to cripple all institutions, especially those which have an overriding impact on elections and democracy. The EC should not have given into such improper demands.
Sir — The Election Commission cannot be subservient to the Prime Minister’s Office. If that is indeed the case in India, it can no longer be called a democracy in the real sense. Elections would then become a farce.
Sir — O. Panneerselvam, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam coordinator, has urged M.K. Stalin, the chief minister of Tamil Nadu, to change the bi-monthly billing of electricity to monthly payments as promised the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam had promised in its election manifesto. But the present bimonthly system of payment should continue to avoid crowding at the electricity board offices. The government could revise the tariff and reduce the per unit charge if the consumption goes over 500 units. It would also be good if the government recruited more staff to run the offices as smoothly as possible.
Sir — The United States of America has recorded its first-known Omicron death. The victim was an unvaccinated, middle-aged man from Texas. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, latest figures indicate that the Omicron variant of the coronavirus accounts for 73 per cent of infections in the US. This puts a damper on any hope of things going back to normal anytime soon. Research shows that the Omicron strain multiplies 70 times faster in the human bronchial tubes than other Covid variants, including Delta.
In spite of this, many people in the US refuse to get vaccinated. This is ridiculous and needlessly puts countless lives at risk.
Sir — India must ramp up vaccinations to avoid Omicron-related casualties in the country. People must also take precautionary measures as vaccines are no match against the Omicron variant.