Letters to Editor: Just COVID vaccine policy announcement not enough
Since vaccine is the only solution we have against Covid that has ruined lives and economies, we can’t afford to waver on vaccination policy
Just policy announcement not enough
At last, better sense prevailed and the central government decided to combinedly procure Covid vaccines and provide them free of cost to the states. However, just policy announcement is not enough. The government needs to streamline the process ahead. First, it must make a transparent policy for distribution of vaccines amongst the states. Every state, whether BJP-ruled or not, should get its fair share of doses. Secondly, the Centre should give states free hand in devising their inoculation strategies as per their needs. Thirdly, the online registration for vaccination should be done away with as a large chunk of population does not have access to internet or people are not literate. There should be walk-in vaccination for all age groups. Since vaccine is the only solution we have against Covid that has ruined lives and economies, we can’t afford to waver on vaccination policy. –Sharif Ahmed, Delhi
V. Kalyanam, a true Gandhian
Your weekly deserves fulsome praise for the moving tribute to V. Kalyanam, the last personal secretary of Mahatma Gandhi in 'A Gandhian and a gentleman’ (May 30). Kalyanam's life was marked by spartan simplicity and strict adherence to Gandhiji's ideals. Here are some nuggets of information about this unknown hero, which might be of interest to the readers.
In 1942, when he was 20 years old, he had been apprehended while distributing anti-British pamphlets in Mumbai, sentenced for sedition and served nine months in Lahore jail. On joining service at Gandhi's Sevagram,
Kalyanam shed his sartorial preference for western attire and shifted to spartan Indian clothes, a habit which lingered till his last breath.
Besides being well versed in Tamil, he was equally at ease in English, Gujarati and Hindi. Not a stickler for any particular religion, his typical day would commence at 3 a.m. with the following invocation to the Almighty ‘Sree Rama Jayam, Allahu Akbar and Jesus never fails’, which he used to scribble daily without fail. Alas, the likes of him are seldom to be found in the modern era, where the craving for pelf and power ride supreme over time-tested moral values. --Amit Banerjee, Delhi
Will fraudsters ever return to India?
We saw a drama akin to a 1970s Bollywood thriller when Indian secret agents allegedly kidnapped fugitive Mehul ‘Bhai’ Choksi, wanted in Rs 13,500 crore PNB scam, from Antigua and an Indian plane laned in Dominica to fetch him back. It all sounded amusing and silly. The plane, as expected, has returned without Choksi on board. At best, it was an attempt to show that government is doing something to bring the fugitives back. There are other two—Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallya – in London.
But one must ask, if the government was so serious, why did it allow them to leave the country in the first place. Why didn’t any of the government agencies got a whiff of the multi-crore rupees frauds being pulled off under their nose? Or did they dare not touch the persons who are often seen in same picture frames as the country’s PM? Even if India ever succeeds in getting these people back, one doubts that these billionaires would get punished for their deeds or recoveries could be made from them. A bevy of country’s top lawyers would be falling over each other to defend them in the court for a hefty fee. They are not India’s ordinary kisans whose sparse belongings can be forfeited (kurki) any time by the bank’s agent for failing to repay a mere Rs 50,000 loan on time! –Charu Majumdar, Kolkata
BJP back to its dirty tricks
Ahead of the crucial Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, which are due early next year, the BJP, that has failed on every front of governance, is again back to its tried and tested trick—of creating communal tensions in society. Scattered incidents have begun in Uttar Pradesh. Recently, panchayats were organised in Haryana in support of the killers of Asif. Why can’t this act of lynching be treated as a simple crime of murder under the Indian Penal Code without getting into the faiths of the victim and the accused? The fact is that the party that gains from communal polarisation and its hundreds of illegitimate offshoots are deliberately trying to vitiate the atmosphere and create communal divisions. We must be vigilant. –Alok Vats, Allahabad