This refers to your cover story (Covid Vaccine: When Will I Get It? (November 16) and Ruben Banerjee’s editorial note Delivery Awaited. Ruben Banerjee is not alone. Many like him have rushed for Covid tests after showing symptoms such as fever and sore throat. They either get relieved after a negative report, or else land in a crowded hospital or home quarantine. A vaccine for the deadly virus is still elusive and nobody knows how long the wait will last. Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan says the aim is to vaccinate 30 crore Indians by August-September 2021, but he also warns that there are several uncertainties, the biggest being that the vaccine may not work. So, everything is in the air.
M.C. Joshi, Lucknow
This refers to your cover story on The Future of Jobs (November 9). Even as we are slowly awakening to the reality that the Covid pandemic may not be a mere short-term affliction, but a new state of reality, we are slowly gearing up to deal with a very uncertain future. “Man was made for conflict, not for rest,” wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. The words ring truer than ever today. Indeed, Covid has brought to fore the fundamental realisation that while there is life, there is hope. As everything goes topsy-turvy and nature unleashes its fury, we explore new possibilities, endeavouring to write new chronicles. The pandemic is likely to leave its imprimatur on the world not only in respect of healthcare, but in every field—be it the way we work, trade, shop or even marry. The saving grace is that a transition, however painful, can trigger a whole new thought process, expose us to new problems and even newer solutions. It is a time of upheaval, but resilient as we are, we will initiate, innovate and unveil a new plan. Yes, “We will grieve not/ Rather find/ Strength in what remains behind.”
Sangeeta Kampani, New Delhi
One morning, the domestic help of an urban middle-call resident called her and said, “Madam, please do as I instruct as now we must work from home!
Rakesh Agrawal, Dehradun
This refers to your cover story ‘I Can’t Breathe’ (November 2). Chokehold portrays the curse of air pollution in Delhi NCR and adjoining areas with the onset of winter, in a way that makes the reader feel as he is watching a documentary or personally experiencing the misery. Anyone who has lived in Delhi during winter can connect with it. It symbolises suicidal economic development. We made congested concrete jungles with airconditioners, introducing dust clouds. We also set up industries running on coal, petrol and diesel, with chimneys puffing out smoke all the time. Traffic jams became a normal feature. Low temperatures in winter don’t allow the polluted heavy air to rise and go away. But, instead of trying to ease the problem, we search for escape routes. In blaming others, we even don’t even spare the gods—as if every tragedy is willed by the gods! While complaints against stubble-burning in Punjab and Haryana become the refrain every year, we fail to tackle with priority the main causes of pollution: carbon emissions from vehicles and factories. We have a plethora of laws that are misused for harassing political opponents and weaker sections of society, but seldom achieve the objective for which they were framed. We must convince the people that environmental laws will never be used to encourage injustice and settle scores. Let the cycles rule the roads. The government should make honest attempts to find out alternative sources of power, to reduce the use of petrol, diesel and coal. Renewable energy like solar, wind and geothermal power can meet local needs in homes, businesses and communities.
M.N. Bhartiya, Goa
This refers to The Trash We Inhale (November 2). Over the past few decades, we have produced various products on a massive scale to satisfy the needs of large urban populations, but at the same time we have also generated vast amounts of waste and have no idea where to dump millions of tonnes of it. We kept on inventing new ways of converting natural resources into useful things, but we did not seriously work on creating efficient technologies to recycle waste for keeping up with the rapid pace of production and consumption. Also, we failed to develop an economically viable waste management system. As a result, we have mountains of trash—a monster that we can’t burn or bury. Burning trash results in emission of toxic gases into the atmosphere. Burying trash in landfills does not solve the problem because most of it is non-biodegradable. We need to reduce consumption, reuse items and recycle waste if we want to prevent our planet from turning into a gigantic garbage can.
Shubhra Atreya, Meerut
This refers to Thackeray Thunders: Enough Is Enough (November 9). The Maharashtra CM has bitten off more than he can chew by taking on the BJP, particularly as he sits rather uneasily on his throne. He can’t expect the Congress to stand with him, given their traditional enmity and the fact that the grand old party won’t risk losing elections in Uttar Pradesh just to keep the rag-tag alliance in Maharashtra going. Uddhav Thackeray’s casual handling of the Covid crisis, coupled with his party’s poor showing in the case of Sushant Rajput’s death, exposed his lack of maturity. By resorting to crude bully-like tactics to scare a Hindi film actress, the CM made sure he distanced himself from the electorate as well as the BJP. He has made bitter enemies in Delhi, while doing nothing to secure the support of his alliance partners. He will need to pull the proverbial rabbit out of his hat to survive now.
Punit Madhok, Mumbai
Thank you for publishing Christina Dhanaraj’s hard-hitting article (Red Earth and the Sky a Dalit Blue, October 19). Let’s have more such pieces to awaken the conscience of the savarnas.
D.P. Agrawal, Almora
This refers to your story on the US presidential elections (Wild Swings, Tight Embrace, November 16). The exit of Donald Trump will be good news not only for the US, but for the entire world. All through his tenure, the flamboyant Trump proved how incapable and weird he has been. The 74-year-old might have grown in age, but his immaturity only got worse in the election campaign and deteriorated further when the counting of votes began. Winning or losing is part of the game; one has to graciously accept the people’s verdict and move on. Leaders have to be role models by displaying high levels of statesmanship, instead of childishly throwing tantrums and flexing muscles, while making unfounded allegations of poll-rigging. Trump will go down in history as an irresponsible President and his conduct in the last few days in particular is unpardonable. May the spectacular victory of the 77-year-old Joe Biden herald a ray of hope. The credit for his triumph, among others, goes to former President Barack Obama, who campaigned tirelessly to ensure that sanity returns to the White House. It may now need a tanker or two of disinfectants to cleanse the political filth that the ego-puffed Trump leaves behind.
Aires Rodrigues, Goa