This refers to your cover story on the “silent workforce of our farms” (No Country for Women Farmers, February1). For more than two months on the borders of Delhi, the Earth’s daughters have been struggling to keep their mother safe and secure. In the process, they have established themselves as independent pathfinders and leaders. The farmers’ movement has indeed dismantled the stereotyped image of the Indian farmer as a docile man who doesn’t understand the implications of government policies and is easily swayed by what others tell him.
Rakesh Agrawal, Dehradun
The Chief Justice of India’s remarks suggesting women have no place in farmers’ protests got a fitting reply in the two photographs showing women protesting in Amritsar and at Delhi’s Singhu border against the new farm laws. In traditional Indian society, where a married couple constitutes a single unit, it is a norm that everything goes by the name of the male as far as possible. The traditional Indian woman is a homemaker who also shares the work of her menfolk where feasible, like in farming or small business. Few women aspire for their contribution to be counted by economists or for her name to appear on property papers.
M.C. Joshi, Lucknow
This refers to The Best Gift Ever, from Our Boys (February 1), your story on the debutants on whose backs India won the Test series in Australia. After getting bowled out at their lowest total of 36, even the staunchest of Indian supporters were apprehensive, more so knowing that Virat Kohli would not be playing the last three matches. When injuries kept piling up one after another, it made matters worse. But a huge amount of credit is due to this team for showing exemplary temperament and courage not only in winning the series, but also in breaching Gabba fort. This victory is all the more special as it was achieved by a mostly inexperienced team, which was called India ‘A’ team as well by some. They faced hostile bowling from the best pacers in the world and took body blows, as also racial abuse, and yet came out triumphant. The success of players like Mohammad Siraj and T. Natarajan showed that poor kids can also dream to play for their nation one day. The last session of the last match also proved that Test cricket is still alive and kicking.
Bal Govind, Noida
Rishabh Pant’s hard-hitting innings inflicted the first ever defeat on Australia at the Gabba since 1988. It came exactly a month after India was bowled out for a lacklustre 36 in the first Test in Adelaide—the team’s lowest ever score in Test cricket. Since that defeat, the injury-hit side has rallied to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, winning the second Test in Melbourne and playing out a thrilling draw in Sydney. Nothing can stop those who really wish to make it big in sports. The desire for success can make youngsters accomplish incredible results.
Seetharambasaani, Hanamkonda (Telangana)
This refers to your cover story on vaccine volunteers (They Took the Shot for You, January 25). We must congratulate these bravehearts, including the poor man from Bhopal who died, for being used as guinea pigs by this government, which launched such a massive vaccine drive on January 16 when not even the Phase III trials of Covaxin are complete and no efficacy data is out. Is this because there has been no positive news to feed the 136 crore people of this republic since 2014? Is that why they decided to protect people from a pandemic that has killed about 1,51,800 people—a mere 0.011 per cent of Indians—even as many more are being regularly killed by curable diseases like diarrhoea, pneumonia, malaria, dengue and TB—countless deaths deemed so normal that they aren’t newsworthy?
R. Agrawal, On E-Mail
The government played ‘vaccine nationalism’ by permitting the use of ‘half-baked’ Covishield and Covaxin. These two made-in-India vaccines, which fell far short of adequate Phase II and III human trials, have made guinea pigs of Indians. This is reflected by the glaring vaccine hesitation among healthcare providers in states like Kerala and Maharashtra. However, one cannot but be grateful to and salute the spirit of sacrifice by volunteers who risked their lives to take part in whatever apology of trials was undertaken in India.
George Jacob, Kochi
We salute all the people who offered to become volunteers. They are definitely heroes. However, according to your story, only 1,600 volunteers were taken for the clinical trials of Covishield developed by the Serum Institute of India. This may be too small a sample and not truly representative. Moreover, it is also not clear whether trials were conducted on senior citizens or not. As regards Covaxin developed by Bharat Biotech, even the Phase III trials had not been completed when it was approved for emergency use. Still we are proud as Covaxin is a vaccine developed in India. And now that the drug controller has given emergency-use approval to Covaxin and Covishield, we must trust both the vaccines and the wisdom of our doctors and scientists.
D.B. Madan, New Delhi
In a vast country like ours, with its large population, administering COVID-19 vaccines is a herculean task. However, the central government is up to the task. Providing free vaccines is a master stroke, which the people of this country will not forget. We find that medical indifference is proving to be a silent, unnoticed killer. Like wars or natural disasters, Covid came to us in 2020 like an unexpected visitor out to shock the human race, and is likely to leave in its wake insidious consequences of enormous grief. India’s vaccine rollout is more than about protection from the pandemic. It is also symbolic of economic rejuvenation and return of normality after a year of distress. The healing project is on and we win over the world one more time with grit and determination, and provide free vaccines for other countries in an effort to win over the human race.
Jayanthy Subramaniam, Mumbai
You have given details of a few volunteers who came forward to get vaccinated in the early days when there were many doubts about the safety and efficacy of the vaccines available. Their first-hand experiences would go a long way in removing misconceptions from the minds of people and they would now come forward to get vaccinated. This way Outlook has greatly helped in stopping the spread of COVID-19. I salute Outlook for this initiative.
Suresh Deolalkar, On E-Mail
This refers to The Vogue Wardrobe Malcontent (Poliglot, January 25). Finding the photos of Kamala Devi Harris, born on October 20, 1964, to a Tamil mother and Jamaican father, both migrants, on the cover page of the New York edition of Vogue is a matter of pride for Indians. She has a highly accomplished past as an activist for social causes, as a lawyer and as a public prosecutor. She has declared that the first 100 days of the Biden administration will focus on tracking the coronavirus. “The first line of approach has to be to get control of this pandemic,” she says. A Libran, her attitude has always been one of balance, adjustment and reconciliation in conflict situations. Rational Americans hope she may successfully apply the balm of universal love to heal and repair America’s psyche bruised and wounded during the four years under Trump. His administration madly promoted white nationalism and right-wing interests at the cost of making ordinary people’s life miserable. Ultimately, the psyche and outlook of people who elect majoritarian governments in democracies must change for their own progress instead of getting victimised by the emotional cobwebs of racisms, religious nationalisms and inhuman dogmas promoted by selfish, anti-national and authoritarian leaders.
M.N. Bhartiya, Goa