The suggestion in the article, “In anti-racism fight, the Lyndon B. Johnson option” (Editorial page, June 23), that the former U.S. President can be a guiding light for the current “anti-racism” struggles in the U.S. is outdated. During his tenure as the accidental President after Kennedy’s assassination, he passed the Civil Rights and the Great Society legislations in 1964, which were the incubators of medicare and other progressive programmes. However, after his landslide victory over Barry Goldwater in 1964, and with a very progressive Congress at his beck and call, he failed to grasp the golden opportunity and fund them to the fullest. Instead, what took centrestage was the brutal war in Vietnam and its rapacious needs. When Rev. Martin Luther King criticised these policy shifts that laid waste two nations and its resources in a seminal speech in Riverside church in New York, it soon spelt the end of the road for him (King).
Therefore, what the U.S. currently needs is not the “reactionary nativism” of Presidents such as Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump, nor the “technocratic subservience” of pretentious liberals such as Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. After the brutal murder of George Floyd, and for the first time in recent American memory, there are a lot of young people of all races, united and braving their hearts while marching in the streets for economic and social justice. Their symbols of hope and light will have to be unifiers just as Rev. Martin Luther King, Fannie Lou Hamer and the distinguished dissident intellectuals like Noam Chomsky. A return to the failed myopic vision of the past would be squandering this precious opportunity to build an inclusive nation.
The green signal given by the Supreme Court to conduct the Puri Rath Yatra with a “bare minimum number of people”, along with 11 other conditions — including permitting only those who have been tested COVID-19 negative being allowed to pull the chariots and participate in the rituals — will most probably prevent the spread of the virus in the event (Inside pages, “Puri Rath Yatra gets conditional nod,” June 23). But, what if this decision becomes a precedent for more and more religious rituals at various places across our country? Primarily, it will become mandatory to test all participants in religious observances. However, testing is scarce in India. So how much sense will it make to deploy limited resources on selected individuals solely because they are going to perform a particular religious ritual? If testing resources are diverted to many other religious ceremonies, then ‘deprivation’ is going to be felt in some other place. Hence, what is the guarantee of containment at some other place because of the lack of availability of testing? We must remember that this virus is excellent in identifying weak spots.
Tiruchi, Tamil Nadu
It is saddening that left-arm spinner Rajinder Goel could never represent India despite being an immensely talented bowler (‘Sport/Life’ page, “A spinner and a gentleman”, June 23). Even at the peak of his professional career, he had to live in the shadows of Bishan Singh Bedi, as this was the time when the Indian spin quartet was ruling the roost. Nevertheless, Goel proved to be a king in domestic cricket, scalping 637 Ranji Trophy wickets.
With the Bombay-Delhi clashes of the 1970s, Padmakar Shivalkar was more in the news than Goel, thanks to the rivalry with Bedi. That both Shivalkar and Goel had no regrets for not having played for India is praiseworthy. With domestic cricket the mainstay for top cricketers then, the quality of those on the fringes of selection was also high.