Serving as a ‘Foreign Correspondent’ in Colombo must be a taxing job.


04 March 2002

The Editor,
The Hindu,

Dear Sir:

A Taxing Job

Serving as a ‘foreign correspondent’ in Colombo is a taxing job. This appears to be so to Nirupama Subramanian, your correspondent with lurid imaginations. How else can I conclude, after reading the opening sentence of her Vavuniya visit, datelined March 3 [The Hindu, March 4, 2002]? Your correspondent has written, “It could have been a scene out of the Cultural Revolution in China or out of youth parades in Hitler’s Germany.”

The hot air circulating in Colombo seems to have produced an amnesia in your correspondent who had forgotten about events in India which happened in the 1930s. She should check with her grandparents and grand uncles whether they behaved like the children she describes in Vavuniya - shouting slogans like ‘Vande Matharam’ and chanting ‘Mahatma Gandhi is our leader’. Even if her grandparents were scared and hidden themselves from such raucous demonstrations which percolated in the four corners of current India, history records that millions of empty-bellied, bare-footed children took part in such demonstrations to support a leader who was ridiculed as a ‘half-naked fakir’ and ‘rabble-rouser’ by the British imperialists.

One thing is certain for me. Though living in Japan now, Vavuniya soil is dear to me, since as a toddler I had played in that soil for a couple of years. But for the correspondent of Hindu newspaper, the Vavuniya soil will always be ‘foreign’. Lastly, though the Hindu correspondent has described her brief visit to Vavuniya, her descriptions appear insipid, since she has failed to name any of the participants in her report. I know that a ‘foreign correspondent’ job in Colombo is a taxing job.


Sachi Sri Kantha, Ph.D.
2-15-16-406 Noritake Naka,
Gifu City 502-0932,

Tel: +81-58-297-2933