The Cover Story ("Child brides of India", July 15) offered an indepth analysis of the serious social problem. Such dark spots on the rich centuries-old civilisation of India should be removed. Only a stringent law and its effective enforcement can put an end to such practices.Azimuddin Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh* * *
The process of globalisation has only increased the tendency to treat women as commodities. Social evils cannot be fought in isolation. A true socialist system, not the Congress model, will liberate the people from such practices.K. Ganesh Madurai* * *
The Cover Story highlights yet another evil that plague the Hindu society. People succumb to such follies out of ignorance. And the governments do little to change the situation.Dhirendra Mishra Allahabad* * *
In the Cover Story, the statement of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Babulal Gaur with regard to child marriage was published in a distorted form. In fact, the Chief Minister had stated that child marriage is a social evil, which cannot be checked only with the enforcement of law, but also needs a social crusade. It would also be appropriate and relevant here to refer to the initiatives taken by the administration soliciting the cooperation of society which led to the prevention of as many as 10,000 child marriages in Madhya Pradesh for the first time. It is also quite incorrect to say that only Anganwadi workers were assigned the job of preventing child marriages in their respective areas. In fact, District Collectors had been assigned the responsibility with necessary guidelines. However, the personnel of the Woman and Child Development Department had been directed to keep an eye on such incidents, which is very much a part of their duty.
As far as the question of the brutal attack on the life of a supervisor of the Woman and Child Development Department, Shakuntala Verma, is concerned, it is yet to be determined and established that the incident was in relation to child marriage. Even if it is considered prima facie that the incident involving Shakuntala Verma had any connection with child marriage, this only further underlines the fact that the government had made serious efforts to prevent child marriages this time. If a government servant falls prey to violence during the process of discharge of his/her duties, one fails to understand how it can be described as an indifferent attitude of the government?
Pankaj Rag, Director, Public Relations, Government of Madhya Pradesh, Bhopal* * *
It is disheartening to note that child marriages still take place with impunity in this age of scientific and technological advancement. Child marriage has brought shame on our society, which is steeped in superstitions, meaningless rituals and blind religious faiths. No sane thinking person would tolerate it in the name of religion.R.R. Sami Tiruvannamalai, Tamil NaduAfrica
Apropos of "Relief for a price" (July 15, 2005), for Western countries, globalisation means colonisation. They exploit poverty to gain long-term profit. If the debt-cancellation is accepted, the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) will become the subject nations of the West. What is curious is that these nations become heavily indebted owing to the policies of the West, which has been using every economic and non-economic means to retain its dominance of the world.
The debt cancellation offer is the latest tool to take back by the one hand what has been doled out with the other.S. Raghunatha Prabhu Alappuzha, KeralaAdmission muddle
The Madras High Court verdict striking down the order of the Tamil Nadu government abolishing the Common Entrance Test (CET) may be technically sound if one presumes that the CET provides a level-playing ground to those aspiring for professional courses ("A blow for Common Entrance Examination", update, July 15). But the moot question is whether the CET really provides a level-playing ground?
The over-ambitious upper middle class has rendered the CET into a synthetic playing ground. Only those who can afford to be artificially boosted by expensive coaching classes can succeed in the CET. The losers are, as rightly pointed out by the Tamil Nadu government, the poor and those from the rural areas.Venu Jamnagar, GujaratBJP
This refers to the Cover Story on the crisis in the Sangh Parivar ("Battles within", July 1). Lal Krishna Advani played a crucial role in bringing the BJP to power. His rath yatra from Somnath to Ayodhya in 1990 turned this party with a saffron face into a force to reckon with. Things have changed since the BJP lost power. Its much-publicised `India Shining' slogan and hi-tech campaign in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections failed. The party understands quite well that it cannot continue its politics on communal lines.
Apart from loss in the election, the internal conflicts and personal egos of the senior party leaders and the pressure from the Sangh Parivar to give up its attempt to pursue a liberal and secular political line have aggravated its predicament.Neeraj Kumar Jha Madhubani, BiharNaxalite corridor
Naxalites are fast spreading their influence across Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Assam and 14 other States forcing the Central and State governments to draw up an action plan against naxalites to combat them ("A naxalite corridor", July 15). Besides their potential to cause economic damage, the naxalites also are winning the battle for the minds of the people, especially the tribal people.Rahul Padavi Nandurbar, MaharashtraA smoking controversy
With reference to the article "A smoking controversy" (July 1), the government's decision to ban smoking scenes in films from October 1, 2005 seems to be irrational. The smoking habit of a person is attributable mainly to the social surroundings and the pressures within the peer group. Cinema is only a minor factor. If the government is genuinely concerned about the issue, it should either act against the powerful tobacco industry or initiate a health education programme at the school and college levels.Chandni Tyagi New Delhi
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