Letters to the Editor

Print edition : November 25, 2016


THERE is a strong link between poverty and malnutrition (Cover Story, November 11). India’s ranking in the latest Global Hunger Index is a poor reflection on a nation that is supposed to be growing fast and that achieved Independence in 1947. Some of the worst affected tribal regions in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Odisha are notorious for their poverty and poor health-care facilities.

India needs to do more to improve the quality of life of poor tribal people and the rural poor. At least one primary health unit has to be established in each big village or near a cluster of smaller villages. Village panchayats should be allocated special funds so that they can take care of the poorest of the poor in each village by providing jobs to at least one adult member in each family. Children suffering from malnutrition and related diseases should be provided free food and heath care.

Having a high growth and being one of the world’s big economic powers has no meaning if the country has poor, malnourished children dying from hunger and disease.

D.B.N. Murthy, Bengaluru


Central Pay Commission award

THIS is in regard to the article “United against pay panel award”, “This fortnight” (October 14). It had factual errors with regard to the services’ stand on implementation of the Seventh Central Pay Commission (CPC) award, attributed to Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) & Chief of the Air Staff (CAS).

It stated that “Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on September 12 that they [service] should first implement the recommendations (which were notified on September 6th) and then the government would look into the anomalies. The services have refused to budge on their decision so far. …the service chiefs have categorically told the Defence Minister that unless four key anomalies pointed out by them were removed, there was no question of issuing the special instruction. …Air Chief Marshal Raha made it clear to the rank and file that ‘there was no going back on what the signal told its personnel and the chiefs will ensure that at least four key anomalies were removed before they issued the special instructions for implementation of 7th CPC award’.”

The actual position is that the Chairman COSC & CAS had requested the Hon’ble Defence Minister to keep implementation of the government resolution for the defence forces in abeyance until the four key anomalies were resolved. However, the Hon’ble Minister gave an assurance that they would be resolved at the earliest and further directed the services to implement the 7th CPC award with immediate effect. The Chairman COSC & CAS issued a press release on September 14 stating: “The 7th Pay Commission anomalies in respect of the Armed Forces were discussed with the Hon’ble Raksha Mantri in detail by the Services Chiefs and the members of the Armed Forces Pay Commission Cell. The Hon’ble Raksha Mantri is seized of all the issues and has assured to resolve them at the earliest. The Services are satisfied with the response.” In line with the directions of the Hon’ble Defence Minister, the services submitted the revised Services Pay Rules (Special Instructions) to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for implementation of the 7th CPC award for its personnel. Since the special instructions will undergo a thorough scrutiny and pre-audit, it will take some time for them to be approved.

In order to ensure that the rank and file benefit from the 7th CPC award before the start of the festive season, the services had sought Government of India sanction for payment of interim relief. This was under consideration at the MoD and paid to the personnel, accordingly.

Anupam Banerjee,

Wg Cdr, PRO (Air Force),

Dte of Public Relations,

Ministry of Defence, 91 South Block, New Delhi 100011

Religious rituals

ARADHANA SAMDARIYA’S death is shocking and calls for a deep introspection on practices carried out in the name of orthodox religious beliefs (“Child rights and faith”, November 11). Unfortunately, religious leaders advocate and glorify such extreme acts. Ironically, the Jain muni under whose guidance Aradhana’s fast was stretched to 68 days justified it by giving a wrong analogy and questioning practices in other religious faiths. Even after the tragic death, the muni insisted that “the liberty of belief, faith and worship” guaranteed in the Constitution would provide the family immunity from legal action.

Right-thinking people cutting across communities and religions should demand an end to fatal rituals.

Rahul Desarda, Aurangabad, Maharashtra

IT is obvious that 13-year-old Aradhana lost her life because of her parents’ superstitious beliefs, and this should be condemned in the strongest terms. Under no circumstances should Aradhana’s parents be allowed to get away unpunished because it is clear that there was direct infringement on the rights of the child. One feels sad when one thinks of what the girl must have gone through.

Law-enforcement authorities should see that the parents are punished even if they express regret or if community elders intervene to condone the parents’ action by quoting faith and citing religious scriptures.

K.R. Srinivasan, Secunderabad, Telangana

ONE cannot believe that in the 21st century an innocent girl had to pay with her life to satiate her parents’ greed and blind belief. As for Jain leaders’ contention that they will brook no interference in the practise of their faith, what would happen if Muslims too make such demands regarding triple talaq and polygamy?

K.P. Rajan, Mumbai

Uniform civil code

ISLAMIC scholars should state how a divorced woman can survive with dignity in this male-dominated society (“Code and caution”, November 11). Is the mehar really enough for her survival or does she deserve an allowance or a share of her father’s or husband’s property? Only if this question is resolved can Muslim women’s rights of khula be justified because they will have something for their survival after separating from their husbands.

Sushil Kumar, Bijoi, Aurangabad district, Bihar

IT is unfortunate that even an initial step by the Narendra Modi government seeking to elicit the views of the general public on a uniform civil code is being viewed with suspicion. The apprehension that a uniform civil code would essentially be a Hindu code appears to be misplaced.

In a debate in the Constituent Assembly in support of the implementation of a uniform civil code, B.R. Ambedkar said: “I personally do not understand why religion should be given this vast, expansive jurisdiction so as to cover the whole of life and to prevent the legislature from encroaching upon that field. After all, what are we having this liberty for? We are having this liberty in order to reform our social system, which is so full of inequities, so full of inequalities, discriminations and other things, which conflict with our fundamental rights.” In the Shah Bano case in 1985, the then Chief Justice of India, Y.V. Chandrachud, said: “A common civil code will help the cause of national integration by removing disparate loyalties to law which have conflicting ideologies.” In 2003, in the John Vallamattom case, the then Chief Justice of India, V.N. Khare, stated: “A common civil code will help the cause of national integration by removing the contradictions based on ideologies.”

It is pertinent to mention here that Goa already has a uniform civil code. It is time that religious obscurantism and untouchability and practices that are out of tune with modern life are shunned. The concepts of religious freedom, secularism and a uniform code complement one another and are not mutually exclusive as the author of the article contended.

B. Suresh Kumar, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu

Bob Dylan

THE Swedish Academy’s selection of Bob Dylan for the Literature Nobel is indicative of its desire to redefine the ambit of literature (“Song and dance man”, November 11). “Poesis”, the Greek word for literature, refers to products of literary imagination and does not include anything that is written. Literature in the days of Homer was an oral/aural process, words and music being inseparable. The printing press brought about the divorce of the written word from music.

Most song lyrics are not poetry and look dull on a page without the accompanying music. But Dylan is an exception. He has moulded his craft in such a way that his songs have become a powerful medium for every nuance of human thought and expression. The agility with which he has moved across genres like the blues, country and rock is amazing.

Mostafa Murshid Pasa, Rajnagar, West Bengal


THIS is with reference to the article “Brick by brick”( November 11). The BRICS summit is significant. To begin with, the idea of the BRICS bank is a step in the right direction. The BRICS nations must work in tandem in order to resolve issues such as the economic slump and joblessness. The BRICS countries should take efforts to maintain world peace.

P. Senthil Saravana Durai, Mumbai

Crimes against women

THE article “No country for women” (October 28) highlighted the harassment Indian women face in public spaces. There is gender bias in all walks of life, allowing those miscreants to commit crimes with impunity. The resistance to the Bill seeking to grant women 33 per cent reservation in legislative bodies tells its own story, with one political leader threatening to commit suicide in Parliament if it was passed! The police claim that their present strength is inadequate for effective policing. Tall claims are made about national progress, but women are still prevented from writing their own ticket.

B. Rajasekaran, Bengaluru

THE harassment of women in public spaces is on the rise. Domestic rape, abduction and killing of women by family members and ill treatment of women leading to them committing suicide have also become common. Crimes against women must be dealt with firmly, preferably in fast-track courts.

A.J. Rangarajan, Chennai

Shimon Peres

THE article “Zionist hawk” (October 28) critically examined the policies of Shimon Peres and questioned whether he was “a giant of peace”.

By attending Peres’ funeral, Mahmoud Abbas insulted his countrymen who have made sacrifices for the Palestinian cause. The world is a silent spectator as the Jewish state takes the arable land and water resources of the West Bank. History records that “it is on land forcibly vacated by Palestinians that modern-day Israel exists”. Let the present government in Israel redeem its mistakes of the past and ensure that it coexists in peace with the nation of Palestine.

Thomas Edmunds, Chennai

Cauvery issue

IT is good to remind ourselves how personal intervention by Ministers from both States had ensured adequate supply of water for irrigation during such crises earlier (Cover Story, October 14). During the Congress regimes of the past, it was a kind of a barter deal that worked. For the Cauvery water, Tamil Nadu gave either electricity or rice to Karnataka. Now Tamil Nadu is electricity-deficient. Karnataka raises its own paddy and even exports rice. The solution lies in judicious use of water resources.

S.S. Rajagopalan, Chennai

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