Response

Print edition : September 20, 2013

August 2, 2009: The 80 MWe Pressurised Water Reactor (PWR), that has been operating at Kalpakkam for the past three years. In the foreground is the pressure hull and behind is the shield tank containing water. An identical reactor of the same size powers India’s indigenous nuclear-powered submarine called INS Arihant launched on July 26, 2009. Photo: Special Arrangement

Personal laws

A NATION progresses economically and in other spheres when women are treated on a par with men on all fronts (Cover Story, September 6). A healthy home is one where the women in the family are treated as equals and where all responsibilities, duties and rights are shared equally. And this is true for the welfare of a nation too. Unless women get their due share without resorting to special concessions or reservation, neither society nor the nation can progress. Most underdeveloped nations treat their women shabbily.

Mahesh Kapasi

New Delhi

INCREASING levels of awareness and education have narrowed down the differences among women. Although the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986, was passed to nullify the effect of the landmark judgment in the Shah Bano case, resolute Muslim women and sympathetic judges have interpreted it favourably. The Mary Roy case was another landmark judgment, which gave Christian women an equal right to property. There was a fear that its implementation would lead to lots of litigation, with daughters coming up with claims. But no such thing happened.

Despite all the changes, women continue to observe tradition and religious values. However, that should not in any way stand as hurdles for women to have equal rights and for courts to come up with protection where required.

A. Jacob Sahayam

Thiruvananthapuram

THE lack of political will to implement a progressive uniform civil code is a drawback for a secular nation. Many personal laws are a means to appease a select few, including conservative male clergy. Without a uniform civil code, women from minority religious communities will continue to be robbed of many rights important for their empowerment.

G. Anuplal

Bangalore

Uttar Pradesh

DURGA SHAKTI NAGPAL’S suspension was for political reasons (“Political axe”, September 6). The Uttar Pradesh government did not want the Congress to take advantage of the issue of the wall of the mosque. Communal polarisation is just not in the psyche of the State’s residents. In the 1990s, the situation was different; people at large were unaware and uneducated, so they could easily be polarised on communal lines. But now it is different, and people are not going to get easily led by fundamentalist or pan-religious outfits.

In the post-liberalisation period, owing to the rapid increase in urbanisation and industrialisation, people of various castes and communities have started working together, so there is feeling of “oneness” among them. The telecom revolution has intensified that feeling. So, in the next Lok Sabha elections, the communal theme is not going to be a dominating feature.

Gautam D. Ryan

Lucknow

WITHOUT comprehensive electoral reforms and the authorities taking a tough stand against political leaders who favour communal and caste-based politics with scant regard for the national interest, it will be difficult to tackle the growing communal polarisation taking place in the cow belt, especially Uttar Pradesh, and rest of the country. It is unfortunate that the real story behind Durga Shakti Nagpal’s suspension has been obfuscated. According to reports, sand worth a few hundred crore rupees is illegally extracted from the Yamuna and Hindon riverbeds every year, and this operation is the monopoly of gangs close to local politicians of the ruling party. Durga Nagpal’s crackdown on illegal sand mining thus hit the financial interests of those involved. The demolition of a wall of a mosque was only a pretext to target her. On being informed of the demolition, the local MLA is said to have got the suspension order for the IAS officer issued in quick time. Politicians are so sure of their strategy that they expect people to believe that sand mining has nothing to do with the suspension.

Ettirankandath Krishnadas

Palakkad, Kerala

Nuclear submarine

THE launch of INS Arihant, an indigenously built nuclear submarine that is equipped with indigenously developed submarine-launched ballistic missiles, is an achievement for India (“Critical feat”, September.6). The launch of an indigenously built aircraft carrier is another achievement. The Navy is eyeing high-tech options for future aircraft carriers. The future belongs to combat drones that can fly from aircraft carriers. The U.S. Navy is already using such unmanned combat air vehicles. India should also have nuclear aircraft carriers, equipped with high-tech options such as airborne early-warning systems and electromagnetic aircraft launch systems. A strong navy is essential to safeguard the sea routes carrying commercial traffic, and to ward off piracy.

Unfortunately, close on the heels of these launches, there was a devastating blast on board the submarine INS Sindhurakshak. It is high time that India developed deep-submergence rescue vessels. It is essential that the Navy is equipped with the capacity to rescue more than two dozen sailors at one go from the depths of the ocean. This is something the Navy should seriously consider when it is equipping itself with nuclear submarines.

Deendayal M. Lulla

Mumbai

Photography exhibition

IN our colourful life, we forget the beauty of black and white. So the article “Shades of three cities” (September 6) was a fitting tribute to the photographer Pablo Bartholomew. If this exhibition was an example from the teenage work of Bartholomew, then he deserves the honours that have come his way from prestigious magazines and journals.

Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee

Faridabad, Haryana

Midday meals

THE midday meal tragedy in Bihar exposed the lackadaisical attitude of the State government and those entrusted with monitoring the programme in toto (“Tragic eye-opener”, August 23). Although it is the government’s responsibility to provide children with safe and nutritious food and protect their lives and rights, similar incidents are being reported from schools across the country. Further, discrimination in the appointment of workers for the midday meal scheme has defeated its original vision, which envisaged community supervision to build bonds between children transcending the barriers of gender, caste and religion.

K.R. Srinivasan

Secunderabad, Andhra Pradesh

Jammu & Kashmir

THIS is with reference to the article “A living hell” (August 9). What happened in the villages of Kunan and Poshpora in 1991 is a direct manifestation of the process of militarisation, which the Central government adopted in Kashmir in place of politicisation. Many people in India view the Kashmir situation with a narrow nationalistic perspective and ignore incidents such as the one described in the article and their implications.

Militarisation in Kashmir has dehumanised the entire ethos and enabled state actors to commit all sorts of crimes. The tragedy is that all these acts of aggression are protected under draconian laws such as the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act. Thus, it can be said that the armed forces have not contributed to political integration but have sown the seeds of revolt against oppressive state power and its political representatives.

B.A. Dabla

Srinagar

A letter from the Editor


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