Wednesday, February 9, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Spare a thought for wildlife

THE gory killing of a constable by a cheetal, said to be in illegal captivity at former Union Minister Arjun Singh’s bungalow in Bhopal, is a sad reflection on our efforts to prevent the infringement of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. (The Tribune February 1, page 16). It is not understood as to how a licence can be issued to a person in 1991 when the Wildlife Protection Act came into force in 1972, and there is no provision for a licence except to a rescue centre. This alleged irregularity deserves a thorough probe to avoid its recurrence.

Mr Arjun Singh or his son should have by now made public the valid licence for keeping the wild animal to prove his point.

That wild animals thrive best in their natural habitat is nicely conceived in a Zee TV comedy serial, “Had Kar Di”,

  telecast on January 31. Viewers become aware of what rarely comes to their mind. In this serial a snake-charmer enters a house in search of his tamed snake kept for charming people as a means of his livelihood.

Dara Singh, who performs the role of the head of the family, throbs the snake charmer for the prevalent practice of dislocating wild animals from their magnificent natural environment and training them by torturing and humiliating techniques with least regard for compassion.

He, in most intelligible language, stresses the need to give back dignity, respect and natural surroundings which nature has allotted to wild animals.

Training and captivity of the performing wild animals involve a lot of torture of these animals. The dumb creatures suffer a lot, and their grudging and grumbling is not understood by their keepers. The madaris, snake-charmers, and bear and monkey performers strip these animals of all dignity by presenting them as pranks for frolicsome tricks. This misrepresentation of animals and birds makes the people, especially children, to think that these are solely meant for performing. They carry this impression throughout their lives.

The public remains ignorant of their natural habits and habitats. There cannot be two opinions that madaris, snake-charmers and those engaged in captivating and dictating wild animals should be given loans/grants for adopting some other profession to earn their livelihood. This is no less important than the ban.


Population & political will

In his article, “Population: time for tough measures”, Prof K.B. Sahay (Jan 28) has discussed the problem of population increase in correct perspective.

However, I would like to add that undoubtedly every child that is born needs schooling as he grows up, but even before schooling the expanding families need housing, food, water, electricity, transportation, etc, and later on, more and more jobs to survive.

To meet the challenge of population explosion, the primary requirement is of “political will”. It is the lack of this “will” that has ultimately been responsible for our failure to stem the tide. So far, no political party has categorically taken up this problem in its election manifesto.

The writer has rightly stressed on women empowerment as one of the measures to meet this challenge. However, women empowerment is more effective in urban areas only. The rural masses because of lack of education, are yet to pick up the trend, and at the moment it is a distant dream.

No doubt, quick decisions and a stringent follow-up system is the need of the hour. Only a mass movement spreading upto the remotest village can lead to a balanced population growth. Incentives to smaller families will go a long way in strengthening this movement.



Ill-treatment of Indians

Like Mr Rajinder Singh (“The USA and human rights”, January 31) I too have been residing in the USA for over 30 years. I have a little different viewpoint from the one expressed by Mr Singh.

I feel bad about the arrest and maltreatment of 40 Indians alleged to be in violation of US immigration laws.

The US government is reported to have apologised to the Government of India and a high-level investigation has been ordered. These are steps in the right direction. I have called my elected representatives (Congressman Bliley, Senators Robb and Warner) and expressed my displeasure at the incident.

Let us be fair. These youngsters are reported to be in “technical” violation of immigration laws. It is reported that they personally were not at fault; their employing agencies were. Did these people really not know at all that they were in violation of immigration laws? If so, then the incident is truly regrettable. If they or their agencies knew and did not take care of the paperwork, then the incidence would show a typical “Chalta hai” attitude on the part of our people. The lesson would then be “Yahan nahin chalta”.

My advice would be: do not violate the terms of your visas. Stay within the confines of the law and avoid embarrassing and unpleasant situations.

Richmond (Virginia, USA)
(In response to The Tribune’s Internet edition.)

The Indian disparity

By the year 2000 we are nearly one billion Indians. The disparity between the rich and the poor exists.

We have both the largest middle and poor classes in the world. Kashmir needs to be brought to the equal status. The distribution of wealth has to be uniform and protection of the poor and starving persons has to be ensured through constitutional safeguards if the danger of a civil war or politically and economically unstable region is to be avoided.

We have a strong government at the Centre now. Let us proceed with the constitutional reforms and changes.

Hornsby (Australia)


Q: What is the retirement age of politicians?

Answer: Death.



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