L E T T E R S    T O    T H E    E D I T O R

Bt Brinjal: Nexus exposed

In his article, “Food without choice?” (Perspective, Nov 1), Pushpa M. Bhargava has exposed the nexus between the unethical and corrupt politicians and bureaucrats on the one hand and the multinational corporations and unethical scientists and technologists on the other. Clearly, they are in overdrive to take the vast majority in our country for a ride.

The nation is relieved that Union Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh, despite pressures from vested interests, has put off a decision on the recommendations of the GEAC which had brushed aside objections raised by its technical members.

Clearly, Monsanto, provider of GM seeds, has broken laws and indulged in unethical activities for the last four decades to propagate its products the world over. The GM crops are banned in most of the European Union and in the UK.

The writer has rightly cautioned the quarters concerned by observing: “Genetic engineering is one of the most powerful technologies in the world. However, like the nuclear or space technology, we need to ensure that it is used not to fill coffers of a few but for public good.”


Letters to the Editor

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— Editor-in-Chief

Magic of human voice

Khushwant Singh has rightly written about the irritating use of loudspeakers at unearthly hours for religious functions (Saturday Extra, Oct. 17). Let me share how the practice of using human voice to bring devotees to pray started. Bilal, one of the pillars of Islam and Prophet Mohammad’s chosen man, has observed thus: “But although the mosque was built, it was incomplete”. It was Ali, I think, who told us it needed one more touch. “We’re missing something...something high up there,” he said, pointing to the roof, “some signal ...a way to call the people in.”

“We could run flag up,” suggested Ammar.

In a moment we were all going backwards and forwards, up and down, arguing how best to call the Faithful to their prayer. The Prophet sat through it all with arms folded, neither taking himself out of nor putting himself into the question.

‘Why not use a bell?’

‘The Christians have bells.’

‘A drum?’

‘There’s too much blood in a drum.’

‘A horn, like the Jews? That’s a strong note.’

‘There’s too much of the animal left in a horn.’

‘A trumpet?’

We fell silent. A flag, a bell, a drum, a ram’s horn, a trumpet?

Nobody was satisfied. A bell jingles the ear, a trumpet splits the head, a drum thumps up the blood and a flag goes too far in the other direction—it would never awake a sleeper.

Then A saw Abdullah Bin Zaid, one of the helpers, coming forward shyly, inch-by-inch, so bashful that he seemed frightened of stirring the air — he who, in the next minute, was going to stir the world. I saw at once that he had something to say, so I gave him my space near Mohammad.

I looked quickly at Mohammad and saw that tears had come into his eyes. He spoke so gently that I knew his word was the last word. It was settled. But what voice, whose, and how spoken? A soft voice, a sweet voice, a bellowing voice? My mind was racing in the possibilities of voice — a child’s, a woman’s, an old man’s, a soldier’s, a singer’s, a scholar’s — when I left, and I saw, the Prophet’s hand on my shoulder.

“Your voice, Bilal.” Today, the use of loudspeakers from mosques is against the spirit of Islam.


Road to prosperity

Justice P.B. Sawant’s article, “No limit to human greed” (Perspective, Oct 25) cautions us about the repercussions of over-consumerism of natural resources. The writer says that man has to exercise utmost restraint while exploiting the nature. He must bridle his greed and decide the limits of his consumption and possession. It must be kept alive in mind that happiness does not depend upon his/her possessions but on being in peace with his/her inner self.

Surely, we can protect the environment by keeping our needs simple and minimum. The rational economic system has to meet the primary needs of human beings such as adequate means of livelihood, shelter, education and healthcare.

Justice Sawant has maintained that the fruits of development will have to be distributed equally among all as otherwise it will create chaos. The Earth is our home not only for the present generation but for future generations also. We must endeavour to create an alternative of life-protecting and promoting system.

Let’s be cautious about destructive weapons, global warming and pollution of air, water and soil. Simple living and high thinking is the way to prosperity.

Capt S.K. DATTA, Abohar



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