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

Take steps to end gun culture

This refers to the editorial, “Armed to kill: Need to curb illegal firearms” (September 26). It is true that “guns kill” and many underworld gangs keep guns with them to threaten innocent and law-abiding citizens to extract money and valuables. In the olden days, keeping a gun was a status symbol in the society. The rich kept guns for hunting. With the passage of time the gun has become a tool in the hands of man for getting all illegal things done in his favour. Some people keep licensed guns for their own safety. But there are more unlicensed guns than the licensed ones in any country. This is a dreadful practice and it should be controlled.

My view is that those who keep guns or any other weapon with them are cowards. There is so much violence because of the gun culture throughout the world. The latest example is of the murder of a clerk at a toll tax barrier for just Rs 27! Shocking indeed! The gun culture must be curbed with an iron hand. States like UP, Bihar and Jharkhand must take stringent steps to end the gun culture to avoid further loss of life and property. All underground gun factories must be unearthed and destroyed, and those using illegal guns for carrying out criminal activities must be put behind bars for life.

R K KAPOOR, Chandigarh


With reference to the editorial, “ Armed to kill : Need to curb illegal firearms” (September 26), I would like to say that the presence of unlicensed arms not only endangers law and order but also reflects poorly on the administration of the states. Though we have a strict legal procedure for issuing license for guns, our system has been subverted by vested interests.

Is it not an irony of fate that instead of setting an example of abstaining from guns, our 750 MPs bought confiscated arms? However, it is a matter of immense pleasure that Indians are, in general, peaceful and do not feel the need of arms to protect themselves.

S K DATTA, Abohar

Preventing suicides

This refers to the news item, “26 student suicides in 3 yrs at premier institutes” (September 26).The news is both shocking and depressing. It’s unfortunate that budding youths opt for this solution to end their problems. There can be several problems in life. Severe academic competition, parents’ expectations, peer pressure, lack of communication, ever-increasing ambitions, and declining moral values are some of the reasons for such a drastic step.

Solutions to these problems lie within the system. Parents should be counselled not to treat their children as a commodity and a means of earning wealth. It is high time for the parents to understand that they should not fulfil their dreams through their offspring. It unnecessarily puts a lot of stress on youngsters.

Ragging in a healthy way can improve interpersonal communication skills of students. Also, there should be personal touch in the teaching-learning process. There should be provision for counselling of students as and when needed. Alternative modes of recreation should also be provided to students.


Assessing poverty

This refers to the thought-provoking editorial, “Politics over poverty: Why target Planning Commission?” (September 23). We must build consensus on issues of national importance. The Planning Commission of India happens to be a constitutional body and it is usually expected to assess the poverty and unemployment of the country in an objective manner. But the way in which the thoughtless affidavit was submitted in the Supreme Court stating that anyone able to spend Rs 26 in the rural areas and Rs 32 in our urban areas can be considered above poverty line is quite disappointing.

I feel it is not sensible to estimate poverty assuming 2004-05 as the base year. We needn’t emulate blindly Suresh Tendulkar Committee formula for identifying the poor. We all know that the actual cost of living has become dearer many times more than what it was six or seven years ago. The prices of foodgrains, pulses, vegetables and clothes have increased manifold during this period.

With a daily income of Rs 26 or Rs 32, we cannot have two meals a day even at the cheapest roadside hotel. Then, even poor people fall ill and need medicines to recover. They have some family members also to support. How is it possible at all to survive on this amount?  The Planning Commission of India must be sensitive to the actual socio-economic conditions of the common people and it should be keen also on improving them.



I read with keen interest your pithy editorial, “Politics over poverty: Why target Planning Commission?” (September 23). As the editorial points out, for the government the long-term objective should be to banish the scourge of poverty from the shores of the country so that no one dies hungry. The desideratum, of course, calls for fast economic growth and fair distribution of the fruits of growth.

Ever since the late Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, successfully used the “quit poverty” slogan to win the crucial electoral battle, “removal of poverty” has degenerated into a handy political slogan which the political outfits have over the years, been increasingly employing in their bid to capture seats of power. As a result the things on the poverty front in the country have been becoming messier and murkier day by day. The rich have become richer and the poor poorer.

The situation has reached such a pass that I feel constrained to say, even at the risk of being dubbed as a pessimist that it is unlikely to take a turn for the better unless some cataclysmic change takes place or some messiah appears out of the blue!

TARA CHAND, Ambota (Una)



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