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

Women must participate in politics

There were speculations that the Nobel Peace Prize might go to former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl or to the European Union. Instead, three women from Africa and Yemen received the award. The statement seems to be that women play a big role in the pursuit of peace and democracy - in Africa as well as the Arab world. The message, if generalized, is loud and clear. There is no reason for women to remain confined to their families. They have an important role to play not only socially and culturally, as is often expected, but also politically.

Even in India, we are mostly involved in political rhetoric when it comes to women’s rights. True, our Constitution makes it clear that women in this country are in no way inferior to men. Our Parliament and state legislatures have also passed laws with the intention of empowering women. But do our women really feel empowered? Do they feel safe if they find themselves outside their homes in the middle of night?

Do we really treat them as they should be? These questions and a host of others will be difficult to answer even for us in India? Meanwhile, all the three Nobel laureates show that only political participation and social responsibility at the highest levels can ensure that the interests and rights of the female half of society are represented and respected. This is also a lesson for women in India. They must become politically active so that they can fight for their rights. Female foeticide is a reality in India. This denies females even the right to live. The real change will come when women participate in politics in large numbers, and politics ceases to be a male bastion.

Dr SHRUTI SINGH, Chandigarh

New IAF jets

During his customary talk to the press at the annual Air Force Day press conference in New Delhi, Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne, strangely, did not say anything about the long-pending crucial requirement of 126 new jets (IAF to ink Rs 1,850-cr deal for trainer jets: Browne, October 4).

With plans to upgrade IAF’s ageing fleet of MiG-29 and Mirage-2000 gaining priority, the procurement of 126 new jets seems to have been put on the back burner. The figure of 126, that was projected years ago, has meanwhile become outdated. The Air Force would now need many more.

Upgradation is a poor option. It is, at best, only cosmetic. It is no match for a new machine. It is a bad compromise. It is not even cost-effective.  It is neither the preferred choice of the pilots nor that of the maintenance staff. It is not a quick-fix solution either. It will linger on for 5 to 8 years. This will consume half of the lease of life that upgradation may give to the ageing planes.

The Air Force should reconsider the idea of upgradation. It should not succumb to pressure from the vested interests. It should insist on buying new jets. The government should not let financial constraints come in the way. 

Wg-Cdr CL SEHGAL (retd), Jalandhar

Nuclear safety

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made it clear that there would be no compromise on safety in the pursuit of the country’s nuclear programme (PM: Won’t compromise on nuke safety standards, October 8). This announcement of the Prime Minister must be appreciated. It will definitely help in building an atmosphere in which people will feel that their problems and concerns are being addressed.

There is no doubt in the fact that the country needs nuclear projects. But before initiating the process of establishing nuclear plants in India, safety issues have to be adequately addressed. Natural disasters are unpredictable. Earthquakes, floods and even threats emanating from terror groups, are major concerns for any country. Even Japan did not find it easy to ensure safety of its nuclear plants. In this regard it is essential to take the people of the country into confidence.


Drug menace

The drug menace has once again attracted our attention (BSF seizes heroin worth Rs 135 cr from Amritsar border village, October 7). It is obvious that there are elements within the country that support the activities of drug peddlers.

Our security forces have always done well in nabbing drug smugglers. Their efforts should be backed up by a strong political will to give exemplary punishment to drug dealers and smugglers.

In fact, drug smugglers and dealers deserve nothing less than the death sentence. This is because their activities have spoiled the lives of thousands of youths in this country and elsewhere. They are killers and they should pay for their crime.


Death of an icon

The death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs marks the end of an era. He was responsible for changing the daily habits of millions by reinventing computing and mobile phones. He was indeed a visionary leader. No doubt, his death resulted in an outpouring of tributes. He is also an inspiration for many in India, especially the youths.

The greatness of Steve Jobs lies in his indomitable courage. He faced many difficulties in life and at times the situation would be so bad that anyone else would perhaps give up and might even contemplate committing suicide. He was a college dropout and there was a moment in his life when he did not know what to do.

He was thrown out of Apple in 1985. He did not give up. He returned to the company in 1997 and after a few years began to rollout a host of products like the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad.

Indian youths, who graduate from premier institutions, should emulate the great man and establish their own companies. This would also be in the interest of the country. If the US became a powerful country, it was because of its great visionaries with entrepreneurial zeal, who worked hard to change the country’s destiny forever.

There is also a message here. Steve Jobs failed to pursue an academic career, but it did not hamper his growth in life.




HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |