118 years of Trust M A I L B A G THE TRIBUNE
Thursday, October 22, 1998
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  Good move on fireworks

THE decision of over half a million school-going children of Delhi, who took a pledge not to use crackers/fireworks on this Divali, was a very good initiative towards rescuing the child labour from being exploited.

To give a momentary enjoyment for a few hours these small children have to work for long hours under pitiable conditions and sacrifice their health, life and valuable time (which they should devote in schools) in the fireworks industry.

There are many other industries too where children work under hazardous conditions — the bidi industry, glass work factories, the agarbatti industry, match-box factories and others, to name a few.

The recent judgement of the Calcutta High Court to ban the sale of fireworks items in the city also supplements this good cause. This forced the people of Calcutta to celebrate soundless Divali this year because of the unavailability of crackers. Only light crackers were available. This verdict not only helped in saving millions of rupees from being blown up in fire but also reduced the number of accidents which accompany the festival of lights.

The government, particularly the Labour Ministry, should take stern action against those who indulge in employing small children to take work from them under such conditions.


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Common man’s woes

There are clear gaps between claims and performance of the BJP government at the Centre. It seems to have developed a cynical disdain towards the common man’s basic problems like the adulteration in mustard oil and the sky-rocketing onion and potato prices. The ethos of the trading community touched its lowest ebb when 30 to 40 per cent adulteration came to the notice of the public through the Press.

A blind greed for profit brought in dropsy crisis which took a heavy toll of lives of men, women and children. Those who started this dangerous game had perhaps a wrong impression in their minds that the BJP government at the Centre was a government of traders and businessmen and it wouldn’t take any punitive action against them. In the past also, traders were worried about their adequate profits but they always felt concerned about the quality of their products.

It is an ill wind which brings nobody any good. The most distressing part of the tragedy is that political parties and social organisations have so far maintained a mysterious silence in this regard. They did not organise mass protests, and confined themselves only to issuing statements.


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Anti-growth measure

It is admitted by one and all that tourism is a vital source of socio-economic growth. Himachal Pradesh abounds in attractive tourist spots. But these could not have been exploited so far properly by the state government due to the want of funds, needed for the purpose. Besides, section 118 of the H.P. Land Reforms & Tenancy Act has been a great impediment in the all-round development of the state. Moreso, the behaviour of the erstwhile regimes in the state had all along been quite discouraging towards non-Himachali entrepreneurs willing to establish tourist resorts. Despite such unhelpful and discouraging behaviour of the state government, developers/entrepreneurs from the neighbouring areas of Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh have done a lot in establishing a few attractive tourist spots, especially in the belt stretching from Chandigarh to Shimla, during the past over a decade.

There cannot be two opinions on the point that a clear and clean title of land is essential for taking up developmental activities. Therefore, the present state government should take early steps for the abrogation of the controversial Section 118, which is most discriminatory and outdated, keeping in view the larger interests of the state.


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Humour & satire

This has reference to the write-up “Durgat” in “Chandigarh Calling” (October 5).

Literature, being a social product, inevitably reflects the life of the era out of which it springs. It also reveals the plight of a culture, as we see in T.S. Eliot’s “The Hollow Men and the Wasteland” which is the supreme expression of the disillusionment and despair of the post-war period where all hopes for a brave new world stand shattered.

Humour and satire have always been the most prominent forms of literature. Poets like Chaucer made fun of the individual, rather than of the institutions. Similarly, Pope exposed the hollowness and foibles of the fashionable society, which was pompous and vainglorious from without.

Insofar as Urdu literature is concerned, humour and satire developed into an established literary form by the end of the 19th century with the rise of the Avadh Punch (1877). Its editor, Munshi Sajjad Hussain, brought together a group of talented humorists, who were politically modern and stoutly nationalist. Their aim was to preserve the cultural heritage.

Sauda (1706-81) is decidedly the best satirist Urdu has produced in the pre-Avadh Punch days. His satires were not confined to individuals but also took the entire society in their sweep. Among the social satirists, Akbar Allahabadi’s (1846-1921) is an outstanding name. His humour and satire never miss their target — modernisation — much of which has lost relevance now.

Among the prominent contemporary humorists, satirists and parody writers are Raza Naqvi “Wahi”, Dilawar Figar, Khwaja Hasan Nizami, Kanhaiya Lal Kapoor, Ghulam Ahmad Furqat, Syed Mohammed Jafri, Shaukat Thanvi, Hari Chand Akhtar, Chirag Hasan Hasrat, Ratan Nath “Sarshar” and Patras Bukhari.


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Organising melas

The Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh organised a Divali mela in Shanti Kunj. The celebration, inter alia, included “Anup Jalota Nite”. Cleanliness and beautification of the site with colourful banners, beaming lights etc, involving the manpower of the corporation as well as private contractors were explicit to enable Shanti Kunj to wear a bridal look. Sudden rain forced the authorities to shift the venue of “Anup Jalota Nite” from Shanti Kunj to Tagore Theatre.

We are proud of our cultural heritage. Organising melas in the true Indian tradition with much fanfire is a practice which has been there since time immemorial. These melas provide an occasion for social get-together as also entertainment to the visitors.



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