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Sunday, May 13, 2001
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Sense, Census and sensibility

THIS refers to Chanchal Sarkarís article "Sense and Census" (April 22), in which the author highlights how sex workers have been classified as "beggars". Important regional papers had pointed this out a month ago. Sex workers being branded as "beggars" had rightly been objected to. Sex workers give, they do not take. So, how can they be beggars? According to media reports, Bollywood filmmaker Tanuja Chandra, while supporting the cause of Gudiya, an NGO working for the uplift of prostitutes and their children is reported to have said: "I donít see anything wrong in being a prostitute. In fact we belong to same industry... The industry of giving pleasure. If I am called a professional why canít a prostitute be called one, and get the same security and respect I enjoy."

Under the Suppression of Immoral Traffic Act, prostitution is not illegal ó a point that is worth noting. The writer has done well to clarify that if anyone lives off the earnings of a sex worker, it is illegal and punishable. Tanuja Chandraís words, thus assume significance.

In a country where the sale of whisky and cigarettes has been legalised, why canít prostitution be legalised?

Vulnerable women, forced to adopt prostitution as a profession or those who become victims of trafficking must be provided with viable and safe economic opportunities. As a long-term measure, we must try to eliminate the causes of prostitution and illegal trafficking. All NGOs working for the uplift of prostitutes their children must appreciate that after certain age these prostitutes would lose their value in the market. They should prepare them for a safe and secure retirement.

ONKAR CHOPRA
Ludhiana

 


In defence of the book

Mohinder Singhís write-up, "In defence of the book" (April 29), was very thought-provoking. Managing a collection of books, over the years, could prove less expensive than the amount spent on a computer.

Only a person who has imbibed the habit of reading early on in life can realise its importance. Computers in education and work are of great help but the craze for mastering computer skills at the primary level is pushing children too soon towards a life regimented by adult ambition.

In the frenzy of competition, the young children have no time to laugh, read and learn. In this process, thinking and creativity is nipped in the bud. Efforts are speeded up to gather information, instead of gaining knowledge.

Overexposure of young minds to the electronic media should be avoided, and the habit of reading should be inculcated early on in life.

In this context is the relevance of a saying by Cicero can be seen: "If you have a garden, and a library, you have every thing you need."

P.L. SETHI,
Patiala

Special issue

Maharaja Ranjit Singhís broad outlook towards all religions was reflected in his according due respect to all of them. The spirit of forbearance displayed by him was in sharp contrast to the inhuman practices of the then Mughal rulers. It also contrasts with the present practices of so-called "rulers".

Alas, one wishes we could have adopted the vision of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in the present times.

Kindly accept my heartiest congratulations for bringing out this beautiful supplement.

DEEDAR SINGH
Mohali

Agnikul clans

Apropos of Shona Adhikariís write-up, "Rajasthanís sole summer resort," the agnikul clans of Rajputs are mentioned by Chand Bardai, the court poet of Prithviraj Chauhan, in his book Prithviraj Raso. According to him, when Parshurama had destroyed the Kshatriyas and there was no one left to protect the Brahmins, they assembled and performed a yajna on Mount Abu.

They kindled the sacred fire and prayed to God to produce a brave class to protect them. In response to their prayers, four great heroes sprang from this sacred fire. These founded the four great Rajput families ó Parmaras, Pratiharas, Chalukyas and Chauhans.

The writer has also failed to mention anything about Prajapita Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya, Pandav Bhawan, Mt Abu, which was set up in 1953 and has many centres in India and abroad. It is a well-known spiritual, value-based educational institution, which has gained global acceptance and unique international recognition. Lakhs of Indians and foreigners visit this vidyalaya every year to get a feel of the spiritual splendour that it offers.

The fact is that the economy of Mt Abu, these days, depends mainly on lakhs of persons visiting this vidyalaya.

O.P. SHARMA
Faridabad

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