Thursday, August 30, 2001, Chandigarh, India



Stem cell controversy: cloning men & animals

The Tribune on August 16 editorially raised the question of ethics of cloning humans. The restrictive attitude adopted by the U.S.A. is unnecessary because man’s interest in the procedure of cloning will pass off as uneventfully as did his obsession with the “Brave New World”. We did not go in for the mass production of pre-engineered scientists, administrators and workers nor did women decide to be “free-martins” to avoid the pain (or pleasure) of pregnancy and child-bearing. “Soma” parties died with Aldous Huxley because man decided to improve animals rather than humans.

For exactly the same reasons of custom and ethics, we are, even if Tendulkar and law permit, not going to have a team of eleven Tendulkars. Nor are we going to have more Gandhis because England may, in that event, decide to have as many Churchills.

A woman, whose husband dies while she is still young, may avoid widowhood by having her husband cloned; but whether the cloned person will grow up to be her husband or her son will have to be debated. The infant husband is, moreover, not likely to remember that he is a married person. He would have forgotten everything just as we forget our last births. A cloned Tendulkar may refuse to play cricket.


Cloning is not going to be interesting. A few rich persons may have themselves cloned just for the fun of it. It, however, has the potential to revolutionise agricultural economy. Every farmer could have a “Kamdhenu” at his farm. Even that will happen in the UK or the USA because India’s politicians and administrators will see to it that all Indians capable of creating clones and the problems connected therewith, migrate to lands away from India.

Let Basmati be America’s problem. We are interested only in eating it. Even if we have to beg for it.

L.R. SHARMA, Solan

Throw out erring MPs

Apropos the editorial “Well, well no more” (Aug 25), Parliament is not allowed to function for days on end. The unruly MPs break the rules of Parliament with impunity. More than the individual MPs it is their political parties, who are to blame. They do what they are told to do. They have no other choice. Parliament rules exist to cover all types of exigencies. They only need to be implemented. The suspension of MPs who persistently block the proceedings of the House through their unruly conduct is one such provision which, if invoked, can act as a suitable deterrent for the errings MPs.

Instead, frequent adjournments are ordered to overcome the problem. The remedy is worse than the disease. Why resort to “lock-outs” that stop productive work? Why not throw out the “striking” MPs and carry on with the business of the House?

Wg Cdr C. L. SEHGAL (retd), Jalandhar

Pensioners’ demand

The Punjab Finance Minister had announced the benefit of old age allowance to the Punjab Government pensioners on attaining the age 65 and 75 years at Fatehgarh Sahib on April 25. Four months have passed, however, the notification to this effect has not yet been issued. It hurts nearly 1.5 lakh pensioners.


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