Tuesday, November 13, 2001, Chandigarh, India





National Capital Region--Delhi

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
M A I L B A G

A laudable ban on smoking at public places

The Supreme Courtís order banning smoking in public places and transports, including the Railways, is highly praiseworthy.

On a PIL against smoking filed by a Maharashtra Congress leader, Mr Murli Deora, a Bench comprising Justice M.B. Shah and Justice R.P. Sethi has directed all states and Union Territories to immediately issue orders banning smoking in hospitals, health institutions, public offices, public transports, court buildings, educational institutions, libraries and auditoriums and also called for status reports from the Commissioners of Police of some states about the action taken against the cigarette manufacturers violating the advertisement code.

One hopes that the owners of private transports and other institutions will also prohibit smoking in their establishments in the interest of public health.

The smoke of tabacco drawn from cigarettes by the smokers into the mouth and lungs and blown out again not only affects their own health , but also that of other people besides polluting the atmosphere.

About five crore people are suffering from ailments caused by excessive smoking and nearly 30 lakh die every month in India. Smoking is, thus, very injurious to physical health. A Persian poet has rightly said: Huqqa-nosh ra seenah siyaah ast/ Agar baavar na daari nai gavaah ast (A smokerís bosom is sooted. If you do not believe, the pipe is a witness to it). The inside of the pipe of a hookah is sooted with the carbon particles of the smoke.

Quite often altercations, sometimes accompanied by blows, take place between non-smokers and unscrupulous people smoking in trains, buses, parks and on roads spreading offensive stench of tobacco.

BHAGWAN SINGH, Qadian



 

A play on police

The Punjab Police deserves a pat on its back for coming out with innovative ideas like staging a play in Ludhiana to improve the condition of the undisciplined police force. The abysmal state of the law and order abetted by those with the stick in hand is known to one and all. The case of illegal assault on a youth near Ludhiana who refused to pay some cops to avoid his name being implicated in a false case, if true, is ample testimony to the fact.

So it is not as if people have wrong perceptions of the law enforcing body in the state. There definitely must be some shortcomings in the department itself. And rather than the normal boring preachings, the play staged by the police itself is a welcome step in this direction to educate the policemen regarding their reputation in the eyes of common man. But obviously the man who could dare to take this bold & unconventional step could have been no less than their SSP himself. Congratulations to him and his team.

ANANT DHUPAR, Shimla

The mehndi fine

This is in response to the fine imposed on students of Carmel Convent, Chandigarh, for applying mehndi on their hands. I was shocked to hear that one could be fined for observing one's own cultural traditions. Instead of encouraging students to take pride in their culture, the school is trying to steer the youth away from it. I am wondering if the same action would be taken if somebody came to school with Christmas jewellary.

As a student I was once punished for not speaking in English at school. The result is that today I find it extremely difficult to read a Hindi book (without getting a headache) whereas I don't tire of writing extensive papers in English. By making our own language (culture in this case) an outcast in our education system, what do we hope to pass down to the younger generation? When will India get away from its colonial legacy?

ANU SABHLOK, Department of Geography, Penn State University

Rakhi next: This has reference to the current controversy regarding putting of mehandi on the hands of school children.

Some school principals have reportedly associated putting of heena with the use of lipstic, nail-enamel, jewellery etc., which is a totally wrong comparison.

Can one ever think of banning the putting of rakhis on the schoolboys' hands because they are visual distractions?

The applying of hyena on oneís hands during festivals and marriages by the women folk is an age-old Indian tradition that has acquired over the years a ritualistic import. And young girls should not be barred from participating in this agreeable Indian custom only because they happen to be studying in schools.

Funnily enough, these very schools that now are taking cudgels against this ritual often organise Mehndi-application competitions! And once applied it remains on oneís hands for weeks together.

BALVINDER, Chandigarh

Threat: My neice studies in Rosary Convent High School, Gun Foundary, Hyderabad. When she ďmaturedĒ, according to Hindu traditions, we celebrated it. On my wife and my sister's insistence, my neice agreed to apply "mehandi" to her hands. A couple of days later when she went to school, her teacher, who seems to be "wrongly" called by students as sister, noticed the mehandi and threatened her saying that my niece would lose10 marks from each subject if she was found with mehandi again.

ANAND, by e-mail

POTO: itís shameful

It is shameful that another Act is being promulgated to replace TADA. When are we going to learn that personal freedom and liberties are cornerstones of a vibrant democracy? Whenever a government fails to achieve any significant achievements, it resorts to such acts.

Also what shocked me was that the government had declared some outfits as terrorists organisations and I could not find a single Hindu organisation among them.

If POTO is passed the way it is proposed, the Press will become a major victim of this.

The biggest enemy of India is corruption and no one is doing any thing about it. When I visited India a few months ago I could not even get a railway ticket without going through harassment and then got it through the back door.

HARPREET, by e-mail

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