The Tribune - Spectrum


, February 24, 2002


Our minds are still not free

THE write-up "The path India choose" by M.S.N Menon (January 20) seemed to me to be biased in India’s favour. The writer has failed to paint the correct picture.

No doubt, diversity has been the hallmark of our country but freedom has yet to find its full expression in this land.

Indian society has been a rigid and conservative one from times immemorial. It was divided into various varnas which were and are so strictly defined that even persons of the likes of Vivekanand, Dayanand, Gandhi and many others found it difficult to change the mindsets of the people. Even today, our society is divided along caste lines. Then we can ill-afford to say that our society is a free one.

If Dalits are not allowed to enter temples or eat alongside people of higher castes then is this freedom? Women are denied every right, be it the right to birth, education, jobs or parental property. Should we still say that India is a ‘free’ country?

If anyone has really benefited from our multi-cultural and multi-religious society it is our opportunistic leaders. The composition of our society has provided them with a chance to divide the society on religious lines.

Freedom is a state of mind and unfortunately, our minds are still not free.

Kunal Thakur, Chandigarh


Dawood Ibrahim

This refers to Ashwini Bhatnagar’s article, "Dusk descends on don" (February 3). The write-up was gripping and well-researched. It gave an insight into Dawood Ibrahim’s nefarious activities.

G.K. Sharma, Bahrain

Cleaning doorbells

This refers to "For whom the bells stall" (February 3), compiled by Chetna Banerjee.

Doorbells are of two types, electric which operates on 220 volts AC and electronic which operates on lower DC voltage using a rectifier and a step down transformer. Handling electric doorbells as advised by the writer can be dangerous.

So far as cleaning of the button of the bell is concerned, most of the commercially available buttons are sealed and hence can’t be opened.

Using a cotton swab dipped in alcohol to clean the doorbell is highly dangerous and a tiny spark can lead to a fire hazard. A multi-tester is not a household item and all of us cannot use it. An amateur like me cannot make out what "transformer with greater low-voltage output" means. Moreover transformers comes in a wide range of varieties and ratings, and every gadget has a specified circuit.

Pawan Dviwedi, Sujanpur

Science and God

This refers to "Does science point to the existence of God?" by P. Lal. The writer has attempted to examine the relationship between science and God. The subject is complex and does not yield to simple generalisations, and random quotes from famous scientists and holy men do not suffice to delve deeply into it.

Surveys have shown that the categories of scientists most likely to be atheistic are evolutionary biologists, astrophysicists and astronomers, roughly in that order. These scientists deal with very fundamental questions about existence on dauntingly immense scales of space and time, and many among them feel that the concept of God is unnecessary. Even for the theists among them, who have sensed the far borders of science pushing into something akin to metaphysics, the idea of God is vastly different from, say, that of an average bank clerk or homemaker.

One controversial emerging branch of science, called neurotheology, attempts to study our need for religion and God. Some neurotheologists believe that we are not just conditioned to believe in God by society, but are actually naturally "programmed" to do so. That is, the design of our brain predisposes us to believe in a higher supernatural entity. That is why being consistently atheist is difficult for even the staunchest atheists. Many have been known to waver in the face of catastrophic personal tragedies, or the nearness of death.

N.S. Dhami, Ludhiana

Home This feature was published on February 17, 2002