Tuesday, December 10, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Religious leaders can help control population

Dr M.S. Bajwa in his letter (Dec 4) has rightly raised the alarm over uncontrolled growth of population in the country but he hasn’t suggested how it should be brought under control. Our government either has no policy on population or doesn’t have the will to implement it.

Our policies are largely dictated by electoral compulsions of the political parties. Since in China there are no such compulsions, one-family, one-child norm has been rigorously enforced and burgeoning of the population has been halted. India also needs some such norm but its enforcement will not be possible without an element of coercion at which our leadership will dither. Sanjay Gandhi tried his rough and ready methods but they proved to be abortive and politically very costly.

Alternatively, we can wait till the citizenry becomes enlightened enough to tame the hydra of population. Those now in power at the Centre were once bitter critics of Sanjay Gandhi’s methods of population control. Now they have an opportunity to employ their own humane methods, but one wonders what is holding them.

If the population is to be controlled by persuasion and not coercion, religious leaders are the only ones whose words find way to the hearts of the largest number of people in our country. As for producing men with capabilities, our entire education system will have to be radically restructured. For a beginning, overemphasis on humanities will have to give place to technical education. But who will bell the cat?


Amritsar dirtiest place

Amritsar city is the dirtiest of all corporation towns in Punjab. The city Mayor had gone on a Singapore tour with other Mayors at the government expense to know and study what is cleanliness. He came back with an emphatic declaration that he would change the face of Amritsar within 15 days, but months have passed without any visible change.

This city is fast becoming a garbage city with heaps of it lying along the main roads. To cap it, the garbage-carrying vehicles of the corporation are broken, rusted, leaky, without back covers and these spread more garbage and filth on the main roads while carrying it to the dumping ground.

Luckily for Amritsar the Golden Temple has been declared the world's sixth best tourist spot, ahead of Taj Mahal, in a poll conducted by the BBC.



Delimitation process

I read with dismay the editorial Exercise in utility (Dec 4) hailing the Delimitation Commission’s decision to indefinitely defer the ongoing process of fresh delimitation of the Assembly and parliamentary constituencies in Himachal Pradesh. The editorial emits more heat than light on the subject. I, for one, find the points made therein very hard to swallow. To my mind, the august commission seems to have buckled under pressure from powerful vested interests.

The rationalisation of assembly constituencies inherently involved changes — even drastic ones. Some hue and cry over the matter was, therefore, expected and understandable. However, due opportunity was given to the affected people to file their objections to the tentative proposals, the dates and venues for public hearing on the subject had been notified and the matter was to be finalised just within a few days, leaving ample time for the exercise, including the necessary revision of the electoral rolls to be completed well before the impending Assembly poll. The explanation given by the powers-that-be for deferring the exercise, to my mind, sounds a very poor alibi.

The ill-advised deferment of the overdue exercise simply gives more time to the vested interests to manipulate it to their exclusive advantage. The people, who have been reeling under unfair and unjust reservation of their constituency — Gagret Assembly constituency for example — for the past several decades and were hopeful that the accursed constituencies would be deserved forthwith are hit by the mindless deferment more adversely as the spell of reservation of their constituencies would perforce get extended by another five years.

Under the circumstances, isn’t your reaction to the last-minute deferment of the delimitation exercise hasty and ill-considered, pray?

TARA CHAND, Ambota (Una)

Of morality & maryada

I congratulate Mr Gurdial Singh for his views (Nov 20). There are very few noted writers who feel the pulse of the public and candidly accept that journalists and writers can only talk about morality, maryada and idealism and are unable to go beyond this. I would like to add that not many others can do anything to clear the mess that has been created by our politicians.


Marriages as contracts

I refer to a letter by Vandana Arora of Sonepat titled "Of marriage & divorce". The bitter fact is that Indian marriages are commercial contracts. Both sides have parameters, terms and conditions. Outside these terms and conditions nothing is acceptable. However, the most important factor is always missing and that is true love. I always wondered about how two strangers can fall in love, instantly, just because their fathers have selected them for each other? I have heard 'instant coffee' but 'instant love'? I can never marry a girl who does not love me or one who I do not love.

YOGESH DATTA,  Canberra, Australia.

Veracity of history

This pertains the article by Prof B. B. Lal dismissing the Aryan invasion as a myth, and the rejoinder/rebuttal 'Aryan Invasion', (Dec 4) by Dr. Naval Viyogi. As anyone, including an impartial student of history or archaeology, would vouch, once you get to listen to a first-hand account of any road accident from two separate eyewitnesses, you begin to suspect the veracity of history!


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