Saturday, July 12, 2003
M A I L  B O X


Living on a spoonful of water

THIS refers to Jushi Bakshi’s article "Living on a spoonful of water" (May 31). Come summer and the spectre of water famine looms large over the nation. Cities, towns and even rural tracts complain of dry taps, dry wells and dry hopes. Instant experts predict tougher days ahead, apart from dropping hints about desertification. "They are rubbish" says R.K. Sivappan, an authority on water technology. He says that the problem has not with water resources but with their management. The genesis of the problem lies in utter mismanagement of the precious commodity. If every drop of water that is drained or wasted is recycled, it is enough to irrigate a million hectacres of cultivable land. After preliminary treatment, drainage water can be used to recharge ground water (as happens in Los Angeles in the USA), pumped to industries for cooling purposes (as most western nations do) or diverted to farmers to raise crops (as Israel does) or pumped into rivers to pollute them dangerously as India does!

If this country stops destroying its rivers and poisoning ground water, it will also solve its drinking water problem.

VIJAY SHEEL JAIN, Ludhiana

 


II

The writer has pointed out well-known fact of water famine in near future. The reasons pointed out are various. One of the problem is unabated deforestation.

The water is being used to cleaning floors, clothes, and for building of new houses. And the worst is use of water for watering of kitchen gardens. Availability of inexpensive water has encouraged people to misuse water !

According to the WHO, water management in India should be privatised before a alarming situation arises.

People should be given monetary help for building underground tanks for harvesting rain water. They can also be educated to treat this water in such a way as it can be used during summers for bathing, washing, and watering kitchen gardens.

ASHOK SHARMA Hamirpur

Hullabaloo over conversions

This refers to Khushwant Singh’s article "The hullabaloo over conversions" (June 7). The writer has raised a very pertinent question about the conversion issue: Whose business is it besides that of the person who wants to convert to another faith?

Certainly, it is the business of the person concerned. They say all religions are equal. If it is really so, then why the hullabaloo over conversions?

In fact, conversions are less a change of faith and are more weapons of protest. In a country where the politics of democracy has reduced the religious communities to mere vote banks, the exploited or disgruntled people take to conversion to give a jolt to the powers-that-be. The ruling classes, therefore, say that conversions lead to social tensions.

If we want that this form of protest is not resorted to by the people, then the custodians of religion have to learn how to take care of all the people. If they have the audacity to justify the killings of five Dalits by saying that cow is more important than the lives of five human beings, then why should the Dalits continue to be a part of the Hindu society?

Religion must also be separated from politics.

As religion is a private matter, so is conversion. If a person really feels that he cannot get inspiration from the Vedas let him choose the Bible or the Koran or whatever else he likes. His right to have religion of his choice is an inalienable fundamental human right.

SURENDRA AJNAT Banga

This feature was published on June 28, 2003