Sunday, August 3, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Tackling the menace of dowry

This refers to Mr A.J. Philip’s article “Groomed for cash?” (June 14). The views of the writer are likely to appeal to some and antagonise others. In most cases bridegrooms do demand dowry. The parents of the bride are expected to compensate the amount of money the groom’s family has spent on his education. Even then the lust for dowry remains unfulfilled.

The practice of dowry has eaten into the moral fabric of our society. Even people who have undergone the traumatic experience of having to pay dowry on the marriages of their daughters, are keen on getting dowry on their sons’ marriage.

People flouting the provisions of the Dowry Prohibition Act should be dealt with severely. Apart from the girl’s kin, the police and NGOs should be allowed to lodge complaints against dowry seekers.

Tarsem Bumrah, Batala


Mr A.J. Philip’s article “Groomed for cash” and Ms Aruti Nayar’s article “Dowry demands zero tolerance” (June 14) have highlighted different aspects of the problem of dowry which has become a curse for our society. Even girls like Nisha Sharma of Noida and Shweta Bansal of Hissar, who backed off from marriage when demands for dowry were made, did not reject this system altogether but revolted against excessive demand. Only the degree and extent of dowry is being opposed. Parents continue to give dowry for the happiness of their daughters.


Although the solution offered by Mr Philip is logical, it is very difficult to implement. Dowry will have to be tackled through the united efforts of NGOs, women organisations, political parties and religious bodies. Media must play a vital role in mobilising public opinion against this social evil. Steps should be taken to empower women. Above all, women’s education must be given top priority.

Neelam, Yamuna Nagar

The courage to be alone and yet not alone

I read with keen interest Preeti Singh's “Being single, and loving it!” (Her World, July 6). Well, there is nothing like being an optimist! But the fact is that with emotional cushion of the joint families taken away, the incidence of suicides among the widows, divorcees and single women is increasing. There is need for support and we all need the support of each other. But the support should be such which doesn't strip us of all dignity, which does not turn our bridal beds with pyres, which does not turn as battered beggars.

The last three decades have seen a growing sisterhood and the rise of support groups in places all over the country — Women's Centre at Mumbai, Saheli at Delhi, to mention just a few. These groups provide support to women who feel they have nowhere to go to. But, even then, the battle is a hard one and in the recent years the suicide pacts in various parts of the country point to the alarming situation.

If other divorced women take a cue from Preet, they too can build their support through courage and fortitude. It should be recognised that for each one who dies, there are hundreds living yet and struggling like Preeti with the courage to be alone — and yet not alone.

K .M. Vashisht, Mansa


Specious question

This has reference to Surjit Kaur's interview with Humra Quraishi (Spectrum, May 25). One of the questions asked is: “Don't you think it is paradoxical that while Sikh teachings focus on simplicity, the lifestyles of the rich are far from simple?” The question is specious because it is based on Quraishi's specious understanding of Sikh teachings. Simplicity may be laudable and some sects do emphasise it. Some Sikhs may also be following this way of life. But simplicity of lifestyle is not even one of the main tenets of Sikhism, forget about it being the focus of Sikh doctrines. Does she imply that Sikhs who enjoy a lavish lifestyle are sinners as this is against the spirit and letter of Sikhism? She would be enlightening many ignorant souls if she were to point out the exact text from which she picked up this idea. Sikh teachings focus on Universality: One god, one mankind. Never on simplicity.

Surjit Kaur neatly falls into the specious net and replies: “Yes, you could say there's a paradox”. She attributes the ‘eat, drink and be merry’ attitude of the fun-loving Sikhs to geography and wrongly accuses them of violating the teaching of the Guru.

In an interview, both sides have the right to express opinions. But, here, Surjit Kaur has no right to reinforce the misrepresentation of the Guru's teaching. My fun-loving, life-enjoying Sikh friends, you could not have achieved this enjoyable lifestyle without the blessings of God and the guidance of the Guru. This is the sweet fruit of your toil. God is with you. The Guru is with you. Enjoy life. It is not against your religion. Whatever the Quraishis and Surjits may say, carry on with your joi de vivre and Namsimran. There is no paradox.

C. L. Dhamija, Chandigarh

Potter’s success

This refers to the article “Hatimtai to Harry Potter” by Mr L.H. Naqvi (Spectrum, July 6). Being a great Harry Potter fan, I found the article a bit disturbing.

The article says that the reason for Potter's big success was event management but this is a secondary and minor reason for the spread of Pottermania like jungle fire. Its success lies in the amazing story telling techniques Rowling has delivered through the pages of the book.

Rowling's book fascinates children and adults alike. It is realistic, yet imaginary. The story unfolds the basic human instincts of friendship, hatred, fear, guts, admiration and respect. What made it differ from the rest was the aspect it touched which were never ever thought of.

This change was being awaited for as the other authors dwelled on the same concept of fairy tales. How many authors have thought of quidditch like wizard games, moving staircases making the students lose their track and discover extraordinary, mind-boggling events in a Hogwarts like school?

Prerna Babbar, Panchkula


Mr B. R. Lall has not attended the Anti-Corruption Conference held at Seoul as mentioned at the end of the article “Need to intensify efforts to combat corruption” (July 27). The error is regretted. — Editor

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