Newspapers as mirrors of society

APROPOS of Mr Chanchal Sarkar’s article “A spate of lenses zooming into the past” (Sunday Oped, Jan 11), the author rightly feels that “… the way they (i.e. eye-witness accounts) are spoken can have an effect much greater than pictures on a screen”.

In TV, the appeal is both to eyes and ears. However, in print media eye-witness accounts appeal not only to eyes but also stir up readers’ emotions and imagination, without witnessing fleeting glimpses of visuals which TV provides. It means getting a closer look at events, in fact experiencing and living through many stories. Moreover, they add authenticity and flavour to them. Eye-witness accounts cloak the otherwise dull and dry facts of reports with human interest.

If newspapers are truly mirrors of society, then it is imperative to incorporate eye-witness accounts in them. As is apparent, the newspaper draws its strength from the people whom it represents. Such accounts give expression to men and women and also help in opinion building.




Tortured soul

Apropos of Mr Khushwant Singh’s article “Sahir's tortured soul”, (Windows, Jan 10), Sahir’s mother or Sardar Begum was the fourth wife of Sahir’s father Fazal Mohammed. Sahir was barely eight years old when she not only left her husband but also took tiny Sahir with her. Sahir grew up to hate exploitation and harassment of women. He gave vent to his feelings of frustration in the film Sadhana.

Sudha Malhotra’s name was linked with Sahir correctly. Sahir had gone out of way to promote this upcoming singer. She ditched him. When Sahir caught a glimpse of newly married Sudha Malhotra at a party, the immortal lines “Chalo ek baar phir se ajnabi ban jayeen hum dono” flashed across his mind.

Lata Mangeshkar’s name was never linked romantically with Sahir. The only time when her name was linked with Sahir was when Sahir demanded a rupee more as his remuneration for writing a song than what Lata got for singing a song.

M.L. DHAWAN, Chandigarh

Capital punishment a must for rapists

APROPOS of Nanki Hans’ article “Draconian dimensions of gender crime” (Spectrum, Jan. 4), the writer has highlighted the heart-rending tale of crimes against women in the form of sex abuse, violence and rape. Rape cases have become too common these days. Just two months back, rape of a Delhi girl by the President’s elite body guards and of a young Swiss diplomat hit the headlines. This is a matter of grave concern and national shame.

How shocking is the fact that such acts are being committed even by the so-called custodians of law and guardians of society. Strong measures need to be taken to put a halt to such tragic happenings. Such offences should be made unbailable. Fast track courts should also be set up and condign punishment be given to the culprits to send the right message. In fact, I feel capital punishment is the only strong deterrent.

Idealists and psychologists might call death penalty as inhuman but is the act of rape less inhuman or immoral? The argument that capital punishment for rapists reflects primitive tendency is flawed and unacceptable as such heinous crimes are committed by perverted persons who deserve nothing short of death penalty. We call ourselves developed and civilised but in culture and conduct we are far behind. Theorists are busy in the maze of words like symptoms or disease but this disease has become cancerous which can be treated only through the surgical operation of capital punishment.

The present drift among the custodians of law and order needs to be arrested. Otherwise, our system will collapse. Girls must assert and learn ways of self-defence. Also the male-dominated mindset needs to be changed.

Prof K.L. BATRA, Yamunanagar


Partying with God

This has reference to Vimla Patil’s article “Partying with God too!” (Windows, Nov 29). The article was thought-provoking as also showed the necessity of God for the generation which is going through bad experiences of dullness and aloofness in society. Before partying with God, one must know how to practice the presence of God. The first proof of God’s presence in man’s life is peacefulness.

Life is a continuous process of living. But in this living process there are many ups and downs. And it is perhaps our own mind which connects ourselves with pains in the body. When mind is strong and thoughts are pure, only then we may free ourselves from pain. And this can be achieved by the practice of scientific yoga meditation.

Once the mind is kept under control, it overcomes all the negative thoughts. In the cut-throat competitive and materialistic world where money is extremely important and success is imperative, there must be partying with God.

ANJU ANAND, Chambaghat

A tall order

This has reference to Dr Kiran Bedi’s article “Let’s learn the culture of giving and sharing” (Sunday Oped, Jan 18). This reminds me of an interesting Chinese school curriculum that the late Harbhajan Halwarvi (former Editor of Punjabi Tribune) narrated after his first visit to China, decades ago.

The visiting Indian delegation was taken to a kindergarten school where children were playing an educative game. A basket containing apples equal to the number of players was kept on a table. But the approach route to the basket first was made in a playful jigsaw fashion. So whosoever reached the basket first was declared as the winner. As an award the winner was given the “honour” of distributing apples among his playmates. However, it was mandatory for the winner to keep him the last and the “smallest” of the apples.

In today’s highly individualistic society, the culture of giving and sharing can be promoted only if we start teaching our children by setting examples. A tall order indeed!

BALVINDER, Chandigarh

Fluency in English

Apropos of “How to be fluent in English” by J.R. Singh (Jan 2), the writer’s conception that writing and speaking of English are two different systems is based on gross misunderstanding. As in other languages, the speech in English is easier than writing in it. In a spoken language one can escape being caught of wrong grammar and misused prepositions. In the written language, however, one is fully exposed to scrutiny. Mr Singh needs to learn ground realities to know that one who is good at writing a language correctly is good at speaking it correctly, too. But those who are fluent in speaking are not necessarily fluent in writing.

The writer of this letter knows it for sure that only those who lack proficiency in English go for English-speaking courses mostly run by uneducated people. Of course, practice alone makes one fluent in English. For that one needs good company of peers and elders but not shops. Diffidence is the only hindrance to fluent speech.

SHRUTI KORPAL, St. Francis School, Amritsar Cantonment

Friends of animals

The Animal Welfare Fortnight (AWF) is being celebrated throughout the country from January 14 to 30. Seminars, radio, television talks, dog shows and vaccination camps and exhibitions are being held during this fortnight. The outcome of these celebrations has never been encouraging as the animals still endure the most appalling level of cruelty and neglect. Craze for posing before the camera is the first priority of the participants during these functions.

Admittedly, animal welfare is not merely an issue of emotion and religious sentiment; it has now become a full-fledged science. There is a need to modernise the knowledge of animal welfare. For the success of animal welfare schemes, hard work, commitment, grit and dedication are needed. Lack of kindness and compassion and public awareness has led to the increasing crimes against animals.

In the face of continued institutionalised abuse of animals for human benefits, the country saw many successes and failures as various animal welfare organisations went to the aid of animals in distress. Credit goes to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa for strictly enforcing the law against the sacrifice of animals. Organisers should persuade other states to follow Tamil Nadu.

Dr SOSHIL RATTAN, Animal Production Specialist, Amritsar

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