Why run away from jail?

“Hum angreyzon key zamaney key jailor hain, ha, ha!” Till recently one would consider these legendary lines, rendered characteristically by film comedian Asrani, from the celebrated Hindi film “Sholey” as merely hilarious. However, the Chandigarh jail-break incident has proved beyond doubt that the reel life comedians do exist in real life too.

Fun apart, the serious aspect of the incident is the question that our maid servant asked my wife; “Bibi, why did these persons run away from the jail?” Obviously, she, a keen TV watcher, was hinting at the facilities these jail inmates were getting. A  no-outside-interference-curtained-room having cabled colour-TV sets, exercise kits, a place for “puja-paath”, attached English-system toilets, a free-kitchen with modern gadgets like water-filter, and on top of it, an exclusive 24-hour “cook”!

V. Shantha Ram’s Hindi movie “Do Aankhen Barrah Haath” delved on the theme of treating convicts humanely in jails so as to turn them into better human beings. However, if one looks at the monumental rise in the number of crimes, one can safely conclude that the stretching of the “humane” angle too far has not provided the required upbeat effect in this regard. More so, because human rights are still being trampled with impunity. Excessive and unwarranted liberties have resulted in cases like the one of jail-break in Chandigarh.

BALVINDER, Chandigarh.



Print vs electronic media

Apropos of Miss Roshni Johar’s letter, “Newspapers as mirrors of society” (Jan 25),the author has stressed the fact that newspapers are the best in mass media. But I am sorry to say that newspapers only cater to the educated. The other means of mass communication — radio, television, etc — are of equal significance and their reach is more widespread than the newspapers.

The rural illiterate keep themselves abreast of the happenings through radio. There are places where newspapers are out of the reach of people and radio comes to their rescue.

In the case of television, both words and pictures come before the public. Television correspondents report live from the place where an event has occurred. This brings people closer to the real news. Newspapers need more time to reach out to people, but radio and television bring the happenings before the public in no time.

There are people who can’t afford daily newspapers, but radio, being the cheapest source of entertainment and information, is easily within their reach with no heavy burden on their pockets.

Not only newspapers but also radio and television go a long way towards shaping up public opinion. Both the print and electronic media help people to remain in touch with the world outside.


Plight of the poor

My heart melted with pity on seeing the photo of two small girls eating the leftovers of the visitors at the 7th Auto Expo in New Delhi, published on Nation page of January 19. The remarks “Waste for some, feast for others” mentioned below it, depict the wretched plight of the poor people, who, despite hard labour, cannot prevent privation.

Earlier in the piercingly cold foggy mornings, when the well-off people wrapped in quilts and blankets recline on cushioned beds in cosy rooms, I daily see small barefoot ragged boys and girls picking pieces of iron, plastic, etc, from dirty dumps to eke out their livelihood.

Likewise, quite a large number of poor children scrub utensils or do other menial jobs in hotels or houses of rich people and fill their stomachs with leftover meals.

Many indigent young women and girls have to undergo the trauma of being sexually exploited by their unscrupulous employers.

Alas. “Jab tak insaan kee jeb khaali hai/Zindagi ik ghaleez gaali hai” (Till the pocket of a person is empty, life is like a filthy abuse).

Even after 56 years of Independence, crores of people live below the line of poverty. Will the rulers of the country explain what fruits of freedom they have got?


Urban development

Declared by the Chief Minister in 2003 as a “model corporation of the state,” the Municipal Corporation of Ludhiana claims to have provided 100 per cent water supply in the “declared” areas. The target so achieved projects nothing more than a blurred view of the “development” process whereby the “undeclared” colonies, which outnumber the “declared” ones, have been sidelined by the civic body for providing basic amenities in the absence of the implementation of long-awaited policy to get these “undeclared”colonies “declared”

And now the role model corporation has been reported to have submitted a report on about 209 low-income settlements in Ludhiana with no basic civic amenities to the World Bank and the British Department for International Development to launch a poverty alleviation project with the help of Indo-USAID and Cities Alliance in partnership with the National Institute of Urban Affairs. The project is being implemented in 20 settlements, still leaving 189 in the lurch.

SANGEETA, Ludhiana

Peace first

The Republic Day parade showed a lot of missiles, radars, anti-tank guns and other aspects of the military might of India. We should show a “jhanki” of something depicting peace first and then “jhankies” of military might, proving that we want peace but, if need be, we have the guns also.

SATISH WASAN, JalandharTop

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