Spreading the message of peace

This has reference to Nirupama Dutt’s article “Women for peace all around” (April 3). Her statement “Men fight the wars but women bear the brunt” reveals the spirit of tolerance among women.

Since time immemorial, woman has been the forerunner of many civilisations. Where man is known for his destructive aspect, woman is known for her constructive personality. Man is aggressive and violent, but woman is peace-loving and non-violent. Thus, women can go a long way in making peace.

I appreciate the women writers of South Asia who, with their creative impulses of writing, have shouldered the responsibility of joining hearts transcending the man-made barriers. Writers like Zaheda Hena and Naseema Shafai have lived through hardship and are determined to air their voices for peace in this age which is marked by bigotry and fundamentalism.

They have proved that not war and weapons but art and culture that can bury the hatchet of bitterness among the South Asian countries. Where the sword of men has failed, the pen of women has proved mightier.

— SHIRPA HANDA, Ambala City



Who will pay for tomatoes?

We are agriculturists of Jandiala village near Amritsar. Last year, we sold tomatoes, grown on our land, to a company called Nijjer Agro Foods Limited. This company makes tomato paste and other items and sells them to Nestle. However, Nijjer has not yet paid us money to the tune of Rs 1 crore for tomatoes supplied during 2003.

When we go to them, they say that Nestle has not paid them for the material supplied by them. We do not understand the logic and the link between the two. Why is Nestle unable to pay to Nijjer? The next crop is almost ready. And Nijjer is threatening us that if we do not supply them tomatoes this year, they will not pay the arrears.

We have approached the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Congress, but in vain. Who will help us?

— SARDUL SINGH & Others, Meharbanpura, (Amritsar)

Female foeticide

Female foeticide has become a major problem today. The Constitution guarantees equal opportunities to women. It empowers state governments to adopt measures for affirmative discrimination in their favour.

However, there is gross misuse of reproductive technology in a society characterised by a strong bias against the female child. According to the Census 2001, a significant feature of Punjab population is the preponderance of males over females.

The sex ratio in Punjab consistently rose from 1911 till 1991. It showed a decline from 882 in 1991 to 874 in 2001. This ratio is 0-6 yrs (793) and 0--1 years (774), showing a very distributing downward trend although determining the sex of a foetus is punishable under the law. The culprits forcing women to undergo pre-natal test can be slapped with fines ranging from Rs 10,000 to Rs 50,000 along with a jail term of three to five years. Surprisingly, however, about 50 lakh female foeticide operations have been reported in the country.

Female foeticide is a complex issue. If a woman is aware of her rights, she will feel confident and secure. She will also participate in the decision-making process and take her own decisions. The Indian woman will emerge victorious only when she decides to give birth to a baby girl in a dignified manner and feel proud of her daughter.

— LEELA RANI, Madhopuri (Ludhiana)

Of working women

Most working women are passing through a difficult period. Their life has become mechanical because of the fast and modern life in big cities. Moreover, they have to share dual responsibility — one at home and the other at the work place.

Generally, working women don't get enough time to take care of their own needs. They even forget about their grooming. It would be better if they regularly visit doctors and do not take any routine disease lightly. If they take care of their health, they will feel hale and hearty. They should look for small pleasures in small things. This will keep them happy.

They should make it a point to read newspapers daily for general awareness. After all, when women have started to share responsibilities with men, they must pay extra attention towards themselves.


US hegemony

The United States is perpetuating its hegemony in Iraq in gross violation of the international law. Alleging that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, the Bush Administration attacked Iraq. Though it did not have WMDs, the US troops killed many people and destroyed property. Iraq’s destruction reminds one of Afghanistan. The United Nations witnessed all this as a mute spectator. It failed to prevent the US from going ahead with its gameplan.

The US' conferment of a major non-NATO ally status on Pakistan is interpreted differently by political analysts. Some say, it is a reward for Islamabad’s assistance to the US in its war on terror. Pakistan considers it a reward for its efforts to contain terrorism. This will have significant implications for Indo-US relations. While the US can further sell military hardware, technology, weapons system and F-16 fighter aircraft to Pakistan, it can have strategic partnership with its natural ally.

As the Indo-Pak ties are improving now, the US should have displayed statesmanship and restrained itself from granting MNNA status to Pakistan.



America’s allies are distancing themselves from its so-called crusade against Islamic fundamentalists. The Muslim community has become averse to American repression against its brethern. At the moment, Pakistan fits in well in the US gameplan to keep terrorists on the run. General Musharraf has compulsions of his own to retain power. He wants to procure sophisticated conventional weapons from the US to maintain parity with India.

— Col KULDIP SINGH GREWAL (retd), Patiala

CBSE exams

In question No. 25 of Mathematics paper (Class X examination, CBSE), the examiner appeared to get the maximum rebate of Rs 70,000 after investing Rs 7,000 in NSC. Some students have solved this question after getting the Income-Tax rebate on Rs 70,000 including the NSC investment of Rs 7,000 whereas others have given rebate on Rs 63,000, already invested in PF and LIC policy.

Owing to the ambiguous question, I appeal to the authorities concerned to treat the answer in both ways as correct and award marks to examinees accordingly.


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