Social justice a far cry in India

Punam Khaira Sidhu’s article “Senior citizens deserve a safety net” (Perspective, Oct 31) is informative and worthy of attention by the powers that be and society, but it seems to be a tall order for developing countries in general and India in particular.

After waiting for my turn at a cash counter in bank for almost an hour, I told the cashier my agony in waiting. Bank slogans promise not more than 10 minutes for a task, but the cashier retorted snobbishly. The cashier is, no doubt, educated and aware of my age. Yet, he was discourteous.

Similarly, the person at the customs counter at the Wagah border was educated, but he told former Prime Minister I.K. Gujral to come in the queue. Mr Gujral is not only a VVIP but also a senior citizen. Of course, if he was jumping the line meant for senior citizens, then, he should wait for his turn, but if he was the only one, he should be given priority over others.

Similarly, in the name of financial constraints, withholding the old age pension or monthly grants to the war veterans, who are in their evening of life, amounts to social injustice. Ironically, social element is almost missing among the educated and the powers that be. It is chaos on the roads, in public institutions and almost everywhere. Social awareness and tolerance for each other is painfully lacking. I am optimistic but I feel that delivery of social justice to the aged is a far cry in India.

Lt-Col CHANAN SINGH DHILLON (retd), Ludhiana



Chronic malady

This refers to the interview of Mr P.M. Sayeed, the Union Energy Minister (Perspective, Sept 19). He said he would give top priority to check power theft and reduce transmission losses. This is an old rhetoric repeated by successive power ministers.

No government — at the Centre and in the states — has done anything in this regard. The reason: Power pilferage is done not by common man but by big people like industrialists, businessmen, high officials and politicians. No one can dare lay hands on them.

The State Electricity Boards can become richer by thousands of crores of rupees if the two maladies of power theft and transmission losses are effectively controlled. Enough money can become available for generation of thousands of megawatts of energy. If Mr Sayeed is sincere in his intentions, he will have to take stringent measures to show results.

The government should make available for public statistics from time to time as to what action has been taken against defaulters, the extent of power theft and money saved and the degree of transmission losses reduced.

T.R. GOYAL, Chandigarh

Spot this visitor in your park

IN the article (Spectrum, Oct 31), Mehran Zaidi avers that there are eight different types of bulbuls in India. That is absolutely incorrect because as of now India has 20 species of the bulbul. Admittedly, numbers of four species (Nicobar bulbul. Admittedly, numbers of four species ( Nicobar bulbul, Yellow-throated bulbul, Yellow-eared bulbul and Grey-headed bulbul) have declined to very low levels and they are now considered globally threatened.

Mehran Zaidi is right about the Red-vented bulbul being among the most commonly encountered birds in Chandigarh homes and in the open. But what we see here is the “nominate” species and much the same looking bird except for its black breast found in Bengal and the Notheastern states being the bengalensis sub-species.

There is chance of seeing the Red-whiskered bulbul here but if you get up to Morni, this bulbul will certainly greet you. At the peak of winter, a few Himalayan bulbuls are seen here. They do have a white patch on their cheeks but they are not called “white-cheeked” as made out in the article.

When the Seemal trees are in full flower, Chandigarh is visited by small flocks of the Black bulbul for a few days.

Lt-General BALJIT SINGH (retd), Chandigarh



Colours of revival

This refers to V. Gangadhar’s “Classics in colour” (Spectrum, Oct 3), the attempt to recolour black and white classics will hurt the feelings of those who grew up on these classics. Reproducing these in colour will rob these films of their originality. Moreover, the present generation is not interested in watching old movies and as far as the older generation is concerned, its heart is tuned to the black and white only.



V. Gangadhar states that three years after Mehboob made India’s first colour film, Aan (1952), V. Shantaram made Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baje. After Mehboob, it was Sohrab Modi who made a film in colour, Jhansi Ki Rani (in 1953).

The writer has incorrectly stated that the colour version of Ben Hur won nine Oscars. It bagged 11 trophies, a record it shares with Titanic and The Lord of the Rings — The Return of the King.

The race in Naya Daur was between a tonga and a bus, and not between a bullock cart and bus, and Pran was not in the cast of this movie as incorrectly mentioned.



Several filmmakers have toyed with the idea of re-making classics but dropped the idea because the budget today will be close to Rs 100 crore. Refurbishing it in colour is a less expensive option.

Dilip Kumar is said to have been moved to tears when he saw some of his reworked scenes. Naushad was touched when he heard his melodies re-recorded in Dolby digital.


The case for Mewat

Apropos of Ruchika Khanna’s “Call of Mewat” (Spectrum, Oct 31), I appreciate the focus on the most backward parts of Haryana like Nuh, Nagina and Firozepur Jhirka.

The transfer of a government employee to these areas is treated as a punishment. In fact, when a newspaper approaches the dusty villages, journalism becomes meaningful.

If this new district is created, it will fulfil the aspirations of the common people of Mewat. Those who see in its creation “ a mini-Pakistan” are indifferent to the genuine problems of the Meos.

They should not forget that Sardar Mewati Hasan Khan fought valiantly against Babur, along with Rana Sangram Singh, in the famous battle of Khanva in 1527 A.D. However, the fact remains that poverty is fostering crime and criminals here.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |