Empowerment key to women’s development

Women in India are discriminated against at various levels. There is no limit to one’s desire for a son.
Sex-determination and selection are practised on a large scale in India and other countries.

Women are still in chains of traditional thinking and are unaware of their rights. Their literacy is very low and are subject to various kinds of harassment and torture. Women should be immediately brought into the socio-political mainstream. Without empowerment, they would not be able to develop and become self-reliant. More important, they should be made fully aware of their reproductive and conjugal rights.

Sexual abuse and violence against women are still very common. Thousands of women die every year because of rape, homicide, mental illness, unwanted pregnancies, commercial exploitation etc.

Unfortunately, there has been no change in the status of women over the years. However, this is not indicative of the general trend. There is still a wide gap between the legal position and attitudes and practices in regard to women. It is time women were empowered for nation building.

VARINDER KAUR, DAV College, Abohar



Contribute to Flag Day Fund

The Armed Forces Flag Day, being observed today, brings to the fore our obligation towards the war widows, the war disabled and the dependents of those who have sacrificed their lives for the country.

Many brave and gallant heroes from the Army, the Navy and the Air Force have laid down their lives in defence of the country. Many lives were lost during the Chinese agression in 1962, the Indo-Pak conflicts in 1965 and 1971 and in subsequent operations like Op Pawan, Op Maghdoot, Op Vijay and various counter-insurgency operations. These wars and operations have shattered many homes with loss of their bread winners. A large number of service personnel have become disabled imposing severe handicaps on their capacity to maintain themselves and to support their families.

I, on behalf of all ex-servicemen, appeal to the people of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir to donate generously to this noble cause. No donation is too small or big.

Lt-Col VEER AMOL SINGH (retd), Vice-President, Zilla Sainik Board, Kapurthala

Religious symbol

Apropos of Balvinder’s letter “Cultural dress code” (Nov 20), turban is a religious symbol of the Sikhs and not their cultural dress. It is obligatory on all Sikhs not only to wear turban, but also to show respect to it. The Rahitnamah of Bhai Daya Singh, who was one of the five beloveds of Guru Gobind Singh, has specified fine for the Sikh, who strips another Sikh of his turban, and also for the Sikh, who is stripped of his turban in a quarrel.

According to Rahitnamah Hasoori of Bhai Chaupa Singh Chibber, a Sikh pulling the turban of another Sikh is a violator of ‘rahit’. Calling this religious symbol a cultural dress is tantamount to its sacrilege. The French law banning the wearing of turban by Sikh students in state-run schools is clearly violative of human rights.

An eminent UK jurist, Lord Slyan of Hadley, says that all laws of the European Union member states must conform to those of the EU and the French law is a violation. He has described it as good case for appeal in the European Court of Human Rights.


NCC training

President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s suggestion for a two-year compulsory NCC training for students in school and colleges is timely. It will help check the falling moral standards in society. Dowry and corruption can be rooted out only through inculcation of discipline and moral values among the youth.

Environmental pollution has become the cause for the spread of deadly diseases. Disciplined students will play a major role in the eradication of diseases like AIDS by spreading awareness among the masses. In fact, the dream of transforming India into a developed country by 2020 would be possible only if the energy of 540 million youth (who are below 25 years) is constructively channelised.

TAJENDAR PALKAUR, Deptt. of English, Saraswati Mahila Mahavidyalaya, Palwal (Haryana)

Helping students

Apropos of the news-item “Golden hearts to the rescue of the underprivileged” (Nov 26), Mr S.S. Boparai, Vice Chancellor of Punjabi University, Patiala, has come out with a novel idea for helping rural students who are meritorious but unable pay the fee.

The Punjabi University is the first university to finance the studies of 160 underprivileged students out of 180. It would be spending Rs 2.40 lakh for each student. The entire amount will be paid by the donors including Non-Resident Indians (NRIs). More and more NRIs, philanthropists and others should come forward to help rural students who deserve all help and cooperation to succeed in their life and become good and worthy citizens.

PIARA LAL RAHI, Secy-General, Guru Teg Bahadur Foundation, New Delhi

Chamera project

Apropos of the report that the Chamera Hydro Electric Project-III has been delayed by an year due to non-clearance from the environment point of view, this project lies exactly in the same vicinity in which the other Chamera projects (I and II) were cleared by the Ministry of Environment, Government of India. Provisional sanction may be granted to at least start the construction of the project. Meanwhile, formalities may be completed to avoid unnecessary loss of power generation to the nation.

S.K. MITTAL, Talwara


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