How can we empower women?

This has reference to Sunil Kumar’s article “Empowering women in Haryana” (Perspective, May 14). No doubt, women have come a long way in Haryana from illiterate, mute and veiled housewives to becoming members of panchayats and other social bodies. But that is still a very small number.

Most girls land up marrying even before they pass matriculation examination and are back to the village domestic rut. This is the root cause of the malady. I have returned from my village in Fatehabad district recently after spending some time with my roots. I feel the following steps are required for greater and faster empowerment of women in the state.

One, the male mindset that women are meant only for the house and hearth must change. They have to accept that women are as good earning members as men. So, they must be well educated.

Two, the attitude towards girls has to transform. The moment a girl is born, the parents start worrying about her marriage and dowry. They consider her more as a liability rather than an asset. That is why the sex ratio is skewed leading to import of brides from other states.

Three, khap panchayats need to be checked. These are male biased and are detrimental to women’s empowerment. Four, Haryana’s women ministers need to focus more on women. Most women, even as members of panchayats, still remain in the shadow of their husbands like Rabri Devi. They got to be like Brinda Karat, Renuka Chowdhary, Shabana Azmi etc who actively fight for women.


And finally, Haryana needs to open up. Let girls go out and study in good colleges in Delhi, Chandigarh etc. so that their mental horizon will widen. Remember, when we empower a woman, we empower the entire family.

Col R.D. SAHARAN, Commandant 213 Transit Camp, Jammu

Preserve heritage

Manohar Singh Gill’s article “Memories of Tarn Taran” (Perspective, June 4) reflects the benevolent use of the MP’s Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) funds for the cause of education.

If the MPLADS funds allows wider dimensions in its use, I suggest Mr Gill to help a bit to preserve the heritage of Tarn Taran area which is replete with wall paintings at the following places — Naurangabad village in the gurdwara of Baba Bir Singh; the Samadhi of Baba Khuda Singh at Jaura in Shri Palkiana Sahib temple; Cholla Sahib in the gurdwara of Shri Guru Arjun Dev Ji and its langarkhana; in Khadur Sahib in gurdwara Angitha Sahib; Dhun Dhaewal in the Khangah of a Muslim saint Dargahi Shah; Manhala Jai Singh village in the Samadhis of Sardars Peshaura Singh and Bhag Singh.


Land grabbers

Khushwant Singh’s article “Land grabbing in the name of God” (Saturday Extra, June 17) has highlighted a major problem affecting the common man. The problem has spread to even small towns. What is more disturbing is that these are not merely cases of encroachment. They reflect a deeper malaise that afflicts our society today.

These structures would be impossible to erect were it not for the active support of aspiring ‘leaders’ who connive with anti-social elements to grab prime land. The unscrupulous extort money from legitimate landowners by indulging in such practices. The authorities, even though they are willing to take action against encroachers, are unable to do so due to political pressure. The common people need to speak up against such anti-social activities.


Glaring errors

On the death of legendary music composer Naushad, the tributes paid by television channels were full of errors. It was exasperating to watch visuals of songs like Chalte chalte yunhi koi mil gaya thaa and Inhee logon ne le lina dupatta mera from Pakeezah as tribute to Naushad. It is well known that Ghulam Mohammad composed all songs of Pakeezah and after his sudden death Naushad had contributed only towards the background music of the film.

By committing avoidable errors, the television channels have hurt the feeling of music lovers who hold Naushad in high esteem.

M. L. DHAWAN, Chandigarh

Allama Iqbal and composite culture

This refers to Ramesh Seth’s write-up “A look at Iqbal” (Spectrum, May 28). Allama Iqbal wrote many beautiful poems, which reflected his patriotic fervour and belief in secularism. But subsequently, rejecting the doctrines of composite culture, he propounded a clear concept of two-nation theory and wanted a separate Muslim state.

He was a scion of a Sapru Brahmin family. Yet he said: Hai jo peshani pe Islam ka teeka Iqbal / Koi Pandit mujhey kaihta hai to sharm aati hai. Despite asserting that every speck of the country’s dust was a god to him (Khaak-e-vatan ka mujh ko har zarra devta hai), he aspired to die in the land around Mecca and Medina (Main maut dhoondta hoon zameen-e-Hijaaz mein). In supersession of Tarana-e-Hindi (Hindi hain ham vatan hai Hindustan hamaara) he wrote Tarana-e-Milli (Muslim hain ham vatan hai saara jahaan hamaara).

According to Firaq Gorakhpuri, Iqbal considered the love of country “as something satanic. But the alternative is not love of humanity nor identification with humanity as in Tagore, but love of an identification with the Muslim world. The millat was everything and the superman was the man of Islam or mard-e-momin”.




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