Reaping the harvest of debt

Shveta Pathak’s “Harvest of debt” (Spectrum, Aug 6) was a well- researched write-up. It sensitised the readers to the condition of farmers who are crushed by a heavy load of debt that compels some of them to commit suicide to escape the vicious cycle of indebtedness. It is a matter of grave concern that Punjab has the highest per farmer debt in the country. Most experts cite reasons blaming government policies, moneylenders, and lending and marketing agencies.

Another contributory factor to this indebtedness is non-productive expenditure along with drug addiction. During my practice, I have interacted with hundreds of rural people on this issue. Maintenance of lifestyle, healthcare spending, non-productive expenditure and the preference to relax rather than do manual labour and over-mechanisation are responsible for farmers’ debt. Drug addiction and spending on marriages to keep up the prestige adds to it.In the absence of any government or other support mechanisms, a majority of the farmers are responsible for their plight.


There should be a multipronged approach to alleviate rural debt and it should involve action on the recommendations of experts instead of settling for short-term sops. The government needs to resort to long-term measures, which involve rejuvenating the economy to ensure the sustainability and profitability of farming. Such write-ups should serve as a wake-up call for the government to adopt an integrated approach towards human resource development.

Dr VITULL K. GUPTA, Bathinda

A step higher

Aam aadmi is better off” by Khushwant Singh (Saturday Extra, Aug 12) is a factual description of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with strong personal convictions. He is not likely to compromise his humility, honesty and integrity. The man is far stronger than the Prime Minister of the largest democracy in the world. I am optimistic about the fact that the below poverty line graph is going to fall under his leadership and we shall go a step higher on ladder of economic emancipation.


Scholarly piece

Melville: Shakespeare in prose” by Darshan Singh Maini (Spectrum, July 2) was scholarly. Herman Melville (1819-91), an American novelist, is known for his Moby Dick (1851) as Nathaniel Hawthorne is for The Scarlet Letter (1850), Thoreau for Walden (1854) and Whitman for Leaves of Grass (1855). Melville, Hawthorne and Poe (1809-49), who followed the path of ‘trinity’ of American romantics, Irwing, Cooper and Bryant, are known as ‘early romantics’.

The one fundamental feature common to these writers is ‘the romantic protest’ against capitalist America. While Melville led his hero into the open spaces of the Pacific Ocean, Cooper searched for his ideal hero in the wild forests of the American West, and Poe’s lyrical hero struggled to find beauty and justice. They all experienced failure and disappointment, for the dream was as distant from reality as Eldorado for Poe’s Knight, who “found/No spot of ground/That looked like Eldorado”.

Melville says: “It is with fiction as with religion, It should present another world, but one of which we feel the ‘tie’” (The Confidence- Man).

The main theme in Melville’s Bartleby the Scrivener (1856) is the little man’s inability to overcome a lonely life, which is as useless as an unclaimed letter. Nonetheless, it achieved full expression in the literature of the 20th century.


Way to fitness

This refers to “The changing cycle” by Shveta Pathak (Spectrum, July 9). The writer has done a good job by highlighting a common cause. Cycle competitions and tours must be organised for promoting cycling. If it is possible, the state governments must provide separate tracks for cyclists.

The use of cycle as conveyance will save us millions of dollars which we spend on importing petrol. It will also help us solve environmental problems. Moreover, a person who cycles daily for an hour hardly suffers from any mental and physical ailment. Today our yoga gurus and doctors also suggest cycling as a good exercise. 

PARVEEN RANA, Hoshiarpur

Critics do perform a positive role

Darshan Singh Maini in his “Critic as moral visionary” (Spectrum, July 30) is right that as a rule critics are seldom taken into account when commenting on great writers (particularly when the latter receive negative reviews).

Usually a critic is at the receiving end, not from the reader but from the writer. Jean Sibelius advised the writers to pay no attention to what the critics say because a statue has never been set up in their honour. Kenneth Tynan describes the critic as a man who knows the way but can’t drive the car.

However, isn’t awareness of the way as much important as driving the car? Basic knowledge and good understanding of the subject is a prerequisite for a critic. A gourmet (connoisseur of food) need not necessarily be a chef.

Long ago the great Sufi poet Rumi observed that man hates criticism even if it is well deserved and craves admiration even if ill deserved. Critics do perform a positive role.

They act as a mediator between the writer and the reader. According to the Nobel laureate Sir V. S. Naipaul, there could not be good writing unless there were good critics. These arguments equally hold good in performing arts.

V.K. RANGRA, Delhi



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 |