Sharing the benefits of growth

I refer to S.P. Seth’s article “China today faces moral vacuum” (Aug 5). True, China has maintained a two-digit growth rate during the last 25 years. It might be at a huge social cost of increasing inequalities and poverty, but China’s leaders, social thinkers and even the Politburo are all aware of these contradictions.

However, we in India, believe that ‘India is shining’ the moment our growth rate reaches 6-7 per cent. In China, the leaders have vowed “to spread the benefits of economic growth more fairly among all sections of Chinese society, seeking particularly to bridge the yawning income gap between farmers and city dwellers”. In addition, the Politburo has called upon industries to give support to poor rural areas.

In India, however, the behaviour of our representatives both in Parliament and the State Assemblies, is well known. But for a few saner elements and the ever-vigilant judiciary, our leaders will usurp whatever they could lay their hands on. All the evils prevalent in China, as pointed out by the writer, are equally true for India. But we should not be pessimistic. Our democratic system has stood the test of time. Secondly, we should not take sadistic pleasure over the imaginary ‘crash’ of the Chinese economy in future. We should compare the past, which should be our basis for re-designing our plans and programmes.

Dr JANAK RAJ GUPTA, UGC Emeritus Fellow, Punjabi University, Patiala

National integration

The Supreme Court judgment on inter-caste marriages is a landmark ruling. I agree with your editorial view that we need to go beyond “mere protection of such couples” and bring about an atmosphere where young people will go beyond the dictates of religion and caste in matrimony. Such marriages will promote national integration and are our best insurance against terror and separatism.

The present-day Indian, it is believed, is the product of miscegenation between the Aryans, the Karats, the Nishads and the Dravids and emerged around 1000 BC. Lord Krishna is an outstanding example. We have typical Indian physical characters and mindset. It applies to all the ethnic groups. While it is easy to recognise an Indian as Indian, it is not possible to define his religion or caste unless it is mentioned.

So, why not marry out of religion and caste? Science favours such marriages and states that the wider the gene pool, the better the offspring. This is social engineering in the right direction. The dictates of genetics and social science should have a better say in the matter than the fatwas of mullahs and khap panchayats.

Dr L.R. SHARMA, Solan

Banishing tea gardens

I refer to the news-item regarding sale of tea gardens in violation of rules in Kangra Valley (July 31). It surprises all environment-loving people how some people are selling away the tea gardens when they are just custodians and not owners of the land. The conversion of tea gardens into concrete jungles has badly affected the tourists’ flow to the lush green tea gardens of Palampur and Dharamsala.

During regular visits to Palampur, I find that numerous small or large tea gardens have disappeared. Influential people, particularly Tibetans, have constructed houses, temples and monasteries on conversion of the tea gardens. One such monastery has come up in Jandpur village, where there was a beautiful garden. If the state government does not check this trend, tea gardens will become things of the past.

The link road from Sardar Shobha Singh Art Gallery to the late writer Nohra Richard in Andreta village needs urgent attention. The HP State Tourism Department should develop this area.

R.S. HAMDARD, Hamirpur

Sikhs ignored

Director writer Lillete Dubey’s otherwise slick play Sammy at Chandigarh which covered the Partition and the role played by Gandhi, Nehru, Jinnah et al, did not have any reference or even a single character from the Sikh community or any of its leaders at the time. Their role cannot be ignored by any well meaning Indian.

I suggest Dubey to amend her script and highlight that the Sikhs also suffered immensely at the hands of a faulty Nehru policy. Nehru did not listen to Gandhi who had suggested that Jinnah be requested to form the new government and avoid the Partition at any cost.

Maj-Gen HIMMAT SINGH GILL (retd) (Member, National  Academy of Letters), Chandigarh

Sixth pay panel at whose cost?

The Prime Minister and the Finance Minister have justified the Sixth Pay Commission on the ground that the economy is booming, job opportunities are increasing and prices are rising. They, however, do not seem to bother about the entire population groaning under inflation following unprecedented price rise.

The bureaucrats and the employees are enjoying the cake, little realising that there is no comparison between the work of those in the private sector and theirs. Those in IT and knowledge-based companies and financial sector draw huge salaries, but their number will not match that of the government.

Some of the recommendations made by the Fifth Pay Commission, which were accepted by the government, have not yet been implemented. These include a reduction in the number of employees and holidays. The state governments are unable to find adequate resources to pay salaries to their employees.

The government needs to look after the interests of the large population instead of a certain privileged section of its own employees.

S. NARAYAN, Mumbai



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