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Let woman find her place

Articles by Nirmal Sandhu and Aruti Nayar (Aug 21) provided sufficient provocation, forcing me to sit up and respond as to what the plight of the contemporary woman in our society is. Interestingly, the two absolutely divergent viewpoints reinforce how impossible it is to pass a judgment on whether the ‘woman’ and her ‘family’ consisting of her husband and children, are happier today, her having stepped out of the household and assumed the role of an earner both supplementing and sometimes single-handed earning the household income.

While Ms Nayar gave a fine depiction of a typical housewife whose work has always been termed as unproductive and hence worthless and dispensable, Mr Sandhu projected the working woman to have thrown not only herself but even her poor/helpless husband and children in misery, mainly because the latter find the woman caretaker missing at home, when they need to be pampered.

This reminded me of an incident about 20 years ago when I became a teacher in Panjab University, Chandigarh, while my husband was away at Mumbai in his office. One of our acquaintances, an old man, asked me once “Just for the sake of few thousand rupees you are working. Isn’t it foolish on your part?” He made it a point to remind me of my foolishness several times again. Others too reminded me in a similar fashion. How small and narrow each of us thinks, and how difficult it is to understand another person, particularly a woman who dares to violate the social expectations and aspires to create an identity of her own, not by underrating her personal and familial relationships, but by keeping a parallel between these two very integral sides of her life.

Nobody has the right to define ‘happiness’ in a particular way. While one woman may reel under the drudgery of domestic work and employment, cursing her destiny all the time, there is always her counterpart who proudly looks after her family, and then realises her self by giving her best in her profession/employment/work. The only difference comes from the members of her family, who either make her look foolish and selfish or take pride in her the way she is.

Dr RAJESH GILL, Head, Department of Sociology, 
Panjab University,

Quality education

Many new engineering colleges have been approved. When will our government understand that it is the quality and not the quantity of education that is required? There is no dearth of jobless doctors and engineers in the state. I am absolutely convinced that more colleges may be helping the cause of the government but certainly not that of students.


Congress’s health

The article A case of dwindling fortunes (Aug 6) by Inder Malhotra threw light on the declining popularity graph of the Congress in the country over the past 14 months. It should serve as a wake-up call for the party gods presiding over the destinies of the party at the moment.

At present, the state of the party in most of the states is disturbing. The reason for the gloomy development is not far to seek. The party seems to have forsaken its true culture symbolised by truth, simplicity and spirit of selfless public service. Self-seekers have virtually displaced dedicated leaders. The average party worker feels disenchanted.

Whether Ms Sonia Gandhi or Mr Rahul Gandhi are aware of the factual position is anybody’s guess. The deteriorating health of the historic party is crying for attention. The matter can be ignored only at the party’s peril.

TARA CHAND, Ambota (Una)

Military justice 

Every other day, one hears of a court of inquiry or a court martial being held in the Army (news report, Aug 5). Either the incidence of corruption in the Army has increased or the Army is overdoing things. Perhaps both. Quick justice as seen in the Army is fine but harsh actions taken in haste can prove counterproductive. If justice delayed is justice denied then justice hurried is justice buried.

The justice delivery system in the Army is not flawless. The institution of court martial has already come under question by the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT), which has stated that the court martial is manned by officers who are not qualified in law. The AFT has made certain recommendations in this regard. Are they being implemented?

Men in uniform cannot remain immune to the happenings in the civil society. They are no saints but are no rogues either. Their integrity and uprightness is way above many in the civilian life. If the Army pushes them too much, at the behest of its civilian masters, it can have dire consequences.

Wg-Cdr C.L. SEHGAL (retd), Jalandhar



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