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Why tribals take to arms

The editorial “Arundhati’s call to arms” (Oct 19) opines that the Booker Prize-winning author is trying to justify violence. Whereas violence can never be justified, here we are confronted with a totally different phenomenon. Ms Arundhati Roy not only knows her P’s & Q’s, her heart is also in the right place. She has all along been articulating why the tribals are up in arms. It is because they have really been pushed to the wall.

The tribals living in certain districts of Central India are among the most tolerant, honest and upright people steeped in extreme poverty and have been exploited by certain sections of society for a long time. It is only now that they have started reacting and unfortunately this reaction too is being exploited by another class of society, which considers violence as an instrument to grab power.

Indeed, the ideal remedy to the Maoist menace is the socio-economic development of the neglected areas. But did we not know this earlier? Where is pro-activism in this country? Whoever said that prevention is better than cure? Are ad-hocism and fire-fighting the only two methods available to us to manage everything from Commonwealth Games to corruption to fighting Naxalism?

Before, Ms Roy, such voices have been raised earlier too. We may have been stifling or ignoring those voices and not listening to the whistle blowers. History tells us that shooting the messenger have never worked for anyone.


Ways to preserve heritage

Before 2006, broken furniture or moulds for bas-relief sculptures or any other item must have found its way to auction houses abroad when it was disposed of here unwittingly as ‘unserviceable’ by our somnambulant bureaucracy (Special report by Shyam Bhatia, Sept 23).

Heritage, for me, stands for the hallowed endowments, which races of the world inherit from their ancestors from time to time and jealously guard for future generations. Heritage is classified in two categories: tangible and intangible. Tangible heritage includes historic buildings of all periods, their setting in the historic precincts of cities and their relationship to the natural environment. Intangible heritage consists of oral traditions, memories, languages, traditional performing arts or rituals, knowledge systems, values, lifestyles that we should safeguard and pass on to the future generations.

To stop the auction of “Chandigarh heritage”, a committee of experts, other than those in service must immediately be constituted to lay down guidelines on what constitutes Chandigarh heritage, and accordingly things should be put into well-defined categories and each prototype preserved in a single museum. The Government Museum, City Museum, and Le Corbusier Centre must be headed by professionals who know their job thoroughly well and have a live feel for Chandigarh’s heritage. A clear-cut policy as to the disposal of broken pieces of furniture, which belong to the ‘heritage’ class, must be framed.

Dr S S BHATTI, former Principal, Chandigarh College of

Architecture, Chandigarh

Amend RTI Act

Democracy allows every person to enjoy their fundamental rights, but also expects them to observe and abide by their duties too. It is human nature or the Indian mindset that we often forget our duties and misuse our rights. One such example is the RTI Act that is being used as a weapon for settling personal grudges.

Hardly any organisation is left that is spared by unnecessary enquiries. Often the motive is to disturb the office work. The RTI Act needs to be amended and a justified reason for asking information should be made mandatory. Black listing and provision for penalty should also be applicable for habitual abusers.


Terror threat

The editorial, “The Al-Qaida threat: Time to review anti-terror strategy” (Oct 20), has rightly observed: “The terrorist outfit (Al-Qaida) has proved to be like an amoeba, which remains as active as ever despite the US-led drive involving billions of dollars”. US President Barack Obama should take firm action against Pakistan for abetting and providing protection to the most deadly terrorist organisation in the world.

When the notorious designs of the ISI have been exposed time and again and the US is well aware of the cancer of terrorism, it is really intriguing that Pakistan continues to get billion dollars US aid. The US needs to review its anti-terrorism policy vis-à-vis Pakistan and stop all kinds of aid to it so that the latter is compelled to abandon its policy of promoting terrorism as its state policy.




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