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Women still face many hurdles

I support the conviction that the Indian woman is visible on all the indices of social growth (editorial, “Women’s Day”, March 9). But her upward mobility remains seriously restricted only to big towns and cities where women feel academically and economically empowered. Economically independent women in our big cities have acquired a modicum of individual liberty also as the urban environment accords them more space in comparison to closed rural societies.

Even urban women find themselves in fetters as their families have a firm belief in patriarchal values.

Rural women, however, have to follow the age-old routine: cutting fodder for cattle, giving shape to dung-cakes, milking cows and buffaloes, baking loaves of bread for the family members and looking after the children. According to a recent report of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, India is still far behind other countries with only 10.2 per cent of women in the Lok Sabha and 10.3 per cent in the Rajya Sabha. Out of 545 members in the Lok Sabha, we have only 59 women, and in the Rajya Sabha, we have only 25 female MPs out of 242 members. At the international level, we are ranked at the 98th position lagging far behind. 

Without the active participation of women in all walks of socio-economic and political life, we cannot have a strong nation. Girls from Haryana have drawn the attention of the whole nation with their spectacular performance in the Commonwealth Games. Unfortunately, the prevalent patriarchal values in Haryana continue to encourage female foeticide, a medieval social practice which puts a question mark on the dignity of female life itself.

Despite all the limitations, the upward mobility of women continues and we find them challenging the age-old citadel of male hegemony everywhere.


Rural concerns

The article “Joblessness in rural India: It must be handled with all seriousness” (Feb 28) by Jayshree Sengupta was a thought-provoking issue. Indeed, it is a matter of grave concern that youth of rural areas (villagers) are trying hard to shift to towns and cities where life is quite different in comparison with the rural atmosphere.

The writer has aptly pointed out that unless serious thought is given to the question of providing employment to the youth in the villages joblessness will remain like a bomb ticking away in our villages that many explode any moment.


Women and Budget

The editorial “Nothing special for women: Budget has no big gains for fair sex” (March 2) was informative and presented a true picture. It has been rightly and forcefully stated that the Finance Minister has ignored a large community, which constitutes half the population in this male dominated economy. In the fitness of things, the Budget should have increased the tax exemption limit for women.

ALKA BANSAL, Chandigarh

Dalai Lama’s retirement

I don’t agree with the views expressed in the editorial “Timely retirement” (March 12). The retirement of the Dalai Lama will deprive the Tibetans of his wise guidance and moderation. So he should continue in the saddle. But I agree that the Tibetans and the Indian Government should deal with this complicated situation cautiously.


Patience pays

It was inspiring to go through Mahesh Grover’s middle, “Hum – Suffer” (March 7) which has highlighted great qualities of an individual. Patience and courage are so important in one’s life.

It is worth noticing that the character in the middle displays no signs of impatience. He remained positive, cheerful and calm. He was never exasperated. Rather he discovered different ways to get the right solution. 

It is true that every individual’s life is full of hurdles and obstacles. However, the manner in which we handle problems or disturbances is more important. People who keep complaining and worrying reach nowhere. They are stressed and easily irked. This directly affects their health as well. On the other hand, those who remain cool and calm, concentrate on the solution and hence make their path smoother. Well, it is not work that kills but worry. We have to accept life the way it is and it is foolish to run away from problems. According to J.M Barrie, “Courage is the thing. All goes if courage goes!”. William Shakespeare has also said, “Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once.”

We must be positive, cheerful and patient if we have to lead a meaningful and successful life. Edmund Burke has rightly said, “Our patience will achieve more than our force.”



The middle was interesting and funny. It gives us an important lesson: not to trust strangers. We must stick to our own plans and ways of thinking. I think the writer was lucky that the “old rickety Fiat with doors secured with ropes” broke down mid-way. Otherwise, one doesn’t know what would have happened to him had he continued his journey. But what could have been the motive of the Sikh gentleman in offering the lift to the writer. This remains a mystery.

Life is full of events and one doesn’t know what step one would take the next moment. Many incidents happen which we don’t even dream of. But life is like that. Sometimes a man gets caught in such a situation that forces him to think or take a wrong decision. And in a bid to save time or money he indulges in follies only to repent later on. We must be determined in our thoughts and actions. We must not change our mind on the demands of others, especially, strangers.

R K KAPOOR, Chandigarh

Incidence of breast cancer

Breast cancer is on the rise in India due to changing lifestyles. It is rapidly becoming the number one disease among females. As more countries modernise, more and more women are entering an increasingly sedentary workforce, delay childbearing, exert control over their reproductive lives, and eat a more westernised diet. The incidence of breast cancer has steadily risen over the years with nearly 100,000 new patients being detected annually. One basic reason for the widespread of the cancer is the lack of awareness.

Women are unaware about the symptoms and causes of breast cancer. Health officials need to counsel women on undertaking self-breast examination and encourage them to talk about the condition. Emphasis needs to be laid on promoting cancer-screening procedures in the country. One of the most important ways to prevent breast cancer is to breast- feed the baby. In the present generation most women avoid breast-feeding as they assume that it will harm their figure, but it is important to understand that avoiding breast-feeding may lead to breast cancer.

Dr SHRUTI K. CHAWLA, Chandigarh



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