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Punish those who encourage child marriage

It is difficult to understand why a girl is considered a liability (the editorial, Spurt in child marriages”, July 11). In this country we worship goddesses. But when it comes to girls, we treat them badly. It does not hurt our conscience when we kill them. It is strange that even after so many years the feudal mindset continues to exist in Haryana.

After female foeticide and honour killings, now we have child marriages. As the editorial says, last six months have seen 195 child marriages in Haryana, as compared to 47 in 2009. This is extremely disturbing. One can hardly imagine the plight of such girls. Instead of sending them to school, they have been condemned to a life that they barely understand.

The government’s response is also strange. Instead of being strict, the government chooses to use soft tactics. If the government continues to give cash incentives for the girl child, it will only reinforce the erroneous belief that the girl child is a liability to the society. It is also strange that the examples of Commonwealth champions Babita and Geeta from Balali village in Bhiwani district fail to inspire others. The government will do well to stop giving cash incentives, and punish those who encourage child marriage. Besides, education should be made more socially relevant by addressing these issues.

SUPRIYA, Chandigarh


Apropos of the editorial, “Spurt in child marriages” (July 11), I fully agree with your view that as long as the girl child is treated as a liability, nothing will change in her life. In barter marriage (atta-satta), which is prevalent in Haryana, a girl is treated as a commodity. Monetary incentives alone cannot stop this unhealthy practice. In order to safeguard the dignity of the girl child, we need persons like Raja Rammohan Roy who fought very hard to abolish the practice of sati. This goal can be achieved only if NGOs and the government join hands to root out the evil.


Indian defence

India is an emerging world power. Its defence needs are no longer based on what Pakistan does (Pakistan’s confessions, July 12) . However, India is still far behind China in defence capabilities. It should now try to bridge the gap. At the same time it will be erroneous to think that Pakistan is no longer a threat. Surely, Pakistan cannot win a war against India. But it has resorted to other means to disrupt peace and stability in India.

Terrorism is a threat that continues to trouble both India and Pakistan. It may not be an exaggeration to state that the Government of Pakistan has no control over terrorist groups. In that case it is a serious threat to India in the light of the fact that Pakistan has nuclear weapons. Even experts in the US are not sure of the safety of nuclear weapons in Pakistan. This has a direct bearing on India’s defence preparedness.

Some experts in India consider China a bigger threat. It is obvious that India cannot win a war against China given India’s current defence capabilities. But this can change if India focuses more on China than Pakistan. Our relations with the US have improved in the last few years. But we cannot depend on the US for our future needs. If we want to become a powerful nation, we have to increase our expenditure on defence modernisation.


US & Pakistan

The US suspension of $800 million military aid to Pakistan has come at a time when terror attacks have become more frequent in the region (the editorial, Pakistan deserved it, July 14). But this step alone is not likely to dissuade Pakistan from providing support to terrorists. Though Pakistan itself has become targets of terrorist attacks, it has not changed its policy towards terror groups.

The fact that Osama bin Laden was in Pakistan proves the point. It is hard to believe that Pakistani intelligence did not know that Laden was enjoying Pakistani hospitality. But what has taken the US so long to act? It is true that suspension of aid to Pakistan may adversely affect its economy, directly or indirectly. But there is no other option. In fact, the Government of Pakistan has never shown that it cares for its people. A country should not give priority to nuclear weapons over the welfare of its people. No war can be won if the economy of a country is weak. It is in the interest of Pakistan that it builds its economy before having any idea of becoming a powerful country. Pakistan’s top priority should be to establish peace in the region. For this to happen, it has to stop giving financial support, arms and training to terrorists. But it seems that Pakistan is still not serious about the problem.

The editorial rightly says that Pakistan might approach China for help. It is interesting to see how the US reacts if China offers any help to Pakistan. The US will not want China’s influence to grow in the region. So it is quite possible that the US may reconsider its decision.

RAJAT KHANNA, Chandigarh

Healing ‘wounds’

This refers to the editorial, Doping shame(July 4). The editorial rightly points out that the blatant use of banned drugs by athletes is the worst-kept secret of Indian sports. The authorities concerned have known about it for a long time. But for some queer reason, they have not felt the urgency to act firmly. This is not surprising at all considering the typical attitude of Indian authorities. Our authorities wait for a calamity before thinking of a remedy. They often forget that in a crisis, there can only be crisis management. But if the authorities become proactive, they can prevent it. This sadly does not happen.



The picture carried with the news report “Sekhon dares Capt to reveal ‘true’ facts on canal issue” in the columns of The Tribune dated July 15, 2011, was that of Education Minister Sewa Singh Sekhwan and not Irrigation Minister Janmeja Singh Sekhon as mentioned in the caption. The use of the wrong picture is regretted.

— Editor-in-Chief

Population growth

After reading the article, We are still growing too fast (July 11), we might feel happy that the population growth rate has declined to 17.64 per cent in the last decade, which is the lowest since Independence. But we must face the harsh reality that we are still growing much faster as compared to other developing countries like Brazil (9.39 per cent) and China (5.43 per cent).

Even one of our states, Kerala, has a growth rate of 4 per cent. This clearly shows that the population growth rate is inversely proportional to the literacy rate. So the immediate task before the Centre and state governments of Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan (which still records a growth rate of 20%) is to increase the rate of literacy and also educate the people on the benefits of family planning.




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