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Anna challenge: Unfair comparison

This refers to two thoughtful and timely articles: “The Anna Hazare challenge: Where Congress went wrong” (September 2) and “Anna’s balance sheet: Democratic institutions can’t be ignored” (September 3) written by veteran journalists Kuldip Nayar and B.G. Verghese, respectively. I agree with Mr Nayar’s argument that the Congress party’s “Young Turk”, Mr Manish Tewari, unnecessarily set the stage of confrontation between Anna Hazare and the Central government by calling him corrupt “from head to toe” while quoting the contents of Justice P.B. Sawant’s report, which had studied and investigated the alleged irregularities committed by the Hind Swaraj Trust.

The tone and tenor of Mr Tewari was very offending and graceless which certainly bordered on being abusive. Mr P Chidambaram and Mr Kapil Sibal, the most powerful high-profile Cabinet Ministers, did not help the matter in any way by making fun of the septuagenarian social activist. They actually took Anna very casually and their disdain made him more aggressive and uncompromising in his demands about the structure of the Jan Lokpal Bill. The writer has analyzed the Congress leaders’ uncalled for comments and reactions against Anna in the light of the bitter memories of the Emergency, which was declared in June 1975.

I share Mr Nayar’s meaningful perception about Dr Manmohan Singh: “Today, everything around the Prime Minister has fallen and he is a lonely person”. Though I endorse whatever Mr Verghese has said in support of the supremacy of Parliament and democratic institutions, I do not approve of his untenable comparison of Anna Hazare and his team members with the Maoists and bandits who openly kill and plunder. Anna has used Gandhian methods for mobilising the common people for his noble cause and he has tremendously succeeded.


Child labour

This refers to the editorial, “Cannon fodder: Child labour thrives despite laws” (September 2). Truly speaking, child labour goes unchecked in this country. Child workers are seen everywhere all over India and they work under pathetic conditions to earn money. But, the law enforcement agencies in India do not seem to be conscious of the existing reality. Labour Laws are just ornamental. The poor view children as income-generating source. Poverty and illiteracy force poor parents to drive their children to work under pitiable conditions. To enhance our national prestige, children should be protected from cruelty by enforcing laws effectively. It should also be ensured that they get at least two square meals a day.

Capt SK DATTA, Abohar


It is extremely disturbing to know that India has six to 12 crore child labourers and 1.2 lakh new ones are being added every year (editorial, “Cannon fodder: Child labour thrives despite laws”, September 2). Despite the fact that we have enacted laws against child labour, these laws have not been implemented effectively. As the editorial says, the shocking part lies in the fact that there has been no conviction under the child labour prevention laws. It also shows that we are insensitive, as we continue to encourage child labour. In our neighbourhood, we may witness children working as labourers in shops and even in homes. While we send our children to study in good schools, we do nothing for these kids. It must be kept in mind that no law is potent enough to stop child labour unless the society comes forward to support these children.

ANJU GUPTA, Chandigarh

Indian Marriage Act

With reference to the editorial, “Sikh marriages — time to clear the air on policy” (September 5), the idea of dropping the enactment of a separate Sikh Marriage Act is highly unexpected when a Sikh is leading the country. It needs a second thought to come out with a solution acceptable to all.

No doubt, in 1909 the British Government, in response to a widespread demand from the Sikhs, enacted the Anand Marriage Act. But before any other community comes forward, it is time for a common marriage law, as now there are different laws governing marriages taking place in different religions in India.  Instead of making new Acts and amendments, only the Indian Marriage Act should be introduced for the registration of marriages, irrespective of one’s caste, creed and religion.   However, as per the suggestion of Law Minister Salman Khursheed regarding a national mechanism for registration of marriages with codes for different communities, it will be more appropriate if a column of religion is added at the time of registration of marriage which will distinguish the identity of the registered marriage.


Social change

There is no doubt that the only way to stamp out corruption is to initiate a broad-based social movement (middle, “A rare scholar”, September 5). Such movements will encourage people to change the way they think. Why is corruption a danger to the entire system anywhere? While we may adopt corrupt means to fulfil our selfish ends, it begins a vicious circle, which is bound to adversely affect us sooner or later. Those who take bribes and even those who give them bribes forget that it is the system they are spoiling. Once the entire system becomes corrupt, there will be no one who can live peacefully. This is because we all are part of that system.

Dr Kausar Yazdani, the scholar mentioned in the “middle”, was right when he favoured journalism as the ideal profession for those who desired to bring about a positive social change. Corruption cannot be rooted out if our thinking lacks maturity.




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