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Media contents need strict monitoring

It is shocking that youngsters perform dangerous stunts on Mumbai’s local trains (Despite mishaps, train stunts continue to thrill youngsters in Mumbai, October 25). They must have been inspired by movies. The report states that a video posted on YouTube seems to have motivated them to perform such stunts. This is a dangerous trend and may lead to more mishaps in the days and months to come. While the police has been trying its best to dissuade young men from performing such stunts, it has not been very successful so far. 

It is important for the media to know their social responsibilities. There should be some mechanism or system to monitor social networking sites. People with easy access to sites like YouTube, tend to post videos without thinking of the consequences. Some of the latest movies show dangerous stunts. Youngsters are attracted to these stunts and they try to emulate them. With the advent of 3D movies, the problem of managing youngsters would become even more difficult. They find it difficult to know the difference between virtual reality and the real world.

The media must behave responsibly and monitor their own contents. The government also needs to take these incidents seriously. What is happening in Mumbai may happen in other Indian cities and towns. There is a need to strictly monitor contents of websites, especially social networking sites. The contents of movies, especially some of the recent movies, need to be monitored by the censor board. Social scientists must also do research on media contents, as the contents are no longer confined to verbal impressions. Visual impressions are much stronger and have the potential for changing human behaviour.


Tackling malnutrition

Malnutrition continues to be a major problem in India. The report, “No Hindu-Muslim divide on women malnutrition, all suffer equally” (October 25), clearly shows that many Hindu and Muslim women are suffering from malnutrition. It shows that malnutrition is a common ‘enemy’ and we need to fight against it individually and collectively.

After reading the report it is clear that the problem of malnutrition cannot be wished away. Government schemes are not likely to be successful unless women, especially in the rural areas, participate in the implementation of these schemes.

 Poverty, illiteracy, superstitions are some of the reasons.

In fact, with macro-level programmes, micro-level programmes can also be started. These micro-level programmes can be made village-specific, and panchayats may be encouraged to participate right from the planning stage. This will make each village more responsible and village panchayat can be asked to monitor the schemes. But for this strategy to work, dissemination of information to the people is essential.


Human development

This refers to the editorial, "Growth turning inclusive: But Indians are still not in fine nick" (October 24). It is really a pleasant surprise to note that the Human Development Report has testified to "a marked improvement in the income and educational levels" of the Dalits and the Muslim community. The lot of the rural poor too has started improving. If we look objectively at the ground realities, no doubt, we see a lot of change in the lifestyle of the rural poor, including the Muslims after 64 years of our Independence.

In our remote areas also, during the last one decade, even the marginal farmers and some of the agriculture workers and village artisans have come to possess motorcycles, mobiles and TV sets. Nobody can deny that the lot of the rural poor has also started improving, but the process of improvement in quality of life is very slow there.

I do not share the view that this Human Development Report is going to help the much “rattled” Manmohan Singh government. It is a great achievement if the inter-state inequalities have really narrowed in the last one decade. It is a painful fact that after the harsh drought hit the country in 2009, lakhs of poor people from our villages were forced to migrate to cities.

Dr RAJ BAHADUR, Fatehabad

Anna’s movement

This refers to the article, “Anna’s drive against corruption” (October 25). Kuldip Nayar has rightly said that Anna or his team cannot change the goalpost because they got the public support on that understanding. There is no need for Team Anna to indulge in political matters. They should make their movement stronger, and that would only happen if Team Anna stayed away from politics.

The Congress and the BJP are already under pressure to act against corruption. They have already had a taste of what the people of India want. They cannot slow down the process now. But it will be in the interest of the nation if Team Anna continues to have complete faith in the wisdom of Parliament. At the same time, the team should work for more and more support of the public.

RANBIR SINGH, Chandigarh

Listening to one’s creative urge

This refers to the middle, “My ‘affair’ with music” (October 25). It happens to most of us in life. Society makes us feel that we need to do what others are doing. If others are good at something and we are not, people invariably look down on us. This is perhaps the irony of life. Nature gives us certain qualities and expects us to develop those qualities. But we do just the opposite. Societal pressures make us suppress these qualities. As a result we become unhappy and frustrated. Gradually, we lose interest in life.

This is not the end of our woes. When we suppress our creativity for a very long time, we develop various ailments. The author was lucky. He did get many opportunities to prove himself. People appreciated him. But he could not become a professional musician. Probably, he could have been a great one, who knows. However, the author is right when he says: “Yet, paradoxically, there was an overwhelming feeling of elation too: my affair was remembered even half a century later.”  Therefore, we need to listen to what our heart says.




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