L E T T E R S    T O    T H E    E D I T O R

Always ill treated

Apropos "Are women safe anywhere?"(Perspective, March 11), one cannot entirely agree with the writer's contention that women are becoming "better", hence getting "battered". Women haven't been safe since centuries. Even learned men of yore - in the east as well as west - held women in low esteem. Tulsidas wrote, "Dhol, ganwar, shudr, pashu, nari/ yeh sab tadan ke adhikari, (a drum, an idiot, a low-caste person, an animal and woman, all deserve a beating)". On the other hand, Shakespeare observed: "Frailty, thy name is woman". Women have also borne the brunt during all invasions and holocausts, whether it was the 'jauhar' (burning alive) of Queen Padmini during the Middle Ages or rapes during the Partition. Even marriages are not based on equality and mutual respect. The man has all rights but no duties towards the family of the woman.

Vinod Kumar Khanna Mohali

Unequal lives

"Are women safe anywhere?" rightly points out that if we have to dedicate International Women's Day to something, it should be renewed efforts to restore the balance in sex ratio and end violence against women. Crimes against women stem from the fact that men cannot even today accept them as equal, no matter what they earn or respect they command in society. Of all violence suffered by women, rape is the worst form. To get justice in a rape case could be even more excruciating than the assault itself. Exploiting this, men have dominated women through a process of physical and sexual abuse for centuries.

Dr S.K. Aggarwal Amritsar

Set up NCTC

"Counter-terrorism requires close cooperation" (Oped, March 11) by Ved Marwah emphasises the need for the states to realise the sensitive issue of terrorism that knows no internal or international boundaries. Frequent terror attacks in the country are indicators to flaws in the coordination between various state and Central intelligence agencies. It is time all dissenting states come to terms with the Union Home Ministry for the creation of an effective NCTC.

N.C. Rana Panchkula

Reason for fear

Ved Marwah (Oped, March 11) has rightly highlighted the trust deficit between the Centre and states as being the main hurdle in the fight against the terrorism. It is also the reason behind states opposing the NCTC. States ruled by non-UPA parties fear the agency would be used against them, and the past behaviour of governments at the Centre give legitimacy to these fears.

A.K. Sharma Chandigarh

Get proactive

There is no option but to have a single central authority to effectively control and coordinate the functioning of multiple intelligence agencies across the country to root out terror elements. Timely action to prevent such attacks can be taken only by adopting a proactive posture. Partisan politics should not come in the way of dealing with terror. The Opposition too has to cooperate on this. Differences should be sorted out immediately, and states and the Centre join hands against this menace.

S.C. Vaid Greater Noida

Shehnai pioneer

Pt Shiv Kumar Sharma is to santoor what Ustad Bismillah Khan is to shehnai ("In quest of musical gems", Spectrum, March 4). He is a pioneer in raising santoor, a Kashmiri folk instrument, to the class of sitar and sarod. To meet the requirements of classical music, he carried out certain vital modifications in the instrument. It is reassuring to note that even after half a century of his playing, he still retains the vigour and charm in his recitals. He is a recipient of the Padma Vibhushan. Hopefully, like Ustad Bismillah Khan, he will also receive the coveted Bharat Ratna.

V.K. Rangra Delhi

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