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

Faiz the unfazed

AproposBefitting way to bring Faiz alive, a review by Rakshanda Jalil of a biography of Faiz Ahmed Faiz by Ali Madeeh Hashmi (Spectrum, April 1), Faiz stood like a rock amongst the mullahs and the military in a theocratic State, and never succumbed to any pressure, a soldier that he was, who retired as a lieutenant colonel. He was honoured with Lenin Peace Prize and nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize shortly before his death in 1984. He was known as a “Sufi Marxist” who always stood for equality, justice and freedom. Asked how he lived his life, he wittingly read from his verse: “Kuchh isaq kiya, kuchh kaam”.

— B.M. Singh, Amritsar

Catching dropouts

Aditi Tandon’s School dropout rate dips, but... (April 1) has compared the percentage of dropout rates in different states on the basis of the MHRD’s review of the first two years of the RTE Act. On the whole, the annual dropout rate at the national level has fallen from 9.11% in 2009 to 6.8% in 2011. The pace is certainly slow, but indicates a healthy trend. It is a difficult task to enrol students of the deprived sections and provide them education. NGOs and business houses can come forward to adopt homeless or destitute children. Free residential schools could be opened for them.

— Dr Arun Kumar Sharma, Mohali

Bibi the convict

Apropos It’s 'Bibi Day' at Kapurthala jail (April 1), as per Sikh traditions, the title “Bibi” is accorded to a woman considered virtuous and pious. Given her conviction for forcible abortion of her daughter’s foetus, should she not forfeit the title?

— Lt Col I.J.S. Cheema (retd), Chandigarh

Against the current

Akey part of our landscape, rivers in their natural state are dynamic systems that continue to modify their form with natural flow (“Links of divide” by Vibha Sharma). Any manipulations with rivers, even for creating canals, drainage, dams or diversions, play havoc with nature’s scheme. Before interlinking rivers, we must consider nature is a self-made machine, better automated than any man-made device. It acts in the simplest way, and yet accomplishes everything. When man goes against nature, it punishes the whole community.

— Anup Kumar Gakkhar, Haridwar

Not so simple

Links of divide’ was a thoughtful and analytical review. The plan to transfer surplus water from one river basin to a deficient one is deceptively simple. It has been put into cold storage because there will be huge ecological, financial and human consequences. It will affect biodiversity and upset the current equilibrium. It is rightly mentioned that India’s water lifeline is the ground water. We must revive local rivers, ponds, baolis and conventional water systems.

— Dr. S.K. Aggarwal, Amritsar

Spare the victim

This refers to Millennium city, medieval mindset (Spectrum, April 1) on Gurgaon. I agree that malls and pubs have emerged as “the hub of crime and vandalism”. Women suffer the most at such places, many of them molested, abducted and raped in recent months. The administration’s order to owners of malls and pubs not to permit women to work beyond 8 pm would render many of them jobless. It is the anti-social elements who need to be dealt with ruthlessly.

— Dr Raj Bahadur Yadav, Fatehabad

Film genius

Apropos Shoma A. Chatterji’s article on Soumitra Chatterjee (Footprint on the sands of time, Spectrum April 1), the decision to confer the Dada Saheb Phalke Award on her is an absolute piece of delight for every connoisseur of Indian films. The films of Mrinal Sen, Tapan Sinha, Goutam Ghose, Rituparno Ghose, Aparna Sen, et al, bear testimony to his genius. His historic bond with Satyajit Ray ensured as many as 14 classics. Chatterjee has excelled not only in the so-called parallel or art-house productions, but his works, glamour and success as a romantic commercial star in the history of Bengali cinema are second to none other than Uttam Kumar. We are confident he will continue the good work.

Kajal Chatterjee, Kolkata

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