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Dichotomy in Indian culture

The observation that ‘We as a country cannot grow beyond symbolism’ in the editorial ‘Police assaulting women’, March 6 is quiet apt. The thrashing of a young girl by Punjab policemen has again shown the ugly side of the men folk.

Our culture is dichotomous. On one hand, we worship women as ‘devis’ (goddesses), on the other hand we are notorious for female foeticide, infanticide, dowry deaths, crimes against women, domestic violence, gender bias, et al. Ours is a medieval feudal patriarchal mindset. When it comes to women, we tend to take it as ‘chalta hai’.

What is the fun of celebrating the International Women’s Day today if we can’t respect them in reality, protect them from social and official goons and treat them as equal human beings rather than commodities? Glorifying women, Nida Fazli has said “Girja mei Isa basey, masjid mei Rehman; Maa ke pairon se chaley, har aangan Bhagwan”.



Women’s Day (March 8) is a day to behold, to honour our mothers, sisters, daughters, and of course our ‘better halves’, for without them the world shall be like a barren dry desert. They are an oasis and a spice of life, more amiable, more essential, more worthy and more responsible than their male counterparts.

All the faults that we reproach in them do not cause as much evil as any one of ours. And, are their faults not due to our despotism, injustice and self-love?

She has the unmatched sword of tongue and tears. An Urdu poet has said it well “ jahan me karti hai shahi, magar lashkar nahin rakhti; dilon ko karti hai zakhmi, magar khanjar nahin rakhti” (‘Without commanding armies, she rules over the earth, without carrying a fighting sword, she can wound and hurt’).

BM SINGH, Amritsar

Unused funds

It is surprising and shocking that a huge amount of Rs 4,039 crore sanctioned for the welfare of SCs for the fiscal year 2012-13 has not been utilised by the Punjab Government (news report ‘SC Commission pulls up state government', March 5).

The Punjab Government has been issuing statements religiously that it is the only party that is pro-Dalit, whereas the  situation is just the opposite. The real face of the Akali Government has been exposed. The main agenda of every political party is to capture Dalit votes and not their welfare.

Generally, a state government has to contribute some amount to the funds sanctioned by the Centre for implementing welfare schemes. The Punjab Government escapes from this small contribution resulting in the entire amount remaining unutilised.    


Lack of foresight

The Green Revolution marked the end of crop-diversification technique of farming. The rice-wheat rotation made the other crops such as maize, millets (bajra), jowar, sugarcane, groundnut, pulses, gram, barley, mustard, etc suffer. It was natural for farmers to grow commercial crops because they brought handsome returns. The damage to water and soil resources did not figure in their calculations.

If some allocations have been made by the union government for crop diversification, nutria farms (where bio-fortified crops rich in iron, zinc, protein and vitamins will be grown), to improve health of livestock, construction of silos and godowns for food storage, then the respective governments of Punjab, Haryana and UP should take advantage. They must spread awareness among the farmers so that they could be persuaded to change their established practices and benefit out of new techniques. The central government should also take in to account the lessons learnt from the side effects of Green Revolution and be wary of a misadventure in those states where it is planning to replicate the success of Green Revolution- I.



The wheat-paddy cycle provided stability and assured income to farmers (Manjit S Kang’s article ‘Achieving crop diversification in Punjab’, March 4). Unless the peasantry gets similar assured returns, it is difficult to wean them away from crop rotation.

The government went whole hog to encourage farmers to adpot the rice-wheat monoculture in the 1970s. The government therefore, needs to come to the rescue of farmers now to encourage crop diversification. The central government’s provision of Rs 500 crore, though insufficient, should set the ball rolling.


In the name of education

Private universities mostly offer ‘market-dictated’ courses which are normally not offered by state-run universities. Therefore, private universities attract a large number of students despite the fact that they charge a hefty fee and do not recognise or promote merit.

Promoters of private universities in Himachal Pradesh are more interested in getting large chunks of land in the state at throw-away prices, but they share little interest in promoting the educational interest of the people. These universities stand to gain even if they subsequently close their ‘shops’.

The affluent businessmen from neighbouring states are taking away small holdings of the simple unexposed people of Himachal, thus depriving them of the economic security their land holdings offer them. Private universities in Himachal are a disaster unless genuine educational needs of the residents are fulfilled.

TARA CHAND, Ambota, Una

Potable water

Bathinda has acquired the distinction of being the first town in Punjab where water drawn from hand pumps has been declared unfit for drinking because is highly contaminated with uranium.

Warning signs are being painted on 640 handpumps installed so far in Bathinda. 1,546 suspected cancer patients were detected in the town during a recent government survey. As per tests done by the BARC (Bhabha Atomic Research Commission), groundwater at the depth of up to 50 ft is unsafe for consumption and water at depth of 150 ft and beyond is potable or safe enough.

Dr G S DHILLON, Chandigarh


The front page cricket picture caption of March 5 edition of The Tribune  erroneously mentioned the venue of the 2nd Test between India and Australia as Chennai. It should have been Hyderabad.



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