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Uttarakhand: where are cricketers?

The unprecedented natural calamity in Uttarakhand has wreaked death and destruction across the state. I wish to share my deep anguish at the lack of sensitivity, compassion and concern of persons who have earned crore from the toil of the common man, towards the victims of this calamity - where are the top cricketers in this hour of need? Those of them who have contributed for relief work can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

The rag-pickers have shown more sensitivity and compassion than the rich and the super rich.

What is disturbing is that we have persons in the country, and some of Indian origin settled overseas, who would spend crores on the weddings of their children and yet keep quiet after this unprecedented calamity. If they do act, it may literally be donating peanuts in such a gigantic rehabilitation effort.

It is unfortunate that even though we boast of 'Fortune 500' companies, with several others in the big league, they are yet to show the sensitivity, concern and compassion expected from responsible corporate citizens.

I appeal to every citizen of this great country to contribute generously to rebuild shattered lives. I would wish them to 'look within and pose themselves the question: "Have I done enough in mitigating human suffering in this worst calamity of our times?"

Much is expected of those whom God has given much.

SUDARSHAN AGARWAL, former Governor of Uttarakhand

Tap solar energy

This refers to the news item 'NGO invents rickshaw that runs on solar power' (June 29). India is one of the countries where the sun shines all year round on most of its land. Due to a widespread increase in the consumption of electricity, India faces an acute power shortage. A developing country like India must have enough electricity at affordable tariff, otherwise, it would seriously jeopardise its growth and progress.

Further, in view of the protests from the public against the building of new nuclear plants for producing electricity, and the depleting supply of coal, and related environmental issues, it is the time for India to focus on producing electricity through solar power. India must cash in on this opportunity as much as possible. If India can use solar power to run rickshaws, it should be able to produce enough electricity to meet its day-to-day needs.


Play outdoor games

This refers to the middle 'Grandpa and his toys' by Rajan Kashyap (July 2).

The writer has underlined the way children's games have transformed in the past few decades. Ideally, games should mean fun, exercise and recreation, that is, creation of energy again. There can be two types of entertainment: active and passive. Many parents proudly brag that their children are fond of music, dance and cricket, but all they do, in fact, is watch cricket, see dance shows on television or listen to music for hours on phones and I-Pods. They also indulge in playing video games for hours. All these forms of passive games make them sedate, sluggish and couch potatoes. In the process they destroy their energy rather than ensuring recreation. Instead, children should go out in the field, play, run and sweat out physically.

Games in the olden days inculcated social instinct and camaraderie but games on mobile phones and laptops make children sour, sullen, morose isolated and self-centered. These games make them unsocial. One is reminded of the famous gazal by Javed Akhtar:

“Ek yeh din jab saari sadken roothi roothi lagti hain,/Ek vo din jab 'aao khelen' saari galiyan kehti thi,/Mujhko yakin hai sach kehti thi jo bhi ammi kehti thi,/ Jab mere bachpan ke din the chand pe pariyan rehti thi.

(Today all the roads look deserted and annoyed/ At our sight in the past they felt overjoyed/Now I believe my mother's fables and stories/That in my infancy the moon was abode of fairies.)


Victims of domestic violence

In a recent World Health Organisation (WHO) report, it was revealed that 38 per cent women who are murdered are killed by their own intimate partners. Moreover, 42 per cent women suffer injuries in their houses at the hands of their family members. The situation is no better in India, as the cases of rape by own family members, and domestic violence, are on an increase.

The reasons may vary from the gender bias to the patriarchal attitude to male insecurity. But one of the major triggers of domestic violence in India is alchohol. Of late, liquor shops are mushrooming in every village and town. The male folk come home drunk, and abuse and beat up their wives, and then indulge in sexual assault. The poor lady quietly suffers for the sake of her children, and 'family honour'. The family also sleeps hungry if the drunkard husband happens to be a daily wager.

The answer lies in stopping sale of liquor in villages and slums. Revenue for the government can take a back seat. The women also need to be sensitised and educated not to be a silent victim of domestic violence. They must raise their voice, and if need be, see the perpetrators of the crime behind bars under the law on domestic violence. The elders in the family and village panchayats should help in this regard. Let no woman die because of a useless man.

COL R D SINGH ( RETD), Ambala Cantt



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