The RS elections were held amid high drama. Democratic propriety was thrown to the winds. Leaving aside the election process, the temple of democracy is marred by continuous disruptions and absenteeism in both Houses. PM Modi had to pull up his party MPs over low attendance. We might be building a world-class Central Vista, but a nation is built by character, and not by concrete structures. We need amendments to increase the number of working days in Parliament and make attendance compulsory. A minute of the session costs lakhs. Taxpayers’ money must not be wasted.
Rajesh Goyal, by mail
Refer to ‘Unseemly exercise’; RS polls, indeed, are proving to be a disappointment for all those who believe in democracy. No party seems to be bothered about the proper upkeep of its constitution-mandated dignity. Successive RS elections are being used to gain back-door entry into this august House, unmindful of the prospective candidates’ lack of experience in public life or having some specialisation in the fields of science, technical know-how, sports, social welfare etc. It has become a stage-managed number game.
Kumar Gupt, by mail
The pillars of our democracy now seem to rest on bulldozers. Ours is the only democracy where instant injustice is rendered by bulldozing houses of suspects without observing the law of the land. The fourth pillar of democracy, the media, is silent and arranging debates of some Muslim leaders who are justifying these demolitions. Our pillars of democracy are cracking and need urgent repair and reinforcement. Otherwise, the political system will crumble down.
Capt Amar Jeet (retd), Kharar
Reference to CM Mamata Banerjee’s letter to Opposition parties for a meeting; Congress chief Sonia Gandhi has already convened a meeting where senior leaders of Opposition parties, including NCP chief Sharad Pawar, MK Stalin and Left leaders, will discuss a strategy regarding the presidential poll. During the course of eight years under the NDA government, there has been an intensification of the neo-liberal capitalist exploitation of people and the secular-democratic framework of the Constitution has been eroded. The lost glory of the Constitution cannot be restored by any single political outfit but by a determined Opposition, leaving aside their differences. It should not be only about the presidential election, but also to protect and preserve the democratic, secular, socialist fabric of India.
SK Khosla, Chandigarh
Hope for cancer patients
Refer to the miraculous disappearance of cancer (‘Chasing cancer cure’; Spectrum); it is heartening to know that scientists have been able to find a cure through immunotherapy. I recall the words of a doctor whom I went to consult in connection with my mother’s treatment who had symptoms of liver carcinoma. He bluntly told me, ‘If your mother is suffering from cancer, then nobody can save her.’ Within three months, I lost her. This landmark innovation is going to be a game-changer. Since India has a huge number of cancer patients, this news is a ray of hope for many. There is a need to carry out this trial on a much larger spectrum of patients before this therapy can be applied universally.
RAVI SHARMA, DHARIWAL
Violence in Valley
The killings of Pandits, non-locals and migrants is another frustrated attempt by separatists and Pakistan-based terrorists to upset the Centre’s initiatives to restore normalcy after the abrogation of Art 370 (‘Targeted killings bid to derail peace process in J&K’). With reduction in violence, elections to local bodies, growing tourist trade and response to the Amarnath Yatra, there has been a sea change in the trouble-torn state. But these killings have again instilled fear in the minds of people and posed a security challenge that needs to be addressed to usher in peace, stability and development. Instead of criticising the government, political parties, NGOs and peace-loving majority Muslim community should show solidarity with the beleaguered minorities to save the traditional social and cultural fabric of the Kashmiri society. The government should also win the confidence of the alienated population by holding the Assembly polls at the earliest.
Karman Singh, Hoshiarpur
Hindi at UN
In 1977, the then Minister of External Affairs, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, delivered his speech in Hindi in the UN for the first time. Even though he used to speak English, the purpose was to promote Hindi on the international platform. Recently, the UNGA adopted the resolution on multilingualism, co-sponsored by India. The resolution recognised the use of Hindi language as an important communication at the UN. Majority of the population of India speaks Hindi and 85-90% of people in the country understand Hindi.
RK Arora, Mohali
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