Letters to the editor
Refer to ‘ICHR omits Nehru from freedom poster’; the action of omitting Nehru from the collage is defilement of history. He spent nine years of his life in various jails on more than one occasion, fighting for the freedom of the country. The resolution for Purna Swaraj was passed by the Congress under his leadership in the Lahore session. He was a true democrat wedded to scientific temper and laid the foundation for the development of the country with the help of modern science and technology by way of building multifarious institutions. As PM, he provided political stability and decentralisation of power down to the village level, unlike the current dispensation where democratic debate and discussions are anathema. He was one of the most loved mass leaders of the country. He cannot be obliterated by petty-mindedness and in this despicable manner.
PREM SINGH DAHIYA, Rohtak
The ongoing tussle between CM Capt Amarinder Singh and Navjot Singh Sidhu has created an irksome situation. The Congress high command did a blunder by appointing Sidhu president of the Punjab Congress. Comments like ‘eent se eent baja dunga’ create more conflict with the head of the government. There is a dire need to resolve these quarrelsome conditions and adopt an optimistic attitude for the welfare of Punjab.
KANWARBIR SINGH MANZIL, by mail
Rein in Sidhu
Navjot Sidhu is a man in a hurry. In the four and a half years as MLA, he contributed nothing in the latter part of his stint and has been enjoying all the benefits at the taxpayers’ cost. He is a habitual troublemaker who likes to remain in one controversy or the other. The Congress high command should take a firm decision to discipline him immediately as the elections in Punjab are near. His daily outburst, tone and tenor will prove to be suicidal for the party.
Bhupinder Kochhar, Panchkula
Apropos of the editorial ‘1 crore doses a day’, it’s heartening to know that this may become an everyday pattern from October, when nearly 30 crore vaccine doses are likely to be available. However, over 52 per cent of those eligible have received at least one dose, while the percentage of population covered with two doses remains just about 15. The government’s target of vaccinating all adults by the end of the year is largely dependent on the supply. The authorities in all states must keep the momentum going and contribute towards achieving the target.
SANJAY CHOPRA, MOHALI
No glory for them
Refer to ‘No food, no sleep, only TT: Bhavina’s mantra for success’; Patel, who defeated World No. 3 Miao Zhang in the semifinal and reached the final, is no less than Neeraj Chopra. The apathy is that the government doesn’t give similar recognition to these brave sportspersons, who, despite their physical disability, can perform as well as the other physically fit Olympians. The players are not cheered by the people and the government. Other Paralympians have won medals but there has been no encouraging response from the nation. These are real sportspersons who have made the nation proud.
Capt Amar Jeet (retd), by mail
Bhavina Patel’s silver medal in the Tokyo Paralympics is the gift of a gritty, gutsy and determined sportsperson to the nation on National Sports Day. This champion has certainly emerged as a role model for the youth of India. Even though she got afflicted with polio as an infant, she continued to lead a purpose-driven life and has brought a rare honour to the nation. By scaling a thumping victory over all odds, she has today become the pride of the nation.
Rajiv Arora, by mail
Team India’s poor show
Refer to ‘Ollie or nothing’; Team India’s morale took a severe beating at Leeds after its glorious win at Lord’s. None would have expected India to be bundled out for an ignominious 78, especially when the team’s spirits were high and it was coming on the weight of the previous Test win. Given no breathing space by the England pacers, particularly by Ollie Robinson, Indian batsmen kept nicking the ball behind the wickets offering regulation catches. The visitors were always under the pump, but losing the last 8 wickets for just 63 runs was terrible, as it happened for the second time in the match, and despite a fine rearguard action on Day 3. No wonder, Team India’s abysmal batting display on the first day prompted many fans to post memes on Twitter, one of which read: ‘India won the toss and chose to bat and bowl on the same day.’
RANGANATHAN SIVAKUMAR, Chennai
Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribunemail.com
APROPOS of ‘Engaging the Kabul-walas’ (Nous Indica), in the light of the withdrawal of the US from Afghanistan and the subsequent handover to the Taliban, the Indian Afghan policy needs to be reappraised. Geopolitically, the Taliban regime has now become a fait accompli. It is in India's national interest not to perceive this from the perspective of the US Afghan policy. This policy has already played havoc in Afghanistan. India needs to renew its ties with Russia and reopen its embassy. Only peace can protect Indian interests and investments in Afghanistan. The Indian policy needs to be circumspect and should not fall in the web of American lies and deceit.
GURPREET SINGH, MOHALI
Talks with Taliban
De-facto recognition of the emerging authority in Afghanistan seems inevitable, but the command there is not monolith and suicide bombing attacks, on gatherings desperate to flee, have complicated the situation threatening early return of normalcy (‘Engaging the Kabulwalas’, Nous Indica). Opening our embassy is not conducive to ground realities lest the safety of our men should be in jeopardy. Nonetheless, back-channel communication with present controllers should brook no delay — firstly, to complete the safe evacuation of our people, and secondly, to protect our investments worth billions there. India must be on the guard and its own interests vis-a-vis Pakistan-China bonhomie must be supreme.
Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula
Violence in Afghanistan
This refers to ‘Kabul airport attack kills 95 Afghans, 13 US troops’. Despite the assurances by the Taliban that it will allow US troops and other allied forces to leave Afghanistan by August 30, the deadly bombing by alleged IS terrorists, killing people waiting to be evacuated, has shaken the confidence of the world about Taliban and their promises. Afghanistan under Taliban can never be violence free and there is every chance that its neighbours, including India, will be the target of terrorists operating from there. Nato must reconsider its decision and arrange to send the peacekeeping force there without any delay. This will pave the way for better coordination and evacuation of the stranded people.
Gregory Fernandes, Mumbai
Shift in syllabus
It seems that the Centre has been implementing its Hindutva agenda very rapidly. According to the Vedas, only Brahmins have the right to education, even though they comprise less than 3% of the Indian population. It is a step towards applying Vedas’ instructions to Indian society, where the so-called lower castes have no importance, even though they are 85% of the population. In the DU syllabus, famous writer Mahasweta Devi’s work that presents the plight of tribal women has been replaced with the life and history of Pandita Ramabai. This proves the theory of ‘high caste’ monopoly. This will be another harmful move for Indian society which is a beautiful bouquet of unity in diversity.
Jaswant Rai, Mohali
The Congress’ central leadership comprising the ‘family’ has shot itself in the foot by appointing Navjot Singh Sidhu as the state party president. How could it appoint someone who was at daggers drawn with the Chief Minister of the state? Sidhu waged a war against the Captain on all platforms available to him. Destabilising the incumbent Chief Minister was routine during Indira Gandhi’s years, but now the times have changed and this misplaced move might hand over the state to the opposition on a platter. The AAP is already salivating at the prospect of coming to power in the border state. If the Congress wants to return to power in 2022, it must rein in the wily cricketer-turned-politician or it must brace itself to repent for the next five years at least.
MK BAJAJ, Zirakpur
Privatisation not answer
Refer to the privatisation of the Kalka-Shimla rail; if most things will be privatised, what is the use of these white elephants, like MPs, MLAs, and even MC councillors. If the government thinks that some departments are not working properly, the option is not to privatise it. The persons concerned should be suspended. Are all MPs and ministers efficient? Many are useless, with no control over their language. If the head of any department is honest, efficient and hardworking, and knows his job well, the department will perform well. How can the government be sure that private companies will give 100% result? Everything will be costly and out of people's reach. The government wants private companies to flourish, but it should not be at the cost of the people.
Sukhwant Bhullar, Chandigarh
Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribunemail.com
In reference to the anti-India remarks made by the advisers of the Punjab Congress president, Navjot Singh Sidhu, they should only stick to Punjab as their job. Their remarks are an insult to the soldiers who have laid down their lives for the country. They must realise that they now have a responsibility of position and should restrain from such controversial views. They should concentrate and apprise the leadership about solutions to issues facing the state, like unemployment, alternative crop growing, narcotics, crime and brain drain. Their words should leave a solid impression of progress. They should act as solution finders and not hate-mongers.
Harsimranvir Singh, Patiala
The prevailing crisis in the Congress seems to be created knowingly. Why did the party high command, knowing that Capt Amarinder Singh and Navjot Singh Sidhu are not on the same page, appoint Sidhu as the PPCC chief? No efforts were made to reconcile the two leaders. This has created two centres of power and the unpleasant situation was bound to emerge. Both camps are at loggerheads, and the party organisation and the government, both are in disarray. The administration of the state will suffer. The high command should intervene without any further delay. Both should exhibit wisdom and maturity and work in tandem to serve the people of Punjab. The Congress chief must remove his two advisers who have issued controversial statements.
SUDESH K SHARMA, Kapurthala
No different from Taliban
Reams of reports are being published against Afghanistan’s new and ‘barbaric’ Taliban regime. However, in this debate, a local news report of a court judgment, in which the ‘rape’ of a woman by her husband has been justified, got lost. Does our male mentality differ much from that of the Taliban?
Reference to ‘Sedition cases on govt change disturbing: SC’; the ruling party and the police remain in cahoots, preferring religion, caste, region or community. They encourage nepotism, complicity and impunity. The police’s servility to the ruling party usually results in delaying or diluting truth, making justice elusive. In the cases of JNU, Jamia Millia or anti-CAA protests, the police’s role was questioned by many. Free and fair, not sabotaging, probing agencies, to handle law and order situations, without falling prey to the rich or powerful, is the need of the times.
Abhimanyu Malik, Jind
Dignity of office
Refer to ‘Sena-BJP faceoff’; Maharashtra, infamous for vandalism by Shiv sainiks, has done it once again. It is not for the first time in the Indian political arena that someone has used objectionable words against one sitting in a high constitutional office. Leave alone the CM, slurs have also been used against the PM of the country. But the police action taken by the Maharashtra Government with alacrity cannot be justified. Politics is a platform to serve people, and not for settling personal vendetta. The misdemeanour of elected representatives inside and outside the House is distressing. The misuse of police force against opponents by persons in power is not only a breach of constitutional propriety, but also lowers the dignity of the office.
Yoginder Singhal, Ladwa
Students are the future stalwarts of a nation (‘Back to school with caution’). The pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the studies and mental health of students. Being stuck up at home for months, doing nothing except working on mobiles, laptops and viewing TV for hours together daily, they have become couch potatoes. Taking all precautions, including imbibing of Covid-appropriate behaviour among pupils, the authorities should reopen all schools, except playway and nursery. Teachers should be fully vaccinated and should be called daily on a rotation basis. To avoid rush and congestion, schools must work in two shifts daily.
Sunil Chopra, Ludhiana
Covid epidemic in Kerala
The ‘Covid Tracker’ for August 26 shows 30,100 new cases in Kerala. The total number of new cases per day in India was 44,533. Kerala constitutes two-third of the cases. Kerala was a model state in respect of health parameters. But now it lies at the bottom. The Kerala Government has failed to tackle the most serious health problem of its people. The Centre cannot take an inefficient government to task because of the federal structure. To control a serious health problem is the joint responsibility of the state and the Centre. Also, people are not maintaining Covid-appropriate behaviour. Delhi and UP took strict measures to bring down Covid figures. If they can do it, why not Kerala?
RN Malik, Gurugram
Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribunemail.com
Apropos of ‘Sena-BJP faceoff’, what the country witnessed in the last two days was merely the latest phase of prolonging the rivalry between Rane and the Maharashtra CM. The events featuring crude comments and retaliatory arrest are not becoming of netas holding offices that are accountable to the public. While the objectionable slap barb was unbecoming of a union minister, the Shiv Sena’s penchant for mob justice to prove its supremacy can’t be justified. The retaliatory arrest is an excessive act of the Maharashtra Police. If such an utterance against a Chief Minister is a cognisable offence, Uddhav would have been arrested two years ago for saying he felt like ‘beating with chappals’ the UP Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath.
N Sadhasiva Reddy, Bengaluru
Refer to ‘Nitish, Tejashwi meet PM to push for caste-based census’; what is needed is accurate and timely current household data, as improving the existing database is more crucial than the caste census. Poor data hurts efforts to design welfare programmes. If caste is about deprivation, counting the really deprived is more important than identifying the caste of everyone. India's National Sample Survey is quite unique for extensive and periodic household-level data it generates. It is the foundation of many government policies. We have not had an estimate of even poverty for some years, and policies are being designed based on the old database. It's more important for the Centre to pay attention to this gap rather than embark on a new exercise when even the enumeration of Census 2021 has been delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Tejashwi would do well to know what RJD forefather Ram Manohar Lohia had said, ‘Caste restricts opportunity. Restricted opportunity constricts ability. Constricted ability further restricts opportunity. Where caste prevails, opportunity and ability are restricted to ever narrowing circles.’
LJS Panesar, by mail
Refer to ‘India pips US to be second-most attractive mfg hub’; the US-based Cushman & Wakefield has released an index in which India has overtaken the US to become the second-most sought-after manufacturing destination globally in the Global Manufacturing Risk Index 2021. The improvement in the ranking reflects the growing interest of manufacturers towards India. This can be attributed to India's better operating conditions and cost competitiveness. The government is seriously working on quality output by launching missions like Make in India, Skill India and ASPIRE that motivate the young workforce to work on innovative ideas which have the potential to boost the manufacturing sector.
Pulkit Jain, by mail
Apropos of ‘Ex-minister Sekhwan set to join AAP’, it is an unfortunate aspect of the Indian political system that politicians are power-hungry. Nobody bothers about the country. In the case of the Congress too, we have just seen a change of loyalties from the Captain camp to the Sidhu camp by opportunists. It is not service to the nation or the state, but an opportunity to grab power at whatever cost. One wonders why Sekhwan, who served as a minister, has chosen to work under the command of inexperienced people, for it is certain that a defector can’t lead the AAP at this stage. Elections are approaching. Many more such people will be seen changing their loyalties in the days to come. People should punish such elements who shift their loyalties for personal gains, and parties that encourage such defections.
VK Syal, Sangrur
Donate to help
Apropos of ‘Exposed to dust & danger’, construction workers' families, specially children, have to live in pitiable conditions, in spite of efforts by government agencies and NGOs. Instead of looking towards these agencies for help, everyone should come forward to take care of these families by donating food like jaggery and bananas, which do not cost a lot, but are nutritious. Old clothes and study material, etc., can also be donated to construction workers near our home or workplace.
NARENDRA KUMAR SINGHAL, NOIDA
This refers to ‘Single-lane traffic to avert mishaps on NH’. Roads widened to accommodate ever-increasing traffic and reduce the time by enabling high speed have a flip side. The deeper one cuts the hillside, incidents of landslides and boulders rolling down will increase and threaten the life of travellers and local communities. Rivers become the recipient of debris and muck, increasing the silt load, and creating courses to combat any obstruction. Infrastructure should not create havoc but assist in compatible development. We need to rethink about road-making in the hills or design an implementable policy to keep pace with this young mountain system, and not overtake its natural growth!
Nishant, by mail
The pandemic has seen the medical community under immense pressure. The deaths caused have been discouraging for everyone and only highlight the need for more steps to prevent any such repeat of the disease on this scale again. We have seen the first wave and the second wave and should take all precautionary measures including Covid-appropriate to protect ourselves. The government has taken measures to ensure vaccination for the eligible population, seen as having some role in granting protection. In the fight against an invisible and unknown enemy, it is better to rely on science rather than conjectures which may only prove to be counter-productive. The impending festival season also calls for some caution due to rush.
Garv Bhupesh, Panchkula
Out of focus
The NIDM has warned us about the third wave. But look at a Central minister’s arrest in Maharashtra, the urgent pursuit of carrying out Jan Ashirvaad Yatras across the length and breadth of the country, Himachal deciding to keep schools closed till September 4, efforts afoot to force the Punjab CM to vacate the chair, chaos during the monsoon session in Parliament, and the denial of any death0 for lack of oxygen. And then, we keep gloating over our achievements on Independence Day — how the whole world marvels at our fight against the virus. How lakhs of crores are spent on infrastructure! There is shortage of doctors and the jobless in some states are agitating for denial of appointments, despite clearing the selection process successfully. The ordinary citizen is a helpless witness to the spectacle of politics and the unabated game of passing the buck.
Lalit Mohan Sharma, DHARAMSALA
After witnessing the second wave of Covid-19, India was in a devastating condition with an increasing number of deaths and is still struggling where the economy is concerned. The US, where over half the population is vaccinated, while over 60% have received at least one dose, the pandemic situation is under control. India is in a dire situation with more than half of its population left to be vaccinated, especially children who are more vulnerable as the Delta variant creeps in. It is of vital importance to get the underage vaccinated at the earliest. India should be ready to face the third wave or else our economy, which is recorded as being the country with the worst performance among other economies, will face more problems. A sharp drop in the GDP is the largest in the country’s history. If the situation continues, there will be severe economic hardships and negative impacts on lifelong earnings and employment prospects.
Sahibaa Jauhar, Yamunanagar
Refer to ‘Turn in politics to reclaim nation’s moral centre’; transformation among politicians is the need of the hour. To avoid bemoaning the low standards of politicians, including history sheeters with a criminal record, we need to be motivated for encouraging political morality with honest and law-abiding youth to become politicians. Time has come when politics cannot be treated as an art and science of making excuses and doing wrong things. India needs ethical politicians who know how to debate and discuss issues in and out of Parliament, state Assemblies and panchayats and urban local bodies without blame game. The middle class intelligent youth need to be motivated to accept politics as a career, instead of the rat race to become an engineer, doctor or bureaucrat. Politics has to be accepted as a profession with a changed mindset requiring ethical training. It is true that ‘ the crown always finds its way to the right head’ in a democracy which requires the voting rate of 100 per cent.
MM Goel, by mail
Reference to the article ‘The deshbhakti curriculum’; despite efforts and investments in the education sector, we are unable to impart quality education to upcoming generations. The reason is simple. The focus is more on theoretical skills rather than practical understanding of things. Virtues like being truthful, respectful and being helpful play a key role in understanding the higher values like humanity, unity, fraternity, and integrity. Focusing on small traits could lead to a path of true patriotism.
Gurinder Singh, Moga
Poor state of colleges
Refer to ‘No permanent campus for 48 govt colleges’; is the government only for dictatorship? This is why India is not ranked amongst the top 20 countries for academics. Residences of MLAs and Governors are better run than colleges. Our government really doesn't care about the education system. Neither are there colleges nor are there any jobs, thus leading to unemployment. Everyone can’t afford to pay the fee charged by private colleges. If the government is helpless, what is its purpose?
Simran Ahuja, Yamunanagar
Refer to ‘The deshbhakti curriculum’; hyper-nationalism being spread through ‘WhatsApp university’ is already harming the ethos of our country. Role models in the form of parents, teachers and leaders need to set an example before children by practicing noble values which would be observed and imbibed by the children. Simply reciting Vande Mataram or Saare jahan se achha doesn’t make a person a patriot, rather sensitising our children right from childhood, not only towards their rights, but also their duties can work wonders. Even simple acts like following traffic rules, maintaining cleanliness at public places, saving water and electricity, conserving flora and fauna can go a long way in establishing the true spirit of patriotism.
Rashmi Sikri, by mail
Rights and duties
With reference to ‘The deshbhakti curriculum’; Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal while giving the nod to the curriculum said we have taught all subjects in the past 70 years, but did not study patriotism. Now, patriotism will be taught in schools. The curriculum should be the core of teaching-learning in every school in India. It is a dynamic process. The Patriotic Curriculum Framework is based on primary goals which will inculcate a sense of pride in students towards their country, create awareness about responsibilities towards the nation, commitment to make sacrifices, and importantly, to make our children aware of the fact that there is something higher and nobler than toxic nationalism. Patriotism should be such that it can keep an eye on the rights and wrongs of the country. Like Delhi, it should be adopted in other states also. For this, it is important that teachers do not suffer from any political prejudices or preferences.
Sikandar Bansal, Shimla
Need to know more
We should appreciate that our country’s rich philosophy is based on the spiritual ideology of ‘sarvdharm sambhav’ and ‘vasudhaiva kutumbakam’. The academic curriculum is replete with these teachings since time immemorial. The scepticism about the introduction of ‘deshbhakti’ in school curriculum is unwarranted. The aim of teaching patriotism should be two-fold — to ignite the feeling of pride and also to teach the importance of self-preservation to safeguard the freedom of citizens from external and internal forces. In fact, passing through several generations since independence, the same basic theoretical information about the country is being doled out to students. It comprises information about national symbols, rights and duties enshrined in the Constitution and the major part of history full of facts mainly about one particular dynasty — the Mughals. Such parroting of facts about India may produce merely informed citizens, but the teaching should also inspire them to contribute creatively towards the welfare of the country.
Mukta Agarwal, Faridabad
UN Afghan fiasco
The abject failure of the UN, an organisation of nearly 200 countries, to intervene in Afghanistan, post Taliban takeover, has put a question mark over the role of such world forums. The crisis has led to the gross violation of human rights, with people desperate to flee the country to protect themselves from Taliban oppression. The UNHRC, UNSC, NATO etc, remained a mute spectator to the horrific turn of events in the war-torn nation. The US and its allies’ domination over the UN must be diluted to save the member nations from their selfish dictates. There is need to reinvent the UN, considering the new world order that is threatened by the challenges of expansionism and terrorism.
Anil Vinayak, Amritsar
Get ready for Taliban
Apropos of ‘Taliban takeover may embolden terror groups’, the Taliban will have the backing of Pakistan, radical Islamists and China to undermine India on every front. The West and Russia will no longer come to the rescue of Afghanistan. No other Muslim country is interested in the welfare of the Muslims in Afghanistan. The Afghanistan government showed no resistance to the Taliban takeover. It did not fight for the people. India should prepare itself to face the Taliban and Pakistan.
Ashok Kumar Goel, Panchkula
Evacuate them now
Refer to ‘Prioritise evacuation’; India must urgently evacuate Indians stranded in Afghanistan. Young girls, women and children are the most vulnerable. Once our people are out, only then can we think of what relationship we can have with the Taliban dispensation. The new rulers will obviously need finances and investments to run the country and India must continue to reciprocate in ample measure. Trade can continue to prevent any escalation. India and Afghanistan can start a new chapter in history based on common interests, nationalism and autonomy.
Parthasarathy Sen, New Delhi
This refers to ‘Stranded in Kabul’. Who would have believed that after a 20-year stay of its combat forces in Afghanistan and a self-disclosed expenditure of trillions of dollars, the mighty US would not only fail to protect a democratically elected Afghan government, but would also be found terribly wanting in making timely plans to evacuate its citizens? The advance declaration of the deadline of withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan might have enabled the Taliban to make a foolproof plan. Electoral politics so often becomes the bane of democracy. If the US put all its eggs in the ISI-Taliban basket, we perhaps made the mistake of putting our eggs in the US basket. Despite being involved in many development projects in Afghanistan, and spending billions, when no role was seen for India in the Russia- led parleys over the Afghan issue with China, the US and Pakistan, we should have prepared for all eventualities in Afghanistan. Wasn’t our embassy in Afghanistan supposed to keep a keen watch on the developments for timely evacuation of all Indians present there before winding itself?
HL Sharma, Amritsar
Power play in Afghanistan
The recent developments in the Afghanistan region have vindicated that the real sufferer in the whole fiasco is the common man. The US that claims to be a beacon of democracy and human rights, has steered clear from all its moral obligations and claims. Furthermore, the Taliban claims to be a pro-Islamist group believing in Sharia. It is hypocritical of them to maintain friendly relations with China, which is conducting large-scale genocide against Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang. All the players are trying to fool the people to secure their own strategic interests. Amidst this chaotic political power play, my heart goes out to the people of Afghanistan who are in the crosshairs of this debacle. They are the real victims and will continue to be so until peace returns.
Madhvi Sharma, by mail
Deaf to Afghanistan’s plea
Refer to ‘In Afghan collapse, the fall of international relations’; the situation is heartbreaking for all the people. The Americans had a major role to play in this chaotic situation, but the words of Biden seem strange as he claims that the entire problem has been caused by the Afghan army and its government. This is a bare omission of the acknowledgment of one’s responsibility. It is sad to see the indifference of the US government to Afghanistan’s plea for help. It is a pity that the greed for power and wealth has made global leaders to turn blind to the dangerous consequences of their politics of hate.
Nirmal Rosh, Bengaluru
US to blame
The Taliban has once again enslaved the people of Afghanistan. How many people have lost their lives and how many have become homeless due to their cruelty! This is a tragedy for all of humanity. The US is responsible for the current situation in Afghanistan because it decided to leave without a concrete plan.
Jasdeep kaur, Ludhiana
Apropos of ‘Jab for adolescents’, it is a big step in strengthening the nation’s vaccination drive. The present inoculation rate of 60 lakh doses per day needs to be ramped up to 90 lakh a day to achieve the set target of vaccinating all adults by the year-end. At the same time, the government and regulators concerned have to ensure that no approvals are sanctioned in haste and the necessary trials of new vaccines are conducted on the Indian population before authorising their emergency use to avoid any negative side-effects. The vaccine which is successful in some other country cannot be equally effective in India.
There are 12 lakh registered advocates in India. Approximately 950 law schools teach nuances of the legal profession to 4-5 lakh law students across the country. Every year, about 60,000-70,000 law graduates join the profession. There are 41% vacancies of HC judges all over India. Can’t we select 454 experienced advocates from 12 lakh registered advocates to fill the vacancies? Even nine seats of SC judges are unoccupied. About 5.75 million cases are pending in the high courts across the country, and 38.15 million cases are pending in the district courts. In some cases, a judgment is given after decades of filing a case. The public will start perceiving that society is now an organised conspiracy to rob them of their rights. The government should fill all vacancies on an emergency basis as there is enough legal talent in India.
Rajesh Goyal, by mail
The evacuation of Indian nationals engaged in various development projects undertaken by the Government of India or working independently in Afghanistan is a matter of urgent concern. India has not articulated any credible plan of action for their evacuation so far. It is only sporadic statements, like External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar talking to Antony Blinken about evacuation hurdles, etc. The danger posed by the Taliban to Indian nationals is very real. The ransacking of Indian consulates at Herat and Kandahar is indicative of the fate awaiting them. No promise by the Taliban can be taken at face value. If anything can go wrong it will. We need to have a plan in place to evacuate them as early as possible.
Lt Col GS Bedi, (retd), Mohali
Why revisit Partition?
The write-up ‘Lest we forget the horrors of Partition’ favours PM Modi’s proposal to observe August 14 every year as ‘Partition Horrors Remembrance Day’. The suggestion neither has any relevance nor rationality. Refugees who in 1947 had to leave home and hearth in Pakistan and migrate to India have forgotten the horrible past, then why scratch old wounds which have already healed? Even talking about ‘commission of inquiry’ is an absurd idea, which will pave the way for another controversy for the government and political parties. Better would have been had the writer suggested honouring the personalities/officers who did exemplary work to rehabilitate millions of uprooted refugees.
VK Anand, Chandigarh
Lest we forget lessons
Apropos of ‘Horror of horrors’, the atrocities of Partition were faced more by people of Punjab and Bengal. An overwhelming majority of Indians were born long after India’s blood-drenched Partition tore the subcontinent. They must indeed remember this history of the agony of a million people losing their lives in Hindu-Muslim riots. But the salient question is what they should remember, and what lessons they should draw from Partition. The most tragic victims of the violence were women who were treated as property, and battlefields to defend or transgress the honour of the community. We should also remember the thousands of Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims who risked their lives to save their neighbours from their own community. Some may believe that the announcement that August 14 be observed as the Partition Horrors Remembrance Day is a political stunt. Could it be due to the fact that August 14 is celebrated by Pakistan as its independence day? Indians must never forget the torment of Partition. We must remember so that we never allow hate to partition our land, and our hearts. We must remember what hate does to a people.
SK SINGH, by mail
Not a bad idea
Apropos of ‘Horror of horrors’, the Partition left irreparable effects upon our nation as well as our neighbour. The deepest wounds were the bloodbaths that happened due to poor planning by our top leaders. How could they mishandle the most serious task at hand? Partition, on communal lines, was not unexpected; however, our leaders failed miserably. Leaving home and moving hundreds of kilometres to settle down seems unimaginable today, but many of our own people were forced to leave and faced dire consequences as they met bitter deaths. Those who survived relived the horrors. Remembering the day will teach a lesson to the coming generations. We also teach our children about the World Wars.
Vishal Sapehia, Kangra
One year of big-bang reforms under Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan has proved rather enfeebled, as the government’s actual expenditure is 1% of Rs 20 lakh crore. The already weakened MSME sector is not catered to, as nothing has been done to stimulate demand. Moreover, the transmission of liquidity has not been smooth and resulted in inflationary trends supplemented by the burgeoning fiscal deficit. Experts say that this has led to import substitution which is not good for the emerging economy. There is a need for multilateralism and not self-sufficiency.
BALSIMRAN SINGH, AMRITSAR
This is with reference to ‘Girls to take NDA exam’. The Supreme Court's ruling to allow women to appear in the NDA exam is laudable. The verdict will help fulfil the dreams of many girls like Anvesha Malpa (12) of Malang village in Lahaul and Spiti, whose dream is to become an Army officer, and she is now eligible to get admission to Sainik School, Sujanpur Tihra, in Himachal. Learning from the Air Force and the Navy, the Army should provide equal ranks and opportunities to women aspirants.
Devender Chauhan, by mail
REFER to the article ‘Caste census can change social equations’; dividing the nation over votes has become the sole purpose of political parties to remain in power. On the one hand, we are set to celebrate 75 glorious years of Independence, but on the other, we still want to empower the caste system. The government must work to uplift the poor and needy to reach at the level of self subsistence rather than dividing them on the age-old caste system to remain in power. Give free and qualitative education and health facilities to all to make them capable of equality in status. It looks like successive governments actually want to keep the poor as poor and remain shackled in the caste system. This helps them to garner votes on the name of religion, caste and society. Make the next census free from caste and include economic status of people for their uplift.
Wg Cdr Jasbir s Minhas (retd), Mohali
NDA for women
Apropos of the SC verdict to allow women to appear for the NDA exam, the Air Force and Navy have acted in a more liberal way. However, the Army never gave permanent commission till the verdict of the Supreme Court. Women empowerment is the need of the hour and the judgment of the SC will encourage more women to join the NDA.
Rukma Sharma, Jalandhar
Biden’s betrayal speech
Apropos of ‘Biden’s blame game’, the US withdrawal will go down in history as a lesson in how a superpower does business with the world. Biden's definition of the objective of the war in Afghanistan as not nation-building but preventing a ‘terrorist attack on America’ contradicted years of US policy and involvement in Afghanistan. But Biden’s speech was most egregious when he described Afghans as a people who don't have the will to fight their own war. Apparently, Afghan soldiers who were killed fighting alongside the US and NATO troops count for nothing. In Biden’s speech, there was no acknowledgement, even for form’s sake, of the uncertain future the Afghan people and the entire region now face. For India this is a new challenge, as on the back of US presence, it had built on its age-old ties with Afghanistan. Pakistan, which has finally achieved its objectives of its Afghanistan policy with the Taliban victory, will want to clip India’s wings. India has a tough task ahead in rebalancing equations in the region and beyond, even as it shores up security. It will be a test of India’s foreign policy.
EL SINGH, by mail
Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s statue was vandalised in Lahore for the third time. This shows how unaware and misinformed people are, especially youth. Ranjit Singh was a secular leader who stood up for all religions and gave equal rights to all. He safeguarded the interests of all against the British. Strict action should be taken against such extremist leaders who influence young minds against the integrity of society so that such things don’t get repeated. Top leaders of Pakistan must speak up and the government should embrace the image of secular leaders like Ranjit Singh by creating awareness about his good will and actions through social media documentaries, news presentations and providing educational introductions at school and university levels. Efforts need to be made to maintain harmony in society.
Harsimranvir Singh, Patiala
In reference to ‘79% water samples fail portability test in Muktsar’; the samples should also be tested for nitrogen content (urea) and residues of highly toxic granulated insecticides like ‘padan’ (Cartap hydrochloride) and Ferrtera which are being used by farmers in far excess amounts in standing water in rice fields throughout Punjab. Thousands of tons of such insecticides are being pumped into the soil every year by the farmers to satisfy their quest for getting higher yields of paddy in spite of the fact that the PAU does not recommend their use. These insecticides and chemical fertilisers have polluted the whole water aquifer in Punjab.
Satinderpal Singh, Muktsar
Apropos of ‘CM announces BDO office at Darlaghat’, in the run-up to the byelections, the CM is giving fiscal propriety a miss. The new age heralded by improvements in IT and road networks should require lesser physical interaction with government offices. After announcing SDM offices at Jubbal, Kotkhai and Balichowki a few days ago, the new BDO office comes as no surprise. No wonder Himachal has the second highest debt/GDP ratio among states and this penchant for profligacy will further burden the strained exchequer. The focus should be on macro development issues, besides health and tourism sectors.
Gurjyot Singh, Shimla
The Afghan army, built with a cost of $83 billion, collapsed so swiftly that the whole world was shocked. The western intelligence predicted at least months for Kabul to collapse, but it happened in just a few weeks, resulting in countries rushing to evacuate citizens. There are many reasons for the Afghan army's shameful defeat. The US was responsible for maintaining advanced weapons and providing air support to the Afghan forces and its sudden departure left the Afghan army in a dilemma. Corruption was widespread as military commanders requested funds for soldiers who did not exist, besides keeping the real soldiers unpaid for months. The leadership was also shaky as military leaders and ministers were constantly changed by President Ghani. At last, it is the return of black days for Afghanistan and a lesson for the US. As Napoleon Bonaparte said: ‘In war, moral is to physical as ten is to one.’
Anurag Kumar, Pathankot
How the Taliban has captured Kabul is for the whole world to see. Now the UN can't handle such situations. We daily read how people are killed in one corner of the world or the other. So some very strong organisation must be formed. Army Generals should be members of that organisation. They should study situations and take action. No firing should be allowed at any border. In case of a violation, they should be punished under international law. We are living in the 21st century and should not allow powerful countries to kill people and render children orphans. It is also inhuman that armies are sitting in sub-zero temperatures to guard their boundaries. No army should stay there and nobody should be allowed to move even an inch into the land of another country.
Sukhwant Bhullar, Chandigarh
May backfire on Pakistan
Refer to ‘Taliban and Pak delusions’; Pakistan needn't rejoice Taliban's capture of power in Afghanistan. The Pakistan PM, Imran Khan's words on this geopolitical development, ‘Unhone ghulami ki zanjeeren tod di hain’, can backfire on Khan sooner or later. The Taliban have too many allies and influential friends among the Pashtuns settled in Pakistan and they along with religious bigots can regroup against him and threaten his rule. The roots of democracy in Pakistan are still fragile and tribal loyalties have a vicious grip on the minds and hearts of the masses.
Raj Bahadur Yadav, Fatehabad
Women and Army
Apropos of ‘SC allows women to appear for NDA exam’, it is heartening that the Supreme Court has paved the way for women to appear for the NDA exam, and rightly terming the ban as gender discrimination. The Central government has accorded approval to admit girl cadets in Army schools. The response of the Additional Solicitor General, Aishwarya Bhati, in the Supreme Court was quite ridiculous in nature. It is strange that the Centre continued the bar even after the 2020 verdicts of the apex court, which is contempt of court. The government should abide by the verdict.
Upendra Sharma, by mail
NDA exam for women
The Supreme Court's decision to allow women to appear in the NDA exam is a significant one. The Army needs to change its mindset now. The Indian armed forces lack greatly in terms of parity. While the Air Force and the Navy are far more forthcoming, the Army needs to start providing equal opportunities to women.
Khyati Kataria, Panchkula
With respect to the news related to allowing women to appear for the NDA exam, it is a welcoming step after permanent commission and field posting for women. It ensures equal opportunity for women. Now, they also can think of becoming officers in the armed forces directly after passing their Class XII. This step also brings hope to women aspirants that in future they might be allowed in arms like infantry and armoured.
Hardik Gupta, Solan
JNU medical school
Reference to ‘JNU's medical school’; a well-conceived and appreciable step has been taken in the raising of a multi-specialty hospital and school of medical sciences. Besides fulfilling the need of people in healthcare, it will also prove to be a widely aspired institution for medical professionals and students. As admission here will be a tough competition, only creamy layer and most talented and deserving candidates will be admitted. Their presence on the campus will change the atmosphere of the campus and helpful in rectifying the image of the campus in the matter of discipline.
Krishan Bhatia, Hans
THE well-being of the ‘Sahars of Afghanistan’ is on the mind of every being capable of empathising with the people of war-torn Afghanistan. Students occupy an important place in the life of a teacher. Their love and concern for the teacher is the modern day’s ‘Guru-dakshina’. May they all be fortunate enough to see the sun- shine. Heart-wrenching visuals of people making frantic attempts to flee from the clutches of the Taliban sent shivers down one’s spine. The plight of the Afghans has become more poignant in the wake of mankind’s feats in space, technology and medicine. All this development sounds meaningless if there are people on this earth who do not have access to a peaceful and dignified life! May the weary river of Afghanistan’s desolation wind somewhere safe to the sea, for ‘Oft hope is born, when all is forlorn’.
AN Sharma, Chandigarh
All welfare schemes being run by the government, such as Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana, subsidiary LPG cylinders, free vaccines etc, are at the cost of the taxpayer. These benefits are given on the one hand and taken on the other due to inflation and the enormous increase in the price of petroleum products. Covid vaccines are being given free and Modi’s photographs on vaccination certificates and bags of wheat look absurd.
Bhupinder Kochhar, Panchkula
Realpolitik at play
After the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban, China, Russia and now Turkey are testing the waters by praising the Taliban but stopping short of recognising them as the government of Afghanistan. Pakistan, being a vassal state of China, obeys them. This is realpolitik. However, understandably they are apprehensive that the Pashtuns do not recognise the Durand Line. There may be other countries waiting in the wings to engage the Taliban and do business with them. The world knows that Afghanistan is sitting over vast mineral wealth and hydrocarbon reserves. The valuable strategic location of Afghanistan is too tempting vis-à-vis access to countries of the so-called Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). It is anybody’s guess how the situation will unfold in the future. The ‘moderate’ stance of the Taliban cannot be taken for granted.
GS Anand, Panchkula
Can’t blame US
Apropos of ‘Stand squarely behind my Afghan decision, says Biden’, it is heart-wrenching to see the miserable situation and the grim condition of the citizens of Afghanistan. The nation has once again been carried back on a time machine to the horrific Taliban-ruled years of the 1990s. But extending sympathy to the Afghan civilians, I agree with Biden’s decision of troop withdrawal. The US invaded Afghanistan in 2001 following the 9/11 attacks. The revitalisation of the war-ravaged country or ‘nation building’, as termed by Biden, was never the motive. If someone needs to be blamed for the crisis, it should be the government of Afghanistan. The US has spent $2 trillion on the nation. It provided logistics, armoury, artillery and air support to the Afghan defence forces for countering the Taliban. But these resources were mishandled and huge capital went into the pockets of the Afghan leaders. The civilians are now bearing the brunt of their corrupt leaders who have fled leaving them in chaos.
Tushar Anand, Patna
Victory at Lord’s
Refer to ‘Remarkable win at Lord’s’; it is not merely a win that Indian cricket will remember for years, it is a forceful show of willpower by Kohli and his team. It was much a triumph of their physical skills as a reflection of their mental strength. To bowl out England inside two sessions on a benign surface seemed an improbable proposition, but Indian pacers put up a collective performance of high-class skills and unrelenting intensity. It appears as if the Indian cricketers are the new leaders of world cricket.
PL SINGH, by mail
As elections are due in Punjab in the early months of 2022, political parties can be seen coming up with new promises every day, while criticising their opponents for not fulfilling the old ones. Everyone can be seen portraying themselves as the ‘messiah’. Baiting people to vote over free electricity and other necessities shows how these greedy politicians have eaten up the ‘food bowl of India’, leaving its people to depend on subsidies. This is unfortunate for the world’s largest democracy, where negative and communal politics is the only resort left with these inefficient and ineffective parties!
SANJAY THATAI, Jalalabad West
The United States has suffered a greater loss than even Afghanistan itself. The US did not maintain its commitment of friendship, and protection from enemies to that country. On the one hand, it claimed to be a friend of Afghanistan, and on the other, it kept holding secret parleys with the Taliban and Pakistan — the number one enemies. Ultimately, when Afghanistan was in deep crisis, the US deserted it, leaving it defenceless to the invaders. The plight of Afghanistan has today clearly highlighted how fake is the friendship/alliance of this country which claims itself to be the first world power. Now, countries would have a second thought before entering into any friendship or alliance with it. This loss of prestige has come to the US at a time when it is struggling to keep its number one position when other powers are breathing down its neck to claim supremacy.
SS Chahal, by mail
Withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan has proved to be a strategic mistake. The Taliban have never had such a control over the country. This will have long-term repercussions, with China coming closer to it, in its own interest, and thus making the situation more complicated for America and its allies. The situation might be saved from further deterioration if America strengthens non-Taliban elements to stem further expansion. No time should be lost.
Mohinder Behl, Canada
Support to Taliban
The Taliban have replaced a democratic government. The main reason for this is the corrupt government of former Afghanistan President Abdul Ghani. Only a fraction of the population of over four crore had participated in the elections. This shows that when a democratic government becomes corrupt and unethical, it loses the trust of the people. It is bound to be taken over by extremist groups. The Taliban are only a face supported by China and Pakistan. They have their commercial interests. Without their support, the Taliban could not have been successful. Afghanistan will become another Vietnam. India has invested enough there without realising the ground realities. The immediate responsibility of the government is to evacuate each and every Indian citizen from there. Aided by China, the Taliban will be a big threat to Ladakh and Siachen.
Capt Amar Jeet (retd), Mohali
The Taliban have captured almost the whole of Afghanistan only in 20 weeks and without any resistance. In history, perhaps this would be the only instance when a 3.5-lakh-strong army surrendered in such a way. The American forces remained in Afghanistan for 20 years. Did they not train the Afghan army? An army knows only to do and die, but this army ran away. History shows that the Indian Army fights till the last moment. And if their weapons and ammunition is finished, they fight physically.
Narender K Sharma, Joginder Nagar
Let bygones be bygones
Apropos of the Union government declaring August 14 as Partition Horrors Remembrance Day; the Partition was one of the most traumatic episodes in Indian history. However, it has been 75 years and much water has flown under the bridge. By their sheer grit, determination and hard work, people who experienced the horrors of the Partition have almost forgotten it. The only reason behind forcing people to remember the dark days seems to be vote bank politics. Obviously, this decision is not for remembering those who lost their lives and homes, but to open old wounds and create a communal wedge between communities.
Balbir Singh Kakkar, Jalandhar
State of Parliament
Refer to ‘Sorry state of affairs: CJI’, the Chief Justice of India rightly bemoans the decline in the quality of debates in Parliament. Parliament represents our nation and highlights our issues and concerns and symbolises our aspirations. The nation faces many issues that need to be discussed. If Bills are passed in minutes, where is the time for debate? Over the years, the number of days that Parliament meets is declining. As a senior citizen, I look back to the days when parliamentarians like Rajaji, Piloo Mody, Ram Manohar Lohia or the former PM, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, would use quotes, meaningful poetry and witty political remarks. The ruling party with its absolute majority does not seem keen to have extended sessions or give sufficient time to discuss matters of public and national significance. This will set a bad precedent for our democracy.
HN Ramakrishna, Bengaluru
PM Modi vociferously supplemented his idea of ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas, sabka vishwaas’ with ‘sabka prayas’ as the panacea for progress and prosperity. Sadly, ‘sabka prayas’ on building mutual trust across the political spectrum is found wanting. India@75 needs to shed and substitute the detractive term, ‘the Opposition’, with ‘the Complement’. There are no permanent allies or adversaries in politics. After all, those on or not on the treasury benches are all there to synergise for the betterment of the people and the country.
Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula
The Taliban has completed the takeover of Kabul and the Ashraf Ghani regime has fallen like a pack of cards. The surrender by ANA troops happened without firing any shots. Clearly, the Kabul government got no support from the common Afghan, who refused to join ad hoc militias and fight against the Taliban for the sake of the allegedly corrupt government at the helm. The Pakistan ISI-military nexus would soon utilise this opportunity and the old nexus with the Taliban towards straightening their geo-strategic objectives in the region will have wider implications for peace in India. India may soon face the consequences of playing from the sidelines, because the ISI has been planning and waiting for this opportunity for a long time.
Revisiting history vital
Pakistan calling PM Modi’s Partition Horrors Remembrance Day a political stunt is amusing. Modi is only reminding Indians, especially those born after Independence, of the horrors faced by the nation, during the Partition. History is the study of past events. Just because the past is painful, it can’t be glossed over, or buried under the carpet. One needs to look closely at it and draw the right lessons therefrom, to be able to move on. This requires frequent reminders, at least once a year. A sensible man forgives, but never forgets, lest he is hurt repeatedly. To both forgive and forget is naïvete.
V Jayaraman, by mail
It’s all in the past
The Union government declaring August 14 as Partition Horrors Remembrance Day has no meaning after 75 years. The wounds have healed and memories of the Partition have been buried. Most refugees, having arrived empty-handed, have not looked back, and have moved on. They have re-established themselves with hard work and are happy. Partition Horrors Remembrance Day will recreate a rift among the communities. Will this help in removing disharmony, and further strengthen the spirit of oneness and social harmony?
RC patial, by mail
What is the use of our education if it is bereft of culture? What recently happened in Parliament is a living example of the difference between the two. The MPs who indulged in reprehensible activities, causing pandemonium in the House when it was in session, showed that they may be educated, but they visibly lacked the culture of maintaining the high traditions of ethics in parliamentary democracy. Even if it is assumed that they were not allowed discussion on the Pegasus issue, there was no occasion for them to have gone to the Well of House, tear the rule book and fling it at the Speaker! There are finer ways of lodging a protest. But instead of doing that, they chose an unparliamentary way. The session will certainly go down as ‘black day’ in Parliament’s history. Do people elect them for such showdowns, or for taking care of their interests and welfare by actively participating in the discussion on upcoming legislations?
Maheshwer Sharma, by mail
Not real freedom
The whole country celebrated Independence Day. Freedom does not just mean freedom from slavery. Real freedom is of our thoughts, thinking and mindset. Today, we are saying that we are free, but are we? We are free from British rule, but are slaves to our own wrong thinking, discrimination and hatred for one another. Corruption has enslaved us. Until we come forward and eradicate these evils from society, we will remain slaves.
Jasdeep kaur, Ludhiana
Be democratic, first
Reference to ‘Next 25 years crucial for India’s development: PM’; when the price of petrol is sky-rocketing and people are reeling under dire financial problems, accomplishing the goals stated by the PM seems to be easier said than done. The demands of the public and the Opposition fall on deaf ears of the government as Bills are rushed through Parliament sans diligent discussions. There are myriad problems which need to be dealt with on a war footing. The government should focus on democratic decision-making.
Aanya Singhal, Noida
The article ‘Reforms must reduce economic disparities’ has sounded the alarm bells. The world’s top 1% population adds twice the amount of emissions that half the world generates! The top 1% population in India is holding more than four times the wealth possessed by 73% of the population. It shows that poverty is a misnomer for unequal distribution of wealth. Figuring at 94 on the list of 107 hungry nations and ranking 168 on the EPI among 180 countries indicates there is something fundamentally wrong with the way we are moving forward as a nation. The time has come to introspect if our development model and economic reforms address the eradication of poverty and hunger, and consider issues of health, education and ethos. Economic reforms must sprout from the seeds sown in our soil, instead of soil borrowed from outside. Only then progress will sustain.
HMS Nagra, Faridabad
Why ape US?
‘Reforms must reduce economic disparities’ rightly points out the root problem of India. We live in a country where shifting from its USP, i.e., agriculture, to US-dictated agenda has been perceived as a sign of development over the years. This is actually a psychological defect. ‘The Golden Bird’ has a very bright heritage. Please stop ruining it over some dictated agenda of another country. It is often said ‘Be yourself’, then why are we copying others?
Sanjay Kumar, Jalalabad
‘United colours of sports’ has presented the plight of the Indian social fabric. Our players put up a good fight and showed the right spirit in the Olympics. The women’s hockey team also displayed a courageous spirit, but some people ashamed the country by making casteist remarks against a woman player belonging to the so-called lower caste. The government should take strict action against these culprits and set an example, at least in favour of those who brought glory to the country. Politicians should avoid taking political mileage and should provide better facilities to the players for giving even better performance in future.
Jaswant Rai, Chandigarh
Refer to ‘Pandemonium in Parliament’; the government brought out a battery of ministers to accuse the Opposition of ‘anarchy’, a premeditated bid to derail proceedings. This does not bode well for an elected government that is supposed to be answerable not only to the people of this country, but also to the elected representatives. Parliament is also a space from which Opposition parties — and the people they represent — demand accountability from the executive and apply a check on its powers. Its letter and spirit stand violated when the government stonewalls the Opposition.
SS Paul, Nadia
After seeing the developments in Parliament during the last session, and the overall scenario in the country, one can conclude that absolute majority of any party is very dangerous for democracy. It results from arrogance in the minds of ruling members that they can do anything and nobody can question them. Important Bills were passed within minutes and without any discussion, what to say of referring them to the select committee. Parliament is not only for passing Bills, but also discussing issues of public importance. Opposition leaders are also elected by the public and if they want discussion on some important issues, the Chair should allow them. It is the responsibility of the ruling party to conduct the proceedings in a cordial atmosphere.
Bhupinder Kochhar, Panchkula
Refer to the showdown in Punjab politics due to the rift between the newly appointed PCC chief and the CM, it is sad to see the current state of affairs in the state, despite a truce managed by the Congress high command between the two. The incidents of the past few days are an indicator of things to come in future. Whereas the Chief Minister has avoided any controversial statements, the PCC chief has been openly criticising the government on various issues. With the elections approaching, it shall be in the interest of the leaders to work together as a team and provide effective governance for the welfare of the people.
Dinesh Kumar Verma, Panchkula
Name change won’t help
Recently, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award was renamed after Major Dhyan Chand. But it will not serve any purpose in uplifting sports in the country. Only political mileage is drawn from such moves. If some other political party comes to power in the coming years, will changing the name of the Gujarat cricket stadium serve any purpose? Instead of indulging in these gimmicks, politicians should focus on developing sports infrastructure. It will bring a good name to the country and also the party.
Rajesh Goyal, by mail
This refers to ‘Economy picking up momentum’; PM Modi's exhortation to India Inc to promote ‘Brand India’ and step up investments, especially in R&D, sounds prudent, though oft-repeated. Woefully, despite the Modi dispensation being at the helm for over seven years, red tape bedevils the business ecosystem. The rigmarole of conducting ethical business is a deterrent. Corruption is rampant in departments entrusted to provide statutory approvals for operation. The flippancy on GST rates is stock-in-trade of the government of the day. Why only a handful of magnates are able to corner the lion’s share of wealth and effortlessly gobble up the small players? Why are many concerns on the brink of bankruptcy and winding up businesses? Potential investors shall develop appetite for risk only when the extant players are thriving.
Deepak Singhal, Noida
Caring for the elderly
The ranking of Punjab on number eight on the quality of life for the elderly index is no surprise. There are many factors behind this. The Punjab youth is mostly interested in migrating abroad to earn their livelihood. This leaves the ageing parents alone, to fend for themselves. Even women prefer to marry NRIs. It is common to see many houses lying vacant or occupied by senior citizens only, especially in rural areas. The government must make efforts to stop youth migration by providing suitable employment opportunities.
Vikramjit Singh, Amritsar
Crime and politics
Refer to ‘Cleansing politics’; though the apex court is leading in curtailing the participation of criminal politicians in elections, it is a fact that political parties remain reluctant to expose their candidates’ criminal activities because most of them are owners of vast moveable and immoveable properties and help mobilise funds for elections. All police stations now upload the particulars of every FIR registered. The Election Commission may suo motu scan reports in the particular area from where a candidate files his/her nomination and get the desired information.
RL Bansal, Kurukshetra
Physical attendance in schools with Covid-appropriate behaviour cannot be delayed. The health and education departments must take civil society into confidence. The health department should actively be linked to schools and stay alert. Teachers and parents should be given priority by holding vaccination camps at schools. We need to try different ways of opening schools. Timings can be staggered, instead of holding the school the whole day they can be opened on alternate days.
Anju mohan, Panchkula
Parliament’s monsoon session was adjourned early due to repeated disruptions. The session saw the opposition leaders gathering at the well of the Houses and demanding action on the Pegasus controversy, farm laws and the rise in fuel prices. While it was a good session in terms of legislation, it was accompanied by turmoil. It is high time that rules and regulations are followed in the upper and the lower House. Only then will the sessions be productive, both by time and legislation.
Khyati Kataria, Chandigarh
India should keep silent and watch till the Afghan turmoil settles on its own. Many big guns have burnt their fingers there (‘Afghan peace process a challenge for India’). Local landlords in Afghanistan are unmanageable. The British left Afghanistan earlier than they did India. On both sides there are Muslims, who are against one another. Like Israel, India should keep a distance from them. Resources reserved for Afghanistan should be used for development of our own security at the borders.
Ashok Kumar Goel, Panchkula
According to Guru Nanak, reflecting on education is a favour — Vidya veechari, ta parupkari (‘Absence of real education’). But right now, when most parents are worried about the career of their children, it is time to question the value of extending obligatory schooling to all, particularly when we find neither any worthwhile learning nor any learning outcomes other than denying all learning opportunities to students in favour of a graded training in ‘success’. This view of the business of education thrives on instructors, principals and directors, but aims to do without the teacher, the ‘guru’. You hardly ever see youngsters busy in any discussion or process except listening, that too now only virtual listening without any tangible speaker before them. Obviously, our pathological obsession with examinations, marks and certificates does away with individuals endowed with enlightenment, wisdom and a feeling for social good.
MOHAN SINGH, AMRITSAR
Endless debates, albeit with good intentions, are creating doubts in the minds of people. The basket of vaccines to eliminate the global scourge is very attractive and effective individually, but the combination to enhance immunity and lessen the fear of shortfall and to remove the hesitancy factor is proving to be counterproductive. The WHO seems to be circumspect of such claims that further add to issues that they seek to resolve. Science and scientists are well meaning but not infallible. The public must get the right direction to follow emerging out of a consensus.
Harbans Lal Kapoor, by mail
Refer to ‘Absence of real education’; teachers and educational institutions are providing a platform for training warriors who can engage in a war for a few seats in the market by beating the crowd of competitors. The emphasis is not on understanding the concepts, it is important to match the answer with the keys of the paper. Conceptual understanding of the fundamentals is not relevant anywhere and the entire focus is to make the right choice from the given options. A very powerful lobby is managing the whole show and will never allow it to change, where brilliant students from rich and poor backgrounds can compete. Society can ill afford this slide and must take some action to make education a service to society and not a business activity.
Nirmal Singh, Patiala
Not easy to land job
Regarding ‘Absence of real education’, the writer has hit the bull’s eye in pointing out the meaninglessness of this fabricated panorama of modern competitive education that has infested our innocent hearts. But attributing it to ‘anxiety- ridden’ parents is harsh and superficial. Yes, a spiritually bankrupt youth is a disaster in itself, but this desperate scene has its roots in the lack of opportunities all around. In times like these, the jobs which could put bread on the table are the ones that are secured after extremely difficult competition. The article nonetheless brings a hope of sanity prevailing someday.
Vikrant Sharma, Dharamsala
Apropos of ‘Digital divide can make exercise self-defeating,’ an exercise to prepare a national database with digitised land records is being undertaken, and once again, a tall claim of doubling farmers’ income by using database is being made, as was the case with the three new farm Acts. The Central government committee on doubling farmers’ income, through its report, which runs over 3,000 pages, must have made recommendations in this regard. The report being lengthy and having technical terminology may not be easy to comprehend by the common farmers. Hence, the document may have the fate of Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations on MSP. Digital divide and educational disparity between rural and urban areas is also a stumbling block in getting the benefits of government’s offers. The government should activate the department of agriculture through its regional centres to educate farmers about soil health, use of fertilisers and diversification. Agricultural staff should visit fields to take stock of the ground situation.
Darshan S Bhathal, Nangal
Poor Olympics performance
It’s shocking to see how politicians and bureaucrats of a nation of 1.30 billion population are going gaga over just one gold and few silver and bronze medals in the Tokyo Olympics. The US won 39 gold medals and China 38, and many smaller countries have performed excellently and nobody is making any noise over it. Politicians are splurging money and other lucrative incentives as if it’s their own money. In fact, it’s time to hang our heads in shame over the dismal performance. Each player won due to his/her own struggle and dedication. The government had nothing to do with it.
RAMESH GUPTA, NARWANA
The winners of Olympic medals toiled to reach the peak. Showing humility, Neeraj Chopra dedicated his gold to legend Milkha Singh as a mark of respect. There is no dearth of talent in our country. But alas, we do not catch them young, whereas European countries, China and Japan have embraced this policy. There is a popular saying in China, ‘We weep while at practice and laugh during competitions.’ Our successive governments are focusing on cricket, despite its non-inclusion in the Olympics and Asian Games. They give cricketers huge incentives, which is unfair, and step-motherly treatment to other games. We should bid adieu to the game if we want more medals. Our tragedy is that our politicians are busy filling their coffers and are hardly worried about sportspersons. They are left to fend for themselves. When they attain international fame, the government awakens from its slumber. Vandana Kataria and Rani Rampal (hockey players) are living in penury. The government should extend maximum incentives to improve their standard of living.
Bansi Ram Rahul, Hoshiarpur
THE recent finding of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) indicates that mixed administration of vaccines has elicited better immunogenicity than two dosages of the same vaccine in isolation. In the scientific arena, fortuitous happenings have a special role; we can cite the examples of penicillin, the microwave and Teflon. In UP, 18 individuals inadvertently were immunised with both vaccines and were under constant watch of the ICMR, which found enhanced neutralising antibodies in them. But the WHO has issued a caveat against mixing of vaccines and that they should not be used in clinical practice as a guide. So the studies have to be followed and elaborated on a large sample size and for a larger duration and time to reach the final outcome.
Kumar Rajesh, Solan
A study conducted by the ICMR has found that mixing the doses of Covishield and Covaxin is safe and elicited a better immune response. Also, the immunogenicity against Alpha, Beta and Delta variants was superior and the neutralising antibody response of the participants was higher compared to those who received both doses of the same vaccine. This is the first report of heterologous immunisation with an adenovirus vector-based and an inactivated whole virion vaccine in humans demonstrating safety and significantly improved immunogenicity. This vaccine mixture will benefit a large number of the population in coming months to control the pandemic.
Bhagwan Thadani, Mumbai
Can do better
That the government and various organisations are showering copious accolades on achievers of Tokyo Olympics is heartening. It will motivate other athletes to win laurels by toiling. However, there should be no room for smugness as winning seven medals is not an exceptional accomplishment for a huge country like India where there is no dearth of talent. Why not emulate China and the US? There is a dire need for identifying the latent potential of our students while they are young and providing them with excellent infrastructure, training and financial support. Moreover, the selection process must be equitable. Only then can we boast of being one of the best in the world.
Vimal Sethi, Atlanta
Now for Paris Olympics
The Olympics wrapped up, with India winning seven medals and finishing 48th in the overall rankings. It might not seem a lot, but it has been India’s highest ranking in over four decades. This acts as a ray of hope for the players who came very close to winning a medal and those who are training for the Paris Olympics. With renewed confidence and support, the players will strive to work even harder. The audience now knows that given the right support, motivation and training, our players can excel and create history. The road to Paris 2024 looks even brighter.
The creation of a digital data bank on farmers can be more useful to planners for formulation of policies for region-specific homogeneous groups of farmers. The data may not help in increasing their income. Farm-specific viable models for small and marginal farmers, who constitute 86% of the cultivators, should be developed by agricultural universities, IARI, ICAR and state agriculture departments. Oil seeds and pulses should find their due place to come out of water-guzzling mono-crop culture and help check soil degradation. The genuine demand of farmers of extending MSP to all 23 crops throughout the country needs to be met so that distress sale of farm produce is minimised. Quality farm equipment on a custom hiring basis should be ensured through PACS and farmer service centres. Cold chains and peak season storage should be made an integral part of the marketing infrastructure support system.
Daljit Singh Saahi, Zirakpur
Refer to ‘Tearful Messi confirms he is leaving Barcelona’; an era beginning with the iconic moment in 2000, when Messi, as a 13-year-old boy, signed for Barcelona, ended with his tearful adieu to the club. An epoch marked by exquisite passes, dazzling dribbles, of killer shots that stunned and stumped goalkeepers as the ball careened past them into the net – is impossible for football fans to imagine coming from anyone other than Messi in his Barcelona’s inimitable burgundy and blue stripes. As the football world weeps with him, perhaps his unparalleled statistics come as a consolation with the titles he won and goals scored for his club that kept climbing up constantly.
RANGANATHAN SIVAKUMAR, Chennai
Reference to ‘Golden show in Tokyo’, after shooter Abhinav Bindra’s gold in 2008, it is Neeraj Chopra’s gold now, India’s first medal ever in athletics. India’s medals tally at Tokyo Olympics is the best so far at seven, the previous best being six at the London Olympics in 2012. Nothing prevents us from hailing our medal winners and fellow Olympians. Describing the historic moment of Neeraj Chopra, one could not escape the observation that he won a solitary gold for a nation of 1.35 billion. This must make heads roll in India regarding our Olympic journey given the fact that we stand at 48th place in the medals tally with the USA at the top with 39 golds followed by our neighbour China with 38. Politicians are in a rush to hail the heroes, a big majority of whom have made it on their own and despite government apathy, even facing social abuse like Vandana Katariya.
Hira Sharma, by mail
There is a small news report in the issue of August 9 that Air India Express has made a final compensation offer to all 165 passengers injured and the next of kin of 19 passengers plus crew who died in the Kozhikode air crash on
August 7 last year. Human memory is weak. We all forget unfortunate incidents with the passage of time. Our government formed a panel of the Aircraft Accident Investigation Board on August 13, 2020, to find out the facts of the crash. The committee was to submit its report by January. But there is not a word from the team. Air India, DGCA, Ministry of Civil Aviation, all are just silent on the issue.
Gurpreet S Malhotra, Kansal
Reference to ‘Haryana child pregnancies’; the menace has been elevated due to the lack of amenities, primarily among the migrated labour from other states. Congestion in living conditions and the lack of privacy is the root cause of all such incidents. To meet both ends, both father and mother have to go to work, leaving the children at the mercy of unscrupulous persons, mostly known family friends and relatives. Being away from their native place, they are helpless and social stigma prevents them from speaking up. It is the duty of the state, and especially employers, to raise proper infrastructure for the housing of labourers, and provide facilities for the education of their children. The labour force is the real backbone of the industry.
Krishan Bhatia, Hansi
Apropos of ‘Haryana child pregnancies’, it is shocking to read that in the first five months of 2021, there have been 37 child pregnancy cases in Haryana. Teachers in schools should sensitise boys and girls students regarding sex education. Parents and elders at home should also educate children in these matters, else the consequences would be serious.
Rikhi Dass Thakur, Hamirpur
Reference to ‘Farmers oppose land record upload order’; farmers were waiting with bated breath for the procedure to be adopted for purchase/payment of kharif crops. They will have to upload the revenue record of ownership on the web portal of the Mandi Board. This work will have to be completed through commission agents. The irony is that the aim of the policy is to oust arhtiyas and make direct payment to the owners’ account. The lessees, the cultivators and the share-croppers have been forgotten. Last season also, the Centre had stressed that the commission of the arhtiyas will not be paid by it. So, the state government wants to utilise the services of an age-old class gratis. There are thousands of khewats in the revenue record, where there are hundreds of shareholders. There are lakhs of lessees, whose name does not appear in the revenue record. The record has not been updated and is fraught with innumerable mistakes and overlappings. The exercise of uploading will cause turmoil in society, as smugglers of crops will find a subtle way to hoodwink the law and sell the crops bought in Bihar at half the rate than the MSP and sell it in Punjab, Haryana and UP. No useful purpose will be served with the implementation of half-baked policies.
Abhiraj singh Bajwa, Hoshiarpur
BRO’s world record
The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has built the world’s highest motorable road at Umling La Pass in eastern Ladakh, just adjacent to China, at a height of 19,300 ft. India has broken Bolivia’s record of a road built near Volcano Uturuncu at 18,953 ft. Building a road at this height was not an easy task because winter temperature dips to -40 degree Celsius, and at this altitude, oxygen levels are 50% less than at normal places. What a unique performance by the BRO!
RK Arora, Ambala City
Apropos of ‘Judges receiving threats but IB, CBI not helping, says SC’, the matter is serious as the allegation has been levelled by the highly trustworthy and respectable judicial institution of India. Judicial cases are addressed in accordance with the law of the country. Cases of threats to judges when adverse judgments are passed deserve strong condemnation. Indifferent attitude of the IB and the CBI, the top-ranking institutions, is beyond understanding. They must do their duty and uphold the confidence of the people. Bad elements should never get an upper hand in a democratic setup. The judiciary must go on discharging its duties as per the law. Law-abiding people of the country are always with it.
SUDESH KUMAR SHARMA, KAPURTHALA
Political parties have always used Dalits as vote banks, but did little to uplift them. Even Gandhi gave them a new name, ‘Harijan’, but their lot did not improve. We live in the 21st century but Gandhi’s Harijans are still cleaning gutters with their hands. They don’t want to be called Harijan or Dalit, rather they are fine being called human beings, like all of us. Many have lost their lives while cleaning sewers. Recently, the Mohali MC paid Rs 10 lakh each to the kin of two sewer men who lost their lives. When the government is spending crores on MPs, MLAs and municipal councillors who work only for a few days in a year, why can’t it cut salaries and other useless expenses and buy machines to clean the gutters, as done in foreign countries? They have a right to live a clean, respectable and dignified life.
Sukhwant Bhullar, Chandigarh
Sidhu’s dera visit
Reference to ‘Sidhu pays visit to Doaba deras ahead of polls’; while it’s one’s call to visit any dera/baba, there should not be any politicking in the name of deras for votes. All religions and castes should be given due respect and representation. The news item mentions that the accompanying Cabinet minister Charanjit Channi sought 101 acres of land for the dera. If any political party wants to donate anything to any dera or community, it should be done from their own resources. The state’s common resources are not to be plundered for personal political gains.
Surinder Kumar Jindal, Mohali
Sabarmati Ashram is like Ram temple for Gandhi devotees (‘Sabarmati Ashram recast’). Any attempt to desecrate the purity of the ashram in a bid to convert the place into a tourist centre amounts to deconstructing a Gandhian monument of great historic significance. There are ashrams galore of modern ‘godmen’ that resemble five-star hotels. Gandhi was a true political saint who practiced what he preached. His simplicity, authenticity and veracity are exemplified by the ashram. It should not be violated for commercial considerations. The BJP’s philosophy of Hindutva is diametrically antagonistic to the philosophy espoused by Gandhi that embraced all castes and communities in its fold.
Roshan Lal Goel, Ladwa
Refer to ‘Start from the grassroots’; every state is equipped with a sports department, which usually organises a few tournaments or extends skeletal facilities at some places. There is a need to develop a State Sports Advisory Committee to plan and evaluate the progress of sports in the state. A sports nursery can best be nurtured in schools. The sports fund at the school level should expand and state-of-the-art infrastructure should be made available for the students to practise sports of their choice. Close coordination should be ensured between the education department and the sports department and facilities like coaches should be availed of by the schools as per the programme chalked out earlier. The government should take sports seriously.
S KUMAR, PANCHKULA
Give hockey its due
Our men’s hockey team, which battled a heartbreaking slump in the past four decades, made the resurgence of the last couple of years count in the best way possible with an Olympic medal. One of the most memorable comebacks in the history of the game, they fought back from a two-goal deficit to turn the match. The win will encourage more Indians to join hockey rather than cricket as hockey is our national game. People all over the country should support such youngsters who bring laurels to the nation.
Rukma Sharma, Jalandhar
The shift from the grass turf to the astroturf in 1976 is, no doubt, one of the major factors in India falling behind, after decades of supremacy, in Olympics hockey. Possible impediments caused by this decision include unavailability of astroturfs in the country at that time, expense of laying them and the years consumed for making even a few of them available. Difficulty faced by our players in adapting to these turfs, who had excelled their skills on grass turfs for years, is a different story. Even if a few astroturfs were made available at the highest level, the grassroots level, where young talent is nurtured, still suffers. Thus, the onus is on the government to not let this fresh spark from the Olympic win diminish. Sufficient funds need to be allocated for providing facilities on a par with champion nations. Funds need to percolate to the grassroots level. Our win has shown that it is not determination or skills that we lack, but the paucity of infrastructure and proper support.
DHANJAY KAUSHAL, SUNDERNAGAR
Reference to ‘Start from the grassroots’; any work always starts from the grassroots, no matter what the area. Flying in the sky is always done by keeping the feet on the ground. That is why it is important that our grassroots should be strong. Basic facilities are a must. The government should make a separate budget provision for sports at the panchayat level to spot talent. In the Olympic Games, most Indian players have come out of some village or town. They are making India proud. Ordinary people, when they are working together, can do extraordinary things.
Sikandar Bansal, Shimla
A hero’s welcome
The women’s hockey team, in spite of giving its best performance, has unfortunately missed the medal. It was our hard luck. In the failure of getting any medal in the Olympics, we cannot ignore to recognise the outstanding performance of the team. Hockey lovers, even at the international level, have witnessed the revival of hockey in India, of both men and women. It is time for us to whole-heartedly welcome the players, not only at the airport, but also at every stage. They should be given a reception at the state, district, town and village level. Our women players must be given reasonable monetary awards as they have achieved this position after more than 40 years, which is not less than winning a medal for us. Encouragement will help them do better in the next Olympics.
Sukhdev Singh, Patiala
No mean feat
Many a tear has been shed by the women’s hockey players who battled on till the very end in the bronze-medal match. Our team was leading 3-2 after two quarters, but lost its way subsequently. The final score is disappointing, but our team’s heroic journey at the Tokyo Olympics has won millions of young hearts. ‘Hum honge kamyaab’ in the next round!
Mohanpal Singh, by mail
Look beyond cricket
This is with reference to the news report ‘India beats Germany, bags bronze in men’s hockey’. After PV Sindhu, the men’s hockey team has scripted history, ending India’s prolonged wait of 41 years. However, a gold still seems to be elusive for India. Albeit, some athletes have fared stupendously, but there is a pressing need to buttress sports infrastructure in our country rather than solely obsessing over cricket. Our country is predominantly cricket-crazy; even so, other sports ought to be accorded primacy. Reinforcing sports infrastructure will provide a fillip to budding athletes.
Aanya Singhal, Noida
Will encourage others
Three cheers for The Tribune for the coverage of hockey matches of both the men’s and women’s teams. This will rekindle interest in our national game which has remained in the background for long. It will help uplift many young girls and boys who struggle to reach this point, and will be a lesson for children that they can shine with hard work.
Police as a tool
Refer to ‘All eyes on the police’, the police’s main job is to maintain law and order, but, it is no more their job now. Even top cops are caught in the web of corruption and other serious crimes. Even a layman understands the relations between Asthana and the Modi-Shah duo. The ghost of the Pegasus snooping row and the Rafale deal is doing the rounds in the corridors of power, and the person who can possibly help the government is Asthana.
SUDERSHAN WALIA, AMRITSAR
Indian female athletes are performing very well in the Olympics. The winners, holding the Tricolour, raised the head of every Indian with pride and glory. It is not only about a medal in the Olympics; it is rather an example of women striving to represent India at the global level in sports. Did we know the names of the athletes or the captain of the hockey team before? Are they celebrities only for a day or week? We remember every player of IPL and other cricket series, their scores and also past performances. Every advertisement in TV or print media is sponsored by cricket players. Will we forget these athletes and players till the next Olympics? We need to create an environment, where everyone is familiar with our Olympics athletes and funds allocated to them should be increased with newer technologies.
Aman Jaiswal, New Delhi
Hockey win for India
We all are proud of the Indian hockey team for winning a bronze medal in the Olympics after so many years. All players, particularly from Punjab, have done a commendable job. Also, it is not right to hold cricket matches during the ongoing Olympics. Other sports should be highlighted and given importance.
IPS Anand, Chandigarh
The Indian hockey stalwarts, coached by Graham Reid, have done the country proud. Their efforts on the field will remain etched in every Indian’s heart. They gave every drop of sweat, gelling as a team, and never gave up. Bravo, captain Manpreet Singh! In addition to the million felicitations pouring in on all players, isn’t it worth considering for BCCI and Sourav Ganguly and Co, to give each player and the coach Rs 25 lakh? In fact, why not also consider such recognition for every other medal winner in other events for having written a few fascinating chapters!
SPS NARANG, New Delhi
The Indian men’s hockey team rewrote history as it claimed an Olympic medal after 41 years, beating a plucky Germany 5-4 to claim the bronze in an edge-of-the-seat play-off match. The eight-time former gold-winners, who battled a heartbreaking slump in the last four decades, made the resurgence of the last couple of years count in the best way possible. Determined to clinch a medal, the team made one of the most memorable comebacks in the history of the game, fighting back from a two-goal deficit to turn the match in their favour.
America has approved the supply of weapons worth millions of dollars to the Taliban. What does it mean? Both China and Pakistan are playing dirty games in the troubled areas of Afghanistan under the control of the Taliban. The US is supporting Afghanistan. The Taliban are the creation of Pakistan. The nationalist Afghan forces with the support of America are retaliating. The cornered Taliban can and will create trouble in Pakistan. Pakistan has played with the fire of sponsoring terrorism for a long time. This fire will ultimately burn Pakistan.
Ashok bahl, Kangra
Apropos of 'Postmortem at Nalagarh CHC fails to detect bullet injury', how can patients go to CHCs of the state government if we have such doctors? Why do government medical officers pay little heed to work? It is a matter of grave concern that they can't even detect bullet injury during postmortem. How are such doctors selected for government service? An inquiry must be conducted by the CMO of the district concerned. This also reflects on the quality of medical services in state CHCs. What will happen to this sector even after witnessing the Covid havoc!
Ritish Pandit, Sunhet
The increase in R-factor in eight states and UTs of India is a cause for concern. More worrisome is the fact that Himachal Pradesh, along with the UT of Jammu and Kashmir, is at the top with an R-value of over 1. The reason behind this should be a subject of thorough investigation and research. Now, there is an urgent need to concentrate on the matter, keeping in view the fact that the second wave of corona is not yet over. It appears that people, by and large, have become careless. The governments, too, need to be more vigilant and proactive.
Santosh Jamwal, HAMIRPUR
The advice of PM Modi to IPS trainees is most welcome (‘Negative image of police must change’). No other PM in the past has thought of giving such valuable advice. But the fact of the matter is that the onus for change of the negative image lies more with the government than the police officers. If Modi is serious about his advice, he must immediately implement the long overdue police reforms. There are umpteen reports recommending police reforms, which are gathering dust in the archives of the Home Ministry. The irony is that politicians, bureaucrats and the police top brass consider the force as their personal armies to settle personal scores and make money. They are resisting the reforms. Lower wages and tough duty hours, along with unethical verbal orders from the political bosses, push the police personnel to corruption.
AK SHARMA, CHANDIGARH
Refer to ‘Pegasus controversy’; Bihar CM and BJP ally Nitish Kumar’s vocal support to the demand of the Opposition for an investigation into the Pegasus scandal is the first sign that the BJP-led NDA may be cracking on this sensitive issue. The development has boosted the morale of the Opposition parties — more than a dozen, including a prominent former BJP ally, the Shiv Sena — that gathered at the brainstorming session at the invitation of Rahul Gandhi.
SS Paul, Nadia
Take softer view
Refer to ‘Dangers of duopoly’; the proposal by Kumar Mangalam Birla to transfer the group’s entire stake of 27 per cent to the government (or an entity of its choice) is a pointer that the company has thrown in the towel. The government’s approach of killing the golden goose has caused the situation to come to such a pass. Now, it is a Catch-22 situation for the government. If it is bent on making the telecom firm bleed, it shall be a duopoly, and if it strives to bail it out, it ought to forgo the revenue. It is pragmatic to evolve a strategy where both parties emerge winners. This is not a case of a wilful defaulter who has fled the country. A one-size-fits-all approach won’t work. The unfortunate part is that on political and economic fronts, the options before the public are getting narrowed down.
Deepak Singhal, Noida
Telecom service providers
Apropos of ‘Dangers of duopoly’, Birla, one of the promoters of Vodafone Idea, has put the onus of keeping the loss-making telecom company afloat on the Centre. One of the major telecom service providers is on the verge of a collapse. In case, Vodafone Idea exits the market, it will adversely affect the telecom market and infrastructure. While cheap tariffs aren’t going to last forever, a duopoly of Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel in the market will leave consumers at the mercy of these service providers for a product that is now almost as important as electricity. About 97% of Internet access is through wireless and the 4G network covers 98% of the population. Competition is necessary and vital to serve larger public interests in such a critical sector. Markets with a regulatory structure that encourages competition have at least three to four large telecom service providers.
N Sadhasiva Reddy, Bengaluru
The picture displaying the open-air classroom of the government school at Baramulla was inspiring. It may have been conducted due to lack of smartphones and Internet facilities among the students, but is far better than online classes which put a lot of strain on the eyes, and those with slow Internet connections who fail to access the class. However, open-air classroom teaching is feasible only with few students due to the pandemic.
Vikramjit Singh, Amritsar
The recently announced matriculation results of CBSE students can, to some extent, be understood as a cakewalk for many who, indeed, were not expecting to fetch such amazing marks, owing to the pandemic. However, it accompanies bigger challenges for the students in light of the fact that securing a massive 99 per cent or more won’t be enough to secure admission in the best of institutions. This should not be confused with the fact that despite securing highly commendable scores, academic indicators won’t push them back in real life. Higher grades will certainly have much to offer, and much to test, subject to mental alertness and physical preparedness amid apprehensions of the third Covid wave.
Sameer Bhatia, Jalandhar
In a historic feat, the Indian women’s hockey team led by Rani Rampal entered the Olympic semifinals by beating favourites Australia. Discus thrower Kamalpreet Kaur fell just short of bagging India’s first athletics medal, but Mirabai Chanu’s wrestling silver and PV Sindhu’s badminton bronze are in the kitty. Lovlina Borgohain has already secured a boxing bronze. In sports like boxing and weightlifting, the SAI scouts the country’s interiors for talented girls as well as boys. But why are women giving a better performance? One explanation is that Indian society makes it much harder for a woman to play a sport, those who fight through this have extra zest. Sports are a reflection of society. Ability needs to meet opportunity. Still, the tide is turning. Mary Kom inspired Lovlina, who will do the same for future players, as will Savita Punia’s wonderful goalkeeping or Vandana Katariya’s hat-trick in hockey. May their success be the source of inspiration for many more.
SANJAY CHOPRA, MOHALI
While sports lovers are anxiously watching Indian athletes and players’ performance, we need to ponder why we are unable to get enough medals. To win in competitive sports like the Olympics, we need to give sufficient exposure to players in international matches. We have to set our sports priorities right from the school level itself. All village schools and stadiums should display king-size pictures/busts of internationally acclaimed sporting heroes of the village/district to motivate children to take to sports and excel. Textbooks must also include chapters on sportspersons. More inter-school tournaments should be encouraged. Preferential jobs should be given to sportspersons at the right time, which is missing in our country due to policy hurdles. Players get over-aged. There should be age relaxation for deserving players. Financial help should also be given to such families.
BRIJ B GOYAL, LUDHIANA
Refer to ‘Class XII results’; the New Education Policy 2020 brings in a transformational change by making board exams low stakes. NEP has not only split board exams in two half-yearly parts, but it also proposes to incorporate competency-based questions rather than rote-type questions. It will give an edge to intelligent students. Assessment will be more holistic as the new system is focused on skill learning and aims for overall personality development. It is a paradigm shift as the education system moves from being score oriented to being a tool for financial empowerment. It would mean empowering children from their formative years by equipping them with multiple languages, skills and multi-subject learning.
Mukta Agarwal, Faridabad
Class XII results
Apropos of ‘Class XII results’, the CBSE had laid out an elaborate, logical and systematic weightage of percentage to be allocated for each class. It was expected that brilliant students would be at loss for not being able to go beyond 95 per cent. However, it appears some schools have taken the CBSE policy guidelines for a ride to show ‘good results’. Result evaluation was spread over three years (classes X to XII) with percentage weightage. What you see all over is that the number of students scoring over 95 per cent has abnormally doubled from previous year. This unhealthy trend of being super generous will result in 100 per cent cut-offs for college admissions. The deserving candidates have got grouped with hundreds of undeserving ones.
Col RC Patial, by mail
Mockery of Parliament
Parliament session has been in progress since July, but sadly it has not functioned fully for even a day. There is commotion due to the Pegasus scandal and other matters. In the past seven decades, we have never witnessed such a pathetic situation, which the world, too, is watching. Instead of sitting and discussing the issues, the Opposition walks out, shouting slogans. Politicians have made a mockery of democracy. Crores of rupees collected by way of taxes are spent on these sessions which are of no use. All this money goes down the drain. We can deduce the progress of the House which cannot be called satisfactory by any stretch of imagination. The MPs have made the House an amphitheatre. They are unconcerned about the dignity of Parliament.
Raj Kumar Kapoor, ropar
Not so smart
This refers to ‘The shortcut of cut-copy-paste’. It is hurtful to see that the so-called smart generation of the 21st century is not so smart. This generation believes in browsing and not in brooding. To think creatively and effectively is a laborious task. They believe in saving time by spending hours on the Internet. Those who get 99.9% marks find it difficult to think original, and often resort to Google even for a small piece of writing. Though it may save time, in the long run, it makes them less active and more passive in terms of creativity and ingenuity of thoughts.
Refer to Class XII results; 100% pass percentage undermines quality control. Candidates cheating in the exams are common, but when school boards and universities cheat the public with their results, the problem becomes serious. In many exams, education boards and universities pass candidates who do not deserve, and in some cases with distinction. The most important point to decide is what capacities to test. Should it be the candidate’s memory or his power of expression and judgement? The stress would vary with different subjects at different levels. Exams do not test such capabilities as creativity and leadership. But we do expect our seats of learning to foster and develop these qualities among the young.
Anil Bhatia, Hisar
Little to cheer
The Class XII results should not make students and parents proud as the session had been a freak one. Boards should also not make any tall claims. Neither could students attend regular classes due to the pandemic nor could schools conduct online classes in an excellent manner. The truth is that a majority of the students didn’t seriously appear in various online exams conducted by the schools from time to time. Taking advantage of the situation, students, parents and even the teachers tend to be non-serious.
Sunil Chopra, Ludhiana
Class XII exam is a qualifying examination. The aim is to gauge the knowledge a student has gained out of the prescribed syllabus. Therefore, the question is whether the present system of assessment gives a fair idea of that or not. Of course, the efficacy of any system depends on the integrity of the people operating it. As far as admission to institutes of higher education is concerned, it can take place through competitive exams. However, the true solution lies in increasing the opportunities for higher education. Punjab has an abysmal record in this regard. It has less than 50 government colleges in the state as compared to more than 100 in Haryana. There are as many as 931 posts of assistant professor lying vacant in the state’s colleges. Instead, many private universities have proliferated without any quality control.
Lt Col GS Bedi (retd), Mohali
In reference to ‘New ministry to spur cooperative reforms’; the Ministry of Cooperatives, led by the Union Home Minister, instead of creating more aspirations, has created anxiety. According to the Constitution, cooperatives is a state subject. Another question is whether this ministry has been set up to target the farmers who have been protesting since last year.
Gurshan Singh Sidhu, Mohali
Parliament has functioned for a total of 18 hours out of 107 hours in the first two weeks of the Monsoon session. The Lok Sabha was allowed to function for about seven hours out of 54, while the Rajya Sabha functioned for 11 out of nearly 53 hours. Thus, around 89 hours were wasted and people-related issues have been abandoned. Rs 133 crore of the taxpayers’ money was lost. Is it democracy in the real sense to just trade charges and disrupt Parliament?
RK Arora, Ambala City
Refer to ‘Right to be forgotten merits attention’; there is currently no law that specifically provides for the right to be forgotten in India, but the Personal Data Protection Bill 2019 has recognised this right. Given the rapid technological advancement and increased Internet accessibility, it is important that information publicly available won’t hurt a person’s reputation and dignity guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. However, this right, if recognised legally, will possibly lead to a conflict between ‘right to information’ and ‘right to privacy’. Hence, there is a need to comprehensively discuss each aspect of the Bill to devise India’s data protection framework.
Nikhil Chopra, Jagraon
India might be engaging all stakeholders in Afghanistan, including parts of the Taliban, but it can’t be forgotten that the Taliban are allergic to peace. The increased violence and the rapid territorial gains by the militant group show that they have no intention of bringing political stability in the war-ravaged country. For India, this is a cause of great concern. First, if the Taliban capture the government by force, there is a likelihood of insurgents from the outfit being used by terror groups in Pakistan to target India. Second, it is likely that the Taliban will disrupt development projects. New Delhi must salvage its investments in infrastructure and trade projects in Afghanistan.
Tushar Anand, Patna
This refers to ‘Mighty snooping on the meek’ (Nous Indica). Those at the helm of affairs in the country are there because of democracy and are thus not expected to harm democracy itself. Indian democracy has been undermined by the allegations of purchase and use of the notorious Pegasus spyware by the powers that be. Suppose with spyware like Pegasus, any person serving our vital constitutional institutions like the Supreme Court and the Election Commission is blackmailed into not performing his/her constitutional duty, will democracy remain worth its meaning? Weakening the Opposition by such blackmail is weakening democracy. The world’s biggest democracy must come clean on the issue.
Hira sharma, by mail
India is a secular and democratic country. The Constitution provides various types of freedom, privacy and security for its citizens. Pegasus snooping has tarnished the image of the Modi government, even as the BJP government and the Opposition battle over accusations and refutations. To protect the image of the world’s largest democracy, the government should take strict action, and also clarify the reality of snooping with weapons grade technology.
KS Thakur, Mandi
Quota for the needy
Refer to the introduction of reservation in medical and dental courses by the Centre and the proposal of a Bill on budget for SC welfare in Punjab; is reservation being availed by those really needy? Irrespective of the caste or creed, a person holding a good position in the government or private sector is neither suppressed nor underprivileged, but still their wards avail of such quota. The government should also recognise and give preference to the weaker sections among all castes as per their earning slabs so that the deserving can be uplifted.
Harsimranvir Singh, Patiala
Murder most foul
Refer to ‘Dhanbad judge case’; the killing of ASJ, Dhanbad, should be categorised as a murder most foul. It is an attack to gag the judiciary, the fundamental component of the justice system in society. Attack on government officials performing duty to check illegal and nefarious activities of criminals have been going on for long but not taken seriously at any level. If the justice system succumbs to mafia-political combine, the rule of law would lose its very purpose and existence. It is time for all to rise above party politics and expose the perpetrators of such heinous crimes. A nation can’t be left at the mercy of mafias and a political system that rules the roost.
Anil Vinayak, Amritsar
Replicate water model
Puri in Odisha has become the first town in India where all residents can have 24-hour quality drinking water from the tap. This is indeed a great achievement for the coastal town, given the fact that millions of households still lack access to potable water. The success story of Puri can be replicated in each Indian city and village as this model encompasses stringent quality control, real-time surveillance, mobile crews, prompt redressal of leakages and involvement of self-help groups, among others.
Akash Kumar, Jagraon
Refer to ‘Rev up medical education’; medical education, medical profession as well as medical facilities in India are much below world level. The government’s efforts in this regard are half-hearted. The decision of reservations will take medical education 50 years back. Instead of talent, preference is being given to castes. Talent is already going out of this country and this decision will hasten the exodus of medical professionals. The decision is aimed only at elections. Good sense should prevail and the government should think in the right direction.
Rajesh Kumar Sharma, Fazilka
Memorial to Rafi
Though 41 years have passed since Mohammad Rafi passed away, the Punjab Government has not raised any befitting memorial to him. Rafi saheb was born at Kotla Sultanpur village in Amritsar district. The state government has ignored this marvellous artiste, who brought everlasting name and fame to our country and the state. He articulated the joys and sorrows of millions of Indians through his melodious voice.
CP SHARMA, Solan
Apropos of ‘Renewing bonds with Mother Nature’, keeping oneself connected with Mother Nature is imperative for all human beings for better health as well as living a meaningful life replete with vitality, energy, vigour and replenishment, which nature has afforded mankind in abundance. Since we owe our existence and survival to nature, we need to remain indebted to her and make all-out efforts to preserve nature in its pristine splendour and glory.
Ravi Sharma, Dhariwal