For a healthy baby

The two articles on foetal medicine and ultrasonography (“Understanding the unborn” and “A helping hand for the foetus”) were extremely informative. The safety of ultrasound in foetal scanning is unquestionable. Timely abortion following diagnosis in certain cases helps to avoid birth of babies with severe congenital defects, which would make life difficult for themselves as well as their families. At the same time, foetal intervention to set right correctable defects brings forth a healthy baby. As Dr Suresh rightly states, the need of the hour is to develop foetal medicine as an independent subspecialty with ultrasound as the main diagnostic and interventional tool.

Dr. Shaila S Shenoy, Mangalore

Although ultra sound has been playing a pivotal role in helping the doctor, lack of trained personnel is a big problem. As argued in the article, the time has come to declare ultrasound as a sub- specialty to make it an effective tool to diagnose birth defects and provide an appropriate treatment for it. But special care needs to be taken to ensure that it is not used for sex determination, for which we need strict implementation of Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act on the ground.

M. Jeyaram, Sholavandan, Tamil Nadu

Media power

This refers to “Voices in the wilderness” by Sevanti Ninan. Choudhury, Swara's founder, has blazed a trail and if more of such initiatives spring up, there is hope of a better tomorrow. One more instance of the power of the media!

C. Divakaran, Thiruvananthapuram

Caste vs Caste Census

This has reference to “Why are we afraid of the caste census?” by Bhanwar Meghwanshi translated by Sowmya Sivakumar. A caste census will provide the basis for framing sound development policies required for social justice. In India, to ask a person his/her caste name is as common as asking the person his/her name. If caste could not be done away with how can the caste census? The country is not running on ideals, but on realities.

T.V. Jayaprakash, Palakkad

The caste-based census, as demanded by certain politicians, is a divisive move which could only asunder the country and will not unite the people. When the country is facing communal strife, the caste-based census could sow disharmony among various segments. It is pertinent to mention here that caste data is available through the census of 2001, the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) and State commissions on backward classes. One more is nothing short of redundant.

H.P.Murali, Bangalore

When the caste system itself is responsible for social evils and problems that we face today with rural India still polarised on caste lines and barbaric honour killings taking place unabated, one wonders how the caste census will help equitable growth and development of all castes based on the final data. The caste system cannot be eradicated as along as people continue to consider it their identity. There is no harm on caste-based count of population in the census 2011 if our objective is to progress towards an egalitarian, casteless society. Only time can answer the question whether the caste data collected will serve useful purpose or not.

K.R.Srinivasan, Secunderabad

I agree with Bhanwar Meghwanshi that caste should be carefully recorded during the census. Elite sectionsare opposing the inclusion of caste in the census survey because they feel threatened by the upward mobility of Dalits and the backward classes. In order to know the actual socio-economic condition of the masses, the caste of the people must be clearly mentioned in the census documents. The argument that it will divide the country along caste lines is faulty and specious..

Dr. Raj Bahadur Yadav, Fatehabad, Haryana

Safety matters

Captain A. Ranganathan, in “Flight of Conscience”, has rightly indicted and admonished the pilots, airlines and regulatory authorities, for their failure to live up to the needs and expectations of airline travellers. I live in Mangalore and the recent disaster was an exceptionally emotional event. I have never understood the logic of constructing the Mangalore airport runway on a table-top, when adequate flat land is freely available outside city limits. Public memory is short and people are too forgiving. The airport has been unofficially declared safe. Someday human error will surface again and God knows how many more lives will be lost and families destroyed.

Dr. Sunil P. Shenoy, Mangalore

The recent tragedy at Mangalore airport was heart-rending. There is no point in constructing airports everywhere if safety is neglected.The need of the hour is to make ATC hi-tech so that aircraft can be warned of weather conditions, ground realities at frequent intervals.

K. Pradeep, Chennai

Capt. A. Ranganathan's startling disclosures should send a chill down the spine of the regular and potential air travellers in India. Can we hope that at least now the concerned powers will put in place stricter norms for recruiting foreign pilots, the burgeoning demand from the ever increasing number of airlines and the number of aircraft notwithstanding?

H.N.S. Mani, By E-mail

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Sunday MagazineJune 28, 2012