Time to act
Harsh Mander deserves our gratitude for bringing our attention to the pitiable condition of the homeless sleeping under the sky during the “harsh unforgiving winter nights” in Delhi streets (“Homeless on a winter night”, January 31). It is deplorable that many opportunist “entrepreneurs” charge a substantial amount from the street dwellers for quilts for one night. Much more condemnable, however, is the government's apathy which has so far not come forward to help them. It is high time that the government built night shelters and provided quilts or blankets without charging for them so that they can sleep in the warmth of the shelter.
The thought-provoking article brings out the harsh realities and challenges faced by the under-privileged in the National capital. The poignant issue of the homeless in Delhi deserves immediate and serious attention by the authorities concerned. Migrants in search of petty work and labourers throng in flocks to Delhi. Though earning meagre salaries they are a part and parcel of the metro life. Delhi has always been a blend of the extremes and contradictions. It is ridiculous that there are business-minded people exploiting even the plight of the poor. At the same time, it is heart-warming to hear of the good samaritans providing whatever they can to help these poor workers. Let such articles be a trigger for fruitful actions than merely being a lip service.
The article sent chills up my spine. We do have a bad social security system which is, predictably, not keeping in line with the need of the hour. We have so many people who are suffering from the problem of excess, so it's only natural that such people should donate some of their material possessions to the needy. Even a normal person is assailed by so many travails and , sometimes, left wondering about the meaning of life. Should a human be subjected to so much suffering and humiliation and die having lived a life like that?
Bane of democracy
This is with reference to P.J. Rao's article “Can we stem the rot?” (January 31). From the corruption viewpoint, India is shining. Though the former President, Abdul Kalam, suggested instituting an independent Commission to tackle the growing menace of corruption in the country, no step has been taken by the government to give effect to the missile man's advice. Corruption is a disease which can be cured provided there is an ever vigilant and vibrant monitoring agency at the national level. There should be no place for corruption in the land of Gandhi. But it has become a ‘legalised' business now unfortunately. To top it all, The Prevention of Corruption Act lacks teeth. The Act should be renamed as ‘Preservation of Corruption Act'! Is not corruption the bane of democracy?
Nothing gets done unless the appropriate palms are greased satisfactorily. Can we stem the rot? Definitely. Laws must be made more stringent; any officer possessing wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income should be subjected to harsh legal action and the ill-gotten wealth confiscated. If done without prolonged legal delays, this will be an effective deterrent. Corruption is like cancer, which worms its way into the very fabric of civilised society, nullifying all attempts of progress.
Media and independence
With reference to Sevanti Ninan's “Time for an independent press?”, independence can be defined as a state totally free from all known forms of subjugation. In today's context, several media organisations are springing up solely as business propositions and in order to survive in that climate, they have to free themselves from all principles of freedom and liberty. The rich and influential can never allow media to function with ethical standards. That is what the “cash for coverage” demonstrated in recent times! Today's Indian society is in the vice-like grip of no-holds-barred politicians, film actors, cricket players and corporate giants. There is no doubt that in their presence and postures, the media has been putrefied and petrified indeed.
B.R. Kumar, I.B.(P) S., (Retd)
Former Deputy Director-General,
All India Radio & Doordarshan, Prasar Bharti, South Zone, Chennai
Harsh Kabra's tête-à-tête with Anil Kapoor (“I still feel young”, January 31) made interesting reading. In fact, Anil Kapoor has mellowed from his “Mashall” days and has enriched himself by playing a variety of roles, right from “Pukar” to the recent Oscar-winning “Slumdog Millionnaire”.