This refers to the report that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has blamed his then junior Minister and present Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan for omitting to mention the charge-sheeting of P.J. Thomas in the file put up to the three-member panel to consider his suitability for the post of Central Vigilance Commissioner. Dr. Singh's move is another indication that he is deficient in qualities of leadership. A leader accepts blame even if his subordinates have erred.
Even if Dr. Singh was unaware of the case pending against Mr. Thomas, why did he do nothing when the Leader of the Opposition, Sushma Swaraj, objected to Mr. Thomas' appointment as CVC? Why did he not put the decision on hold? Now that Mr. Chavan has been blamed, will action be taken against him?
Suddapalli Bhaskara Rao,
The Supreme Court deserves praise for its careful handling of the Aruna Shanbaug case. At the same time, its guidelines on passive euthanasia are bound to trigger a debate. No legislation can be foolproof in ensuring that it will not be misused. Doctors are bound by oath to preserve the lives of human beings. They cannot be forced into a situation where they can legally take a life away. Instead of having a set of general guidelines, each case should be decided on merit.
I was immensely moved on reading about the staff of KEM hospital, Mumbai, who have taken care of Aruna for 37 years. The court is justified in its apprehensions about the misuse of a law allowing passive mercy killing in the case of patients in a permanent vegetative state. I wish the legislature takes up laws which need revamping with the changing times voluntarily, before being asked by the judiciary to do so.
The photograph of the nursing staff of KEM hospital (March 8) celebrating the Supreme Court verdict is indeed heartening. At a time when we find hospitals which, even after knowing that they cannot save a patient, keep him in the ICU for some days to extract money from relatives, the KEM hospital staff have led by example.
At the same time, we should remember that even Gandhiji once asked that an ailing calf be killed because he could not bear to see the agony it suffered. Is it prudent to keep a patient who has no chance of returning to normal condition alive with the help of life support? While we appreciate the humanitarian attitude of the KEM hospital staff, one wonders whether it is proper to view the issue from the heart than with the brain. Only the doctors of KEM hospital can answer this question.
Not all are as lucky as Ms Shanbaug in getting dedicated care and support. As long as people have a steady income and can take care of their near ones in PVS, nobody would want to subject them to passive euthanasia. Inevitably, when finances start dwindling and the family if forced to borrow money to take care of the patient, the attitude changes.
Capt Doulath (retd.),
Modern medicine is helping the terminally-ill become more optimistic by the day. They have begun seeing light at the end of the tunnel. Passive euthanasia can be grossly misused. A man does not ask to be born. He should not ask that he be killed. Every human life is precious. No one has the right to interfere with it, not even the one to whom it belongs. Doctors should save, not end, lives.
K. Chidanand Kumar,
Good old postman
On reading the article “Oh, for the postman dear!” (Open Page, March 6), I too was reminded of R.K. Narayan's The Missing Mail, as it was part of our English syllabus in class 10. A postman was definitely an integral part of our lives till about a decade ago. My father tells me that when he was a student, he waited eagerly for letters from home. Today, as a student, I get to speak to my parents on the phone, through e-mail and internet chat. The one letter box on our campus, once bright red, is now rusty. I have never seen a postman collect letters from it. I sometimes wish I too could go back to those times.
I was transported back to the 1960s to Sholavandan, my native village, and reminded of Raman, our dear postman. There were two postal deliveries in those days — at 8.30 am and 11.30 am. The first delivery was a much awaited one. Most of the office goers to Madurai would meet Raman on their way to the railway station, seated on the verandah of the house of one Ramakrishna Iyer, segregating the tapals. Every household awaited his arrival eagerly.
The article paid a compliment that was long overdue to the likes of Kevalam Subbu. Although many people today feel running a post office is an act of profligacy, the fact is there is still a marginal group that understands the value of handwritten letters. My sister, who writes to me from Kerala, belongs to the group.
R. Sreejith Varma,
Postmen and street hawkers are among those who are fast diminishing. Gone are the days when people used to wait eagerly for the postman to hear from their dear ones, to receive an appointment letter or call letter for examinations. The present generation does not get even a glimpse of the khaki-clad postman. The internet is undoubtedly a quick mode of communication but the pleasure of writing long letters and waiting anxiously for the postman is no longer there.
The postman knew everyone in our village personally. As soon as he entered our village, the news would spread and people would wait at their doorstep for him. The postman became a very important part of my life when I went to the hostel for higher studies.
Till about the 1980s when the telephone was the preserve of the well-to-do, it was the humble post that connected people.
I distinctly remember my days as a teenager when my family eagerly waited for letters from my father in distant Ahmedabad. Even though the post took a leisurely four to five days to arrive, nobody protested as it was well worth the wait.
N.J. Ravi Chander,
The postman was a link in the social circle. I remember how a postman used to ask my sister, whose house I frequented during my college days, about my welfare much after I left the place. He was more than a messenger. He was a friend and well wisher. He used to share our happiness and console us in bad times.
Today, emails have taken the place of letters. Letters were a complete package of feelings, emotions. Most important, our hearts were filled with hope on sighting a postman.
Hari Vansh Shardul,
While technology has given us virtually “everything,” it has silently taken away “something.” The postman uncle, who was once the first to share our happiness and sorrow, is now hard to find.
The new generation hardly knows about the charm of a handwritten letter and the excitement of receiving the same from loved ones. Can we not restart the practice of writing letters?