It was painful to read that three Muslim schoolchildren, picked up about four months ago in Moradabad on the charge of rioting, are still in jail (Oct. 26). One hopes their plight will come to an end, since the NHRC has intervened. All those who have worked for highlighting the cause, including Vidya Subrahmaniam, deserve praise.
Whenever such instances come to light, the authorities are forced to take corrective measures. But nothing can compensate for the agony caused to the victims and their dear ones. It is more important to fix accountability and take rehabilitative steps
A.M. Ibrahim Ansari,
The case of the three children picked up by the Moradabad police is a sickening evidence of the communally biased actions of the law-enforcing agencies.
It is a continuing practice that does not seem to stop because the supposed law-enforcers, responsible for incidents such as the Gujarat pogrom, are yet to be punished. The Communal Violence bill, which has provisions for severely punishing partisan policing, should become law soon.
End to judicial delays
Now that the government has approved a National Mission to reduce pendency and delays in the judicial system, one hopes judicial delays will indeed become a thing of the past (Oct. 26). There is an interesting story about the outcome of undue judicial delay. When a case over a land dispute was filed in court, the land belonged to two brothers. When the verdict was given, after about 15 years, the land belonged to none of them. It belonged to the lawyers who fought the case.
The government has shown the will to ensure a speedy disposal of cases. The Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanism is already in place. Efforts need to be intensified to resolve disputes using ADR methods.
But how are we to deal with lawyers who contribute to judicial delays — by resorting to adjournments on flimsy grounds and protracting litigation by filing endless appeals? Our leaders who often say the law will take its own course are fully aware that the law can be manoeuvred to take a never-ending course. The issue of frivolous litigation also needs to be addressed by imposing heavy costs. Both the Bench and the Bar should ensure that people's time is not wasted.
While the article gives rise to optimism, there are some ground realities which we cannot ignore. Justice for the poor is a distant dream, thanks to the increased expenses in judicial processes, a chunk of which is lawyers' fees. The chain of expenses curtails the motivation of the poor to seek justice through courts. The absence of budding and talented advocates is another area of concern. Most law graduates prefer the greener pastures of the corporate world. This is the most threatening situation the judiciary will face in the coming years. Policy reforms and structural changes should focus on this aspect too.
The lack of awareness among people, for most of whom approaching courts is social taboo, is also a major issue. Awareness should be generated at the grass-root level so that people can approach courts for justice.
Abraham Cyril Issac,
You're not old
I am sure the article “Believe me, you're not old!” (Open Page, Oct. 23) will inspire dejected retirees. Unless a retired person is seriously ill, he can do a lot of things for which he had no time during active service. It is worthwhile to pursue walking, yoga, swimming, etc., as they keep you in top form. Reading, writing and travel to holy places and hill stations are refreshing. I retired 18 years ago but I have hardly felt the difference.
There is another side to the issue though. Society, as a whole, does not respect the aged. This tendency needs to be corrected.
Old age is no longer a frightening stage in one's life. Laughing clubs, fellowship groups and television shows can enliven the spirits. Doctors are on call to address health concerns. Loneliness in most cases has to do with people's mindset. Shakespeare's lament, “Last scene of all, that ends this strange eventful history, is second childishness and mere oblivion, sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything” is no longer relevant as medicine offers a cure for ageing eyes and teeth.
Feeling young or old depends on individuals concerned. It also depends on the people around them. Even a positive spirit can be dampened by impending health problems, lack of available private space, and lack of family support. Of course, a positive attitude can postpone, if not erase, the feeling of having aged!
R. Lakshmi Kumari,
My friend, three years older to me, is active, happy and healthy at 90. Since his retirement, he has been involved in activities meant for betterment of society. He motivated me to engage in activities connected with the protection and improvement of the environment. This has helped me to spend my time usefully. Happiness in old age depends on attitude. What matters most is not how long you live but how you live. All said, it should be admitted that there are limitations to the health and finances of the aged.
There are mainly five types of senior citizens. Those with sons/daughters in the same house enjoy time with their grandchildren and enjoy both financial and health security. The second category lives alone in cities with children far away due to reasons of proximity to workplace, school, etc. The children visit their parents during weekends. Some other senior citizens and their sons/daughters live in different places within India, with children and grandchildren visiting during holidays or family functions. The fourth category is of those whose children live abroad. They are lonely and live in constant fear of health problems. The last category is of those who live in old-age homes.
Loneliness and problems of the aged differ. But many have learnt to live alone and derive happiness in whatever is within their reach.
Diwali passed away smoothly but firecrackers caused a major problem for many. Companies should stop producing high-sounding firecrackers. Smoke, too, should be controlled. They can try producing herbal crackers instead of using chemicals.
Diwali is supposed to be a festival of lights but for me, it was a day of noise and smoke. My friends and neighbours were happy bursting firecrackers but I did not understand what was so exciting about double dhamakas .
A week ago, I too thought I would celebrate Diwali with firecrackers. But soon I realised that while nature gives us everything, we give back nothing. I decided not to buy firecrackers and told my mother to save the money. I can now proudly say I have done a bit towards conserving nature.
With all the progress India is seemingly making, our care for life and the environment seem to go deeper into indifference. I wonder how many of the old, asthmatic, infirm, and sick suffered from the smoke, pollution and ear-splitting decibel levels. Most of all, my heart goes out to the voiceless animals, terrified and without food or water for days with no place to hide.
The festival of lights can be something to look forward to if the noise factor is eliminated. It is time we realised that blowing up noxious chemical laden explosives does no good to anyone.
With jam packed cities and very few civilian spaces, the collateral damage is inflicted on all in the vicinity. The age-old plea of giving to charity does hold good even to this day and it is never too late to begin.