Tale of Chavans
One Chavan replacing another (editorial “Tale of two Chavans,” Nov. 11) as Chief Minister of Maharashtra might have helped the Congress stall the Opposition onslaught against it but for the common man, the move is nothing but an eyewash. Once the Adarsh housing scam vanishes from television screens and news headlines, the perpetrators will go scot free. Punishment will only be a token act to gain credibility.
Allegations of corruption against politicians and government officials fail to surprise. It is common belief that they can be purchased and made to do your bidding if the price is right. Corruption doesn't seem to spare anyone and it is a matter of shame that the defence forces are involved. The Defence Minister must act swiftly to restore our confidence in the armed forces.
The Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society scam is relevant for two reasons (“Tracking the trail of manipulation,” Nov. 10). It has shown how material interest in public life can endanger national security and how callous a polity that does not act against the guilty is. Although there have been many scams, we are yet to see anyone punished for corruption. It shows that there are two sets of laws in India — one for the poor and the other for the rich and powerful.
The article ends with the question: “But can the rot be removed merely by axing the Chief Minister?” The answer is a resounding ‘No'. The charade of an enquiry will not lead to any deterrent punishment. What is needed is this: demolish the building at the cost of the builder. If the law prevents such action, as six floors have been permitted, let the builder demolish the floors above them within a specified time-frame. The officials who gave permissions and no-objection certificates must be dismissed and fined/jailed. Educate citizens to be observant whenever they see a new construction, to report to the appropriate authorities if they have any suspicion, and encourage them to file PIL petitions.
The editorial “A significant visit” (Nov. 10) was right in saying that “it would be extremely unwise” for India “to dovetail its wider goals with the imperatives of American ‘leadership' in Asia.” Depending a lot on any country, especially the U.S., will prove suicidal in the long run. As for U.S. support to a permanent Indian seat on a reformed United Nations Security Council, it may backtrack if India, at any time, refuses to toe its line in the next two years as a non-permanent member. Acting in a manner that does not irritate the Americans will be a huge challenge for India.
India's bid for a permanent seat on the UNSC is a rightful claim by a secular democratic country of a 100 billion. The goodwill India enjoys among the comity of nations as a rapidly developing economy and a mature democracy with political stability is among the many reasons that make its claim genuine. President Obama's attitude, however, reminded one of U.S. muscle-flexing on important issues. For all the charisma and oratorical skills he exhibited, Mr. Obama reinforced the intimidatory nature of the American foreign policy approach.
According to media reports, Mr. Obama's support for a permanent Indian seat on a reformed UNSC drew a loud applause from our MPs. They perhaps missed the fact that the assurance is a post-dated cheque, which cannot be realised now. The account holder can cancel or stop payment whenever he wants. Look at China. The West boycotted it, even declined to recognise its existence. But China did not flinch or whinge for a permanent seat in the Security Council. It strengthened its economy and reached a stage when nobody could ignore it; it developed its relations with countries in Asia, Africa and elsewhere; and remained steadfast in its opposition to the U.S. With the support of the other countries, including India, China occupied its rightful place in the Security Council as a permanent member.
Mr. Obama's gestures during his visit and his promise of support for a permanent seat for India on the reformed UNSC were significant. The trade agreements and other exchanges are not a one-way traffic. India too will benefit from them. To expect the U.S. to address our concerns on Pakistan is wishful thinking.
Children of Holy Name High School, Mumbai (where I worked for more than 25 years before I moved to a teacher education college), really deserved the ‘treat' they had when the Obamas visited them.
The school was founded in 1939 and had a facelift in 1964 during the visit of Pope John XXIII in connection with the Eucaristic Congress. It was patronised by Valerian Cardinal Gracious. Principals like Rev. Fr. Mathias got the children of migrants from Goa and those who worked in the Bombay Docks into school. Rev. Fr. F.X. Fernandes along with a team of dedicated teachers like Miss Lobo and Sr. Mercy Gracious played a big role in the progress of the school. Alex Vaz, international soccer referee, got the school a place of pride in sports and athletics. I feel proud that I worked in the school.
This refers to the news report that the Pakistan Rangers will continue their parade at the Wagah border in the traditional style. Some years ago, I had the opportunity of witnessing the ‘traditional' flag-lowering ceremony at the Wagah post. The dramatic scene enacted there left a bitter taste in me. The entire procedure is full of gestures, actions and boot-stomping which are highly aggressive and hostile. Every day, thousands of tourists who visit Amritsar make it a point to include the Wagah ceremony in their itinerary. The gestures and actions of the jawans of the two countries excite the crowd on both sides, driving them into a frenzy. Slogan-shouting has become routine. With the crowd behaving like this, it is only natural for the jawans on both sides to become more belligerent. Do we really need such a ceremony at the border post everyday? Would it not be sensible to mellow down the tenor and include more friendly gestures?
On medical check-up
In these days of increasing awareness on the importance of good health, thanks to the profuse inputs published in the health columns of the print media, it is impossible to adhere to the dictum “When one is healthy, one should NEVER ever go for a check up” (Open Page, Nov. 7). A person can ill-afford to take chances with his or her health.
Seshagiri Row Karry,
Most medical check-ups are conducted unnecessarily, out of greed for money. One compelling need to make money is to make the high-investment health care set-up economically viable. The ideal thing to do is to undergo tests to the extent absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, the person undergoing a health check-up has no say in this.
T. Rama Prasad,
In June 2002, when I was posted in Mexico, I had a mild urinary problem. I thought it was due to the ageing process and wanted to ignore it. But as a doctor was just across the road, I consulted him. He asked me to take a PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) test. The results showed that the PSA was abnormally high. A biopsy test was done and I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. After more tests, I was put on hormonal treatment consisting of a tablet a day and an injection once in three months. In three months, the PSA level came down considerably.
On retirement in 2003, I returned to India. Since I responded well to the treatment prescribed by the Mexican doctor, I was allowed to follow it. I go for a review and tests every six months.