With reference to Shailaja Chandra’s “The burden of youth” (Magazine, May 17), the alarming growth of population in India is seen as a boon by some vested interests. There was a time when family planning was strictly followed and the poor people were benefiting from smaller families. But certain politicians and other leaders undermined the very concept of family planning and made it appear as if it was anti-religious. The result is unchecked growth of population in certain areas. The remedial measures given by the auther should be strictly followed and the government should reintroudce family planning and ban child marriage.
Harsh Mander has effectively exposed the miserable failure of the State administration especially the State police. The onus is clearly on the police who did very little for normalisation and restoration of peace and tranquillity in the affected area. The communal divide in the country is the single largest factor which continues to influence public life. Alas when will India learn that religious identity politics is counter-productive and a self-defeating process?
Harsh Mander has raised the serious issue of “the State’s dubious role” in handling the Muslim minority’s civic rights. But minority and majority are relative terms and the problem is not simply Hindus versus Muslims. There are no innocent followers of any colour. Shias and Sunnies have been killing each other for centuries, and the Hindus burned young widows alive chanting the Vedic mantras. Victims of social violence are not followers of any one faith. In was Hindutva votaries who attacked Hindu girls, and the northern Hindus in Mumbai. Still, the majority Indians have, in the recent Elections, rejected caste and religion- based of politics. If only from now we can go for a Common Civil Code and avoid Vote Bank politics.
Centre for Science Policy/Concerned Scientists & Philosophers,
Harsh Mander’s emphasis on victimisation of minorities in the Marad incident doesn’t hold good. In Kozhikode and neighbouring Malappuram district, Muslims form the majority. Also, during the incident, Kerala State was under congress-led UDF rule, with IUML as its major ally. As is widely known, The IUML had a major role in worsening the situation during the Marad incident. Hindus as well as Muslim families were equal sufferers. The author has gone by the narrations he got from the relief camps.
On public service
“More than the vote” by Nirupama Hegde (Magazine, May 17) makes interesting reading. Her message to the youth of India to think beyond voting is truly the need of the hour. My father, who was a freedom fighter used to lead a campaign exhorting people to enter politics and contest elections. He was of the view that a citizen’s constitutional obligation does not end after mere participation in polls. He even contested and lost in a faction ridden constituency. Unfortunately, the mindset of Indian youth is focused on acquiring a degree in sciences, getting a job in an MNC and migrating to the U.S. at the earliest.
It is appropriate to refer to an article by Ramachandra Guha in an earlier issue of the Magazine, in which he appealed to the Indian Institute of Science to include humanities in its curriculum. Unless Indian students are taught social sciences, they will not develop a sense of sacrifice and recognise the value of public life. Sadly, encouraging them to take up social service or political career will be a distant dream.
The article by Nirupama Hedge, rightly stresses the importance of youth participation in elections and public services. Of course, the youth should be engaged at deeper levels but in India the trend is totally opposite. Recently, the Chief Election Commissioner, N. Gopalaswami, in an interview, said that in our country we have a minimal participation of youth in elections; which is a serious problem. Taking a cue from this, can we expect engagement at deeper levels of our youth, who only know a lavish lifestyle?
A lot was done to motivate our youth but in vain. Why is it so? Either the youth are not interested in these elections or they are fed up with this system. Until and unless we provide a good and clean government, free of corruption and mischief, we can not hope for participation of youth voters. In this election itself there were a number of candidates with criminal records and they won. Why do our secular parties give such candidates a platform?
Noor ul Haq
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