Letters to the editor

Readers’ comments: ‘Anitha represents plight of students whose dreams were thwarted by NEET’

A selection of readers’ opinions.

Let down by the system

The state government lacks wisdom and purpose – it’s only concern is to hold on to power (“‘Government has failed us’: Protests against NEET intensify in Tamil Nadu after petitioner’s suicide”). It did not look at the gravity of the NEET issue and it’s negative impact, especially on children from rural areas. Anitha represents the plight of rural students whose dreams were thwarted because of NEET.

Policies are often designed at the top and policy makers are cut of from ground realities. Schools should also teach students that every individual is valuable, irrespective of profession and status. – Sakthi

***

There’s no need to worry about NEET damaging our healthcare system. Enough damage has already been done by the increasing privatising of healthcare, pharmaceutical giants who are creating diseases wear none exist, the practice of taking cuts for referrals, unscrupulous doctors in private hospitals, the irresponsible public who indulge in arson and violence against doctors if the their loved one dies in hospital, and deteriorating human values. – PD Amarnath

***

This is the first time in India that a fair and impartial decision has been taken to implement NEET. Those who are complaining are politicians with vested interests and agents who no longer get the chance to sell seats for lakhs. – Girish Mehta

***

The quality of education is Tamil Nadu is very poor. The government must first take steps to improve that. – Krishna Das

Choking drains

As the population grows manifold in cities, water supply is becoming intermittent (“Can Delhi really implement its plan to fully mechanise drain and sewer cleaning?”). As a result, sewage pumping stations are also working intermittently. The solids in the sewers are not getting enough water to wash away, resulting in blockages and overflows.

We urgently need to carry out periodic desilting of sewers so that the sewage doesn’t become septic and the drains don’t get choked.

This should not be done manually but with mechanical equipment that meets the safety requirements. An action plan needs to be worked out for this. – Vijay Babbar

Meal deal

It is important to differentiate between disease and illness (“Replacing hot cooked meals with packaged food mixes will affect children’s health, say nutritionists”). Malnutrition is an illness that results from shortage of nutritious food. To treat undernourished children, we need fresh food and not ready-to-use therapeutic foods as this article, argues. Severe Acute Malnutrition is a disease. If there is an epidemic of such a disease, a mass scale intervention is essential as it usually in a post- disaster situation and often, because of acute famine. In this case, ready-to-use therapeutic foods may be used as there is a shortage of ingredients for freshly prepared meals.

The role of ready-to-use therapeutic foods, like any other therapy, ends once the child recovers. Overdose and overuse of therapies has adverse effects on the patient. Several studies have shown that packaged food mixes have limited effects on the nutritional status of children below the age of two. A government resolution by the Maharashtra government shows that a low dose, of one or two sachets of ready-to-use therapeutic foods, is being administered. This has been shown to be as effective as home-based food in a study conducted in Myanmar. So what’s a big deal with packaged food mixes or ready-to-use therapeutic foods? – Dhruv Mankad

Ganesha’s female avatar

Some years ago, we bought a stone Ganesha in Mahabalipuram (“Vinayaki: The lesser-known story of the elephant-headed goddess, the female avatar of Ganesha”). We later realised that the back of the statue was a female version of Ganesha. Unable to find any references to the existence of a female counterpart, we assumed it was an error, but were delighted to have a female version. Thanks for this article, which has made me treasure this piece even more! – Chits Geneva

***

Vinayaki’s story reiterates the fact that the female interpretation in all societies is dictated by men. Goddesses remain in the backdrop, for the most part. Having said that, I do not believe in women’s empowerment. And I say this as a woman, one knows the power we hold and the wrath we can unleash. I believe in empowerment of all, irrespective of colour, caste, creed, status and gender. Thank you for sharing this piece. It makes me want to explore more. – Sebeline

Fuel costs

It is unpardonable that the government hikes fuel prices without giving a sensible reason (“Petrol prices in Delhi highest since August 2014, diesel rises by Rs 3.67 per litre since July 1”). India is a democratic country where such decisions are to be taken only after a consensus from the poor masses who have elected the government to power. International crude prices have come down by about two-thirds, but the per-litre price of petrol in India is still around Rs 70. Is this justified? – Abraham K.Mathew

Know your rights

This is a very informative video (“Video: You don’t need to be a lawyer to know these 10 rights”). Two points, I think, are crucial. The first is that taking or giving dowry is a crime. There are instances where women file false dowry cases against their husband and in-laws, claiming that they had to give dowry at the time of marriage. But I have not heard of courts saying anything to the woman or her family or charging them under the Indian Penal Code. Also, I as not aware that women cannot be arrested after sunset. That’s interesting, but I believe that lawmakers and the media should build awareness that the law should apply to all equally. There should be no discrepancy in the law on the basis of gender. –Kishore Bardeja

Thread of hope

The Afghan refugees are creating such beautiful patterns (“Afghan refugees in Delhi are weaving themselves a new life, a stitch at a time”)! And its clear to see how an art or a skill helps a refugee stay connected to their homeland. – Prakash Nedungadi

Behind the veil

The writer points out that the number of people wearing burqa in the countries mentioned is miniscule and therefore seeking to put restrictions on the veil is like making a mountain out of a molehill (“Why banning the burqa in Europe is a waste of time”). But the fact remains that rules that dictate that you need cover yourself from head to toe, in the name of religion, need to be condemned and discouraged early on, before they become widespread. The writer, instead of criticising the practice, is tacitly supporting it. – Sreeni N

For the love of work

This is indeed a thought-provoking excerpt (“Why I never managed to put up an ‘in a relationship’ status with my jobs”). Clearly, there is no one way to lead life and the author offers her unique perspective. But presenting a counter narrative is equally important, so that the reader has the advantage of accessing both perspectives.

Whether we like it or not, human existence in this world is largely defined on an economic model. Therefore, it is difficult to survive without generating adequate financial resources. For sustenance, therefore, organisations have to perform well, which can only happen if their employees are committed to the corporate’s objectives.

By no means am I saying that individual aspirations have to take a backseat. However, in a practical environment, an individual has to make some effort in finding some overlap between individual aspirations and corporate objective. The author has complete liberty to write her journey of life and present her thoughts. But from the comments of some of the readers on Facebook, I get the impression that the article is propounding a view that a corporate has to serve an individual’s aspiration while an individual’s responsibility towards corporate, which is keeping the economic engine running, is being conveniently ignored. – Rajesh Pandit

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