Breaking ground and rules
Sir — The actual sankalp or pledge of the Bharatiya Janata Party seems to be to do away with protocol (“Venkaiah lunch on terror leaves out Pakistan”, Jan 9). That is probably why it felt no compunction in leaving out Pakistan when the high commissioners of 69 other countries were invited to lunch with the party president. Even earlier, the BJP-led government has bent rules to accommodate or extend special privilege to American representatives in India. Although it is understandable that the party wishes to distance itself from the Nehru-Gandhi legacy in foreign policy, does it need to shed all diplomatic courtesy'
S. Samanta, Calcutta
Sir — It is a matter of grave concern that India should continue to have such high infant and maternal mortality rates (“Of equal weight”, Jan 3). But this is no surprise since successive governments at the Centre have merely wasted their time and precious resources on Kashmir, controlling insurgency or on space research. The incumbent government in fact has surpassed its predecessors by concentrating on making India a nuclear state. It has also added to the agony of the common people by exploiting religious sentiments and communal tension.
The yearning for technological advance has always suppressed the more immediate need to rescue people from the vicious cycle of malnutrition, poverty and illiteracy. But thanks to our “modern” rulers, we continue to ignore the more pressing necessities.
Kajal Chatterjee, Sodepur
Sir — The health of the nation’s children is the most positive determinant of the future health of the country. High mortality rates among the poor is also one of the causes of the high birth rate among them. Since the chances of survival are very low in this group, those hovering around the poverty line tend to have more children for economic support.
India badly needs to change its policy on human development. The recent human development report on Indian states has been abysmal, with several states having slipped from their past positions in the index. Most important, India should realize that the advance of only a small section of its population will be counter-productive to the country.
Sujit De, Sodepur
Sir — In a country where children’s deaths in hospitals are written off as “natural”, where deaths take place not so much from polio as from polio vaccines, and child marriage is still a preferred choice among the suburban educated, one should not be alarmed at the mortality figures for children and mothers. Such deaths probably make the job of governance easier, which is why no ruckus is made over the issue.
The report of the study conducted by the Central government and Unicef makes certain a fact which each riot brings home — women and children remain the most vulnerable targets of society.
Rishab Mehta, Calcutta
Sir — It is extremely surprising why no political party or any ruling government of India has seriously taken up a mandatory birth control scheme, knowing full well that the population would soon — as it now has — cross a billion. The root cause of our poverty is a billowing population. We talk about China’s march towards a market economy but we ignore that China has taken up a stringent “one child” policy almost 15 years back which is finally showing its good effects.
What is more surprising is that we seem to consciously avoid discussion of this important issue, be it in the media or in Parliament. We have had enough on politics and corruption, can we now please talk about population control'
Anjan Majumdar, Calcutta
Sir — India is second only to China in terms of the population, and in 2015 may even outstrip China’s figures. Yet, the country and its leaders remain unconcerned about the consequences.