Married to her morals
Sir — Oxana Fedorova has given at least one reason for people to think that beauty queens can be women of substance (“Russian cop loses the universe”, Sept 25). Rather than let the organizers of the Miss Universe beauty pageant dictate terms to her, she has gone ahead and done exactly what she pleased. In other words, got married. In fact, a married beauty queen gels perfectly well with the slightly prudish message disseminated through the candidates’ answers. What is wrong if the women who always seem to choose fame over money, honesty over success, decide to choose conjugality over promiscuity'
Shumi Sanyal, Calcutta
Man with a problem
Sir — Finally, the president and vice-president of India have agreed to participate in a population stabilization programme (“Kalam heads drive for a small family”, Sep 16). It is useless to repeat that increasing population is a major obstacle in the development of the country. Population control programmes initiated in the Fifties were derailed by vote bank politics which would benefit from an increase in the number of voters. India’s population increased nearly threefold in the post-independence years, including the programme period. International and national organizations such as the United Nations population fund and the national population commission are making sincere efforts to stall the growth of population, but little has come of the efforts for want of a strong political will.
Kalam has proved through his decision that he is genuinely concerned about the nation’s pressing problems, and not prepared merely to go by the protocol. His desire to consult the nongovernmental organizations working in this field makes this more evident. Hopefully, something meaningful will be done this time around.
B.K. Sarkar, Calcutta
Sir — Indira Gandhi, the former prime minister, paid a heavy price for exhorting Indians to adopt the slogan, “Hum do, hamare do”. Being a Muslim, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam stands a better chance of convincing the Muslim clergy of the benefits of family planning, since the latter would tend to read ulterior motives into a non-Muslim’s advice to this effect. It is a matter of pride that the president of India has agreed to spearhead this mission. He could use the example of Bangladesh, an Islamic country which has implemented family planning programmes without fearing adverse reactions from the religious establishment of the country.
Govinda Bakshi, Budge Budge
Sir — Contrast A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s spontaneous support for the population control programme with Narendra Modi’s manipulation of the issue to spew venom against the community he hates most; and you will see the difference between a scientific and empathetic worldview and a political ideology premised on hatred.
Sukla Chaudhury, Howrah
Sir — The president has shown the way to Indian politicians by tying and untying his shoelaces himself instead of allowing an attendant to do it for him. What Kalam did when he visited Rajghat is what all politicians — who often have attendants carrying umbrellas over their heads — should try to do as a matter of habit.
Madhu Agrawal, Dariba
Sir — A.P.J. Abdul Kalam is the true secular Indian. He reads the Gita, while studying the Quran and offering namaaz. Evidently, he does not differentiate between the two religions, nor does he look down upon any other. Two Christian priests were present to bless him at his swearing-in ceremony. In a strife torn country, what better example can one ask for'
D.K. Chakravarti, Calcutta
Sir — Good sense had prevailed over the authorities a few months back, and a monstrous show telecasting the World Wrestling Federation fights had been taken off the air. Unfortunately, the show is back, rechristened WWE, or World Wrestling Entertainment, on the Ten Sports channel. There is no end to violence in this world. Could we not avoid this daily dose of violence in the name of entertainment' Being the mother of an impressionable 11-year-old, I cannot but feel concerned.
Kajal Lahiri, Khardah