Bring them back; Winner takes all; Gone forever; Second look; Different times; New plan
- Published 4.09.18
Bring them back
• Sir - It is heartening that the Madhya Pradesh forest department wants to revive the plan to reintroduce cheetahs in the Nauradehi sanctuary. It has been said that the paucity of funds stood in the way of the plan's implementation. The Central government has no excuse not to release funds for the project; it was recently admonished by the Supreme Court for 'sitting on' Rs 77,000 crore meant for conservation. It can no longer claim that it does not have the finances to protect wildlife and even reintroduce certain species. One hopes that the cheetah - which was declared extinct in India in 1952 - will once again roam the sanctuary.
Winner takes all
• Sir - Swapna Barman made history by becoming the first Indian heptathlete to win a gold medal at the Asian Games ("Swapna's pain and gain", Aug 30). Nothing could stand in the way of the success of the girl from Jalpaiguri. As the daughter of a van rickshaw puller, Barman fought against immense odds to reach where she is today. If she can keep this momentum going, then she will do well at the Olympics in Tokyo in 2020.
Given how gruelling the Olympic heptathlon will be, the Indian government will have to ensure that the infrastructure is in place for Barman to get the best coaching. She will also put West Bengal on the athletics map of India. Following Barman's success, perhaps heptathlon training can be popularized in schools as well.
• Sir - Swapna Barman's top podium finish at the Asian Games in the heptathlon event pushed India's gold medal tally to 11. It is a stupendous feat to became the first Indian - and the first woman from the nation - to win the heptathlon, which is made up of a combination of several track and field events. Making her achievement even more special was the fact that she was suffering from a toothache during the event. She has also battled constant pain in her feet during training and actual events, owing to the fact that she was born with six toes on each foot. In spite of all these hurdles, she did the country proud. She deserved to be lauded.
• Sir - Last Wednesday, two Indian athletes won two gold medals at the Asiad, and scripted history while doing so. One was Arpinder Singh, who won India's first men's triple jump gold in 48 years. The other was Swapna Barman, who became the first Indian heptathlete to win an Asian Games gold - a feat she achieved in spite of pain in her teeth. The incredible efforts of Singh and Barman must be saluted.
• Sir - Even though she had a severe toothache and grappled with pain in her feet, Swapna Barman won a historic gold at the Asian Games. She outclassed all her opponents. She will serve as an inspiration to many aspiring athletes, and will most likely win Olympic medals in the future.
• Sir - Swapna Barman is a role model for every athlete struggling to succeed. She has twelve toes and has always had to run wearing ill-fitting footwear which causes her immense pain. In spite of this, she made India proud at the Asian games. She showed that anything can be achieved if one's will is strong. By becoming the first Indian gold medallist in the heptathlon, she ended a long medal drought for the country in this particular event. One hopes that she remains successful for years to come. She certainly has the goodwill of her countrymen now.
• Sir - It is difficult to fathom the kind of hardships that Swapna Barman had to weather in her journey towards winning an Olympic gold. For one, she has always struggled to find the right shoes. The extra width of her feet - on account of an extra toe on each foot - made landing on them very painful. The shoes would wear out quite fast as well. Her family is poor, and her father, who was a van rickshaw puller by profession, is now bedridden. Her childhood coach, Sukanta Sinha, said that she often could not afford the equipment she needed.
Under such trying circumstances, most people would give up. The fact that Barman persevered and went on to excel is proof of her remarkable grit. The Indian government must do everything required to help her go further in her career in a pain-free manner.
• Sir - It is saddening that the iconic RK Studio in the Chembur area of Mumbai, established by the late Raj Kapoor 70 years ago, will be sold. The decision to sell the studio, taken collectively by the Kapoor family, was attributed to the fact that it would no longer be financially viable. Modern studios are technologically advanced; RK studio could not match up to them anymore. Moreover, a major section of the property was gutted in a fire last year.
Perhaps the family could consider the sale of half the property and using the proceeds to set up a museum in the other half. The museum could be a tribute to the legendary actor.
Hira Lal De,
• Sir — It was amusing to see the major political parties holding events in memory of the former chief minister of Bihar, B.P. Mandal, who headed the Mandal Commission. There is no doubt that the grand celebrations were spurred by the parliamentary elections slated for 2019; no political party can afford to ignore Mandal. The Mandal Commission played an important role in encouraging the participation of the backward classes in politics, especially in the Hindi heartland. It led to the rise of politicians like Lalu Prasad and Mulayam Singh Yadav.
It has been almost forty years since the Commission was set up. It is now time to evaluate what it has achieved. Politicians like Yadav and Prasad have enjoyed long tenures in power, and more people from backward communities were able to secure government jobs. But, once again, there is unrest among the youth, particularly those hailing from the downtrodden sections of society. This is because of the lack of jobs. Political parties should focus on generating employment. They should realize that depriving even one section will affect social harmony.
• Sir — The decision of the Patna High Court to prevent the media from reporting on the investigations into the Muzaffarpur shelter home case is disturbing. Media reports help investigators cross-check facts. The media forced the government and the Opposition to take notice of the crimes committed in the shelter homes and forced Manju Verma, the then social welfare minister, to resign.
During the fodder scam inquiry, which was monitored by the Patna High Court, a judge had opposed the entry of journalists in the courtroom during the hearings. But the government prosecutor argued in favour of the presence of the media. The judge accepted the argument. In the 1980s, the Centre had introduced the press bill, which was met with nationwide resistance because it was considered to be an attack on press freedom. The bill had to be withdrawn.
The situation is different now. The ban has been imposed by the judiciary; therefore the solution must also come from the judiciary.
• Sir — The state government recently launched the Mu Hero ( I am a hero) campaign (“Eye on unsung heroes”, Aug 28). The aim, apparently, is to promote the spirit of volunteerism and leadership among the youth. However, the two main opposition parties in the state — the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress — have alleged that the government is misleading the youth through this programme. According to them, the ruling party is trying to impress the young voters with an eye on the forthcoming assembly elections.
• Sir — The Mu Hero campaign, under the Biju Yuva Vahini initiative, has attracted criticism from several quarters. The primary grievance is that the ruling party is trying to influence the youth to bolster its chances in the elections. Some leaders of the Biju Janata Dal, on the other hand, have advised their opponents to not look at things only through the prism of partisan politics. The state will benefit if a genuine attempt is made to nurture leadership qualities among the youth.
• Sir — The government of Odisha has resolved to encourage the youth to contribute to society. This is indeed a praiseworthy step. However, the administration should also make sincere efforts to stem brain drain from the state. Talented and highly qualified youths are increasingly migrating to other places in search of jobs. This trend does not bode well for the state.
• Sir — The Mu Hero campaign seems to be a ploy to use public funds to further the agenda of the ruling party. It is but obvious that the BJD government has launched the programme to reap political dividends in the upcoming state and general elections.
• Sir — In its 18 years at the helm, the Naveen Patnaik-led government has hardly bothered about the plight of the youth in the state. Given the experience, why should the latter participate in the Mu Hero scheme? They would be better off focussing on their careers.
• Sir — The Mu Hero campaign was formally launched by the chief minister at an event in Cuttack. The programme, at least on paper, appears to be a noble initiative. The government, however, is also expected to generate better employment opportunities in the state. The youth need jobs more than anything else.